Bit of active learning

2 05 2008

Going back to Monday morning……..

The class and I had a big talk about work and behaviour as I had been feeling pretty fed up last Thursday and Friday and there was no way I could continue with the kind of behaviour I had been getting until the end of term.  (It may have been something to do with me being away Tuesday and Wednesday).

I got them to come up with ideas of what would make them work better and the rewards and sanctions they thought would work.  The rewards and sanctions were just the ususal and quite reasonable.  The things they thought would help them work better were lots of things that I have done a lot previously but had given up on with this class like having music on, more active learning, working with friends and other people more often and teaching each other.

So I decided to give them a chance and organised my language session more the way I used to for Wednesday morning.  They had handwriting, active learning with spelling using whiteboards, wikisticks and/or playdough, and a reading task.  For the top group, this was independant reading, the lower group read with me and the middle group were to be using Glow to discuss the story they had read the day before.  The top and bottom group worked really well, I was especially impressed by how well the top group organised themselves and worked together during the spelling.

The middle group did not get on so well and this has so often been the case this year.  They were too excited and barely on task while doing the spelling, it is quite a large group which does not help.  They had to use Glow in 2’s or 3’s because of the numbers of computers available which ws not ideal.  Glow is working fine but the laptops took forever to load up and some children did not even get onto the task.  They had also chosen the people who they wanted to work with so the groups that did get on were not really on task and did not get a lot done.  Cannot wait to try it next week with a better group on Glow.  Unsurprsingly it was the middle group who caused me grief in maths that day too – there are a lot of the same pupils in each group!

I am not giving up with this class for the rest of the session, but need to think carefully about that middle group. 

Clicked on a link today from my stats page to see where views were coming from and found this comment which was nice, about my last entry:

 “I read an interesting article today about how GLOW was being used in an Educational Setting. Caroline Gibson’s article will hopefully inspire us and give us ideas about how we can use GLOW in our classrooms.”

There are useful ideas in the first part of the entry, find it at:

Also this link has lots of links to other glow blogs and articles: including several links to this blog!

What we actually said….

1 05 2008

I think I may be getting a bit obsessed with blogging!  I really wanted to put on here the things I said on Tuesday as I am certainly no IT expert and through things outwith my control I have not been able to use Glow chat and meet yet but yet was able to explain how I was using Glow in other ways for learning and teaching.

I had initially put info, news, web links, photos and learnnewsdesk@LTS on my pupil, staff, school and class pages so there were things there to make it interesting when the children first logged on.  Once we had their passwords changed the pupils in my class found it easy to navigate around and liked the fact they could change their theme and had their own page to customise.


I then set up two glow groups – one for our African rich task and one for our electricity which was an active learning open area topic.  Again I put the news, whats on, photos and web links on the pages initially and then we began using the discussion pages.  The pupils were desperate to use Glow Chat but the java updates would appear to still not have been done properly for this.  I used the web links and documents pages to give help for the pupils to answer the questions I set on the discussion pages and I really like this part of it as there is so much document space on this and really saves photocopying etc.

The two kids with me then said a little bit about how they got on with the discussions – like how they started off just saying hi etc but gradually they began to answer the questions I set.  We used it to discuss some of the things they had learnt and how they had got on working in a group – they thought it was good to have a safe way to talk to each other.  They also felt less threatened having a discussion on glow as they said when people could not disagree with you to your face it did not feel so bad.  I think they were a bit more honest about how they worked together when writing it rather than discussing it in class.  And because it is recorded I have got the evidence for as long as I want it!

On these glow groups I have been able to embed video, put RSS feeds in, use web page viewers for our blogs and email and have used text editor to put in lessons for the children.  For example I put in a punctuation exercise that the pupils could then cut and paste into a word document to work on.  A lot of these things could be done through the documents page or web links but it is fun trying things out to see what works best.  I love the fact that I can embed video so easily as I had never tried to do that before for my class in any other way as it seemed tricky!

I also set up a gallery page within my African rich task glow group.  This has photos in it that I could then use for discussion within glow or orally within the class, or as starters for writing or art for example.

I had set up a couple of surveys in my African rich task; one about the knowledge the children learnt from the topic and one on self-assessment of how they had worked in a group.  I really like these as there are lots of different ways to answer from full written answers to mulitple choice, options of being compulsory or not, anonymous or not and you can set so they can answer more than once if you want.  You can then see all of the individual answers or together with percentages.  Again this is giving me lots of evidence without a huge pile of paper.Some of the questions I set in the self-assessment task were:

At the start of the rich task how well would you say you worked in a group?

What role do you think you are best at and then why did you think that?

Do you think you have improved in group work during the topic?

Have you learned any strategies to improve your group work?

Group work was a major part of this rich task so this was really useful and I again I think they answered more honestly than they would have in front of everyone.  I think these are great for less able pupils as they will hopefully feel less nervous about doing tests this way.

The kids talked about how they thought doing the surveys on glow was easier and simpler than having a written test.  One of them said how they liked doing the surveys as it felt more like a fun quiz.  They thought that doing the self-assessment survey was a good way of thinking about how they had worked themselves and in a group without having to talk about it in front of everyone.

They have had some funny answers in the survey about why they were best at which role, most of them said they were best at being chairperson because:

“Because I suck at the other two and I like to take charge”,

“because I take charge and am not a wimp” and


I was then at the stage of putting lesson plans onto Glow with WALT and WILF.  I loved this because my class are not good at listening and this means I am not having to repeat instructions multiple times.  The kids that need challenged got to do more and I was able to spend more time with those that needed it.  I loved what one of my kids finished with, which totally summed it up for me:

“As for me, I think it is fun and challenging, especially doing the surveys and I cannot wait to use Glow Meet.  Stuart in our class said he likes glow because it is an online community.  We really like the idea of having this in school.”

I am now ready to move on by developing my use of lesson plans etc on Glow, using glow chat, meet and learn and by starting the staff off this term by using the whats on, news and calendar.  I am really looking forward to starting off a cross-authority glow group on something to do with my Malawi trip this summer, at present there are 5 authorities across the country interested in this.  This will really start to develop learning and teaching within an online community spread throughout Scotland which is surely what the purpose of Glow is.

I know a lot of the people reading this will already be using Glow and will know all of this and be doing far more things than I have been doing but maybe this will help to stop some of the fears people who have not started using it might have.

I had really wanted to put in snapshots of some of my Glow pages within this post so it showed what I was showing on Tuesday and so it was not just all writing but wordpress does not want to let me paste the snapshots in so I will make up an animoto or something tomorrow probably and post that on.