A busy week!

16 05 2008

I am shattered and it is only 8.30pm!  Here is a week in the life of a p.7 teacher in May who has a fair amount of extra responsibilities:

Monday:  Took p.7 to Choices for Life at the Clyde Auditorium in the morning, dropped the kids back at school and straight into my car to go to the Advisory Service for an ASG meeting.  After that drove back to school and was supposed to have about 45 mins before a council Curriculum for Excellence meeting but I ended up doing a lot to help set up laptops etc for the people organising it.  That finished about six and I went to Braehead to buy more webcams for the school on the way and ended up playing about with them and with Glow until 10.30pm.

Tuesday:  Out of class first thing as we thought our Glow mentor was coming in the morning so I did some stuff on Glow.  Photographer in from the local paper to take P.7 class photo.  In class from interval to lunch doing reading national testing at levels C, D and E.  Out of class in the afternoon with the glow mentor while my class sat their second reading national test.  Cycling profiency after school, 10 mile run and then some work at home in the evening.

Wednesday:  Out of class until interval having review meetings for pupils going to secondary.  In class the rest of the day.  CAT night after school.  Worked at home in the evening.

Thursday:  Nurse was in to do p.7 puberty talks so a little maths first, then p.7 girls talk.  P.7 boys talk after interval until nearly lunchtime.  Some CCC time after lunch so went down to Cathkin High to collect headsets and things to use with Glow Meet.  In class 2.15-3.00pm.  After school I had the other teachers who did the rich task round to the school for a last meeting and to collect all of their stuff that I had borrowed for the Headteacher’s conference.

Friday:  Out of class until 11.45am having more reviews for pupils going to secondary.  In class for 15 mins and then setting up computers for Glow Meet while the pupils were at ‘Star of the Week’.  In class until 2.30pm and then out doing Glow Meet.

On Thursday I had the first of my kids who were going to be teaching lessons out to do their lesson on decimals.  It was two boys and I think they spent more time arguing between themselves about who was doing what than actually teaching anything.  I recorded the whole thing, it was good fun but I am not sure the children learned much.  The boys did some explanation, using a powerpoint presentation, played some games with the class and gave some written work.  They were not sure enough of how they were going to play the game and the written work was a bit easy for most of the class but they made up for all of this in enthusiasm!  I also recorded a self and peer assessment session at the end of the lesson.  The children were very positive about the lesson – more so than I would have been but they are popular boys within the class and this may have something to do with it.  I prompted the two boys who had done the lesson to say what they thought about controlling the lesson and that was interesting. They thought the listening was quite good, I would have said the class was safe and in their seats but very hyper at some points!  Really looking forward to doing more of this next week.

During this busy week, and last week, I was busy trying to get Glow Meet going in our school so that I could video conference at a conference in Aberdeen on Glow today.  Eventually I managed to get Meet working but then still had to get RM to install the webcams and get the sound working.  This has taken up most of time at school this week!  The webcam on my laptop was set up on Monday and worked fine but when we tried out Glow Meet the sound would not work.  I could hear the others but they could not hear me.  Tried to get RM to install the other webcams on the notebus trolley laptops but this was completed in time, there seems to be some problems with it, and could not get the sound on mine working at all.

I am usually in school at 7.30am but due to all of this, I have been rather earlier this week including 7.10am this morning!  Eventually we had to use my laptop with the webcam on it and log in with another laptop with the sound working on it.  I worried all day that it would not work when the time came but after a slow start to get in it did and I had two girls speak.  They were really funny as they had prepared stuff to say and were ready to do that but were not prepared for actually saying hello or introducing themselves!  They did well when it came to saying their bit.  The last thing I told them was to go slow and for once they actually listened and ended up going really, really, really slowly.  I am biased but I thought they did well!

Photos below of the boys teaching:

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.