Been a while. This can only mean one thing – yup, I am on holiday of what appears to be a permanent nature due to not being offered a permanent position at the end of last year. Ho hum – back to the drawing board. Despite the hugely disappointing end to my first year teaching, I would not change a single thing about the year itself. I taught students from Year 9 to 12 with a range of abilities.We had our ups and downs and our moments, some we made the most of, some we’d probably prefer to forget! I will miss ALL of my students this year, am proud of how much we achieved together in 2011 and am very sad I won’t get to see their various learning progressions.
So, before I have to make some really tough decisions about what to do (and it looks as if teaching is simply not an option) I thought I’d share a list of links and brief comments about ICTs and digital technologies trialled last year. As always these choices are dictated by environmental factors. The school I taught at did not have PCs or laptops for students in the class. It used a book in lab system. It was tricky getting into the labs for some of my classes and there were never enough PCs for one computer each student. Mid-way through the year the school bought sets of netbooks (20 per set minus a couple that were generally out of action). These had limited applications installed and again had to be booked well in advance. Still a step in the right direction.
So here’s the summary, take from it what you will and feel free to ask questions if you’d like to know more. This is not a comprehensive list – just what I can remember after far too many days off! I’ll start with Year 9 today and add others later.
Year 9 – lower ability class:
- History of English – 10 short clips from the Anglo Saxons to Language of the Internet, worked really well. Developed focus questions around each one so this can be used as a listening exercise too.
- Grammar Skills Testing – Spent a session in the computer lab working through at their own speed. Good before creative writing. They could go back to problem areas and retest – also handy for diagnostic testing.
- Persuasive arguments – an interactive online organiser, used for speeches, would also work for formal writing Because we didn’t have PCs in class, I developed an argument for them and then projected the template to copy.
- Creative writing starter/poetry taster – pick an image then drag and drop words to create poems, see earlier post on PicLits.
- Animate words from essays – the visual learners liked this, most failed to see the point, used for early finishers, similar application can be found at pimpapum.
- Fractured Fairytales – another great interctive from Read Write Think, students create their own characters, setting etc to rewrite well known fairytales.
And when all else fails, I used social media sites they knew about as a basis for static activities. For example, I created a Facebook profile template and used this for note-taking on key characters. I also created a template for a twitter feed (after showing them the basics online and tweeting them via my account) and used this to rescript a scene from a drama studied in class. They weren’t convinced about this approach but some really enjoyed!