Sunday, 29 April 2012

Google Apps - we're good to go!

This weekend I've been setting up Google Apps for my class.  A big thanks to Ian Addison for his very useful guide on how to do this and to Matt Lovegrove & Mark Allen for their sessions on this at GTAUK.  The parental permission letters went out on Wednesday.  After looking at a few examples, I pulled one together which I've shared here in case anyone wants to avoid reinventing the wheel!

My class are very excited about starting to use GApps & most of the permission letters have already come back. Tomorrow they'll be using Sites to create e-portfolios showing some of the work they've done in Year 4.  I couldn't find exactly the 'how to...' video I was looking for so I created a set of simple instructions for pupils to follow to start their sites.

Y4 at the Gurdwara
I was delighted to find how easy it is to embed videos on Sites - so pupils will be able to embed their own videos on a diverse range of topics from their chain making in the Black Country using traditional methods and their Tudor broadcasts about the lives and deaths of Henry VIII's unfortunate wives to their visits to one of Birmingham's Gurdwara last week.  The chainmaking and Gurdwara ones were made by pupils using iMovie on our iPodtouches.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Google challenge - Be the change!

In April, Google challenged us, using Gandhi's famous words, 'to be the change you want to see in the world'.  With that in mind, I've been developing my action plan. Its  focus: How can project based learning and Google Apps accelerate learning in the primary classroom, develop global citizenship in pupils and make a contribution to sustainability?

Young Reporter of the Year Awards
One of the special things about being a teacher is sometimes experiencing the world from the children's perspectives.  Class enquiries give children free reign to discuss questions they've chosen - without lots of teacher talk! It's always an eye opener and more than a bit humbling.  I highly recommend it! Children  ask the most disarming questions - 'why are people cutting down rainforests when we all need them to breathe?' They simplify issues by going to the heart of the matter - our pupils asked two 'Seven Summit' mountaineers, 'if Mount Everest is so beautiful, why does it look like a rubbish tip now?'   They asked their local MP,  Margot James, 'what have you done to help the rainforests?' and 'what can children do to make a difference?'   Children have an unassailable belief that they can make change happen (obstacles? what obstacles?). And guess what? They can!

Margot James MP visiting Year 4
I've just posted Molly's article on our blog.  As part of our study of Borneo's rainforests, pupils wrote articles about the devastating impact of deforestation on the Penan people.  They reasoned that if the Penan could be allowed to live in the forests as their people have for hundreds of years, then that would be good news for the forests too!  I sent the articles off to Amnesty for their Young Reporter of the Year Awards.  Molly, one of the youngest of the 3000+ entrants, made the final ten!  Wow! 

Be the change you want to see in the world?  I think our young people will lead the way if we give them the opportunity!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Friday, 6 April 2012

I'm home now & relaxing in the afterglow of the truly fantastic & memorable GTA 2012 event!  It's been a privilege to meet with such fantastic and inspiring educators and to find out more about how Google awesome tools can be used in so many different learning settings.  I feel honoured to join this community of educators & moved by the warmth of the welcome!

Reflecting on my magic moments, I must say that, for me & I'm sure everyone else, there were just SO many!  Highlights certainly include the motion charts & animating data with Tia & Becky, mapping & story telling with Tom Barrett and the amazing youtube & flipping your classroom sessions with James Sanders - just awesome! 

I could write about many more highlights but, as we were asked to narrow our magic moments down to THE ONE, I've got to go for Mark Wagner's truly inspiring 'dream out loud' action plan session.  This is a genuine opportunity to be part of the change we want to see in the world and I can only guess at the amazing impact this will have for and through our learners!  I'm very excited about & looking forward to joining everyone for the journey this will take us all on!

My video application: