Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Phew...day two of Google Apps!

We've been exploring Google Apps in class over the last two days.  Can't quite believe it's only been two days...they've loved it!  More about that in a mo...

Over the last few days we've heard in class from Margot James, our local MP and Tanya Blackburn, Head of Outreach at Survival International, an organisation that campaigns on behalf of tribal peoples around the world whose way of life & very existence is threatened by deforestation.  Both praised pupils' efforts to help rainforest people and, in particular, Molly for her Amnesty article about the Penan mentioned in an earlier post.  The class have been really encouraged.

Can 9 year olds really make a difference? 
Over the last few months children have been inspired by the examples of some amazing youngsters.  Here are just two:  Felix Finkbeiner, was a youngster of only 9 when he hatched the idea of planting a million trees as an answer to climate change.  Now 13, Felix's charity, Plant for the Planet, is up and running in 131 countries.  Children shared footage of Felix's message to the Earth Summit in an assembly. Look out for Felix's 'stop talking start planting' gesture to the conference president - children loved that! Cole Rasenberger provides another role model of what tenacity and passion can achieve - his persuasive postcard campaign caused the mighty McDonald's to rethink their policy on the sourcing of packaging.   Result!

Jumping right in to Google Apps
Yep! They've jumped right in with spreadsheets, sites and emails over the last couple of days.  And this is just the start!  I'm introducing pupils to the tools they'll be using for their rainforest projects.  Children are already familiar with Wallwisher from earlier in the year.  They've begun to use the walls to post their ideas for projects.  Everyone formed up into teams today & were given half an hour to prepare and deliver a 2 minute presentation to the class outlining their project focus.  Quite pacy!  Next, teams will be working on their Project Action Videos.  Through these they'll be fleshing out their team's project idea, possible actions for implementation and group roles. Although children's Google Apps accounts were only activated yesterday they were already using them yesterday evening to share ideas.  Needless to say enthusiasm and energy levels are running high..!

Walking a mile in someone else's moccasins
We have visitors from a nearby school tomorrow who've asked to see philosophy & the enquiry approach in action.  To help children explore some of the issues surrounding deforestation, we're going to for a different approach tomorrow.  Children are going to take part in the enquiry as stakeholders rather than as themselves!   They'll be debating the future of the rainforests in role as scientists, environmentalists, loggers and tribespeoples. (Going by some of the chatter at the end of the day today, I should think more than a few will be really going for it by dressing up to look the part too!)

In the meantime, I'm going to have a quick look at this on YouTube for suitability.  Children have heard about how it helped change some hearts and minds over at Mattel and have asked (repeatedly) if we can share it in class.  Pester power!

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