GAFE In Action Keynote Speaker

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Guess who’s joining us as another Keynote Speaker at the GAFE In Action Day…

As Leading Teacher for Personalised Learning at JMSS, Chris Harte’s role involves the development of learner portfolios, team teaching, pedagogies for real and virtual flexible spaces and the formative use of data. He is also involved in the design and implementation of Emerging Sciences Victoria, a virtual science school serving Victorian students. Read more here…

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Put Your Mind to Mindfulness

To all the educators out there… Have you caught on to the newest craze yet? If you haven’t practised Mindfulness yourself, or used it in the classroom, it’s time to get onto it! I started using Smiling Minds in my classroom at the beginning of the year, and the level of anxiety and nervous tension around the learning space has decreased dramatically. With anxiety levels rising amongst young children, the least educators and schools can offer, is a safe and mindful place students can go when they need to escape.

Smiling Mind is modern meditation for young people. It’s a simple tool that gives a sense of calm, clarity and contentment. – See more at: http://smilingmind.com.au/blog/#!/category/background/what-is-smiling-mind

The way I introduced the idea of Mindfulness to my students was quite simple. I showed them an image of the brain, and what it looks like before and after meditation. They were blown away! This was as simple as using a google image. I also had a chat with the students about what makes us feel ‘nervous’ sometimes and what can trigger those ‘yucky feelings’ in the tummy. This was kind of like a ‘circle time,’ session. The students were open to sharing their thoughts and feelings, and this helped each of them feel comfortable, and most importantly, ‘normal.’

I then concluded the discussion with, “What are some things we could do when we feel nervous or anxious?” The typcial answers came up, and then I showed the students the Smiling Minds website. We spoke about the benifits of meditation and how it’s a healthy practise.

When we started our first session, students were settled within seconds. It wasn’t an expectation that they close their eyes, or lay on their back, all they had to do was ensure they were in a comfortable position. We now begin each day with a Smiling Minds session. The classroom climate has become much more calm and most importantly, positive. It’s amazing to see the students who would normally get ‘clouded thoughts’ slowly, think more clearly. The kids are now asking for it!

Smiling Minds is a fabulous web and iPhone/iPad App that follows a clear and sequential program, depending on age groups. Try it out for yourself! You won’t regret it. I know I love it… And so do my students!

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GAFE In Action.. Tickets Are Now Live

Tickets Are now on sale!! Don’t miss out!

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GAFE in Action 

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Watch this space! www.gafeinaction.com.au Details about how you can attend, workshops, dates etc coming soon! If you have any ideas or general inquiries about this event, please contact me at: smazzei@stmhadfield.catholic.edu.au #GAFEinaction

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The Power of Feedback

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The report writing period is almost over (for Australian teachers anyway!) Yipee! When I sit and begin to write student comments, I don’t know where to start because most of the time, I have too much to say! Anecdotal notes (see My Focusbook for ongoing reporting, anecdotal note taking, sharing and teacher accountability), feedback, rubrics, work samples, the list goes on. As teachers we’re inundated with all of the various forms of evidence we have. The most powerful though… I have to say is the feedback I leave on student work.

Using the Google Docs and Slide comment functions to leave instant feedback on student work samples, has empowered my students to take responsibility for their own learning. They have become independent, reflective learners by taking on feedback from teachers and peers. When they see feedback, they crave more! Crazy I know. My students have not only developed their skills in being able to take feedback on board, but have also become confident in providing their peers with feedback too. I have also noticed a growth in resilience. The most reluctant students have become more open-minded when receiving feedback.

Another benefit of using this function is that when it comes to writing reports, all of the feedback you ever left on a piece of work stays with that sample forever! Yep… Even once students have clicked ‘resolve’ and attended to the feedback, you can see how it was resolved and if was attended to or not. The video below explains how to use the ‘comment’ function.

By using instant feedback in the classroom, teachers can create active problem solvers, provide personalised feedback and empower students to be independent learners. Give it a go! It’ll change their perspective on feedback. I promise!

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Google Docs & iPad: The Perfect CRT (Casual Relief Teacher) – How-To

mr. dan

The CRT, an incredibly brave species that wakes early, enters new environments, and deals with hostile natives…

In the schools I have worked with, I think that being a new CRT must be tough. You have a whole new place and class to deal with, unsure of your environments and what to do. The last thing they would want is having to deal with technology.

It has been common practice that if a teacher is going to be away, they would leave work in a filing cabinet, or on their desk for the CRT to pickup and use. Even this can be a pain, if the teacher is sick they may not have left work. Even tougher these days, with teachers (like ours) using online platforms like Google Apps, leaving physical work can also be a hassle (and a waste of paper). Finally, as our teachers take their devices home so CRTs…

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A Sneak Peek into GAFE in Action!

So I promised everyone out there who was interested in my upcoming event, ‘GAFE in Action,’ that I’d keep you posted with any updates. Just this week, I had students complete the Google Basics Exam and I have been blown away! Kids in grade 3 have achieved as high as 93%. I’m so proud of them! I recently just created a Google Classroom group as well. This is going to be a shared space where the kids who are presenting can communicate and share their ideas.

Children are currently in the process of putting their proposals forward about the different Google APPS they want to share and teach teachers and children about on the day.

So here’s a sneak peak of some of the things you might find amongst our workshops… Along with all of the other exciting stuff we have in the pipelines. Genius Hour, Google Drive, Google Teach… Just to name a few.

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Every Kid Needs A Champion

As a Primary School Teacher, I have the pleasure of meeting so many kids. The extroverts, the introverts, the bubbly kids, the class clowns… And the kids that fly under the radar. No matter who they are, or where they come from… They all need a champion. This video says it all beautifully.

After I saw this, I immediately thought, “How can I be a champion to my students?” I knew there were things I knew about my kids, and things I didn’t. I also came across a post where a teacher asked her kids to complete this sentence starter… “I wish my teacher knew…” I knew this would be the perfect way to be a champion to my kids. And it worked! Give it a go! I used a Google Form to do this. You never know what you might find out.

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GAFE in Action

A little while ago, I mentioned that I’m currently working on putting together a, ‘GAFE in Action’ day for teachers and students to attend! This process is well underway, and I can’t believe how much enthusiasm I have received from the students at school! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have expressed your interest. Recently, I called an Assembly with my 3-6 students and presented a presentation to them. I wanted to get them excited about how they can take part in this wonderful opportunity! Here’s what I showed them: “> I want to keep everyone who’s inerested in this initiative in the loop! I now have 20 students who have successfully passed the Google Basis Exam. Students have one more week to complete this exam. Once all successful applicants have completed the exam, I’m going to meet with them and assist them in putting together presentations on their favourite Google App for you! Watch this space… I’ll be sure to upload and share some of the things their working on. If you have any ideas about things you’d like to see, let me know! Continue reading

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Finally: A browser add-on that lets you copy and paste text out of images and memes

Originally posted on, ‘Extreme Tech.’ http://goo.gl/FTVEch

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Have you ever ended up on one of those awful websites where the text is saved as an image, preventing you from selecting or copying it? Or maybe you want to share the text from a comic, screenshot, or meme without painstakingly transcribing it? Now, with the Project Naptha browser extension, you can use your mouse to select the rasterized text from any image that you find on the web, and then paste that text elsewhere. You can also select the text and translate it into another language, or attempt to remove the text entirely (much like Photoshop’s Content-Aware Fill function)… Read More about Project Naptha here.

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