Tag Archives: education

Digital Technologies… And Life

I recently heard Dr Jordan Nguyen speak at a PD I attended. All I can say is that he was extrem001.jpgely inspirational! I’m going to use what I learned from him to drive the 5/6 Inquiry unit in a direction I never imagined! This unit will focus on STEAM and we’ll be looking at how Digital Technologies can change the world and make a difference to lives. Children need to understand that Digital Technologies isn’t just about ‘coding’ and building/playing games. There’s so much more to be learned. It’s about using these tools and skills to actually make a difference.

The aim will be to get students to work in teams (just like they would be expected to in the real world!) They’ll have a project on their hands that will require them to design something that could potentially change lives. The image to the right explains some of the roles students will take on.

I’m also working on teaming up with Source Central Partners and some of the guys from Google to showcase how we use Digital Technologies at St Thomas More. The GAFE in Action day was so successful in 2015, we want to take it to the next level! The aim is to have kids showing off what they’ve learned through this Inquiry. They’ll be marketing the event with us too! Watch this space. I’ll share the journey and experiences with you. I don’t to give too much away just yet:)

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I’m Back!


Hello everyone! It’s been so long since I’ve posted… I’m slightly ashamed of myself, but certainly have a great excuse… I’ve been on maternity leave. Although it’s been a while since I’ve been in this space, I can assure you my brain hasn’t stopped ticking! Between late night feeds and nappy changes, I’ve still managed to think about education (is that sad lol?) 

I won’t officially be returning to school until next year but have so many exciting things in the pipe lines. 

Next year I’ll still be working in my IT role and aim to hold another GAFE In Action event (didn’t realise the domain for this has expired. I’ll get it back up and running). Last years was so successful. I plan on including students again, holding similar workshops and defiantly want to showcase some of the exciting things that have been happening at STM. 

One of the things I’ll also be focusing on next year is coding! Yep! I’ll be tackling that by the horns. I’ve been playing around with Ozmo and am so excited to use it with the kids. The Coding Club has been so successful, that next year, every student from prep to 6 will have the opportunity to explore and learn through code. After all, it is the way of the future. So watch this space! 

I hope the rest of the year is exciting and eventful, as well as relaxing. I know it’s a crazy time of year with reports, but it’s also a great way to spend quality time with the kids as Christmas approaches. 

Enjoy what’s left. I look forward to posting fresh ideas in 2017! 

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Talk with your audience—not at them—with Slides Q&A

So it’s certainly been a while since I’ve posted. Time got the better of me, but I had to share this! Today I came across this post on Google+ about a new feature that Google Slides has released. A colleague of mine was also really excited when the Q&A feature popped up on her presentation in the classroom. We had to give it a go! Kids loved it, we loved it, and it documented everything that was happening. Give it a go!

Read the original post here…

https://docs.googleblog.com/2016/05/slidesQA.html

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10 Things to Help Start the New School Year

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Well… It’s that time of year again. Back to school! Back to school commercials and radio ads are everywhere. We’re certainly being reminded. As we approach 2016, the first thing that comes to mind as a teacher is, “What am I going to do to set up a positive environment?” “How will I ensure I get to know my kids for who they are?” We all want to do our best and provide the best learning opportunities. The start of the year, I think, is the best time to set up the learning environment you want.  Positive start. Positive year. So I’ve compiled a list of things for you to use in the classroom:

  1. Set up a space in the classroom/learning environment where kids can share photos, personal stories etc throughout the year.
  2. Ensure your students know from day one that mistakes are welcome.
  3. Burry ‘I can’t.’ I always begin the new year by having students write down something they think they’re ‘really bad at,’ or ‘can’t do.’ They’ll look at you oddly in the beginning but the impact is worth it. Once students have written what they can’t do (I also join in), share what they have written in a circle. Then tell them to rip up and stomp on it. Once the fun is over, have children put all the ripped pieces of paper into a box and burry them somewhere. You can also just hide them in a secure place. Then at the end, discuss how we don’t say ‘I can’t’ in this classroom because anything is possible. You’ll see throughout the year when kids say, ‘I can’t’ other students will pull them up and remind them that we buried ‘I can’t.’
  4. Talk about the power of positivity and the power of the mind. I find doing this in the beginning of the year helps eliminate some of that self doubt. It also allows the kids to understand that as their teacher, you believe in them. Displaying something simple that says, ‘If you think positive things, positive things will happen,’ helps the students to understand that they’re thoughts are very powerful.
  5. Ask your students what they expect from you as a teacher. You can do this with some poster paper and sticky notes. I even allow students to comment on one another’s thoughts.
  6. Have the students write a letter to their future self. They can state goals, favourite band, colour, friends etc. Things they’re excited about for the year. Anything really! Then collect them and give them back on the last day of school. They love reading them.
  7. Laugh with your students and talk to them about yourself.
  8. Provide Brain Breaks by using things like Go Noodle.
  9. Watch Kid President videos.
  10. Smile at your kids everyday 🙂
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GAFE In Action

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So it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I haven’t been MIA… I’ve been happily working on the GAFE In Action event which consumed by every minute. And can I say, it was completely and totally worth it! Friday’s event was so successful. I am so overwhelmed by the positive feedback and support I have received. It’s really made me realise just how powerful and important it is to involve students in Professional Development Days. School is a place for kids. They need to be involved more. I have never seen my students so excited to teach. We provide lots of opportunities for them to teach on another in the classroom, but they have never been given such a ‘real’ experience. Providing them with the opportinuty to teach teachers and students from other schools really showed them how much they knew about GAFE. They were proud of themselves and were able to realise just how much they knew. They really were the experts. It was also rewarding to invite other schools to St Thomas More to see how we use GAFE across the school. Teachers need to work together inside and outisde their own schools. GAFE In Action really confirmed this for me. Thank you again to everyone who attended, supported me and ran workshops on the day. It wouldn’t have been possible without you. I have shared presentations of workshops I presented on Friday with you. A big thank you to Eleni Kyritsis who also inspired me with her passion towards Genius Hour. Another big thank you to Chris Harte and Brett Moller who were Keynote Presenters. You kick-started the day perfectly!

Thanks again:)

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1BPNKtXtaaFeDrJ3iwgCET-KrQ9Hrr5eP-D2yX3ixdTM/embed?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000“>

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Kksr1INRcbu_UXZ-tJij2w6qbCI8aL-qsLLOzPNnhqo/embed?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000“>

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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 

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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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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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