Friday, September 26, 2008

A thought for the day

I found this quote buried in my blog and wanted to shout it from the roof tops.

"When we adults think of children there is a simple truth that we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn't getting ready to live; a child is living. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation. How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognise children as partners with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing them as apprentices. How much we could teach each other; we have the experience and they have the freshness. How full both our lives could be." John A. Taylor, Notes on an unhurried Journey.

Childhood is not a preparation for life; childhood is life!!!

How's that for a thought to carry with you into the classroom each day.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What are your hopes and dreams for the future

Million Futures is site I have just come across for which I can see many applications for use in the classroom. Million Futures is a UK based initiative which asks people to write their hopes and dreams for the future on a paper plane and launch it into the air to circulate with the collective hopes and dreams of others.

I can imagine using this site with your students to respond to their learning to give an authentic message. They could be looking at sustainability, participating and contributing to society, caring for each other, future focus, the list could go on. The students could launch their hopes and dreams on a paper plane to join the hopes and dreams of others.

What would your paper plane say?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Speed typing test

79 words

Speed test

I have been told I'm a freak. I have been typing since I was in primary school when my then step grandma bought me a typewriter and a typing book. It was something I enjoyed doing and I never realised it would come in so handy. When I was in primary school the only people who needed to know how to type were secretaries.

Well now, the best thing about typing at 79 words a minute is that when I ichat or skype chat, no one can get a word in! You've got to be quick to keep up with a conversation with me!

Now the reason I'm bringing all this up is I am fond of typing tests and I found this one that has a twist. The test uses the most common words in English. It's not a flashy learn how to type game but if you want a quick 60 second speed test and want to expose your students to the most commonly used words, this is a good site to try out. Can you beat me?

Update - I am rather stuck in the vortex... must stop typing test... must join the real world... must stop procrastinating...

83 words

Speed test

86 words


97 words

Speed test

Okay, I can stop now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Inquiry is a habit of mind!

Last week we had Kath Murdoch present a two day seminar for schools in Dunedin on Inquiry Based Learning. Kath's presentations embody her inquiry theory. She leads you gently, building on prior knowledge, creating wonder and curiosity, allowing you to find out and ask questions before coming to new understandings.

I have always taught in an inquiry way. I didn't know there was a model, or even what inquiry was, but it was how I believed students learned best and how I enjoyed teaching. I was excited as I progressed as a teacher to be able to reflect on my practice and give my beliefs a name. For me Inquiry was a belief system and not a model.

Working in schools it is sometimes disheartening to see inquiry reduced to a 'model' in the barest sense, rather than embracing the pedagogical shift that it can be. Today I was given the okay to share a new resource provided by CORE Education called EDtalks. EDtalks are a series of interviews with leaders in fields of education. These brief talks are very powerful and one that resonated with me today is below. Here is Sharon Friesen talking about Inquiry as a disposition.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Life without Google

There was a story on the news about Google tonight. I was watching with my 11 year old daughter. This is what she said:
"Google is 10 years old! Really?
I was around before Google?
Wow, mum, what did you do before Google?"

This really got me thinking. What did I do before Google? It has become such a way of life for me. If I want to know something I expect to find out the answer. I suppose before the internet became a way of life for me I accepted ignorance. If I didn't know something then I had to commit a lot of time and effort into finding out the answer. So I suppose I would weigh up whether this was worth the effort. And many times, my questions would remain unanswered because they just weren't worth the effort.

Now when I have a question, there is no effort involved. I know I can type the query into Google and the answer will be revealed. Every question answered. Not much energy expended.

What does this mean? Is it all too easy? We demand answers and information and we get it? Really, in the wider scheme of things what does this mean for us? I have been reading a book to my daughter about an ethnic boy living somewhere in Europe in a war torn country looking after his grandmother. When we contrast his daily life with hers, the difference is outstanding. He has a sense of responsibility for looking after his grandmother and his village. My daughter can hardly be bothered tidying up her room.

We have a nation of instant gratification. And now it extends to information. Is this a good thing or may it be a bad thing? I don't want to be like those people who cried fowl when the printing press became available and books were in the reach of the average person. I need to think bigger than that. We are on the edge of something. What happens next?