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The life and times of an elderly educationalist in a technological age.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A great ( nearly) finale.

Friday was wonderful! Children who had not met before talked and played together. They brought their teddies to the picnic! Some were huge! We met the Tighnabruaich Primary 1/2/3 at A'Chleit beach, in the rain! Neither Morag or myself had to raise our voices a decibel. They knew one another already, through the blog. They had a common aim, to reunite Campbell Bear and Spencer bear for a brief period, and to set up the picnic. My lot had 6 digital cameras with them, and snapped anything that stood still. Before we left school I asked the children what we should be taking with us, and one wee spark said 'Your computer', so I asked him why and he responded 'Because these cameras we borrowed from the infants don't have much memory and we might need to download the pictures to get some more'. So I told him 'Aleady packed!' We did have the church hall as a refuge for lunch and wet sand is better for building sandcastles! Despite the dismal day, not a one asked if it was time to go home, in fact they had to be dragged away. We grouped them reliable from one school with the not so, from the other. There was one really nice incident, where Bethany and Maryann noticed that Jade(might be Jodie) seemed to be on her own and asked me if they might go and get her to join their group. Later back in her school she said that two nice girls had come to play with her. I know Morag feels the same about her class, although she is leaving them shortly for pastures bigger, but I have to say how pleased I was with mine. So now before the hols, I know I can take them out of school and rely on them. Well done Primary 3! I have to say that because I know they read this at home.

Blossoming blogs and reporting.

Well it's not as if I haven't been blogging! Not here though. There's been so many new Bloggers that just needed that first posting or comment to get them communicating. Andrew will save me some time though, help me getting the feeds sorted out so it won't take as long to follow up. Won't he?
Been doing the class year reports. 50 hours for 25 reports. New format. Probably spend too much time thinking and trying to get it right, ( I kept a detailed diary of my time), but my fellows tell me since, that they must be about the same. Someone, somewhere, who never had to write a report, about a real child in the last 20 years said 1 hour per report. It's OK though, we get an afternoon or morning out of class to do them! When I came back to teaching in 1990, there were 15 entries per child and half of them were ticks. Correct me if I'm wrong, please, I think there are now 87 of which 15 or so are comments. My Head tells me that it took her 2 and a half hours to to read/ check my reports. My response , of course must be be, " That's a tiny bit less than it took me to write them!" But then she has more to read. Take the pay, do the job! There is no implied crit. of the designer of this, just disgust that the system/ Authority require it! Some of our less computer literate staff are completely stressed out by the whole experience. Of course, I know that we have other hours allocated from our 193 or is it 5 that we have to do each year in our own time. Give me a blank sheet of paper and I'll soon tell you about yer wean! They have that in the secondaries so I see from my son's reports, and those that are not computer literate in our local Grammar...still handwrite and the office types them up....eh? And prints! (We have a leak in the Grammar School office.) Had to take some time to make sure everyone had a printer that worked with their system, 'cos we still have a mixture, not yet upgraded to macos 10!!!! and had the ink to do it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blogging and the children.

4 Primary 3's have now created their own blogs. 12 now have accounts. Ict lesson today was about safety and tonight was about sending guidance messages to parents, comment moderation, and word verification directing them to Andrew's blog such that they can take the headers off and hopefully prevent them seeing something I'd rather they didn't just yet. I would not have believed that 7/8 year olds could have taken this thus far. Really hope the parents are as vigilant as we are in school. Pleased to have given them the skills, but know they are not yet ready to handle some of the potential outcomes. On the other hand..mostly the same children have mobile phones..unsure as to where my responsibility begins or ends. I hope to have some guidance from the eLive conference next week.

Monday, May 15, 2006

P3 like green!

You might wonder if they are being ecologically sound...but in this instance, no! Sorree! They are looking for my excel printout from our Mental Arithmetic that we did from the 'podding' as they call it. (Activote.) Red means they got it wrong, and green....causes a collaborative clap, and much excitement. They applaud number 17 for getting it right the second time. They cheer when the whole line comes in green. They think they are anonymous, and they call out for number 13 to answer. Some of this works against the AiFL theory, but I can allow waiting time, and they enjoy it so much. I can see who isn't doing the business and quietly teach. Green means I am vindicated ......doing my job....targetting the needy and not boring those who already know! So when it all goes green....put your ear plugs in! I'll be cheering with them! Getting close......

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Primary 7 in touch folder joins the 21st Century.

For some years now I've administered a discussion folder on eolas, for the Kintyre and Gigha Primary sevens, who are all going to secondary at the same time. It was very time consuming going through the masses of postings nightly, removing anything unsuitable, and informing schools. We couldn't get, despite many enquiries, an admin account for another to take it over. All the postings had to be dealt with retrospectively and timeously.......so......There's another use for a blog....Set up one this afternoon with "Fusions" for Noreen to manage. See? Took less than an hour to get to the first posting.

Blog on!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spontaneous applause!

When the children listened to the postings of sound on the teddies blog, that's what happened! I'm so pleased I was able to deliver! With help!
A loud cheer went up when they saw the sitemeter....over the thousand in just over a month!
I asked for a caption for the picture of the Tighnabruaich class and got a whole page of writing, with the explanation that it needed to be explained, for others to read, who they were, and what they were doing, and why their picture was on our display. So that's Ok...My caption wasn't good enough! It just said P1,2,3 from...Critical analysis from P3. See the comments they made on the sound files. There are 5 with blog accounts at home now!
A picture...I didn't set this up...or take it. Fun though!

Other good stuff...I got a box of lovely chocs from Maryann's Mum this morning, saying thanks for sending the digital camera home. Seems she spent a fortune entertaining a certain bear over the weekend, but enjoyed it. They took approximately 70 photos!!! Maryann had Spencer on local radio. Now is that enterprising, or what? They played Return to the Kyles for him.

Repeated this Thursday between 2-3pm...Argyll FM
Not so good stuff....I had my AifL test this morning...well, don't suppose that's what it is supposed to be called...but I was being assessed against those criteria...my friend and colleague/line manager was put into the situation of assessing my teaching and writing a report. We were issued with a document illustrating 10 steps to AifL...previously..how formal...how unnecessary...if I were being monitored informally, it would give me more points, and more would be known about what really happens in my classroom. Probably got 2 out of 10 in that snapshot! Upsets all of my workmates too, peculiarly the ones who are the best teachers! They are the most forward thinking, reflective teachers and therefore, the most insecure in their self belief. I'm told "All teachers deserve this" Quote from head of service. I think it was meant to refer to positive feedback, but is that what will happen in all cases? Mmmmm....wonder how it is being dealt with in other schools. Some have written the reports from continuing observation, without this formal assessment, it seems. At least, most of the class behaved themselves...so that's good. Isn't it? Maybe I got 3 out of 10 then.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Testing... testing.....testing...and....Eureka!!

Oops! I'd copied the file naming style just a bit too literally. I included the inverted commas of the example on the hosting site. Who's a silly billy?
listen here
Yet another go with sound and help from John the kindly communicating skyping blogger from Sandaig!!
Hope I can remember how to do this again though. Wasn't getting any younger while I muddled about by myself!!