Students finish today so I am doing my last post for 2014 – finishing on a high, I reckon.
This morning I watched a short video from an African environmental activist called Wangari Maathai and the story she shares fits in well with the future path of our school.
To explain, next year we are embarking on the journey to becoming a PYP school.
From the IB website…
What is the Primary Years Programme?
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework designed for students aged 3 to 12. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It is defined by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from six subject areas, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning.
An important part of any PYP inquiry is the ‘taking action’ by the student, using knowledge gained in their inquiry. For example, the year 6 currently get involved in a unit about humans and their effect on the environment. The difference with a PYP way, would be, I think, that there is an expectation that the students, during their inquiry take some action to effect their environment, or make a difference somehow. But when the topic is something as big as climate change, or deforestation, how can 1 student make a difference?
This is where this story comes in – and I have added it to the Libguide I created as well.
Happy Christmas and I’ll be back in early February 2015.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been reminded hos much music enriches our lives. I have been to a ukelele workshop with a musician called Mike Jackson, whose voice I recognized, but couldn’t remember where from. Then it dawned on me, he sang a song called ‘Jollity Farm’ on a CD I used to play in the car when my kids were little. I hadn’t actually played a ukelele before but it was actually really good to go back to being a student and trying to learn something new in a big group. Reflecting on it, I took the whole thing very seriously – I realise I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things ‘right’. Sure lots of kids do the same.
This afternoon, I went to see a dress rehearsal of ‘High School – I enjoyed watching the faces of the year 4’s I went with and the embarrassment of some as the main boy and girl sang to one another. Stories in musical form …stories in written form…stories in visual form…we all love a good story.
From one of my favorite sites to find great video, The Kid Should See This, here is a video that I watched this morning putting technology and music together, called SIGNAL STRENGTH. It is an amazing concept. http://vimeo.com/109672232
Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Henry York's life threatening adventures continue from his bedroom with the 100 doors that lead to different lands. He really doesn't want to go back to his 'parents' particularly now he knows they are not his real parents. But it seems there is no choice, unless he goes through one of the doors....and he wants to know where he has come from, who his family are. Following that trail leads him into all sorts of trouble, and cousin Henrietta goes off as well, leaving her dad behind to work out what to do and how to find these 2 lost children.
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As part of the OZTL – net group I belong to, I received a post about amazing wall murals featuring books. I wanted to share it with you.
Came across this on the weekend…fits very nicely with my role as a teacher/librarian, where story telling is core of what I do and also, for any teachers, a reminder that storytelling is a great way to engage our students.
From the article……
Why is storytelling a great teaching method? Incorporating storytelling into teaching — either by using stories and anecdotes to support facts, or by finding ways to work entire topics into a narrative — is a great way to engage with students. Because of this, many educators intuitively incorporate elements of storytelling into their day to day teaching.
Check out the full article at Why Great Educators Need to be Great Storytellers
Book trailers – showing and creating your own, or letting your students make them is a succinct way of letting readers know what the featured book is about and why they should read it. There are many great and some not-so great examples of book trailers on YouTube. There are even children’s book publishers that have entire channels on YouTube devoted to book trailers of their books.
A very popular series at school and this trailer gives the flavour of the series. But usually whne I am creating book trailers with students, we work out that about 1 minute is the optimal length. At over 2 minutes, this one is a bit long.
This is one of the best book trailers that I have seen. It captures the atmosphere of tension and horror of this book – really gets you in!!!
This trailer’s narration, image and soundtrack combination makes it just like a movie trailer.
Picture books are ironically quite tricky to make trailers for, as the simpler the storyline, the more difficult it is to distill its essence. In this book trailer, they have played with the plot from the book. In the book, the reader is looking for the green sheep. In the trailer, the green sheep is looking for the books’ author, Mem Fox.
Creating book trailers with students is another thing altogether. When I have got a class involved in this in the past, the first thing you do is watch lots of book trailers and create your own rubric as to what makes a good book trailer – one that ‘hooks’ you in, is the way we explain it. Is it the images, the soundtrack, voices, colours, speed of transition from one image to another, choice of image that makes the biggest impact. Why? is it different for different people? Then students start creating by drawing up a storyboard so they think through their trailer before they start making it. This is particularly important when you are working in a team – there must be a shared vision, otherwise there will be no end product. Then they can begin the process. It is interesting to see all the many ways that a ‘book hook’ can be created – some are fantastic, others pretty ordinary. But the process is an important part and going through the steps leads you closer to making your own book trailer.
For those who LOVE Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton books, check out ‘The 13-Storey Treehouse’ LIVE on stage.
How fantastic that such a well loved book has been turned into a stage production.
Here in Australia, the Australian Library and Information Association organizes NATIONAL SIMULTANEOUS STORYTIME, which involves participating school, public, early childhood centres and playgroups all reading the same book at the same time on May 21st. Last year, it was the hilarious book ‘The Wrong Book’ by Nick Bland. This year it is the ‘very funny also’ book ‘Too Many Elephants’ by Ursula Duborsarksy. She is a bit of a crazy lady and I came across this interview with her talking about the book. Gives you an incite into an important Australian author.
Healesville High S – Dreamtime
Each year in year 4, the students study Aboriginal life, customs, language, stories, community – learning as much as they can about how indigenous people in Australia live. So I am always on the look-out for new resources to enrich their study. I was really pleased to come across this free app, because it is Australian made and written by students. It was created under the guidance of Aunty Joy Murphy, a Wurundjeri elder, nineteen years 7, 8 and 9 students from Healesville High School undertook an intensive two days of Dreamtime story telling, culminating in four dreamtime stories told through striking artwork and narrated in the students’ own voices. The app shares these stories.
Under the guidance of Aunty Joy Murphy, a Wurundjeri elder, nineteen years 7, 8 and 9 students from Healesville High School undertook an intensive two days of Dreamtime story telling, culminating in four dreamtime stories told through striking artwork and narrated in the students’ own voices.
This first week back at school for 2014 has been full of meetings. One of these stands out …..
Associate Professor Lea Waters, a psychologist from Melbourne Uni., , who talked about positive psychology – what it was, how it can positively effect student’s and teacher’s learning as shown by research studies, and some examples of how to start off the school year putting some of this into practice.
I loved the Thankful Dance -which has a whole uplifting back story.
Another thing I learned was about a thing called ‘The Negative Bias’ which is everyone’s subconscious way of looking out for problems, dangers, negative outcomes (*Negative Bias is the instinctive behaviour of paying more attention to negatives rather than positives, for example, a student focusing only on one low grade in amongst several other excellent grades. quoted from a Newington College article where Waters gave a lecture). It made me realise that this way of looking at situations is hard wired into us but what we need to do is to counter this negativity with als paying equal attention to the positives, for example, what is there to be grateful for in this situation? Encouraging children to articulate little and big things in their lives brings this to our attention.
Another school Lea is involved with has used this story- the Thankful Coat – to kick start the routine of ,at the end of every kinder day, the children all sit in a circle and 3 children get a chance to put the Thankful Coat on and tell everyone 1 thing they are thankful for that day. The trick is now to only have 3 children – more usually want to share.
Other practical examples Lea shared were gratitude walls, which she has seen used in primary, secondary classrooms as well as staffrooms to great effect. It reminds us all and re-focuses attention on what is going right and what is amazing and beautiful around us.
Lastly, it reminded me of the importance of nurturing relationships with our students – it’s not just warm and fuzzy to do this but has measurable benefits on their sense of well-being and academic success.
A great way to start the 2014 school year!!