## Below is a list of tips to help you during your next Mathematics exam (many tips will also be applicable to other exams):

Scan the paper:  Go through the paper quickly reading or scanning it to get an idea of what is asked. Make quick notes next to questions if you are scared you are going to forget e.g. which formula to use.

Do what comes easiest first:  Leave the more difficult questions until the end. You will lose valuable time if you get stuck on a difficult question and do not move on. Get some easy marks in first and then return to the more challenging questions secure in the knowledge that you have already got a solid mark.

Use every available minute:  If you finish the paper before the time is up do not sit back and relax! It is unlikely that you have not made any mistakes and there may still be some marks to pick up. Spend every last minute looking for errors.

Write clearly:  If the examiner cannot read your answer they will not mark it. If handwriting is not your strong point then take the time to write neatly and make sure you write your answer in the correct place.  If needed, make a big box around your answer, you may also want to take a highlighter into the exam room with you and actually highlight your final answers.

Questions with parts that follow on to each other:  If you cannot get the answer to the first part of a question, and you have to use the answer in the next part of the question, make an educated guess and write down something like : “Even though I could not solve the problem, I am going to use this value in the next part of the question.” The pick an answer and use it in the second part of the question.

Multiple choice questions:  If you don’t know the answer, have an educated guess anyway.  If you don’t choose at least one option, you won’t get any marks.  If you want to change your answer later, make sure you clearly indicate which answer is your final choice.  If it looks like you have marked two answers, you won’t get any marks either.

Read the question carefully:  Read the question slowly to find out exactly what is being asked of you. Highlight or mark the different parts of the question and note the different calculations needed to come up with a final answer.

Make sure you are accurate!  What is the question asking for? If it asks for 2 decimal places or 3 significant figures, then make sure your answer includes them. Simplify your fractions of your final answer.

Show all your working out, unless specifically asked not to show working out.  Remember you can still get a significant portion of your marks even if you make a mistake in your working out, just because you demonstrate that you understand the processes.

Check for errors:  Check your answer is sensible. It is unlikely that the answer will contain a long string of decimals. Sometimes it is useful to estimate a rough answer and check that your final answer is not miles away from it.

Learn your times tables and basic rules:  This might seem obvious but it is essential for speed and accuracy in your exam to know your times tables.

If there is no sign in front of a number, it is a plus/positive number.  If there is no number in front of a pronumeral, there is an invisible 1 in front of that pronumeral.

Fractions:  Change all mixed numbers into improper fractions before you do anything else. For adding and subtracting, get the common denominator.  For multiplying, multiply the numerators and then the denominators.  For division, change the divide into a times sign and flip the second fraction, then just do a normal multiply fractions.

Inverse % questions:  These are ‘backward looking’ problems. With current values given in the question, you have to calculate some original value before the decrease/increase occurred. Again, the answers tend to be rounded numbers. If you get a string of decimals, check back in your working.

Ratio:  When you have divided a big number into a ratio, ensure that when you add up the ratio parts you get the big number you started with, e.g. to divide 100 in the ratio 1:9, you will get the ratio 10:90, and if you add up 10 and 90, you again get 100.

Probability:  Simply check that your answer have no negative values.

The Mean:  Use your common sense. Check that your answer is between the highest and lowest values.

Rounding:  Unless the question asks you to, don’t round up a calculator stage until you get a final answer. You may end up with an incorrect answer even though you have implemented the question correctly.

Quadratic Equations:  A question asking for significant figures or decimal places indicates you should use the quadratic formula.

Square roots:  A)  Remember you cannot find the square root of a negative number.  B)  Remember that if you have to find the square root of a number, put a plus/negative in front of your answer.

E.g. to solve x in x² = 49, then x = ±√49 so x = ±7.

Pythagoras and Trig:  Check your answer. Remember a shorter side should not be a longer than the hypotenuse.  For any 90-degree triangle, you will probably have to use Pythagoras and/or SOH – CAH – TOA.

Perimeter, area and volume:  Convert everything to the same unit before you start any calculations.  For perimeter, remember to add the unit after the final answer.  For area, remember the answer is unit-squared.  For volume, the answer is unit-cubed. Also remember that a length can never be a negative number.

For the volume of a prism, work out the area of the base shape, and times that answer with the height of the prism.  For volume of a pyramid, work out the volume of the corresponding prism, then divide your answer by 3.

Graphs:  Remember to clearly label axis.  Also use a ruler to accurately show units on the axis.  If you have to draw a stem and leaf plot, remember to include a key.

Name all pages:  It is a good idea to put your name on the bottom of all your pages, especially if you use any loose leaf.  You may also ask for a stapler to bind all your pages into one booklet.

And finally:  Look at the marks for each question as that will reflect how much time and working is required to achieve the answer. Remember to include all stages of your working out.

Thank you to Clare Rimmer for sharing her ideas which inspired me to build on her list of exam tips: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/education/surviving-exams/top-tips-to-beat-exam-stress-16153715.html

## If Rudolph was an ordinary reindeer (the importance of nurturing uniqueness)

Seeing as Christmas is just around the corner, the internet is flooded with videos and messages reminding us of all the well-loved and well-known parts of Christmas.  One such video relates to Rudolph, and how this Christmas tale may have panned out if he did not have his distinctive red nose:

Although this video is poking fun at the Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer story, it got me thinking.  When teachers and parents deal with kids who are – shall we say – ‘different’ from the norm, are we always trying to get these kids to conform to what is accepted in society?
There are so many different labels to refer to kids who are ‘different’ to the norm, for example “gifted”, “talented”, “special education”, “rebellious”, “goths”, “hippies”, “autistic”, and so on and so forth.  What if we could suddenly get all these kids with their alternate ideas to conform to what society views (at the present time) to be “normal”. .. how would this change our world?  If the Wright brothers never dreamt of flying,  if Edison never thought candles were over-rated, if Einstein did not dream of providing electricity via nuclear power, if Bill Gates stayed in college, if Mother Theresa did not see the poor and needy in the slums of her country, if nobody ever crossed the oceans to look for new land in the times before we knew the earth is not flat, if  all of the great inventors and inspiring people mentioned in the history of human kind were somehow forced to conform to the norm, where would humanity be?
I can tell you this much:  There would not be human footprints on the moon, and I would not be able to share my thoughts with people from around the globe with just the click of a button.
I want to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas time, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, enjoy every moment you have with your loved ones…whether they conform to the norm or not!

## Fish in water…

Students today live in a world where technology is everywhere.  They grab a digital camera or mobile phone to take pictures, then Bluetooth these pictures to their laptops or PODs (Personal Owned Devices), then upload them to their blogs or FaceBook or MySpace.  To communicate, they invite comments from their friends online, e-mail or Direct Message, Instant Message or Twitter or MSN their family and friends, (that is when they are not developing repetitive strain injury (RSI) in their thumbs due to texting all the time).  They learn how to  cook using a microwave oven.  They find information via the internet by reading online newspapers or Wikipedia, or more likely, they may just pose the question to their Personal Learning Network (PLN) across the world via a forum like Twitter, and within seconds, they will have information flowing back at them: True brainstorming, true synergy!  By combining all the little bits of information, they are able to form a big picture of global proportions, as their picture was made up of bits of information from all over the world.  For quiet relaxation, you can find them listening to music on an iPod.  For a more action packed relaxation period, they may choose to play with Wii or go for video-gaming on Playstations or an X-Box.  You may say that they are like a fish swimming in water, when it comes to using technology…

… And for a fish, water is invisible.  So it stands to reason that for young people in first world countries across the globe, technology is invisible.  They just use it as part of their everyday life, it is not even

Then they enter school.  Unfortunately, in some schools, there are very little use of technology. We see these kids flop around like fish on dry land, and we wonder why they seem so lost.  They wander from class to class, are told to put their mobile phones and iPods away, and do not have access to their PLN.  And yet, we want them to learn and be relaxed at school.

Are our expectations realistic, or just cruel?  Are we taking their oxygen away if we do not allow them access to technology in school?  There is another old fish saying: If you want to feed someone, you have two choices: You can either catch him a fish every day, and then he will have fish for every day you cath him the fish (i.e. he will be okay when you are around to feed him)…  Or, you can teach him how to fish, and he will have food forever.  This is the true secret of independence: Being able to fish for yourself.

So, as teachers, we need to stop standing on the shore.  We need to get our feet wet, get in deeper until we don not touch the ground anymore, and swim with our students.  Be assured: When it comes to technology, our students will be able to keep us afloat if we let them they can be our teachers and we can be their students.  We do not have to be able to use every new gadget of know about all the software applications, our students will teach us these things.  But we need to be in there with them, because it is only when we meet them in their world, that we can have an influence over where and how they will swim in the future. And with all the sharks lurking in the ocean, we should get in there quick, so we can prevent our young guppies from swimming with the sharks, just in case those sharks do not think fish are friends.

Note: This blog entry is a copy of an entry on my other blog:  http://me.edu.au/b/Maryna_Badenhorst/entry/fish_in_water

Note: For another copy of this blog entry – please see my other  blog:

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## The Black Dog

As educators, we are with students most of their productive day.  If we get to know our students well, we may have to deal with issues within our students that impact on their learning, even though it has nothing to do with the content of what we teach.  One instance is when students are bullied or harassed, or for some reason start displaying symptoms of depression.  It may then be up to educators to support and help the students deal with the mental or psychological injuries that are left deep inside.  Perhaps the following two diary entries will give a little more insight in what people may face once they spiral down into the black hole of depression:

Diary Entry One:

And everything aches. It is sore to even breath.  The air is so thick, it sticks to your throat, suffocating….Some days, you wish you could just stop breathing, and make all this go away….”

Diary Entry Two (Three months after the first entry):

“Today someone sent me this video.  It is a ballet of a one-armed woman and a one-legged man. And suddenly, I found one little dot of light. Yes, these people lost a limb. So did I. I am not sure I will ever be able to pursue my previous life with the same passion…how can I? I am hobbling along like someone that lost a right arm or a whole leg! But look at these two dancers. They obviously have talent. They went through pain and distress. But they waited patiently until the wounds healed.  Then  they found someone that can help them to pursue their dreams. And through persistence and passion, they came back. They are dancing again. I have found an a sprinkling of hope, a little bit of music that touched me here deep inside this dark dog. Perhaps it will help me find a way out, back into the light, where I can read again. And dance.”

For emergency situations dealing with depression in Australia, go to:

### Emergency Help

If you are feeling suicidal there are people who can help.

#### Kids HelpLine 1800 55 1800

##### and tell the person answering your call that you are thinking about suicide.

* If you are using a mobile phone and 000 doesn’t work, you can call 112 to access the Emergency Call Service. If you have a hearing or speech impairment and can access a TTY (teletypewriter), call 106 for the text-based Emergency Call Service.

Other support for Depression

1. With links to Primary Schools help, Secondary Schools help, Rural and Workplace help, personal experiences, indigenous support etc.: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?
2. Specifically for youth: http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/get-help/for-depression/
3. Links to professionals that can help: http://bluepages.anu.edu.au/help_and_resources/types_of_help/
4. Initial support for the depressed person, the people dealing with the depressed, and further steps: http://www.psychologyinfo.com/depression/help.html

## Wonderful Web2 tools for classrooms

Recently I was approached by an aspiring teacher.  She wanted to know which five Web2 tools I use the most, or see as the most valuable…well, the problem was obvious:  How do you choose only five?!

My response follows (referring to interesting links similar to delicious style).  Please leave comments about your favourite Web2 tools:

1.  I think Wikis are wonderful.  As a starting point, here are some links

• Technology is not for everyone…some teachers may even  be ‘allergic’ to using it!  Interesting blog post: How sharing Technology Professional Development is similar to sharing a Chocolate Cake http://bit.ly/yzFyJ
• Internet safety…a can of worms.  Get started with info here http://www.wiredsafety.org/

Starting on a Web2 journey in the classroom may look overwhelming, but choose the applications that you think will really support your teaching style and the learning of most of your students. The beauty of Web2 is of course, the interactive and hands-on type collaboration that can take place in a virtual world, enabling anywhere, anytime learning. (www-whenever, whoever, wherever).  And on to Web3: http://www.labnol.org/internet/web-3-concepts-explained/8908/

## Mathematics language: Full sentences please!

Suppose you wrote this sentence on the board: “The big black dog ran over the road and and caught the yellow ball.”  Next, you ask the students to copy this sentence down, and as you roam around the classroom, you notice the kids are writing some funny things in their books, ranging from: “The dog road the ball,”   to “dog caught ball” , “black ball”, “dog ball”, “black yellow” or even just “the the”.  Of course, none of the sentences the kids wrote, makes any sense.  As a teacher, would you be telling the kids to stop taking shortcuts and write down the full sentence so as to convey the true meaning of the sentence?  I would imagine so.

But what happens in Mathematics?  Do we expect the same “full sentences” from the kids?  And if we don’t, what impact does it have on the understanding of the Mathematical concepts?  Here is an example:  The teacher put the following example of Pythagoras’ Theory, on the board:

In following “all the same steps” (as per instruction from the teacher), see below what the student wrote in his book.  Please note that the student did not write ‘full sentences’, as he wrote that ‘eighty five is equal to nine point two’, which is not true.  He also did not put the full steps in to ‘find the perimeter’, which means that if he made a simple calculation mistake in finding the perimeter by adding the three values, he would loose all the marks for this question:

My question is: Why do teachers allow students to get away with not writing ‘full sentences’ in Mathematics?  Referring back to the example of “The big black dog….” given at the start of this post, it is clear that, if we don’t write the full sentence, it makes a huge difference in the meaning.  Mathematics is a language, like English.  It conveys meaning.  Students are being made aware of the implications of not writing full sentences in English…and the same should apply to Mathematics.

## Using music in the classroom

These days, almost every student has an iPod or MP3 player.  They will sometimes ask the teacher whether they may use this device in the classroom, to ‘listen to music’ while they work.  This presents the teacher with a dilemma:  If the answer is NO, the students my talk to each other and get distracted that way, if the answer is YES, the students my get distracted by the music and so the work may not get done anyway.

As one of Howard Gardner’s multiple Intelligences, music plays an important role in how we learn and how we perceive the world.  Have you ever found yourself thinking back to another place and time when you hear a song that you associate with a specific memory?  People easily form affective relationships with music, and so it stands to reason that music can be used to aid memory and learning in the classroom.

The use of music in the classroom can make the entire learning process more enjoyable and can stimulate “right” brain learning. Six years ago researchers reported that people scored better on a standard IQ test after listening to Mozart.

The most important point to remember when using music to accompany learning is that it be an aid to learning and not a distraction.  If you want to use music in the background to help students concentrate, choose music which employs regular periods (repeated phrases and patterns).  According to Kenneth Beare (http://esl.about.com/od/esleflteachingtechnique/a/brainmusic.htm),   the following can be used as a guide for appropriate music for different activities:

• Grammar – Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi
• Imagination exercises (descriptive writing, speaking) – Ravel, Debussy, Satie
• Current Situation, News in the World – Rap (for inner cities and their problems), Ethnic Music from the discussed countries (you would be surprised at how many people quickly associate the type of music with a part of the world)
• Making Future Plans – Fun upbeat jazz (“Take Five” by Dave Brubeck)
• Discussing “Serious” issues – the “serious” Germans: Beethoven, Brahms – even Mahler if you are adventurous!
• Learning about different aspects of one theme: Peter and the Wolf (associate the different aspects with the different musical instruments.)

Music can also be seen as another type of instruction for students (on par with games, worksheets, concrete materials and virtual manipulatives).   If used this way, music needs to be chosen or created so the content of the songs carry or convey the content of the curriculum.  The idea is that once the student has learnt the song, they will be able to use the target skill.  Examples of this is where, e.g.

Linking the auditory part of music with any visual, will make the learning more powerful.  If you search on YouTube, you may also find videos with songs about Maths concepts, Science, English, etc.  Just search the topic you are teaching, download the appropriate video, upload it to your school’s intranet, and make it available for students to download.

When the music is associated with any movement, the learning also becomes more powerful.  Link the music with movements like a dance, tapping feet or clapping along.  Students will also be able to learn the songs quicker, as the memory of the music then becomes part of the whole body’s learning.  In some cases, students will learn the movements before they know the songs, but will still be able to associate the song’s content with the movements.  These kids will thus know the movements and associated concepts, before they know the words well enough to sing along with the music.

So, the next time the students want to listen to music while they work, choose something out of the list above, and have the students put your selection on their iPods…then they can listen to that music while they work, and hopefully, with the earpieces in their ears, they won’t be talking to other students when it is not needed either!

For a comprehensive reading list on Music you can buy for use in classrooms, go to http://www.songsforteaching.com/references.htm and http://www.songsforteaching.com/

## Gambare! (Where is it in our schools?)

“Gambare”, a mindset that is taught to children in Japan from birth.  It is more than just a concept.  It involves a total commitment, a way of life.  It is not just a way of thinking, it also becomes a way of being.  To try and explain Gambare to a Westerner, the word “perseverance” comes closest to what it involves.  It has been described as “to persevere, to do one’s best, to be persistent, to stick to one’s purpose, to never give up until the job is done, and done well….”  Gambare can  be summed up in three different ways of persistance and perseverance:

1. Standing up for one’s beliefs, even when personal risk is involved and despite opposition
2. Moving ahead in seeking to accomplish one’s goals despite obstacles and detours
3. Surviving tough times by hanging in, being patient and coming back strong after a lost battle, a mistake, or other setback.

In schools, we may often find ourselves in situations where we can use some “Gambare.”  I was discussing the importance of using Twenty Maths Language Questions at regular intervals during Maths lessons, with a parent.  The conversation went something like this:

Parent: “Why do you persist in asking twenty questions at the beginning of your Maths classes?  Kids never get the twenty questions right anyway.  You are just wasting time.”

Me:  “I think that it is important for students to hear Maths language regularly.  They need to be able to interpret the questions and solve them Mathematically, so they need to be able to ‘translate’ everyday language into Maths language, and link it with some concept they can use to solve the problem.”

Parent: “But why don’t you make the questions a bit easier?  Then they can get them all right!  It would make them feel good!”

Me: “Are you a coach of some sport?”

Parent: “Yes, I coach basketball to the under elevens.”

Me: “Eleven year olds are not very tall, are they? Do they get all the balls through the hoop?”

Parent: “Nope.  They need to practice a lot to get that ball through the hoop!”

Me: “And has it ever crossed your mind to lower the pole with the hoop on it so the kids could all get the ball through the hoop?”

Parent: “No, never!  They have to practice…”

Me: “And when they finally start getting that ball through the hoop after practicing a lot, it makes them feel good, doesn’t it?”

Parent: “Now I get it.  You can’t lower the bar in your Maths class either, can you?  Kids need to practice and persist a bit, so they can build up the skill set they will need later in Maths, and for that matter, in life…”

Me: “And when they finally get it, it is build on a much deeper understanding because they practiced and persisted.”

Parent: “Yep.  Plus we also bring in here team work, can’t we?”

Me: “Well, that is a whole new ball game!”

Gambare.  Persist and persevere.  It is important in school.  It is important in life.  Where can we bottle and buy some of it to use every day?

(Gambare shortened url code http://2pl.us/Q8)

## Memory…one of the most important tools a teacher should know about

I went to a seminar once, and as usual, I forgot almost everything that was said on the day, except for one snippet: “As teachers, we work with making memories every day.  Yet, very few teachers would be able to tell you how memories are made or retained, and how memory works.  Doesn’t that seem odd to you as an educator?”  Ironic that the one bit I remember word for word, is about remembering!  Come to think of it, I also recall that the food was really nice, that the room was stuffy and noisy, and that I was torn between attending the lecture and buying a new pair of winter boots, which all link to the fact that memories are also made when they are tied with emotions and feelings…

Although I remember that I work with trying to make memories every day, I have not made an in depth study of it (yet).  I have found out a few things though, and since we also work with meta-cognition in our classrooms, I started putting these things up on posters in the classroom, and I refer to these things often when I teach.  One such poster has to do with “Why do we forget?”  There are a few major reasons for forgetting, which are mentioned in most articles:

1. We did not pay enough attention in the first place.  This is important for students to know:  If you want to be able to recall something later, you need to pay close attention the first time it is explained to you.
2. We did not encode the information either in the short term memory, or the long term memory.  Students need to know that they have to at least have the facts stored in their short term memory when they leave the classroom, and that it can more easily be placed into their long term memory if they spend a few minutes later in the day to revise those facts again.  It implies that students need to use the time they have in class, to do the tasks and endeavour to store some of that information in their short term memory, at least.
3. We also forget due to a lack of a retrieval cue. This is important for teachers as well: We need to ensure we use some trigger words or actions or cues, that kids will associate with the memory they formed previously.  For Mathematics, I interpret this as students knowing the Mathematical language and concepts, so that they would associate certain actions with certain symbols.  If they read “factorise”, this is the cue for retrieving the whole process (recipe) of factorising.  If they read “multiply” (or see the symbol for multiplication), this is the retrieval cue for applying a certain process and way of thinking…etc.  If we can link this cue to something kids feel strongly about (emotional connection) or some kind of action or song, it creates a much stronger link between the cue and the actual memory associated with it.  We need to be aware that we need to give kids the cues we will use to retrieve that specific memory, while we are trying to set the memory.  Kids and teachers need to be aware that there will be cues used the next day to retrieve the memory.  It may not go astray to even mention to the students: “Tomorrow, when I say pi, I would like you to remember 3.14″ (or something along those lines where the memory and the cue is linked explicitly.)
4. Repetition forms stronger memories.  This means that students need to practice new skills and concepts regularly, and that TIME ON TASK is vital for forming stronger memories and links.
5. Unless the memory is very strongly linked to an emotional experience, or if memories are not retrieved and used regularly, they may be replaced by new memoriesRevision is important to place memories in the long term memory bank, and to keep them there.

After all, it is a great honour to be working with making memories…we need to ensure the memories kids make in the classrooms, are worth retrieving (and available for retrieval) in situations outside of the classroom.

Double click on the image below, and then zoom in, to see a snapshot of the different aspects of memory…  The mindmap below was created with the online Web2 tool http://www.bubbl.us/

## What is coaching?

When I was young, I participated in some team sporting events…I was not very good at it, but I enjoyed the banter and team work.   I always had coaches, standing on the side lines every weekend during matches, giving us tips during half time (since they could see the whole field instead of just the little circle individual players were operating in), and ensuring we practice some basic skills during our practice sessions in the week.  Coaches had to be, so I thought, great players of the sport themselves.  They had to be passionate about the sport, and know the rules inside out.  They had to always be there.  We did not have practice sessions cancelled if one of the players did not show up, but we had one or two sessions cancelled because the coach did not show up…

On the days the coach did not show up, we felt alone and sort of lost.  We knew what we had to do, but it did not feel quite right.  In fact, I don’t know of any team that had some success or won any games, that did not have a coach.

Coaches.  They were a bit of a mystery to me.  They could play the game well, yet chose to step out of the game to be there for others wanting to learn. They worked out effective training sessions for the team.  The could earn our trust and respect.  Team players became better at playing the sport and being in a team, by listening to the coach.  In the end, coaches built each team member’s capacity to go on into other teams, or play well in other situations.

In a way, I learnt a lot more than just sporting rules and practices from my coaches.  I learnt about fair play.  I learnt about the bigger picture and recouping and re-directing during half time.  I learnt that sometimes someone has to sit out for a while to make sure the whole team gets to participate.  I learnt about not getting angry or taking things personally if a parent or other team’s supporters yell abuse at you. I learnt about biting your tongue when the media (read: The local newspaper) says stupid things about you or your team.

When our coach drilled us during practice sessions, we just assumed it must be because the coach wanted to prepare us for every possible scenario.  When things got really bad, we would just whisper to each other that the coach must have been having a tough day (but we still did what the coach asked.)  We never knew that coaches could perhaps also be accountable to someone above them.  Someone higher than the coach?  It would have been unthinkable!

Coaches give it their all, and yet they live a dangerous life.  In Australian football, I have observed, coaches could be out on their ear if their team does not perform…the team’s success can thus support the coach’s survival!  To be fair, if it was not for the team, there would not be a coach.

I learnt valuable lessons from my coaches.  I still carry that with me.  Yet, I never knew that coaching could also be a lonely place.  I never knew that coaches could also feel worried and lost.  I never saw in my coaches that they sometimes questioned some of their own strengths.  I never knew how much they actually took on board.  It never occurred  to me that they had to study constantly when we did not see them.  They had to devise new game plans, know about all the new rules, observe new teams, etc.  to ensure our team got the best and newest information…

The life of a coach in between games was largely hidden from us.

I never thought I would be a coach one day (I am not a very sporty person!)

And yet, I find myself as a teaching and learning coach.  I am now the one cheering and guiding from the sidelines, looking at the big picture, sharing my passion for the ‘game of teaching and learning’ with other teachers.  I now feel the aching deep inside of me, when I see basic mistakes being made by some of the team players I coach.  Yet, I cannot step in and play the game for them.  I cannot take over their role.  I cannot be them.  I can only stand and watch, working out new game plans to ensure the team’s synergy and individual strengths come to their full potential….

And in the final instance, I hope I can make some contribution to improved outcomes for our kids…that is my passion.

## New York visit from Loddon Mallee Region

These are the final few days before we fly out of here to New York, how exciting!  This visit to New York was organized by the Loddon Mallee Region of Education to allow people to have a look at what is happening in schools in New York, specifically in terms of using ICT in the classrooms.  Our Region is looking at providing every Year 6 student with a laptop in 2009, so we need to look at how the ICT can be used in the most effective way to support improved student outcomes.  It is a fantastic learning opportunity, and guess what: They expect snow in New York on Tuesday!  Rug up, mittens on, scarf and beanie…New York, here we come!

I have uploaded heaps of photos and comments on the pages to the left of this main screen.  The two New York pages are called : New York, New York! and New York, NY cont.   Please click on these pages for all the info!

Photo Editing: The following photos were edited by opening them in Paint and then painting onto them, then saving them again to My Pictures (go to Start, Programs, Accessories, Paint, File, Open, then choose the photo or picture you want to edit):

Me with my snow garb on

More fashionable New York look

## Digital Classrooms

Lots of informative videos and information are posted under the page Digital Classrooms also to be found on the top left hand side bar of this page.

Other informative videos are posted on this blog page under the headings “Shift Happens” and “The Machine is Us/ing Us”.   There is also a post with the heading “Introduction to blogging as an educational tool”, which can support a teacher information session.

To see how we used podcasting as an educational tool in Special Education, please click on the page to the top left of this blog, named : Podcasting: My Journey

## The 5 E’s Resources

More resources have now been added to the page dedicated to E5.  The E5 Resources link can be found on the top left hand side of this web page.

Link to : The-5-E’s Planner (Thanks to Glenda Oliver)

Link to: The-leading-edge-example-of-a-level-5-unit-plan  (Thanks to Cindy Bruechert)

Video link to Cooperative Learning (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEh8Z0sbiRE&feature=related, created by drpratt)

## Introduction to blogs and wikis as educational tools

Blogs are used in many educational settings, and for various reasons.  Some teachers use blogs as “baskets” to contain information or to journal their own learning.  Blogs can also showcase student work or become a running record of what is happening in the class or the school.  For more information and applications about blogs and wikis in classrooms, also refer to the page Blogging? Wiki? What??? on the top left hand side bar of this page.

Great video: Why do we let our students blog? (Rachel Boyd)

Great blog to visit for more resources: Staffordshire PS Blog page (http://qlsictteam.wordpress.com/)

Powerpoint:  Blogging Basics: NOTE: If this PowerPoint won’t open when you click on it, please save it to somewhere on your computer and open it from where you have saved it.  Thanks!

## Creating Action Buttons in a PowerPoint slide show

Use this PowerPoint Powerpoint: Action Buttons Scaffold to show others (or learn!) how to create action buttons in a slide show.  Armed with this knowlege, you can create simple multiple choice games for your students.  NOTE: If the show does not open when you click on the link, right click on the link, choose Save As, then save the show to somewhere on your computer, and try opening it from where you saved it.

Author of PowerPoint on Action Buttons: Maryna Badenhorst

## Shift Happens

Video on how our world is changing.

http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=1b425a7717504bca103d

## The Machine is Us/ing Us

Interesting Video on ICT and the influence it has on all of us

TEACHERTUBE VERSION: The machine is us/ing us

The Machine is Us/ing (Us) Final Version, on YouTube

## “End of ze world…” (Warning: Some swearing/Language)

Warning: Language not appropriate for general classroom distribution, yet this video shows that the author knows a lot of facts, and has thought about how the future may unfold.

## Flickr and Facebook…semi anonymous and online, yet someone wrote songs about it…

Flickr photos: Social impact captures in a song

This song is a really interesting social phenomenon.  Flickr shares photos from around the world, images captured in a moment of time.  It has such a wide impact on us as a global society, that someone wrote a song about the images, and so another way of sharing, caring and touching other lives begins…