Sunday, 19 August 2012

Connecting the dots: first week high

And just like that, the first week of school has come and gone.  Wow. What a week! 
the calm before the storm
I must say,  it's been an amazing few days meeting all you, setting up our Google calendars, our Google drives, and framing the school-year with the right attitude and mindset together.

Since going home from school that first afternoon, I have had a deep, never ending feeling of gratitude and this warm sensation in my gut. Picture a complex ball of emotions made up of excitement, inspiration and the need to create, sitting in my heart.  It's still there, this ball, and I hope the fire in my nerve endings never ceases.  It was really awesome to meet all of you and I can't wait to see all the wonderful things we will write, read, view, say, discuss and create together and on our own.   Everything seems to be falling into place - from what I have been envisioning in my head (since November last year) to what's real today - I couldn't have asked for a better start to a new school year.
starting the year right
Word for the Year: a worthy exercise 
First middle school assembly: eager beavers listening to Gareth Barlow
talk about expeditions and activities
the 7PGu  boys reflect on their first day 
I hope the first few blocks spent creating a safe and open learning space worked well for everyone.  I know it's time well spent when we can carve the time and opportunity to get to know one another better.  Thank you for being open and for being candid with your questions for me too.  It was fun addressing and responding to them. I am glad you also felt comfortable enough to share interesting things about yourselves and your lives. 

Likewise, it was also really important that we created our essential agreements off the bat.  Remember, all disappointment stem from unfulfilled expectations.  So being transparent and agreeing on what we expect our class norms to be minimize (or help us avoid) possible issues in the future. Anyway, I am in the middle of going over everyone's goal setting presentations*.

So far, well done!

Whether you shared a brochure from Pages or a keynote, it has been interesting reading and taking note of what you all intend to achieve this year starting with the first term.


working on their first task: goal setting 
As I have said in class, I am a big believer of backward planning and feel that you will have ownership of your own learning if you have a say in the design of your learning journey from the beginning and with possible outcome/s in mind.  Just being aware that you need to be purposeful is already a good start.  It's easier to connect the dots when you're aware of the shape you'd like to end up with  at the end of each term or the end of this school year. It also allows me to discern how I can help you achieve these goals using different approaches to learning best suited to you and how you learn.  As your teacher, my role is to facilitate, create opportunities, be your cheer leader,  and often times be a critic too. I will also be your no. 1 fan as well as, your plan B problem solver. I do promise to push and challenge you, and support you when you find yourselves stuck in the process. By being clear about our intent from the beginning, along with the end in mind,  we can better recognize and celebrate our own milestones.   Great job, guys!

In case you need to review what I wanted you to be able to communicate through your brochure or presentation, here are the *questions: 

1. How do you learn best?
2. I expect English class to be ... (complete this sentence)
3. List your top three to four goals for English this year (some notes on what you want to achieve the first term in particular)
4. How will you achieve these goals?
5. How can I help you achieve your goals?
6.  Finally, what was the last book you read ... write a short blurb on it (ideas, comments, review, summary).

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend. Don't forget to visit our class site, subscribe to the class calendar and this blog.  Until tomorrow, be safe everyone. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Announcement: Page on Discussions is up

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to inform you that a new page on our class blog is up for you to read and review.  It's the page labeled The Table.  Let's have a short conversation about it during our next block.  I am interested to know what you think.


Ms. Paula

The skinny on Creative Commons

How do we know who owns what on the web?  How do we give credit where credit is due? What happens to the work we share online?   How do we move from a culture of ownership to one of sharing?  These are just some of the few questions brought about by the different issues surrounding intellectual property rights, creating and sharing content online, and managing what we do with the different material we make, borrow and modify online.  

This post, written mostly by Mr. R next door,  is meant to give you some useful links which will hopefully help you make sense of Creative Commons as a concept and as a tool. Throughout the year we will be exploring both the concept and the tool, so we do not want to overload you with too much information now.

First place to start is the Creative Commons website. You can take a look at the mission statement, and begin to understand the various licenses CC offers.

This clip does a nice job of explaining the licenses, you can skip to about 1:14: 

Don't worry too much if it all sounds a bit confusing,  we will be using Creative Commons throughout the year, and soon you will have a very clear understanding of why it is important to you both as a consumer of digital media, but also why it will help you as a creator.  

In class, we also spoke about Flickr-- a photo sharing site with a large pool of CC work. I have added the link to the Advanced Search page for easy searching (Please bookmark as you will use this site often), or maybe you want to search by color only, try this Creative Commons has its own search here, but I find the Flickr search more useful. 

Finally, here is the video we watched in class if you want to take another look. It moves quickly and there are some things you may have missed. As you are watch please jot down any ideas or questions that spring to mind. 

So what do you think? What does all of this mean to you? What are your thoughts on Creative Commons as a concept? What questions do you still have? If you created media would you license it using CC? Why or why not?

Please take a few minutes to share some ideas in the comments below.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Let's begin with the end in mind

There's nothing like a great video to set the tone for the year.  Thank you, National Geographic.   Anyway, there's a lot to look forward to but for now, here's to inquiry, to being curious creatures and to living connected lives.

Welcome to school year 2012-2013, everyone! I am very excited to meet all of you. It's going to be a great year. :)