This week’s wins #3

1. Creativity Learning Community
Post-Ofsted, we are all part of different learning communities. I picked one on creativity. People think I’m already creative, but they don’t know about all those lessons involving a worksheet, a text book and 15 minutes of silence. There is always room for more creativity.
We had a long meeting on Monday which involved some computer time. I was able to be very helpful to my colleagues by showing them, by turns, a PE teacher’s blog, how to set up a Posterous blog, and how to put a picture into Smartnotebook and annotate it. I was most pleased with the last one because I know from my PGCE student it was put in practice by the end of the week.

2. Oregon Trail Google Map
I am not going to say this is finished, because I am still waiting for a recent picture of Fort Hall from an old friend I have who lives very close to it, but it is definitely getting there.

(With thanks to Tom Barrett, whose post on embedding Google Maps in blogs was very helpful).

This project was really interesting for me, because I learned a lot about the trail that I didn’t already know; I made some new friends on Flickr who very kindly allowed me to use their pictures; and I made a resource that has already had positive feedback, and it’s not even really public yet. This was also one of my three action points following Google Teacher Academy, so I guess I can give that one a resounding tick.

3. WW1 songs
I found this excellent website on Friday morning, after spending 20 minutes hunting for my old CD of WW1 songs for the lesson I was planning. As it happened, we didn’t use the website because we got so engrossed in looking up names from Westbury’s War Memorial on the Commonwealth War Graves website; but I think I will be using it this week.

4. Y10 remembered stuff
Last week I blogged about a super-speedy carousel activity to get notes in books. This week I followed up with a quiz. Now, they didn’t all score full marks, but there was a good amount of retention: as much as I might have expected if the topics had been spread out over a few weeks; so that is a definite win for the activity. Tomorrow we will follow up again by making revision materials.

5. Lenin on Facebook
I liked the historical event Facebooks I was sent links to over the summer, so this week my year 12 class and I had a crack at creating a fake one for Lenin, using this Power Point template. We have so far managed to fill in his interests and background infromation; next lesson we are going to start tracking the major historical points in his life through status updates. Year 12 think it is hysterical when we make Lenin say LOL and FTW on his Facebook. I think we may have to create pages for all our Totalitarian dictators this year.
The Power Point template is an excellent place to start, but I am not satisfied, and am busy thinking about how I can improve on it. I’d like something that can be displayed on one long page.

6. I marked books!
I know this shouldn’t be a win because it is, you know, my JOB. But I still find it arduous and dull, and I managed to do two sets over the weekend, both KS4. Go me. The big stack of stickers I got in a teacher swap made it a lot more fun.

And one (almost) fail….
When you think you haven’t planned a lesson and spend ages rifling through your filing cabinet for resources to an old, forgotten, back up lesson, CHECK YOUR PLANNER. It is very likely that you have booked a computer room and have just forgotten. Luckily, a conscientious pupil will unwittingly remind you what you had planned on his way into the classroom, but you will still feel embarrassed that you didn’t even bother to check.
Planner: reliable. Memory: not so reliable, especially by Friday.

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