Sunday, 30 August 2015

Evernote - Annotating Notes

I've talked about annotating notes in Evernote in previous posts and have decided to make an instructional video for those of you willing to give this feature a go.

In this example I have used a real student work sample to demonstrate what I have started doing in my writing conferences with my grade 3 class. There is a great deal of interactivity with this method and the students love to take over the mouse of my computer and annotate the note as we discuss it. As a result, they are more deeply engaged in the learning process because they are doing all the work.

This is my first video based around Evernote and welcome your feedback.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Evernote - Getting Started in the Classroom

When I did my last post on my use of Evernote I didn't expect so many people to look at it. It seems it is something that a lot of you want to know more about. I am certainly no expert but I am learning more and more about this product everyday as it becomes ingrained in my daily routine.

I figured I would share more of what I have been doing with Evernote as it may give others some ideas of how they can put it to work.

When I started to use Evernote in class I found it

Monday, 3 August 2015

Little Bits of Tech (Part 3) - Tellagami EDU

I love Tellagami. I'm not lying when I say this. As an educational tool, it is something that I find is one of the best 'all round' tools for sharing and assessing writing, speaking and listening, reading, maths, spelling, art and music.

In my class, I have used Tellagami mainly to assess my students speaking and listening skills and writing skills. My favourite activity and the one I have received praise for was

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Little Bits of Tech (Part 2) - Evernote

Evernote has become a major part of my teaching and my students learning and this post is probably one that will have follow ups as I learn more and more about this fantastic tool.

The best thing for me about Evernote is that

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Catch Up Time

It has been such a busy few months and I haven't really posted much at all. I am in the process of working on a new series of blog posts titled 'Little Bits of Tech' where I share my knowledge and experiences of using a variety of ICT tools in the classroom. The first post about using Google Drive is up now, so check it out here.

For now I guess I will update what I have been up to.

Little Bits of Tech (part 1) - Google Drive

I have learnt over time that people sometimes struggle to adapt to new technologies that are relevant to their industry. I found this to be true from my time working in finance and I am finding it to be true in education as well. I have always loved new technologies and find that by having a go and playing around with it, I am able to quickly learn new things (sometimes useful and sometimes not so).

I thought then that it would be a good idea to talk about the types of technology I have been using this year (so far) and how I have found it. First of all is Google:

Thursday, 16 April 2015

"Because I'm Happy"

I was recently asked to be involved in the making of a motivational video for a young girl in the US that suffers a very rare medical condition.

Of course, being able to do something that makes someone happy made me jump at the chance. As a result, with the help of Bec Spink we got my year 3 class to make a video so that we

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Where are we going?

It's Easter Sunday and i'm half way through the school holidays. I am sitting in front of my computer just thinking of something to write about with the hope that inspiration will come along and smack me in the face. Of course, it's never that simple but I like to believe that it will.

It's a peculiar Easter because it is the first one since I moved to Melbourne and my kids have gone home to their mums for the school break. It is oddly silent in the house and I am finding that I don't actually know what to do with myself.

I get itchy feet staying at home all day - I don't like it. I like to get

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Little Victories

It is so heartening to see your students making big strides in their learning.

Today, during a writing task I stopped to check over one students work. This student is not the best speller and is quite messy, so I have been giving him little pointers over the past few weeks on ways he might be able to improve. His work has been so bad that I cannot read it at all and he even struggles to interpret for me when reading aloud.

My first goal for him a few weeks ago was to

Friday, 6 March 2015

Meet the Parents

Recently, I had my first 'meet the teacher' evening at school. I was rather surprised that, as a graduate teacher I was not briefed on what to expect and left much to my own devices to feel my way through the evening. Each parent was only assigned ten minutes to discuss their child so I figured it couldn't be too bad and was happy to just 'go with the flow'.

For the benefit of any new teachers out there I can say that it is vital that your

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Tweet Dreams

I was given a great opportunity last week when the multi-talented Bec Spink offered to help me introduce Twitter to my grade 3 class. I had initially spoken to her and other teachers about ways to introduce it and how best to link it to their learning but felt a little unsure of myself. 
It is no longer ok for teachers to

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Moment?

This weeks #YourEdustory challenge is; "What was the defining moment you decided to be a teacher?". Being that I was the one that decided on the topic, I thought it best that I actually write about it. 
Affirmation: "I believe in my ability to change the world with the work that I do."- Louise Hay
I remember when I was younger, standing in

Monday, 16 February 2015

Great Expectations

It's really nice to hear your students tell you that you are the best teacher they have ever had. I mean, who doesn't love to be told they are tops? We are only in our third full week of the school year, so have I given them false expectations of what the rest of the year will be like? I certainly hope not. 

The first couple of weeks of a school year is all about

Friday, 13 February 2015

Best Behaviour

In the flash of an eye I am now officially two weeks into the teaching year. What's even more surprising about it is that I actually don't feel stressed. Sure enough I have been busy with a multitude of different tasks, but I feel good. I think that before I started

Saturday, 7 February 2015


“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” 

I recently signed up to an online blogging challenge called #YourEdustory 2015. It is a challenge for educators everywhere to share thoughts and ideas on certain topics. This weeks challenge (which I am almost late in submitting) is to define "learning" in 100 words or less. An almost impossible task but i'll give it a shot.
Learning happens everywhere

Learning is the

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Blank Space

I spent the majority of today (plus two days last week) prepping my first ever classroom for my Grade 3's that start on Friday. I spent hours cutting, laminating, moving, blu-taccing and googling all to end up feeling as though I have nowhere near enough to start the school year. 
Still looks too bare to me

I am quite fortunate in that I have a decent sized classroom to play with so maybe that adds to that 'empty' feeling. It is probably no help that

Sunday, 25 January 2015

I AM!!

I was feeling pretty tops today. I can’t really explain it but I was just feeling grand. I had my beautiful two-year old niece here overnight while my sister and her husband went in to the city for a show (I believe it was ‘The Illusionists’ and I am told it was excellent). I woke up feeling rested (a nice change after moving to the noisy suburbs), I felt energised and encouragingly, I felt healthy. The christmas and new year really give your health a solid beating and I have been working real hard of late to get back on track in preparation for what is going to be a whizz-bang busy year.

So, as a result of feeling wonderful and wanting to make sure I do something good for myself, I went for a jog. I like jogging but must admit that it took me over 30 years to feel like that. When I jog I like to completely zone out and forget my troubles, let go of my fears and calm my anxieities. It is akin to meditating I guess and I truly just go completely zen (I fear that if I don’t I will realise how buggered I am and stop running).

Today was a little different as circumstances this week see a million and one new things on the immediate horizon. You see, I am a graduate teacher and on Friday I become the proud leader/ coach/ counsellor/ confidant of 23 (possibly more) eagle-eyed grade 3 students. That’s right, I get to be a teacher; not just a casual teacher** (which I have had a school terms worth of experience as) but a fully fledged, ‘this is my class’ kind of teacher.

** I would like to note that I have nothing against casual teaching as I believe it is an extremely tough job. I do however acknowledge the big differences of being a casual teacher to being a permanent classroom teacher.

My mind, during this job was consumed by thoughts of how do I begin my year with my class? Do I jump right in and talk about rules and expectations (as equally boring as it is necessary)? Do I entertain the troops with one after the other ‘getting to know you’ type activities (also necessary I will admit but thankfully not boring)? Or can I just let them know me, know what I can do for them and introduce myself to them as their biggest cheerleader? Can I teach them to be their own cheerleader?

You see, I have been thinking about our theme for our Challenge Based Learning (learn more about CBL here) topic for term 1; Identity. It’s a really broad topic and I feel really excited about it because it occurred to me on my jog that I can really incorporate the theme of identity from the very first minute of being a classroom teacher. It dawned on me that I am a teacher, I am a coach, I am important to someone, I am special and all these other I ams that this could really be the catalyst for a great year.

Made using
This light-bulb moment made me realise that I want to introduce myself to my class as someone important to them. I want them to listen to all the I ams that I can come up with for me and I want them to think about what they are. I want my students to stand up and proudly say ‘I am someone’, ‘I am important’ or ‘I am worth listening to’. I want to lead my class to share their ‘I am’ moments and teach them to set goals and reach them and be proud of their achievements (even if they don’t fully reach their goals).

You see, I don’t want to just be ANOTHER teacher in these kids lives. I want to be that one person they can all look back on in 20 years time and remember for all the good reasons. I want them to have a year they will remember forever. I want them to learn and have fun. I want them to set personal goals (not just academic ones) and I want to help them and encourage them to achieve any or all of them.

I AM important to these young minds, I AM a driver of positive change and I AM responsible for making a difference that achieves great results now and in to the future.
Who are you? Finish this sentence; “I AM……”.