LisaHillSchoolStuff's Weblog

'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

Archive for June, 2008

Multiple Intelligences Test

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 30, 2008

I have just discovered a terrific site that enables students to determine the strongest elements of their intelligence. It’s a kid-friendly Multiple Intelligences Test, and results in a clever pie graph that illustrates their strengths.

No prizes for guessing what mine are!
Lisa\'s Multiple Intelligences

 Please leave a comment if you find this interesting:)

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Learning Library 2.0

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 24, 2008

I have been having a wonderful time playing around on the Learning Library 2.0 eLearning course run by SLAV and the Yarra Plenty Regional Library. I use the words ‘playing around’ because that’s how it seems – exploring online tasks at my leisure and experimenting with all kinds of fun stuff online.

I’ve learned more about blogging, wikis, customised search engines, cartoonizers and mashups, and most of it is stuff that is going to be relevant in a classroom.  A 21st century classroom, that is, not some fuddy-duddy print-only place!  See Lisa Hill’s EdBlog for more about it!

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Celebrating PoLT

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 19, 2008

Today we celebrated the conclusion of our PoLT Action Research Projects at school with champagne and nibbles and wonderful stories about the projects undertaken by the team.  This is the third year in a row that I have led a PoLT team, and each time I have been so proud of our staff and the innovative ideas they’ve put into practice. 

This year we worked on Principle 6 – Learning connects strongly with communities and practice beyond the classroom: 6.1 supports students to engage with contemporary knowledge and practice; 6.2 plans for students to interact with local and broader communities and community practices ; and 6.3 uses technologies in ways that reflect professional and community practices.

With the support of our energetic ICT Coordinator, we had a huge focus on ICT. We’ve had a web site about authors, an email exchange with a school in NZ, preps peer tutoring each other to learn Kidspiration, and a ‘What am I?’ book for our forthcoming Book Week celebrations – made using digital microscopes.  ‘Expert groups’  in years 1 & 2 studying Australian Animals, and Year 4s making travel brochures for a study of Australian States did the most amazing things with ICT, including complex file management that many adults can’t manage! Our ESL teachers engaged the community with a visit to the home of some of our Afghan students, enjoyed a scrumptious lunch and then made PPTs about it, complete with audio narrration. 

The most satisfying thing about this is that it’s sustainable change.  Already I can see that the strategies these teachers have trialled are becoming part of their teaching practice, because the kids are so engaged in the learning.  Schools like ours that implement PoLT properly, providing support and resources for professional learning teams to experiment with projects that really matter to them, are going to make a huge difference to the way their students learn!

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Australian Book Industry Awards

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 16, 2008

I usually like the Australian Book Industry Awards: as I understand it, they’re the only ones voted on by all the industry participants i.e. publishers, authors, illustrators etc, rather than an expert panel. So it’s especially pleasing to see that they voted for a ‘literary’ book as book of the year, and I’d be happy to re-read Geraldine Brooks People of the Book again with my online bookgroup ANZ LitLovers.  I thought it was terrific, especially after seeing the Medieval Imagination Exhibition at the State Library.

However I’m not so keen on Li Cunxin’s children’s version of Mao’s Last Dancer, The Peasant Prince.  It seems to me that many publishers have put novels for children in the too-hard basket and are putting forward these ‘picture books for older children’ as a substitute – but they’re one hit wonders.  We read them to the kids, we have a really beaut discussion about them (if we’re lucky), and then they sink into oblivion.  The following week the kids can’t remember a thing about them, and they never borrow them, no matter how artfully I display them, and not even if they’re tagged for the Premier’s Reading Challenge.  Publishers these days also put out lots of easy ‘chapter books’ with B/W pictures on half the page and ‘relevant’ i.e. everyday plots, utterly forgettable, and they then top up their children’s list with smut lit about bums and farts.  The children’s book market is in danger of being dumbed down, IMO, and don’t get me started about dreary books like The Island, on the CBCA shortlist for heavens sake, and destined to make children fearful and despairing about the inhumanity of man!

A proper children’s novel, with a strong narrative, a captivating plot and some memorable characters has children sighing and wishing for more at the end, and still talking about the book twelve months later – and maybe for the rest of their lives.  Black Dog Books publish Carole Wilkinson who has written the wonderful Ramose series about an Egyptian prince on the run from his murderous stepmother, and an even more inspiring series beginning with Dragonkeeper. I have already raved in my reviews about The Name of this Book is Secret; Nim’s Island is another wonderful book from Allen & Unwin, and I’m just about to review another beaut one from them, The Detachable Boy.   I’m also very fond of the Lily Quench series from Penguin, but it’s a very old book that I’m about to read to my year 4s this week, Pippi Longstocking, still with the Vegemite stain on the front cover from when I read it over breakfast more years ago than I care to reveal…

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History for Kids

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 14, 2008

I’ve just discovered a really beaut site, called Kidipede History for Kids.  It’s American, so alas, there’s nothing about Australian history, but it’s a good, safe, user-friendly site for kids in years 5-8.  It’s designed to help them with searching for information about ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, China, India and so on.  There are eye-catching illustrations and photos, and profuse links to explanations, details, other info of interest and so on.

Unfortunately, there are also ads, (including a rather grisly one of an injured dog for the American version of the RSPCA) but presumably Net Nanny will zap those at school. 

I shall add it to my LisaHillSchoolStuff website when I next update it.  This website is going to migrate soon to a new host so I haven’t done any work on it for a while…

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