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 March, 2009

The Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature (NSW Premier’s Awards)

Posted by Lisa Hill on March 25, 2009

The contenders for the NSW Premier’s Awards have been announced, including the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature:
The contenders are:

  • Urusla Dubosarsky & Tohby Riddle (Illustrator) – The Word Spy
  • Bob Graham – How to Heal a Broken Wing
  • Sonya Hartnett and Ann James (Illustrator) – Sadie and Ratz
  • Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King (Illustrator) – Perry Angel’s Suitcase
  • Tohby Riddle – Nobody Owns the Moon
  • Shaun Tan – Tales from Outer Suburbia

I haven’t come across all of these, but I love anything by Tohby Riddle and Nobody Owns the Moon is an enchanting book, so I hope it does well.

However, the real purpose of this post is to celebrate the work of Patricia Wrightson, a children’s author I discovered when I was at Teachers’ College. She writes with a distinctively Australian voice, creating memorable fantasies which can make your skin crawl when you’re out in the Aussie bush. Try reading The Nargun and the Stars, and then visit the Den of Nargun in Gippsland. and you’ll see what I mean! The book won the CBCA Book of the Year Award in 1974 and it is unforgettable. This video is made with photos from our trip there in 1992:

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Classroom 2.0 and our cruel time zone

Posted by Lisa Hill on March 21, 2009

Classroom 2.0 is a really useful online professional association and I’ve been a subscriber since last year though I don’t participate in discussions much.  However, today I discovered that I can access archived Elluminate sessions and that there are some most interesting topics available.

Elluminate is a program that facilitates online conferences.  With a microphone and earphones, you can see the slideshows, videos, images and whiteboards; hear the speaker, ask questions, and join an online discussion; and even click emoticons to express dis/agreement or applause.  DEECD uses it for Knowledge Bank conferences and I’ve ‘been’ to two so far.  Next week Julie Evans and I are ‘going’ together and will participate in ‘Joining the Virtual Classroom’ – but joining Classroom 2.0 as a subscriber enables you to ‘attend’ many more – all for free.

classroom-20-blogOur cruel time zone, of course, means that any US conferences are on at obscene times here.  This week’s one on podcasting in the classroom, which I’m really interested in because I don’t really know how to manage using it in the classroom, is on at four in the morning.  However, once you’ve signed up and configured Elluminate, you can access the archives and there are some beaut topics available.  There’s how to use Moodle, Twitter, Ning, Voice Threads, Skype, Diigo (huh? that’s one for me to explore), Blogging with Students, Google Forms, Feed Readers and Social Networking.  A whole pantry full of  Web 2.0 goodies to play with, all online, and available to play with any time you feel like it. lisa-on-elluminate

Elluminate is very easy to use, except for one tricky little security feature.  If you click on the link above you get the Elluminate home page – and it’s a commercial product.  There are demos and all that, but you can’t get in to anything without a user name and password.  However Elluminate have very generously agreed to host Classroom 2.0 activities, and if you sign up for one of their activities, you get the URL which lets you in. The other thing is that while it doesn’t take very long, if you want to participate live, you need to configure your mike and earphones beforehand.

I was astonished to discover today that I feature (sort of!) in the Student Blogging program!  The presenter was talking about how to find interesting blogs, and lo! there was my Blogspot profile page, which has links to my Travels With Tim and Lisa blog and my presence on The Complete Booker.  It’s a very big world out there in cyberspace but apparently Steve Hargeddon (who is the guru behind all this) maintains a very extensive list of educators who blog, and somehow he’s trawled from my professional blogs (this one, and the two I maintain at school, the MPPS LiBlog and the MossgielParkPS blog) over to my personal ones which also includes the ANZLitLovers blog.  Amazing.

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Student blogging, and why it’s a buzz!

Posted by Lisa Hill on March 20, 2009

canberra-0292-150x150It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog, but that’s not because I’ve been slacking off.  I’ve been very busy with the Mossgiel Park PS  blog and the MPPS LiBlog instead (not to mention my ANZ LitLovers Blog which has now had nearly 4000 hits!)

Our strategic plan is all about engaging students and making learning fun – and in the 21st century that means using Web 2.0 to jazz up learning activities so that we can motivate students to produce high quality writing.  Teachers at Mossie Park have all undertaken to do an action research project where we try out something new using ICT – and my project is to get blogging happening in the library program.

Well, this week I’ve made a start.  I had 20 kids who, for one reason and another, didn’t go on the tour to Canberra, so I was a class teacher for a week.  I used this opportunity to try out blogging as a reading group activity and – with my colleague Julie Evans – set up a research and writing project which had to be finished by this Friday.

I borrowed some graphic novels from the local library to lure in the more reluctant readers and in a two-hour literacy block achieved these reviews and more, and although it was a bit frantic getting them finished by Friday, the research and writing projects proved to me that the chance to show off work online is highly motivating, especially for students with relations overseas to be impressed.

Some of these students have produced very fine writing, and they were all keen as mustard.  I learned how to manage doing it in a class; now I need to learn to manage it in a library lesson.  To monitor my progress, subscribe to the MPPS LiBlog !

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