Author Archives: annemirtschin

“Lost for Words” – Lest We Forget!

lest we forget wreathr

Katherine Zablatnik is an innovative teacher from Austria who brings textbooks to life wherever possible. She is responsible for creating the Hello Little World Skypers group which won the Edublogs awards for the winner of the “Best Use of Social Media” in 2013.

As a history teacher she is keen to make the centenary of  the start of World War I alive for her students. Today, I linked up with her students and shared how we commemorate Armistice Day at school, here in Australia. However, we call it “Remembrance Day”. Although it is not a public holiday, we hold a special commemorative service in the Reflection Space in the centre of Hawkesdale. Students walk up there and interested community members  join us.

students teachers

The student leadership team together with several staff members organise and run the service. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we hold a minute’s silence across Australia to remember especially those who served in both World War I.

A presentation was quickly put together to show our Student Leadership team at work at lunchtime in preparing for the special service that we hold each year. The reflection space, the school wreath, a summary of the program etc Link to the presentation

I talked about the program for tomorrow which is as follows:

  • Student led Introduction
  • In Flanders Fields
  • Commemorative address (Sarah, one of our student leaders)
  • Wreath Laying
  • The Ode for the Fallen
  • Playing of the Last Post, followed by the Rouse when the flag is again raised to the top of the flagpole
  • Singing our National Anthem

But when I talked aabout the odes and poems we use, they had not heard of them. They wanted to know what the red poppies were about. And I was flabbergasted as I thought everyone knew them.  Then I asked what they did to commemorate this day. The answer was ‘nothing’. I asked about the minute’s silence – they do not have one. Katherine asked what those words “Lest we Forget” signify on the school wreath.

However, they thought it might be an idea to join in with ours and maybe next year we could do something together. This has driven my curiousity further – where was Austria placed in the war, how do they feel about it all, how do Katherine’s students feel about us commemorating those who went away to fight for us. We are an island on the other side of the world and so, so far away from the battlefields.

They asked whether our textbooks and our learning of history was biased. Do we see some sides of the war and the countries as being ‘good and bad’? My response was yes, we do? But maybe that is my age .What do our students think? I am going to ask them tomorrow. Can we rewrite our history books? Can we learn more about each other together and avoid many of these conflicts that potentially exist.

When I asked Katherine further questions via the skype chat, she simply replied: “I am lost for words”. Now I am pondering on that!

The Sound of Music is one of our most popular movies and I guess it speaks volumes about some of the feeling in Austria at the time.

Spring is in the air at school!

roses and treer
bird aviaryr

Hawkesdale P12 College is set in a beautiful rural landscape. It is surrounded by farms, most of our students travel to school on a bus and either live on farms or in small country towns. Spring is highly evident now, as the gardens are blooming, the birds are hatching eggs and the vegetable gardens producing well. There is a “Birds Club” with student representatives purchasing and looking after the birds.

The school bird aviary is like a nursery this week with the arrival of baby quail and diamond doves. The bird aviary is one of a number of special clubs and leadership oportunities that have offered students the opportunity to explore special interests. A pathway has been added to the aviary at a recent working bee and a new chook house will arrive shortly.
eggs and chickens

The 9/10 Agricultural students have placed duck eggs in the incubator and they will soon hatch.

There is a “green thumbs group” led by one of our teacher assistants. Vegetables are growing well in the new wicker containers and will soon be picked.  A section of our school garden has been reworked into a fairy garden. Projects like this aim to build on student interest and builds pride in their school.

primary gardenr

 

fairy gardenr

“That’s weird! We live in their future!”

I woke up this morning to read a skype in education message from a teacher in the USA looking urgently for a class to ‘mystery skype’ with. Knowing that our time zones rarely work, I nearly declined, but checked out the suggested times for connection and ‘hey presto’, I could say that I could find a class to connect for them to connect with.

request

Students love to connect with the USA as many of the TV shows that they love to watch come from America, many of our fast foods are from there etc etc However, I had to find some students as I thought I was not timetabled with a class. Three year 9 girls gladly came out of their maths class and some of my year 11 IT students took part.

Bellingham

The notice was late as Brian, the lecturer suddenly thought “Why teach his pre-service teachers about the use of skype in the classroom, why not actually do it!” and so we did.

group of girls and Bellinghamr

Here is what it looked like:

  1. We introduced ourselves individually to each other.
  2. Next, we played mystery skype. It was easy for us to work out they were from the USA, but then quite difficult to work out exactly where. After several clues, we finally worked it out.
  3. On the US part, the pre-service teachers used their mobile devices – phones, tablets etc to finally work out exactly where we were from (after some clues).
  4. Times of each country were shared, then the date and day of the week we were in. As soon as the girls heard they were still in Wed afternoon at 4:00pm, they responded with “That is weird, we live in their future!”
  5. The US teachers asked what the girls thought made a good teacher. Some of the responses were ‘a sense of humour’, allow students to follow passion projects, take into account different student learning styles, they want to have fun with their learning etc.

monitorr

Student reaction: They had fun, enjoyed learning with them and sharing their knowledge and particularly liked working with older students”

Final Exams

 

examsrAfter 13 years of school, 36 weeks of schooling in 2014, much preparation, revision, completed outcomes etc, students sat their 2 hour VCE Business Management exam today. Although they are a mixed cohort of students – some studied so hard, others just took it all very casually, but they did all get an “S” and complete the subject to satisfactory standards, prior to sitting the exam.

Students sit this exam in a small local church hall where they are assured of a quiet atmosphere in completing the exams.

The exam counts towards their ATAR score for university entrance, should they wish to attend university. This is always a time of stress, nerves and anxiety but I wish them all the best for their exams and their future paths.

Now my students have two to go (subjects I taught this year), Accounting and Informations and Technology.

 

 

#skype2learn twitter chat – the archive

Questions for the first chat

Questions for the first chat

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first twitter chat for #skype2learn. Special thanks to Bevery Ladd who co-modarted the chat and to the Master Skype teachers for their active involvement.

Participants stayed up late at night (including Siberia and England) or tweeted early before they went to bed (eg Livingstone, a teacher from Havilla Childrens Centre in the biggest slum in Africa, Kenya). There were many conversations, some fantastic resources shared, ideas for using skype for innovative learning and many new connections to make. The chat has been archived at storify Connected Classrooms with #skype2learn

The questions can be found here. question 2 “Why do you use skype?” has some powerful answers. Make sure you look at them.

Global Education Conference 2014

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Technology allows us to take learning beyond the textbook and enables global education to take place on a scale previously unheard of. The global education conference is a wonderful way to learn about the world from the world and with the world. It is an amazing conference that brings all corners of the world together and makes so many connections possible.
If you are involved in global education, we would love you to consider presenting. There is still time to submit proposals for this exciting conference but please ensure it has a global education element. Final submissions have to be in by November 1st.

You can read more from any of the following flyers that may be of interest to you. Please note that we are looking for more student presenters.

Make sure you mark these dates on your calendar and set aside some time to participate in one or another – presenting, moderating or simply participating. Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Global Selfies

A global selfie featuring people from Indonesia, Australia and China

A global selfie featuring people from Indonesia, Australia and China

What can you see in this picture –  sights, feelings, atmosphere??? Selfies are a great way to capture learning, experiences and learning and can now be done on a global scale!

A fun linkup was held last Thursday after school with Endang from Indonesia and some of her helpers to created global classrooms with students in Pekalongan, Indonesia. Unfortunately, our students had just gone home on their school buses so I connected with  three lads who  wanted to know what Mystery Skype was. Instead of telling them, they participated in a mystery skype. Questions that could only have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer were asked until they worked out where I was from.

Li Min, our Chinese language assistant who is helping with our mandarin Chinese language program at school, came into the room after hearing the laughter, so they had fun working out where she was from. She hails from Wuhan, China. This added another accent to the mix of conversations, so the chat was used, together with audio,  to ensure we all understood each other.

They then asked about the global projects that students in our school have been involved in and what projects we are currently involved in. Year 9 and 10 students have just started a Global Selfies project through Taking IT Global, so I mentioned this. Immediatley, hearing the word selfie Mumtaz Kwizime pulled out his phone as if to clarify that is what we meant.

The second selfie taken!

The second selfie taken!

We asked if he would take a selfie of all of us involved, and above is the result! I love the photo. What do you think? What can you see in the photo? How do you think our connection went?