Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thank you Linda


Linda Woolhouse from Hamilton East School gave a well received numeracy workshop at our Cluster Development Day a couple of weeks back. The online resources are here with a description of what you will find.

Linda Says

These are a few sites I have stumbled across. Many can be played with a partner helping, supporting or just watching.


Many, many areas to choose from. It’s a great website, fun, easy to play and able to be used independently. The games are quick so able to share a computer. At differing levels to add a greater challenge. Stage 1 is about up to our strategy stage 4, stage 2 is strategy stage 5 and beyond.


A site more for Teachers with some activities for warm ups on the Interactive Whiteboard of data projector use. Look out for the interactive 100’s board and a calculator. Many activities are designed for above stage 4.


A website that looks at practice equations across all domains for all levels. Refers to the activities, as ‘games’ but are equations to solve. Some games are timed for the students to compete against the clock.


Nice format and simple practice activities.


A whole range of games that model answers as well. Broken up into domains and going into Algebra, Fractions and Percentages. From Stage 1 upward.


Loads of games, huge variety using the 4 operations and testing the student’s basic facts knowledge. Leveled for interest and challenge.


This has games, resources, news, and activities for all stages and an area for Junior students. It has games for 2 players.


This has multiple games that link you to other game sites. Suitable for the higher stages. It has a high level of interest for older students. Games across all domains. Try the ‘Algebra vs. Cockroaches’, not easy.


Simple basic facts speed tests. Students have a set amount of time to answer basic facts equations across the 4 operations. You can select level 1 or 2 and which operation you want to work on. Excellent for speed recall and practice.

Iframe YouFrame Weframe


Part of the connected nature of the web is the ability to embed and display image flash etc. Heath Sawyer aka heheboy showed me what he was doing with iframes in one of the wetpaint wikis he is working with for the Matamata ictpd Cluster. Iframes are a good way to include one webpage in another.

The code looks like this

Basic iFrame HTML Code is in red I just copied it and changed the yourdomain to put the I love learning site in a frame below.

<IFRAME NAME=" my_iframe " SRC="" WIDTH="90%" HEIGHT="300px"> <p> Browsers and spiders that can't read iframe code will see this text instead.</p> </IFRAME>

Here's what each part means:

SRC - The URL of the page that you are including in the iframe.

HEIGHT - The height of the iframe. This can be expressed in pixels or percentages.

WIDTH - The width of the iframe. This can be expressed in pixels or percentages.

NAME - The name of the iframe.

Optional iFrame Properties

If you want more control over the look and behavior of your iframe, you can choose to add the following iframe properties to the code.

  • SCROLLING - Should the iframe content scroll? Possible values are "yes", "no", or "auto".
  • FRAMEBORDER - Would you like a border around the iframe? Possible values are "yes" or"no".
  • ALIGN - How should the iframe be positioned in relation to surrounding content? Possible values are "left", "right","top", "middle" or "bottom". - Note: This setting is depreciated in favor of styles
  • MARGINWIDTH - The horizontal internal margin for the iframe. Must be expressed as pixels.
  • MARGINHEIGHT - The vertical internal margin for the iframe. Must be expressed as pixels.
  • HSPACE - The horizontal spacing around the iframe. Must be expressed as pixels.
  • VSPACE - The vertical spacing around the iframe. Must be expressed as pixels.
  • LONGDESC - The URL of the page with a long description of the iframe contents. Must be expressed as a URL.

Here is an example of an inline frame with many of the optional iframe properties set:

<IFRAME NAME="my_iframe" SRC=" " WIDTH="90%" HEIGHT="300px" SCROLLING="NO" MARGINWIDTH="10px" MARGINHEIGHT="10px" FRAMEBORDER="0"> <p>Browsers and spiders that can't read iframe code will see this text instead .</p> </IFRAME>

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Dog Woke Me, The Blog called Me

It’s 2.59 and the dog has come around to the front of the house and woken me. There have been a lot of thoughts in my head about blogging its relationship to learning and now am in front of the computer putting them down.


A New Zealand teacher posted some pictures of students running a cross country. The purpose of this was for parents to be able to see their children and the children to see themselves online. What followed was a series of opinions criticising the use images and names and implying the teacher should not be blogging because of lack of understanding of net safety and protocol. What a post on whaleoil's blog shows in my mind the need to prepare for comment or controversy where we least expect it.

Can we just grow up in public?

We engage in blogging to change our personal or community worlds. A post is out in the global domain may  be seen as a statement even if we don’t intend it to be. A process is taking place where we are often adjusting our thinking, forming opinions and learning.

  • What happens if we don’t follow protocol?
  • We say something that our schools for example don’t believe in?
  • What happens if we make a mistake?, Have a bad moment?
  • What happens if someone takes issue with what we have to say?
  • What are the risks if we are blogging at school as a classroom community?

Firstly I do not believe the greatest risks are from Stalkers or paedophiles as some would have us think. A photo and a student’s first name is a responsible risk. In New Zealand the ministry of education guidelines for inclusion of images is here. With parents permission there is no issue here.  The teacher posted some pictures of students running a cross country. The purpose of this was for parents to be able to see their children.The greatest risk I see with blogging are pedants and nitpickers.


To help survive this risk

  • find out about blogging from an experienced leader, doer and thinker such as Dorothy Burt
  • try to make sure our words make sense (not always a strong point of mine)
  • read other class blogs and online material
  • realise that our audience may not be who we think they are
  • care mostly about our preferred audience (the one we want to engage)
  • develop a thick skin i.e. accept that we may fail at first but that is not a bad thing
  • moderate comments if it is a class blog or students
  • think about the content of other online presences we may have and how they are linked eg facebook

Also realise the benefits of blogging

We can see blogging changing peoples personal worlds and creating


Blogging should be innately positive because it is based on choice

With so many people choosing to express themselves there seems a good match to

William Glassers model of Survival. Are we blogging for Survival? I have used this model

a few times and acknowledge Joan Dalton and David Anderson who introduced me to it.


So keep up the blogging or start if you wish to.

For Me I am looking to Work out what it means for our school as a community this term.

There are some more thoughts here in a guide to educational blogging from Microsoft.

And a more comprehensive reflection

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Seeing is Believing

Sometimes somethings just are!
When we worked as a team investigating the use of games in education one of our
goals was.

To determine the best method of student involvement in the game that will maximise student learning .

We posed this question to teachers and students as well as videoing what happened when we got 100 students together for a big game day. The video is below What do you think?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Game playing changing learning

We had 100 students in the last week of term working face to face in teams with people they had never met until the day of collaboration.
They were playing a game called Viva piƱata as part of a Microsoft innovative Schools Project. Below  is a wordle of what they added for plus into  a PMI (plus minus interesting) of the effect the project has had on learning. The other “etherpads” are available here. The oral communication, group work and interdependence were what impressed me most with the learning that took place. The project has exceeded our expectations in terms of engagement and the development of key competencies.



I was also hoping that the online publishing and purpose for writing would lead to self editing

and the audience of peers encourage a high standard of written work. I still believe this to be achievable.  Many

blog posts showed articulate well thought out ideas and adherence to language and genre conventions.

Some postings had a rushed compliance feeling. Perhaps some writers were content with their visual and oral collaborations and were reticent to put effort into constructing the web presence of blog posting.

Have a look here for the students’ writing or in the iframe below for a sample.