Monthly Archives: May 2011

Couldn’t resist this! TechSmith


Couldn’t resist this

(text taken directly from the website):

Engage learners with visual content

Get inspired here with ideas and examples of how you can use TechSmith software to enhance your teaching. And feel free to share, that way we all learn.

TechSmith in the classroom:

Student-Centred Feedback


The attached power point is a brief outline of a reflective activity (on their mini-research task) my students will be undertaking next week.

Facilitating the Development of Reflective Learners

One more thing! On one of the slides I make the following point: “Students will receive the Rubric Sheet and their assignment” – I am actually returning their marked assignment to them!! Hope that prevents any confusion. 🙂

Jean Blaydes Madigan – action based learning


 Some interesting thoughts in this youtube clip by Jean Blaydes Madigan. Her approach provides an opportunity to create a classroom environment that embraces a truly differential approach to learning. Next week I will be able to use her approach to learning with my students. This will help me compare the results of their learning with the “worksheet” activity mentioned earlier in my blog. Watch this space for updated stats re the worksheet and the accompanying comparison with the Jean Blaydes Madigan approach. It will be interesting  to observe just how much the students can increase their levels of critical thinking. Do I have a hypothesis? Yes – I expect an increase but will need to sit down and think about the variables and, in order to create some control, will use the same lesson (after lunch on a Thursday afternoon). Hmm …

Teamwork :)


Today the students were placed into their teams. I was happy with how they approached the task at hand (team name etc). These students are a fairly collaborative group and my decision to let them sit outside to work on this task proved a good one – sunny days always help!

Rationale for the outside experience!:

  1.  Alleviate any possible angst felt due to students not having control over who was in their group.
  2. Lessen the impact of a general classroom hierachy by using the extra space of an outside environment to “isolate” each group, thereby encouraging the establishment of small group norms.
  3. Encourage students to focus on each other (and the task at hand) and not what other groups may or may not be doing.

Unfortunately, setting up the groups and supporting this initial “settling in” phase prevented me from the workshop idea mentioned in yesterday’s blog. Oh well, there is always next week!

Oh yes, the class have set me a task! More on that later, but I am making them think how best I can learn, how I should be assessed and what needs to be done to make the experience worthwhile and meaningful for me. Opinion is divided in the class as to how strict to be with me!!!  But as I said – more on that later!

Meaningful Feedback


Tomorrow’s plan:

Tomorrow my students create their own Winter Olympics teams. Well, actually I place them into teams (the whole “strategic” group thing!). They will be creating team names, colours, flags, slogans and coat of arms for our Cool Runnings mini-Olympics. Whilst this is happening I will commence workshopping with each student the results from their recent worksheet and, their last summative task. This is to celebrate not only what they have done well, but also to help them identify areas for further development. I will make a water analogy – sparkling, clear, cloudy to help them understand what they are doing well, okay and what needs improvement. I will firstly, ask them to look at their work and identify (and explain) what they thougth they did well and what they thought was okay, but …

Can’t wait to do the bobsled race – have got some ideas!! 🙂 🙂 We will play music, have team chants – the works (dim the lights) – basically, we will use a “film technique” approach to the staging of the races. Students will get to choose the music etc for their rounds. Doing so will allow them to put into practice their understanding of the different film techniques they have learnt whilst watching the film.

Hmmm … Results from “non-metacognitive” task.


As stated earlier in my blog, I am experimenting with using “non-metacognitive”  and metacognitive approaches to student learning within my class’ Cool Runnings film study. Last week I gave them a worksheet to complete with a “chalk and talk” approach to its requirements. Yesterday, students submitted their responses to this handout. When marking their work, what I was looking for was evidence of deeper analysis (a move beyond the “description” type of answer).

Here is what I got:

15 students (still waiting on some submissions due to absence or tardiness!)

3 students displayed analysis skills significantlybeyond what is expected of their Year level. This means they were not only able to explain the event in the film, but make multiple links to the character’s motivation and, explain why this was the case.

3  students displayed analysis skills in their answers. This meant they could explain the event in the film, make links to the character’s motivation and generally explain why this was the case.

7 students used some analyis in their answers. However, this was inconsistent and their explanation of “why” required more depth to move beyond a generally descriptive tone.

2 students, whilst displaying a good knowledge of the film’s plot, did not demonstrate developed analysis skills. Their answers remained descriptive.

Interesting. I will update these details after I have received all students’ work.

Conclusion: Was I surprised? For some students, yes… I had thought they would demonstrate more developed analytical skills than they did. However, contributing to these figures could be the fact that my approach was “boring”, which in turn, would arguably impact on motivation levels.