Weekly links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


Susan Mapleson, a Teacher Librarian at Christian College (Senior Campus) Geelong has developed a very funky blog for lovers of literature. The i.Read blog is cleverly titled and has been developing nicely throughout the year.

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Susan explains how the blog came about:

I completed the SLAV PLN program earlier in the year and while this is not the blog I started during the PLN program is it the more meaningful and relevant blog I started along with Deb Canaway (the other Teacher Librarian here at the senior campus) during the year and includes many of the tools I learnt doing the program.

We started our blog for the students and teachers at Christian College Senior school and while we have not been overwhelmed with responses, certainly we have had many people access our blog.

It was aimed mainly at our Year 10 English classes who come to the Library usually at the beginning and end of the  term to borrow books. It was another way to interact with the students, promote the Library and recommend books to students as we only review books we have in the Library. Year 10 students had to write a book review as part of their English curriculum and also submit a brief version onto the blog. The positive of this task was that the students got a real buzz out of seeing their reviews online and for many it was the first time they had read and or contributed to a blog.

In the future we would like to have our staff also contribute to the blog and find more ways to encourage students to leave comments.

Congratulations Sue and Deb for creating a vibrant and attractive blog. Now that the blog has a good body of work, it will be easier to promote it in the new year.

The LeakyPedia

If you are looking for resources to teach the Harry Potter books, then The LeakyPedia is a great place to start.

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Presented as a wiki, the LeakyPedia has excellent information on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, however the rest of the books and all of the films need additional information. I see this an an opportunity for students who are fans of the books and/or the films to submit something to the site. The style of articles for the wiki has already been laid out, so students would be able to easily follow the templates on the site.

There are also opportunities to add information about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, biographical information about J.K Rowling and subjects such as Muggles, creatures, spells and more.

This could be an engaging task for students to complete some detailed writing for an authentic audience.

The people behind the wiki are the developers of the world renowned Leaky Cauldron website.

Children’s literacy lab

Helen Boelens has passed on information about the Children’s literacy lab.

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She explains

It is an interesting programme which is trying to investigate how children actually use digital books.  It is hoped that the research will help school librarians and teachers to adjust to the way in which pupils use E-books.

With lots of resources, information, tips and news, this is an interesting site to peruse.

SLAV award winners 2010

Congratulations to the 2010 recipients of the School Library Association of Victoria awards.

Susan LaMarca – John Ward Award

Tania Sheko – SLAV Innovators Grant sponsored by Pledger Consulting Pty Ltd  – Links Plus

Camilla Elliott – SLAV Research Fellowship

I am particularly delighted that great friend and contributor to Bright Ideas, Tania Sheko was awarded the SLAV Innovators Grant. Regular readers of Bright Ideas would know that Tania has shared many of her web 2.0 projects and notes taken at conferences via Bright Ideas this blog would the poorer without generous contributors like her.

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Tania has reflected on her award:

I was surprised and honoured to be awarded the SLAV Innovator’s grant. The role of the teacher librarian is very exciting, full of creative possibilities. Teacher librarians have the best job – making a difference to teaching and learning across the curriculum. I’ve enjoyed creating and writing my blogs immensely; they provide an open platform for authentic, real-life learning and interaction with a global audience. I owe so much to SLAV, for its forward thinking professional development and opportunities to connect to with other educators.

Congratulations to Susan, Tania and Camilla.

Feature blog – Michael Jongen’s Web 2.0 and other library stuff blog

Our Lady of Mercy College teacher librarian Michael Jongen has been blogging since early 2009.

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Designed to help support teachers integrate web 2.0 technologies into teaching and learning, Michael explains the impetus for his blog Web 2.0 and other library stuff:

I attended a SLAV PD in March 2009, where Will Richardson argued that ‘Learning in the 21st century is all about networks and the connections we can make to other learners and teachers both in our communities and around the globe. But being literate in this new learning environment requires more than knowing how to read and write, it requires us to edit, publish, collaborate, create and connect in the process of building our own personal learning spaces’.

Inspired by this, I decided to blog and work with the teachers at my school and make them aware of Web 2.0 and its potential for learning.  This blog will be about how one teacher librarian raises awareness within his school.

The great thing about Michael’s blog is that he has customised it specifically for the staff and conditions at his school. Thanks for sharing your work Michael.

Edublogs awards 2010 shortlisting – thank you

You may be interested to know that Bright Ideas has been shortlisted for two Edublogs awards this year.

The sections Bright Ideas has been nominated for are:

Best resource sharing blog


Best library blog

It is a real honour to be shortlisted in these international awards and I thank the kind people who nominated Bright Ideas and those who will take the time to vote. Voting closes on Tuesday 14th December.

If you visit the Edublogs awards page, you are sure to find an amazing array of educators to follow. The 2009 awards were a revelation to me and I have built my Personal Learning Network around many of these fine teachers and librarians. There are 23 categories to investigate this year including Best student blog and Best class blog. Good luck to everyone who has been shortlisted.

Weekly links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wiki for maths learning

Whitefriars College teacher librarian Karen Kearney has developed a resourceful wiki to support Maths learning and teaching.

Wiki Maths

Our WFC Learning Together Wiki was set up to support learning for those students in the Learning Support program. We hoped that it would encourage, engage and motivate them to contribute and learn from one another. The literacy parts of the Wiki have been working very well with lots of interaction between the students and teachers. Just recently, we have turned our attention to seeing how we can use the Wiki as part of the Maths Learning Support program.

Helen Sapardanis, the Maths Learning Support teacher, has devised several posters full of practical hints to help our students study for their maths tests, take notes within their maths classes, and to encourage them to think much more positively about maths. Our students have access to these posters at any time.

The Maths percentages task was another thought provoking task devised by Helen. A blank template for this can be found on the Wiki. Students were asked to consider, and write, the processes they were required to take in order to convert percentages into decimals, and percentages into fractions. We have placed one student response on the Wiki as an example.

I have created several Maths quizzes using Hot Potatoes, and there is also a link on the Wiki to these quizzes for the boys to do if they finish their work early. More will be added as they are created. I am hoping that the boys will gradually compile their own quizzes for me to add.

Helen and I really wanted to get the students thinking about the processes they had used to arrive at their answers, and so we decided to start a “How Do I Do It?” section. Helen would devise a maths question, relating to the teaching that she had been doing that day, and it was placed on the Wiki. Students would be required to think through the steps they should use, and then write them, step by step, in the discussion box. Putting their steps into words is not an easy task for many of the students and we’ve been really pleased by the understandings that they have shown.

When we were just starting to place maths equations on the Wiki it occurred to me that the writing of equations was not the simple task I had imagined. My first attempts had me writing “x squared” for instance. Very frustrating when that wasn’t what students were used to seeing! I ended up writing each equation in Microsoft Word, taking a screen grab, converting the equation into a .jpg then loading that onto the Wiki. Fortunately I soon discovered that one of the languages supported by Wikispaces is Latex, and the writing of maths equations became quite simple. Maths Tutorials Parts 1 and 2 proved to be very helpful.

Our aim is for the wiki to be a vibrant, interactive space, where the boys are happy to contribute their ideas and knowledge, and are proud of their contributions. We have been very happy with how our “Wiki Maths” has been progressing and Helen and I will continue to develop it more next year.

What a terrific example of how teachers can use their own area of expertise to work together to improve learning and teaching! Well done Karen and Helen. Very impressive.

Help with gaming: ilearntechnology!

If you need help to find appropriate games and to embed them into the curriculum, you cannot go past Kelly Tenkely‘s excellent blog ilearntechnology.

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Kelly is a passionate and dedicated elementary (primary) teacher who has developed the most amazing collection of games and written about their educational applications. Check out her blog. You won’t be disappointed.