Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 7- 8 - Year 8 Again!

Last week's two sessions worked well enough. We presented the complete iMovies in our interactive whiteboard room in the library. They were, to be honest, the best.

But other students completed their work and presented just to me. In the afternoon, we were in the classroom. My reluctant speaker went into an empty classroom to record her voice and the music. It was satisfactory, if not inspiring, and I told her she had passed the assignment and saved it into Public Share, then into my own files, because I've known nasty kids to delete others' work, not to mention mine. It was easier when we had to ask for students to be allowed to save to Public Share!

There were still two students to finish, who were absent on Monday, so on Thursday we went to the library's computer room, where those who had finished all their work went to the web site, which gives ten grains of rice to charity for every vocabulary question you get right. One of them, bless him, tried to do some calculations as to just how much his 2000-odd grains would add up to in a bowl.

Of the last two students, the girl finished her work in one of the library offices. She declined to use music, probably wise of her as her voice would have been drowned out, like her classmate's.

The boy must be truly reluctant, because he made every excuse he could think of to procrastinate.

Today, he will have to finish it! I'll send him somewhere quiet, no further excuses!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Week 6 - Year 8 iMovies

Here we are in Week 6 and we still haven't completed - quite - the iMovie task. On Monday, I was down to four students! Some were absent, some were on bin duty - the ones who weren't there were the ones for whom I had allowed some extra time to complete the task. One girl had started the Thursday before, then been called out of class by the Year Level Co-ordinator - "Can I see so-and-so for a few minutes?" - and not returned until the end of the session, to pick up her books. Monday she wasn't there. I had hoped to have some of the students who had finished help those who hadn't, but it wasn't to be.

Another student has begun, but needs more slides and to record her voice. She had been reluctant to do the iMovie - I had offered her the option of doing PowerPoint, on the understanding she would have to present live, because the task is about "listening and speaking", which she accepted, but changed her mind. I think there are about 21 seconds so far, and she really hasn't done what I asked, which was to prepare a script.

Another student absent on Monday - and today! - has finished, except that he had added a silly comment to the end of the presentation and had no idea how to fix it, short of re-recording. Neither do I, at this stage. I don't think the girl he called beautiful will be offended, but it's not appropriate for this, and it might be a bit embarrassing for both of them.  Probably not a good idea to show it in his absence. I need to speak to both of them. It's a pity, because it's otherwise quite good. I have saved a copy to USB stick, though, because knowing him, he may otherwise just delete the whole thing and have nothing to hand in.

The girl who was the object of his admiration has finished, but her soft, gentle voice was pretty much drowned out by the music and I have no idea how to change it for a quieter tune, though I've experimented. It will have to do as is. I will be asking a staff member from another campus for his help; I'm told he knows it better than the technician, who doesn't use iMovie.

The others have done quite well and checked their rubric to make sure they included all the senses in their "Australia means to me..." iMovie.

This afternoon I hope to do their presentations, such as they are, and ask them to assess their own listening skills - perhaps if I hand them that sheet before we begin, they will pay attention. It's a sort of follow-up to the listening survey we did tight back at the beginning.

But I still have some unfinished work from three students and not sure what to do with the others while they complete it. I can't give it to them as homework, because it's being done on iPad.

On Monday afternoon, with so few students, we just sat down with a couple of short stories - Rocket And Sparky by Edwina Harvey, from World's Next Door, and Hot And Spicy by Oliver Phommavanh, from Growing Up Asian In Australia. I hadn't realised that his novel Thai-Riffic was based on the short story, with a boy whose family run a Thai restaurant in Sydney. In this story, he has to take some Thai food to school for a multicultural day, but as far as Albert Yip is concerned, it's all embarrassing and he'd rather be eating Aussie foods like pies and chips. Even worse, to school has ordered food from his parents for the celebration. So he decides to do a bit of sabotage on the food so that it won't happen again... In the other story, a pony-loving girl is stuck out in the desert with her father, little brother and a camel - then they find an egg too big to be an emu egg. It's a dragon egg.

I invited the students to look at these two views of Australia and discuss the differences. And because none of them was Anglo, we talked about the food they had at home - and I added the European food I grew up with.

They were polite and co-operative, but dud they enjoy the stories? I don't know. Nobody smiled, though my volunteer seemed to be having fun reading aloud from Rocket and Sparky.

Still a few weeks to go and I haven't finished the it. Kids do take longer than you might think to finish things. And with a curriculum day tomorrow and a meeting today there is very little time to put together the group magazine we finished earlier this term.

Sigh! Teaching is fun!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Week 5 - Year 8

Today I did two more periods of the required program on "Australian Identity."

The kids are working on their iMovies. They're at all different levels and today two students were absent - one not at school, one doing bin duty, so they will be behind everyone else anyway.

I was hoping to be ready for presentation, but it wasn't to be. The two students I thought were going to take about fifteen minutes out of two periods to finish took the entire double period and there is still a small amount of work to do, but they're pretty much there. I gave them all a rubric to follow and young Dylan must have taken a good look at it, judging by the variations of voice he did.

I asked him and Allan, the other lad, to make their scripts more personal, because the idea was "what does Australia mean to me?" . Dylan's was a travelogue, complete with shrimps on the barbie, and Allan's was a mini-documentary. They did rewrite a bit and I can't ask much more of them.Small as my class is - and it's tiny - I found myself having to look after the two students who were making the most noise instead of those who were not making a fuss.

In the end, I ignored them and went over to help the young lady who had done what I asked and needed help finding her way into the school's network; when I returned, one of the boys had actually gone as far as putting the photos on the iMovie and recording his voice. He still needs to write text on it, but his voice over the pictures sounded good. - I told him so, but pointed out that there would have been fewer "ums" and "ers" if he'd written it down. His friend, however, who had done as I asked and printed out the pictures and put them in order, hadn't gotten any further.

The rubrics had to be simplified, because the ones I had been given, for the three levels, were too elaborate. Kids need something they can follow.

Wait till they find out they have a rubric for listening. Also complicated and needing a rewrite.

Oh, dear.

Is it working? Well, we'll have to see. Someone else has written the lesson plans; in theory, all I have to do is teach them. But it's not quite working for me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Week 4 - "Being Australian" iMovies - not yet!

Despite all my efforts to get the kids to understand why I want them to collect the photos they need in their Public Share folders for the time being, before attempting to make their iMovies, I had one who insisted on going straight to the iPad, another couple who said they had made a start and there were specific iPads with their pictures on them and others who decided to write their scripts without actually having collected any photos yet. Fortunately, we had one of the iPads that had someone's photos on it - they're not supposed to save them there, but he had done a test run for me when I wanted to see if my instruction sheet was able to be followed. And it was unlikely anyone else would play with the photos, but it would have been safer in the class folder on Public Share.

And the one who insisted that his "being Australian" video would have to be all about beaches. Yes, I told him, beaches are very much a part of Australian life, but - is that all? And how do you go about thinking of sound, smell, taste, feel?

He argued that there was the taste of the salty water, the smells of the sea, the feel of the water, the sound of the waves... I sighed and ended up agreeing, provided that his voice track used all that. It wasn't a dumb thing to say, but I am likely to have to sit down with him and talk him through making the film yet again.

I am glad it's such a small class, because I may have to sit down with all of them when it gets to the point where they have to save their iMovies to Public Share. Some of them got the hang of it when they did the test run, but not all.

Tomorrow I have had to book a computer room because the library is unavailable. If any of them are ready to record their voices, I'll need to send them to a corner where it's quiet.

When I did my annual review the other day and showed my own iMovies as "modelling" and "exemplar work" the Vice Principal said he'd love to see the students' work when it was done. Hopefully there will be something good to show him,at least with some of them!