Friday, September 3, 2010

Study Trip Cont.

A couple more highlights of my self designed and conducted study trip was a visit to The Globe.

As an English teach I had seen the books, the photos and the websites. It was still fantastic to go through it.

We were a couple weeks early for any performances - but merely sitting on the seats and wandering around the place (on a tour) was very inspiring. Well worth the pounds.

We visited Stratford later in the week (WS's birthplace and resting place), and while that was also very interesting - I found the Globe visit more rewarding - great resources in the shop too.

Another must for any English teacher finding themselves in London - is Hampton Court. It has been touristed up, but for any fan of anything Tudorish, it was a great day. It was amazing to see the scale of the place, and the details presented were very engaging. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Europe Study Trip

For a long time I have wanted to visit Europe (who hasn't?), and although I had visited Paris briefly a couple years ago, I had not had a good look at many of the places I have grown up dreaming of.

This resulted in a two week quick trip last April. My wife and I went on a self directed study tour of many places that have significance to what we teach.

The first week was spent in England. The Tower of London was a must, and did not disappoint. My love for Richard III also meant a trip to Bosworth Field.

The Centre there was worth the trip, and I was amazed at the amount of research that has taken place into Richard's final days.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This Blogging Stuff

Okay - I am writing this primarily because of Twitter. My profile links to this blog, and it is kinda embarrassing that I have not updated it for so long.

So a short update:

1. The drafts for the Australian Curriculum have come out - fun times indeed. Overall I like most of it (except perhaps for all the grammar that will scare many of us).

2. My school has gone 1:1 macbooks for Years 7-12. This is a real learning curve for most. And I am talking about the teachers. If I get time (or the impression anyone actually reads this) I will post about that later.

3. I did a self directed study tour of England and Germany. Every day was an English teacher's paradise. It helps that my wife is also and English teacher. Again a post waiting to happen later.

Okay - back to exam writing and checking my tweets. At least there a post from 2010 now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Teacher PD Days

Yesterday I ran a session on Social Media and English teaching. It was largely a intro for many of the people present, but it appeared to be worthwhile.

We covered Twitter, Blogs, Wikis, Facebook and Nings. We finished the session by creating a private Ning for our group of teachers - and overnight I was comforted by the quick use of the site. As the creator, I received emails at different stages over the hours since the session detailing the addition of questions, photos, videos and responses.

In short - Nings are great!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Inspiring Change over Depression

Perhaps it is that last week of a long term talking - but how is one to inspire change in a school where you are battling a large group of 'status quo' adherents. I do not doubt that I am alone in my depression regarding this but it does seem to be an uphill task to change the system to actually encourage real learning as opposed to doing the same old thing.

Okay - depression over, the task ahead includes the following goals:

1. Demonstrate and get teachers involved in social media (explaining Twitter, blogging, Facebook and their uses).
2. Completing and sharing my computer games unit for Year 9 English students.
3. Work with other staff to create a great and rich cross-curricula project for 2010.
4. Ensure our tech heavy English classes are ready to go for all teachers (podcasting, video, animation and game creation all are happening in different years next term!).

Anyone want to give me some advice on these simple tasks?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


My partner and I (also an English teacher - but at another school) decided a couple years ago to try and encourage good creative writing from our classes. One way we have tackled this challenge is to create a short story competition for our system of school's students.

It was fair easier to do than I thought.
1. Create the rules and entry forms.
2. Create a website with a domain.
3. Arrange a good judge and sponsor of CASH!
4. Tell everyone!

This is the third year we are running it, and last year we had over 40 excellent entries from high school students from our schools.

Thanks to James Roy for judging, Avondale College for paying (but staying out of the running of the comp) and please check out our site:

Oh yes - the hardest part in all this was thinking of a memorable name for the competition. I think we did. And no - it means nothing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Creating Powerpoints

My Year 9 English class are a great group of boys who do find English as their best subject. Our current topic is "Prejudice". After looking at a couple of texts, I have set them on a task of creating a Powerpoint explaining their understanding of the concept.

This will be a kind of experiment. This class (as well as all of the Year 9s) will receive laptops next term. I have been a supporter of students being able to multitask - often against the opinion of many others on staff. If this class can create a Powerpoint of some quality here in the computer labs over two periods - with me not stopping their 'going off task' I think it will be a success. I am ready to be found wrong - but after one period - so far, so good.