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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wiki Update

One class learning to create wikis today. Huge success. The students were into straight away, with only a couple minor issues with Safari not connecting for a couple kids when logging into the wiki. A couple of refreshes did the trick and they were all onto working out how they would create their class set of notes on King Lear.

I had set up a front page, and one other with the complete text of the play. I demonstrated how to create a new page, how to link to a previous page, how to edit and save, and away they went.

In the remaining 30 minutes of class several pages of useful information were added - and the students agreed that a shared resource of notes rather than working on them alone.

Next class I need them to work on design and structure of the information. Class dynamics, textual analysis and varying work ethic all play very interesting roles in this experience.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


So it is time to try out creating a wiki. I know, I know, I am way behind on this - but trust me - it is new for our school. I have set one up at wikispaces - so much easier than I expected. It will be kept private for now - at least until my students have created a few pages.

The first class to use this will by my Year 11 Advanced class. My thought is that shared thoughts on King Lear makes more sense than individual notes.

Tomorrow they start.