Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with a group of teachers who are exploring an action research project for 2011. The idea is for them to work with two Year 7 classes within Team Small Groups (TSG) – each class will have the same teacher for two subjects (ie English/Sose and PE/Health and Maths/Science). The timetable will also hopefully have the two classes ‘blocked’ together so that some of the time can be spent within our Open Learning Centre (OLC) shared classroom. The project is looking at a ‘differentiated curriculum’ for Year 7 students and incorporates a trial of netbooks for use by each student throughout the day (we are not a laptop school). The theme is based on a ‘journey’ in which students gain ‘visa stamps’ in their ‘passports’ as they complete set tasks within the curriculum and incorporate the use of a variety of Web2.0 tools. The project is still being ‘tweaked’ but we have been given the ‘all clear for takeoff’ from our Principal and are ready for our ‘simulation flight launch’ next week!
My role so far has been to put together a Design Space within the Ultranet for our group to share ideas and resources, blog about our ‘travels’, send out ‘postcards’ of our memorable moments, and generally put to use all the great ideas and knowledge that I gained on completing the SLAV PLN earlier this year. Wow, what an opportunity to get another group of people on board! I’ll also be looking after the reading program aspect together with the English teachers.
I’ve spent quite alot of time of the past couple of weeks (and my ironing basket is overflowing) putting together the Ultranet Design Space for staff. I’ll blow my own trumpet here by saying it’s all been through trial and error with some handy tips and training from a great friend (thanks Rhonda). Non-teaching staff here have not had any formal training as such which has been quite frustrating and I’ve also discovered that I’m not able to access the Learning Tasks area either, another frustration to contend with. Anyway back to the Design Space – it’s based around the theme of travel with the ‘Landing Page’ (Home), ‘Embassies’ (Subject areas), ‘Luggage’ (Web2.0 tools), ‘Flight Crew’ (Staff), ‘Passengers’ (Students),’Travel Diary’ (Blog), etc. A similar space will be set-up for students within the Learning Tasks area (hopefully someone will give me access before then). I have incorporated alot of the tools that we learnt about in the PLN on the pages and hopefully given the teachers an idea of how they too can use them in the classroom with their students.
On Wednesday we are having a ‘Simulation Flight at 15.15hrs’ with our ‘Captain’ (Principal) the first passenger and yes the classroom is being set-up with aisle seats, tea trolley, and ‘in-flight’ entertainment – so wish us luck as we launch ‘Portia’s Passport Flight 7/11’!