Archive for August, 2013

Wednesday, 28th August, 2013

180 Blog redux

Last year I ran a 180blog, showing a picture a day and some comments about what was going on in the classroom. When starting up this I wrote a blog about the how and why, and again when it moved another post that discussed the progress and the need to move this as the first platform closed.

Now a new year starts again. I enjoyed this and liked the product of this process last year. This year I am going to go for a couple of changes;

  • Moving again: lots of 180 blogs I have seen have been on wordpress and so I thought that might work. There seemed to be some appropriate and stylish themes for this and that is where other blogs are.
  • I will make use of the ‘publicize’ and tweet updates. Hopefully this can generate some dialog on occasion. On the other hand, I rarely comment on others. This way it should go with others who use the #180blog tag.
  • I will try and improve the pictures. Previously I made use of my ipod touch which was handy, but in the classroom light the images could be pretty fuzzy, so I will try some other ways this time.
  • The text should be a bit more meaty. Quick is good but there should be a thought as well as a fact. Again typing on the touch is handy and not disruptive of the classroom, but composing on the computer should be better.

So, here we go again. Here’s the new address in case you missed it before:

Wednesday, 28th August, 2013

New blogs

It seems like I have an ever increasing collection of blogs. I guess this is an inevitable part of getting used to the medium and finding a format that matches the use.

Something to try at the beginning of this year will be a blog with shared authorship for a course where we have multiple teachers – as opposed to a blog for multiple classes for each teacher. As I think of it, the pros and cons of this would be:


  • It means that many of the common things that we would post – assignment details and deadlines, for example, would only need to be posted once.
  • All the students in the course would receive the same information in the same way at the same time. I think this matters because for the first time the students have the same teacher all year and some may have preferences. This way we give some clear message that there is consistency and communication between classes.
  • There will have to be consistency and communication between the groups – the discipline of a shared platform will mean that we will be encouraged to continuously share our planning.
  • There is a bigger audience and one which spreads beyond each class. If something is up for discussion, then there will be three times as many students who can give opinions.
  • We have more teachers to add different things and we each have our specialties and interests. We can use this to add extensions and contexts for each of our topics.


  • There is the additional challenge of navigating from one blog to the next for each teacher and the danger that things will not go in the same place.
  • It reduces the vertical interaction or awareness that may be prompted by having a blog that includes a range of grades.
  • It may be that all the work falls to one person.
  • It may be harder to reflect the personality of an individual teacher or class. If a teacher or student does not feel ownership of a blog then they are lees likely to contribute.
  • The blog has been described as having a role as a professional portfolio for a teacher. With a shared blog it is less clear as this.

It seems at this point that pros win. I guess also that if this does not end up working for any reason, then it should be a relatively simple task to transfer any stuff that has been done to each teacher’s personal blog and start again.

So the big decision would be the name!

The format is:


I think I will poll colleagues!


Tuesday, 27th August, 2013

A new school year

A new school year is underway so this is a good time to think of where I will be (or may want to be) by the end of the school year. Here are a few thoughts in no particular order;


The courses that are new (9/10 Science) will have been gone through. Hopefully these will be fun and challenging for the students. It would be great to be sure that they are all reflected on and ready for improvement in the next iteration.

For the IBDP course, there is a new one on the horizon and keeping tabs on implementing this will be key towards the end of the year, but there are still two cohorts of students to complete the current model who mustn’t be short changed. With the DP accreditation (not the right term, I know, but I can’t remember the right one) then the documentation of work in this course needs to be reviewed.

I would like to be sure that the Japanese classes I started over the summer continue and that I feel that I am making progress here. Quite apart from the usefulness of the language it is really good to have a non-school priority and to be a learner- this is really something about balance.

In the short term there is a Cousera course I will start next week about the Big Bang and things like that. There are a few reasons for wanting to do this; an update on these topics for my teaching and curiosity, an experience of a MOOC, an interaction with some people from a local university, the possibility of a shared learning experience with colleagues and maybe some students. Should be interesting.

Hockey coaching has always been fun. It seems like numbers are dwindling a bit, so perhaps that is something to be active about in the first half of the year. Some pre-season work for example, and goalie recruitment.


Maybe that’s enough for now.