Thursday, 11 October 2012

Reflection on Three Terms in Room 27

Room 27 in the education room at the Auckland Zoo. Learning about what the zoo is doing to help save kiwi
Room 27 in the education room at Auckland Zoo.
Well I have spent three terms in Room 27 with 32 vibrant students. Throughout the year we've had 5 Korean and Japanese students visit for varying periods of time which was a pleasure.

Our fertile question is "Can One Person Make A Difference?"

In term one we learned about poverty around the world and the effects of this, such as child labour. We learned about how people like Harriet Lamb are making a difference to the lives of many around the world through Fair Trade and how by supporting Fair Trade and sharing our knowledge with others we can make a difference.

In term two we studied famous people, past and present who have made a positive difference to others around the world.

Close Encounter with the giraffe at Auckland Zoo
Close encounter with the giraffe at Auckland Zoo
In term three we investigated environmental issues leading to the endangerment of many species of animals around the world. We studied endangered animals and ways we can help them. After researching the needs to an animal, its habitat, diet etc students designed zoo enclosures. Our trip to Auckland Zoo also helped us with this task.

And what does term four hold? What will our rich task be? We don't know yet. We want the kids to decide. Our next step is to do something ourselves to make a difference in the lives of others. So watch this space to find out where our journey takes us in term four.

Monday, 28 November 2011


Reuben's Band
I really have been slack at keeping this blog updated. So anyway our movies were fantastic and we showcased them to parents at our Odyssey night. Our Odyssey night was a fantastic!
Since then the movies have been shown to new students to Somerville and even to parents who attended an information evening run by Mr Cook at the beginning of the year. I got some wonderfully positive feedback about our movies so well done kids.
Room 16 was one of the best classes I've ever taught and we had loads of wonderful times.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Room 16's Movies

We showed 4/5 of our movies at assembly on Friday. Judging by the audience reaction I’d say they enjoyed them. I’ve had lots of feedback from teachers that has also been very positive. 
One group set up accounts on Mooshi Monsters and using Quicktime recorded the interactions between their two accounts. They wanted to set up a fake interaction where two children would ask and answer personal questions. The children found that both Mooshi Monsters and Club Penguin would not allow personal questions to be asked. One student was even banned for a week for asking too many. So then they created accounts on a site called War Bears, which is similar to the others, but with less monitoring and safety. They set up two avatars, and asked and answered questions like name, age, school etc.... The problem they encountered was other avatars on the screen who were being controlled by children around the world, who would respond and interrupt their conversations. At one stage they spoke up with comments like, “stranger danger”, “Paedophile”, and “go away.” We thought it was great that children seemed to have some understanding of the dangers of these online games. To make their point at the end of the movie they introduce the viewer to Katie, does not turn out to be who she claimed. We are all very grateful to Mr lines our awesome graphics and designs teacher. He really helped to make this movie such a success. I think this group did a great job and I especially like the music they chose. They worked well together, had some creative ideas and had a great deal of fun.
The second group also worked well together and finished their movie a lot faster than the others. Their movie is all about avoiding scams and not giving personal details. They’ve gone with the Star Wars theme and have titled their movie Scam Wars. I think there is some very good acting in this movie. Lots of expression and some humour. 
The next group looked at social media. Ruby turns 13 and her parents help her set up her first Facebook account safely. Using Quicktime they recorded and explained how to best set up privacy settings and provide tips about how to use social media safely and responsibly. This movie had great editing and appears very professional. 
And the final group created two movies. Their topic was Cyber Bullying. Their first movie is titled, “It’s Not OK”. They got the idea from the ads on domestic violence. I love this video, short, sweet, and to the point. They’ve used some really creative camera angles. In one scene a student walks towards the camera while reading his line. This looks great. 
Several students in this group have been victims of some serious cyber bullying, which is why I chose them. In their second movie some of them tell their stories. I think it will be powerful for other students to hear this. In some scenes they have hidden their faces and told stories from the bullies point of view. While these students weren’t the bullies the stories are based on true events that have happened to other students they know. 
We hope to get all these videos onto DVD and the students are going to prepare resources to go with them (teacher notes and questions, worksheets for students etc). We hope that we’ve created a resource for future students to learn how to stay safe online. This is our rich task to end our Authenic Learning Journey.
Hopefully I will get the videos on my blog soon.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Room 16 2011 Cyber Safety

Written on Sunday 11th September, 2011.

This year our syndicate has been looking at problems. Term one - disasters, Term two - fair trade and this term in discussion with the students we chose cyber safety as a problem that effects them. Already this term alone we have had a variety of cyber safety issues that children have encounted, evidence that it is a topic they need to learn about. 
We started off with a homework task of researching the Tree Octopus. I had some wonderful assignments handed in with great detail about how the Tree Octopus is endangered as fashionist like to wear them as hats, and about how their biggest predator is the Big Foot.  They fell for the fake website proving the children are far too gullible when it comes to believing everything they read on the internet. It also highlighted the need to use more than one source when researching a topic. We looked into other fake websites too and also spoke about how bias can effect what you’re reading.
Currently Room 16 has been split into four groups and each group is investigating a different issue. (cyber bullying, scams, social networking and the final group is focusing on tips for parents and young children, particularly with internet games like club penguin and mooshi monsters). Each group is making a movie which we hope to show at assembly this week. Then each group will create resources to support their movie. 
One group looking at cyber safety has decided to investigate how to best set up a facebook account. This is a controversial topic as not all children in the class are 13 years old and therefore should not legally be on Facebook. However the problem is that whether we like it or not half the class are on Facebook, and with parent consent. Many children are starting Facebook at primary school. So whose job is it to teach these children to use social media responsibly and safely? In my opinion we can’t follow them home and stop them from using it so best to teach them the risks of using social media and how to use it responsibly. We are encouraging them to set up their accounts so only friends can see their photos and information, to only become friends with people they are actually ‘friends’ with in real life, to not post any photos or words that may effect them or others in a negative way, now or in the distant future. We also hope they will understand that whatever they put on any social media can never be guaranteed private. Also we hope that the cyber bullying group will convey messages to other about ensuring you do not become a cyber bully and to seek help if you ever become a victim.
The biggest challenge for me is monitoring each group to ensure they are using their time effectively, sharing tasks equally and producing quality outcomes. At the end of each session the group must record ‘minutes’, a write up about what they achieved in the block and next steps explaining what they plan to do next block. A goal is to get google docs set up so we can keep our group diaries online. 
We have encountered a few technical problems along the way, however generally I am impressed with what most groups are coming up with. They are showing a lot of creativity in their movies and one group have obvious strength in their editing skills. A lot of work yet to be done, but keep watching this space as we hope to share our movies with you soon.