Technology Learning Coach – One Year On #1 Reflection

Technology Learning Coach – One Year On #1 Reflection

One of my many favourite sessions with Grade 5 bloggers has to be our Beginning Blogging Sessions.  When classroom teachers decide that they want to blog (individual blogs) with their students, they can book me for 4-6 getting-started sessions.  These sessions go hand-in-hand with our Digital Literacy Unit for the start of the year.

Our Guiding Question:   What makes a quality post?


We used the “noisy round-robin” techniques to get all our ideas down on paper.

Noisy Round Robin Technique:
In groups of 4, brainstorm ideas for 1-2 minutes then pass your sheet of paper to the next table.
Rule 1: 1 person to read all responses to rest of group
Rule 2: Add more ideas/responses to the new sheet but DO NOT repeat what you have already added to the previous sheet/s.  Repeat process 3-6 times.  Groups then decide on top 2-4 ideas on their sheet.


One person from each group reported back the top idea from the chart.  No repeats are allowed, so students had to listen to each other.  Everyone had to agree that the idea belonged on the master list of what makes a quality post?


Here’s what I was hoping they would come up with:

Make sure your work is the best it can be;

Think before you post: Make sure what you write is appropriate to put online;

Always tell the truth on your posts;

Say what you mean, and mean what you say;

Online work is NOT private. Never say anything on a blog that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the school bulletin board, or in the local newspaper;

Get descriptive in your title. The title helps your audience decide if they want to read your post or not;

Try to link to other ideas or resources that back up the point you are trying to get across or further explain or enhance your content;

Is your post learning related?

Make your writing physically attractive. Add a supportive image, use bullets and paragraphs appropriately;

Give credit in your works cited list to anyone whose work you use. Never use other people’s work and call it your own. In other words, don’t cut, copy, or plagiarize Internet content!

Share your knowledge with others; when you learn something new, pass it along to someone else who can benefit;

Carefully proofread your online work before you post, just like you would a regular letter. Use good form, spelling and grammar;

Capital letters are regarded as “SHOUTING.” Be careful with them;

Don’t publicly criticise (or “flame”) others. Don’t be offensive, and don’t ever use bad language.

Here’s what they came up with:

Final List for “What Makes a Quality Blog Post”:

Don’t offend people (no swear words, insults, racist comments, and no discrimination).

Add images, videos, and captions if necessary or if it is related to your writing.

Be thoughtful when posting. Start with a good idea.

Check your punctuation spelling and grammar! (Capital letters= shouting, so only use it when it is needed).

Keep your personal information PRIVATE!

Make your reader (audience) feel like you are talking to them.

Always have a title. And be sure to make your title a hook.

Final Thoughts

What I’ve noticed is that when students help construct a list, they are more likely to understand the foundations of a good quality post – more so that just brainstorming a list together as a class.  It gives the teacher more of an idea of what the students are thinking about blogging already.

The “noisy round robin” technique is certainly that – noisy!  But I like it and I’m pretty sure the students do too.  Everyone has a voice, everyone can contribute and from others’ ideas grow more ideas!

Technology & Learning Coach – Reflection #1

Over the next few weeks I’ll be reflecting on my first year as ES Technology & Learning Coach for the International School of Bangkok.  It’s my first year out of the classroom after 14 wonderful years as a teacher of Year 2/3, then Year 7, and off course, two years as a Grade 5 teacher at ISB.

Ten Online Tools to Kick Start the Year

Loved this session – I think it’s the oooohs & the ahhhhhhs that teachers let out when they “dabble” a little with the tools.

LiveBinders was perfect for introducing 9 other fabulous tools to use in the classroom – not just at the start of the year, but all year long.  Please, feel free to add your ideas to the side text boxes if you’re using these simple tools in the classroom too.

I loved the format of our session, so I thought I’d share that with you too:

Featured LiveBinders
  • Share the LiveBinders link:
  • Search for teachingsagittarian in public binders
  • Begin with Tab #10 (LiveBinders of course)
  • Show sign-up, a few features like edit menu, text layout – set the timer for 7 minutes and have sand-pit (dabble) time
  • When the timer goes, you have to share something you discovered when playing around with the tool, with the person sitting next to you (3 minutes)
  • Repeat with next tool – Tab #1 – #9

This is a really good way to minimize the “teacher is the expert” thinking or expectation in your classroom.  I always “dabble” a little before I introduce any new tool to my students – but I let them “discover” things too.  Almost every time I do this, someone discovers something else I didn’t know about the tool – it’s very empowering for students to discover something the teacher doesn’t know!  I love it! And in less than 20 minutes most of the students in your class have a fair idea of how that tool works!  Sometimes I’ll ask for 4-6 volunteers to show small group something they’ve learned to do – then we’ll do a round robin of discovery – it takes a bit to organise, but worth the effort too.

So, here it is – The LiveBinder “10 Online Tools to Kick Start the Year (click the images or the link)

10 Online Tools to Kick Start the Year
Uploaded with Skitch!

Hope you find it useful!  What are your favourite online tools?

Another FlickrCC Search Tool

The fabulous Mr U, (aka: Jeff Utecht) showed me this FlickrCC search tool after our meeting the other day.


Click on the image you like the look of, and this screen appears next:

A flickr CC search toy

As a presenter, the stamp option is fabulous!! Check out what it does below!

stamp.php (500մ61)

I do wish this site did have a safe-search option ……… I’d love to introduce it to our students, but for now, I think we will stick with Compfight as it allows us to have a Safe-Search on, which makes it appropriate for use at school.

You can find out more about what we’ve been discussing with our students about Creative Commons & using Compfight over at our “model blog” for student blogging.

What conversations are you having at your school with students about the use of images in our work?

Help! My Meta-Widget has Disappeared!

A lot of students have been changing their theme this year only to discover that the meta widget (the little widget that helps you log in) has “disappeared!” Well the good news is, it hasn’t actually disappeared and there is a way to get it back.

First, you need to know:
Each theme comes with it’s default widgets – that means all themes start off with certain widgets automatically when you switch to a different theme. Sometimes the default widgets do NOT include a meta widget.

If your meta widget has “disappeared”:

  • Type the url of your blog into the address bar: (I’ll use my URL as an example)
  • Add /wp-admin to the end of the url so it now looks like this:
  • Click enter/return

You should now be able to log into the backend of your blog.

  • Go to Appearance, then widgets
  • Find the Meta widget and drag it back onto the sidebar
  • Remember to click save

You should be able to see the Meta widget on the frontend of your blog again! See? I told it was easy!


Learning to Hyperlink

Sometimes we can’t embed the digital products we make.  That’s when knowing how to hyperlink comes in handy.  Hyperlinking means that we can type some words to click on that will take us to another website.

Today we learned how to hyperlink to a special “educreations” PE reflection made back in October during PE class.

Here’s the steps for the “passengers” who weren’t “driving” the laptops today:

Step 1:
Log into Educreations (if you click on the educreations word – it’s hyperlinked to go there!)
Login:    Password:  remember it!

Step 2:
Find YOUR PE reflection and click on it

Step 3:
Copy the URL of your PE reflection

Step 4:
Log into the backend of your blog – create a new post

Step 5:
Type the words that you want to hyperlink (see example below) then highlight those words
Click here to see my improved Volleyball skills

Step 6:
Click the button that has a chain link on it and paste the URL of the PE reflection, then click Add Link

The colour of your words should change to a bluish/purple!  Remember to click the category PE for this post.

Leave me a comment on this post if you have any trouble!