Sunday 30 December 2012

Well, it has been a long time since I lasted posted, however I have a stack of good excuses. It has been a very busy end of term this year; junior classes increased as we got rid of electives- a good thing in some ways. We all have good intentions for this time of year- once the seniors have gone I am going to... Never happens and I still forget this every year! There has been catch up sessions for staff who need help, students suddenly realising that no netbook means no Facebook over the holidays etc. Plus there are all the other commitments that end up taking over time, and now we are finished for the year.

So, what happened? Well, aside from all of the other stuff, the MITA academy was launched, with the intention of giving the teachers in the Manaiakalani programme the chance to extend themselves and do something innovative during 2013. I applied, as you do, and was accepted after an interview (which I found nerve-wracking for some reason) and my topic of research will be the use of social media in the classroom. My theory is that we as educators tend to go straight for the 'block it' attitude, yet kids communicate more via social media than any other way. Email is very early 21st century! So, why not embrace the technology and use it to our advantage as a means to communicate with the students: wouldn't this increase their buy-in? I already use Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn personally and have started playing with Edmodo in the class, which my students have already indicated they really enjoy using- it looks and feels like Facebook so got instant buy-in. Interestingly, the students without netbooks really felt they were missing out with this site and were sharing netbooks to get access. Cool, and a good start (as mentioned in the last post).

The final couple of weeks of the term were taken up with activities, which being a year 9 tutor meant I was 'forced' to go to Rainbow's End, Waiwera, ice skating and the movies. Hard job, really. Rainbow's End was a rather wet day with the wettest part being just as another teacher and myself got strapped into the Invader. It turned out to be more like the spin cycle of a washing machine as the rain poured onto us as we span around. The rest of the day wasn't that wet; just those 10 minutes...

I stayed off the Fearfall this year, but was able to describe the physics of the rollercoaster to one of our kids (while we were going around...) Waiwera was as lovely as it ever is with very warm weather (sunburnt shoulders- ouch). Many of the teachers got into the water and a whole load of the kids didn't. We went in the hot pool (adults only!), some of the cooler pools, the slides, the lazy river and had a generally good time. When we got out we found out that there had been a tornado through west Auckland, motorways were in disarray and traffic was atrocious. Our coach managed a sliding skid as we had to brake hard, causing the car in front of us to accelerate into the next lane to avoid us hitting him. We were very lucky not to have a serious accident.
The final day was spent at Paradice in Pakuranga, with most of our kids taking to the ice for the first time in their lives, some taking to it more posterially... Then off to the cinema to watch Hotel Paranormal which was a pleasant way to wind down.
Final couple of days were taken up with junior prize-giving and the end of the year clear up, meaning farewells and packing up my four frogs to come home with me over the summer, putting the plants out to get watered by any rain (which there has been a fair bit of so far..) and generally clearing and cleaning. It has been a long year, exasperating at times, very funny at times but finally over. This is going to be my last post until the new academic year as we have much to do over the hols, and guests arriving from England. One thing that will take some of my time though: my CHROMEBOOK has arrived! Yay!