Time 4 On Line

Last week I got an email from Krista Swanner, a 4th grade teacher at Oak Grove School in California, who was wanting to know how I put things together in my classroom. Not wanting to spend hours answering her I tried to find my TeacherTube video I made in 2007 for the Time4OnLine Conference and they had changed the web address for it so it took a lot of mucking about to see it so I re-uploaded it to YouTube. The original video has had over 29,000 views which is quite amazing as I haven’t looked at it myself for a year or so and I haven’t aged at all!

The basic organisation of how I worked things has changed a bit but the basics still hold true- IMHO anyway.

QR Codes #5 Book Trailers

I have had a couple of ideas percolating for this week’s QR Code post.

I follow Australian educator Anne Mirtschin with my RSS on her blog and on Twitter. She has been doing some great collaborative work with her students to create and share book trailers.

Georgia, one of her students, created a movie trailer for the Jackie French book, ‘A Rose for the ANZAC Boys.

Georgia has done a fabulous job of it and has embedded the trailer on the Global Storytelling wiki.

My thought would be to put a QR code on the book that would link to the book trailer.

Prospective readers could scan the code, view Georgia’s book trailer and be hooked into reading the book.

It would be fun to make your own movie trailers for favourite books in your own library to view on your iPod Touch or iPad.

QR Codes #4 Text to World Connections

A while ago I was helping a young lad new to New Zealand learn to read. He was really keen to learn but found a lot of new vocabulary challenging.

We were reading ‘Mum at the Fair’ by Jill Eggleton. Central to the plot was Mum’s adventures on a ferris wheel.

Now- describing a ferris wheel to someone who has never seen one before is not nearly as informative as showing someone about it.

Next time I would put a QR code on the book that leads to a YouTube video of someone’s experiences on a ferris wheel.

Before reading the book the child would then have more of an idea of what the book is going to be about and what happens in it.

Editing the Settings on Your iPad

I have two different schools ask me for advice this week about what needs to be done to limit people from downloading apps on their iPads so that children and parents can’t add rubbish games on them. So here comes a blog post to show you how I have advised them.

First of all go to your settings

Then click on GENERAL and then RESTRICTIONS.

You will be prompted to put in a security code. WRITE THIS NUMBER DOWN because you may want to change it and you will need the code to change it at a later date.


While you are there it would be good to change Music and Podcasts to CLEAN. Then push the HOME button and you are done. Children will no longer be able to accidentally delete app and time wasting apps can’t be added.

I can highly recommend Adam Brice’s presentation on further settings that you may like to explore.

QR Code Idea #3 Linking your QR code to your school prospectus

We all know that prospective parents wander round the school for a peek in the windows in the weekend. I know because they have sometimes startled me as I do my weekend catch up!

This week’s idea is to link to your school school’s prospectus or information pack. Laminate the QR code and stick it on the school sign. If you were keen you could use http://snap.vu/ to create the QR code which will send you an email every time someone scans your code so you would have an idea how many times your QR code is being viewed.

QR Codes #2

OK next idea is to put QR codes on some books to link to added content or multimedia. As a test run I found a YouTube video on Jo Fothergill’s Facebook page that was an interpretation of Craig Smith‘s ‘The Wonkey Donkey’ Book which also has an iPad eBook option. For overseas readers you should know The Wonky Donkey won the 2009 NZ Children’s Choice Book Awards.


To make a QR code for it I went Google’s URL shortner http://goo.gl/ and copied and pasted the URL into it. As long as you are signed in to Google you will see details. Click on it.

For some reason it shoots you to the bottom of a page. Scroll up and you will see the QR code. As easy as that.

Print that code off and stick it on the book cover. Easy as!

I will do a few more for next week’s QR code exploration. Yay- the QR Code even works from this photo of the book.

QR Code Introduction

Today in class I introduced my class of Year Fours to QR codes.

I had used http://www.classtools.net/QR/create.php to create the codes in the first place. It prints off the QR Codes and questions for you in one click. I confused myself a little with the trail as I put them out so next time I would be careful to number the codes on the back because they all look the same. I checked that the trail was working at morning tea while I was on duty to make sure that I had got it right.

I talked with the class about what a QR code was and how they may be useful. They recognised them from a recent ad in the paper from a Fudge Company opening where if you scanned the code you got a free cupcake. I was surprised how many had noticed it and wondered more about it.

I showed them how to scan a code and then set the task of following a treasure trail, being timed as they go.

I used http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/qr-reader-for-iphone/id368494609?mt=8 to scan the codes.

Each QR code site required the children to take a photo as proof that they had got to the correct waypoint along the way. They already knew how to take photos with my iPod Touch so that part of things was simple. One bright spark suggested that all they had to do was look in the photos app on the iPod Touch to see where the previous group had gone to know where the treasure code was!!! We discussed how this would spoil the fun so garnered an agreement that this wouldn’t be fair.

I then set the children off, three at a time to follow the trail with me timing them with my iPhone. The groups then thundered around the school grounds following the trail. They really enjoyed the activity, being outside, problem solving, working co-operatively, taking photos, being timed and generally enjoying themselves.

When the whole class had completed the activity we had a debrief, did a little shared writing on our class blog and an announced of the winning team! All good fun.


My next step is to think of something using QR Codes that has a little more educational rigour to it.

Home School Partnership #1 – Homework

One of the major goals for our cluster over the next year is to foster home school partnerships and I have been being doing a good bit of thinking about how we might approach this.

Tonight on Twitter there was a conversation around Ian Lillico’s homework grid concept and  Claire Buist asked if I had any good examples of how I use Ian’s ideas.

I started off by writing a Google Doc that I was going to share with Claire but thought it might be better as a blog post. So here it is…
I used to do the traditional ‘fill in the gaps’ homework but became a convert to the Lillico homework grid idea which lets children create together with their parents at a pace that suits them. Those who want to spend hours following up on a project can. Those who aren’t so keen need not go into it in as much depth. It allows freedom and creativity to thrive.

Once you ‘get’ the concept of co-constructing homework you can easily adapt it to suit your situation.

Here is a blog post I wrote last year about what I do.


Ian Lillico’s website can be found http://www.boysforward.com.au/

I also shared some of our homework philosophy in my last year’s K12 On Line Conference Keynote


First of all we start with a brainstorm around the ideas of things we could do based around a theme.

1. This is a brainstorm about the sorts of things we could do for Home Work


2. One of the things we decided on was tidying our bedrooms. The kids took before and after photos.



3. We had a music week


This led to Miriam sharing her incredible voice with us. Would never have happened if our homework was confined to ‘filling the gaps’ stuff!


5. This is our physical activity brainstorm.


6. Reading


7. ICT


One of the tasks was to send an MMS


And to share a Google Doc/presentation with me


8. Making


9. In this one I was sick at home but podcasted what we had to do for homework.


10. Here is what the homework grids looks like for us



11. Here is some feedback about what people feel about the homework. If parents left a comment then the kids didn’t have to do the homework next week! A good number left a comment!!!!


12. Kids loved doing their homework and even took it away on fishing trips!! Overdoing it slightly!!


13. And not particularly to do with the homework grid but the children used the side bar of the blog to get their spelling lists and individual spelling practice through Spelling City and used our Basic Facts wiki to learn their basic facts with downloads and hyperlinks to worksheets and Digital Learning Objects for their level of attainment.



Why Blog?

Why blog?

There are a lot of great reasons why teachers need to have a blog or wikispace but it was brought home to me this week of the most basic reason of why even the least internet savy needs to have a blog or wikispace.

Children need a generic place from which go to web spaces for learning without typing an impossibly long web address.

Imagine trying to have people to go to this web address without it being hyperlinked somewhere


I would defy anyone to type that and get it right. You could use a URL shortner like http://goo.gl/ or http://tinyurl.com/ but even then typing http://goo.gl/S80J3 and getting it right first time will be problematic for kids.

So here is a scenario!

A teacher has been told about a great website that they want to direct their class to like Spelling List Five of Spell-Write. The teacher has entered the spelling words into the website and saved the list.

The web address (URL) for it is http://www.spellingcity.com/view-spelling-list.html?listId=1914671

How are the children going to get there? The teacher could shorten it with http://goo.gl/xXOyP but typing even that will be time consuming with possibilities of typing it incorrectly and ending up somewhere where you didn’t want to go or having to start all over again.

If the teacher has a web presence that is the Home Page on the computer in their classroom all the children have to do is open up their web browser and there is the named link on the blog or wikispace. Even if you are out and about you can still find your resource if it is linked to the blog.

For a couple of examples look down the side bar of our class blog  http://moturoa.blogspot.com/ for reading and maths links.

If you want to know how to do this in Blogger here is a ‘how to’ on how to do it.


And this time I’ll hyperlink it so you can see how easier it is to find with a hyperlink.