Latest teaching and learning ideas

The Latest in Tech, Tools and Toys for Teachers.  Lesson Plans, Classroom resources and ideas for busy teachers.  iPad Apps and Android Apps for teachers and students.

Bebras Australia Computational Thinking Challenge

The next round of the BEBRAS Australia computational thinking challenge is occurring over the following weeks for teachers and students from years 3 - 12.

This is similar to challenges such as the Math's Olympiad but is more focused on general problem solving and use of logic. It is completely free and offers amazing data and analytics for students and teachers who are participating.

Above all else Bebras offers highly engaging resources and teaching and learning opportunities which are globally recognised as key components of a 21st century curriculum.

I can't recommend this enough for all teachers and am confident it will become a regular event on your school calendar.

http://www.bebras.edu.au/

Seven simple poetry styles your students will love

Poetry is one of the few styles of writing which openly encourages students to let go of their emotions and share them with others.

This is not an easy thing for students to do and can the process can be made even more difficult if we expect them to write deep and meaningful styles of poetry such as ballads and free verse without developing an appreciation and understanding of poetry through fun and simple structure.

These eight styles of poetry are a great entry point for teachers and students to approach poetry with confidence yet still allow for creativity and emotion to be part of the writing process.

Each style contains a clear structure you can teach your students by following the instructions, alongside diagrams and the highly recommended audio recordings by our resident voice actor Alan Munro.  Just click the audio button for each style.

These poems come from a collection of 19 styles of poetry from Innovative Teaching Ideas which include 44 pages of templates, rubrics and more for all major styles of poetry.

Clerihew

A Clerihew is a light hearted poem consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme of AABB.

A clerihew usually deals with a person or character within the first line.

Clerihews have frequently been used to mock famous people such as politicians and celebrities.

As a class start with a familiar character such as Harry Potter and compare efforts.

 

The Epitaph

An epitaph is a brief poem inscribed on a tombstone praising a deceased person, usually with rhyming lines.

Epitaph’s are usually written in a light hearted manner but they can be serious if need be.

Epitaphs have a simple rhyming pattern of AABB

Epitaphs can be used to teach us a lesson for example why we shouldn’t eat candy too often.

 

Irish Limerick

A Limerick is a rhyming humorous or nonsense poem of five lines.

It has a rhyming pattern of AABBA

Lines 1, 2 & 5 should contain 7 – 10 syllables

Lines 3 & 4 should have 5 – 7 syllables

Limericks frequently start with “there once was a…”

 

Palindrome

A palindrome or shadow poem reads  identical both forwards or backwards.

You must use the same words in the first half of the poem as the second half

Reverse the order for the second half

Use a well considered word in the middle line as a bridge from the first half to the second half of the poem

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Shape and Concrete Poetry

Poetry takes on many forms.  An artistic expression is for your poem to adopt the shape of its subject.

Shape poems are either an outline or fill the space within an outline.  Poetry within a space is also known as concrete poetry.

Any style of poetry or writing can be applied.

Start with an easy shape and change your text size for best fit.

 

Diamante

A Diamante is a seven-lined contrast poem laid out in a diamond shape.   It is highly structured and simple to understand.

Line 1: Noun or subject

Line 2: Two Adjectives

Line 3: Three -ing words

Line 4: Four words about the subject

Line 5: Three -ing words

Line 6: Two adjectives

Line 7: Synonym/antonym for the subject

 

Monorhyme

Monorhyme is a poem in  which the end of all lines rhyme.

There are no rules as to how long or short a monorhyme should be.  Stanzas are not used in monorhyme poetry.

This is a great starting point for developing rhyming skills.

Words ending in Air, Ate, it, Ing &Oh have many rhyming words.

 

I hope you find these styles of poetry useful with your students and remember to check out the entire collection of 19 styles of poetry here.

 

How Apple's new Classroom App will change the way teachers and students use their iPad's

Today's Apple iOS 9.3 comes with some minor updates for personal users that will obviously make the use of their iPhone and iPad more worthwhile.

One thing Apple did not make such a big song and dance about at today's event was the introduction of their new Classroom App.  

In my eyes this was the biggest news of all as it offers a completely new manner in which teachers and students use iPad's in the classroom.

Apple have clearly taken a leaf out of Google's Chrome for Education play book here in allowing teachers and schools to manage their devices in a logical manner, connect apps and students together to make learning on the iPad a far more collaborative experience.  Some of the new features include.

  • For the first time classroom teachers can assign shared iPad's in a logical manner which will keep a profile of settings and documents etc.
  • Assign and manage tasks from a central hub ( Similar to Google Classroom. )
  • Teachers can instantly force all iPad's in their classroom  to launch an app of their choice with just a tap.
  • Alternately they can lock students out with just a tap to regain focus on them.
  • Teachers can tap into a student's individual screen to monitor workflow.
  • Teachers can group students quickly based on iPad apps and student profiles.
  • Airplay functionality has been over hauled to enhance the way in which teachers and students share information across their Apple TV unit in the classroom.

Full details can found here but this is quite simply the biggest update schools have seen in the education scene from Apple since the iPad was released.

Whether or not this is enough to slow down Google's recent domination of the education market with Chromebook's is yet to be seen but it is a clear step in the right direction from Apple who almost had the education market cornered in the first few years of the release of the iPad.

Please note that you must upgrade your iPad's to iOS 9.3 for Apple Classroom to be installed.

I would love to hear your experiences of Apple's new classroom App