The Conservation Week resources provided by the Department of Conservation are a fantastic way to help students celebrate and enjoy nature, especially during lockdown!
Conservation Week: Get involved (doc.govt.nz)
I used these to help me create a virtual classroom for my students, with each Bitmoji linking to a different activity. You can do this in PowerPoint, Slides or Canva. So many options!
I've also created a fun set of BINGO cards to encourage students to learn outside. Feel free to use and share them!
Let's get creative in the kitchen! Making rock candy is super simple and requires only a few ingredients that you can find in your pantry. Let's get started!
Let's make rock candy together!
Here's a couple of quick lessons to help your students explore the key STEM pillars from home during lockdown.
During this period of remote learning, I have been working with Nature's Kai to formulate a series of lessons for students to explore te moana. We have even had Steve Hathaway from Young Ocean Explorers feature as an amazing guest in our orca lesson. Check out our series of seven sea lessons over on Nature's Kai Facebook and Instagram pages.
I have recorded a tutorial on how students can use the Micro:bit website to program a virtual Micro:bit online. It is an introductory lesson, suited to Year 3 upwards or classes with no experience using the Micro:bit. Students can use Microsoft MakeCode for micro:bit (microbit.org) to create their code.
Looking for an unplugged activity to support computational thinking at home? Check out this unplugged lesson - Toybots. Students can use simple directional code to 'program' their toys to find home. During this period of remote learning, students can use chalk grids outside, pencil grids on paper or even the kitchen tiles to complete this task.
With the quick switch to online learning, I have recorded a short tutorial on how you can record your video lessons using Google Meet. The benefits of using this method include:
In order to plan and teach an engaging lesson exploring AI and machine learning at the junior primary level, I would usually seek to draw on the knowledge of an outside expert. However, today I taught one of the most engaging and exciting lessons utilising the tools and lessons contained within code.org, leaving students with a sound understanding of how machine learning can be used to solve real world problems.
With the components of STEM as the central pillars of the lesson, I was keen to find a way that students could understand how technology can help us solve real world problems, within the inquiry context of ocean pollution.
The AI for Oceans resource from Code.org is so much more than coding. Not only does it teach students about machine learning and AI, it also explores the ethical implications of these.
The first activities in the lesson require students to teach their AI bot what is classed as a 'fish' and 'not a fish'. The more data the students give their bot, the more accurate it is. Excitement levels were high as students eagerly watched their machine classify each object, with a few squeals and objections as fish were placed into the trash pile! Back to training they went!
As the lesson progresses students are asked to teach their machine how to classify their fish based on adjectives - happy, awesome, wild etc. This is a great activity to explore perspective as students quickly come to realise that this isn't such as easy task. With half the class labelling one fish 'happy' due to it's smirk and the other class refuting this, it quickly opens the door to deeper conversations!
I highly recommend checking this resource out if you are looking to teach machine learning to your students or are after a resource to support the exploration of ocean pollution.
A common question I get asked by teachers who are starting to delve into the limitless potential of OneNote is, 'How can I make my OneNote pages look pretty?!'
Let's start with a few inbuilt features that can help style your OneNote pages for fun and engaging lessons:
Page Colour - under the 'View' tab, select page colour and choose a colour to bring your page alive. In addition to the colours, you can also choose lined or grid paper to use.
Stickers - under the 'Insert' tab you can select different stickers to add to the page. The stickers that have a pencil icon in the corner are editable. One way to make instructions look interesting, is to add them as text into the sticker.
Images - Another way to make the pages more vibrant is to 'Insert' Pictures from online or your desktop. A good tip to stop images moving around when on the OneNote page is to right-click on the image and select 'Set picture as background'.
Bitmoji - Everyone loves a Bitmoji! A great way to personalise your OneNote pages and make your lessons come alive is to use your Bitmoji as a sticker in OneNote. An easy way to do this is to install the Bitmoji extension on your Chrome Browser and sign in with your Bitmoji account. Once the extension is installed, you will be able to search for Bitmoji and copy and paste the images onto your OneNote page. If you are printing PowerPoints or PDFs to the OneNote page, a good tip is to set the PowerPoint/PDF as a background by right-clicking on the document and choosing 'Set image as background'. You can then place you Bitmoji image on top of the document.
Enjoy making your pages look pretty!
We recommend adding educators to fewer, better organized teams vs. a team for every school initiative to model best practices from the beginning.
- Microsoft Teams for Education
The beginning of the new school year means setting up our online learning spaces for our students to create, collaborate and share. When it comes to creating your Class and Staff teams for 2021, it is important to think about the structure of your online spaces. When using Microsoft Teams, it is generally recommended that you have less Teams and more Channels to organise your content.
Check out this blog post by Microsoft on best practice Teams set up for school leaders. This is a great blog post to help you plan for: