16 March 2013

Update from the sunny south

Coucou Pascale,
Well, I've survived my second week, culminating in a couple of hours at the school fair today, keeping an eye on my form class running a Jelly Fish stall, involving large plastic boxes of lurid coloured jelly in which participants fish for marbles which win them prizes of varying values depending on the colour of the marbles. Actually it was a good opportunity to observe which students get right in there and do their bit and which ones skive off. I'm noting it down for 'managing self', 'relating to others' and 'contributing'. It's a perfect context to make a judgement on that. I was pretty amazed at how onto it some of them were in the planning stages. I just handed over to them and they organised the whole kaboodle.
Definite progress has been made on the name-learning front. I only have a couple of classes to master and I'll feel I have a much better handle on things. It's amazing the difference it made to both my feeling of adequacy and the response of the students, particularly in the most challenging class, Y5 German. They seemed really chuffed that I was able to name them all correctly. It also helped that I had a young German intern with me who's going to be a great asset.
My HOD and I have been continuing to muse on MyPortfolio. I think she's contacted you, hasn't she? It seems we already have an administrator for the school so that's a start. It occurred to me last night, as I was thinking about the most efficient way of sharing a powerpoint I'd made for Year 11, that maybe this would be the perfect entry into MyPortfolio. Instead of putting it on a wiki, or airdropping it laboriously to each student's laptop, or dropboxing it, they could each start a MyPortfolio account and we could do some sharing. They seem keen on the e-portfolio idea. So, my texpert, how do you suggest we proceed.?I've still got MoE as my institution. Is there any necessity for me to change this?

Friday morning we had a brief Skype session with Grazina in Lithuania, checking that all is well in the technical arena for our meeting up with her students in a couple of weeks. My Year 11s were blown away to suddenly be joined by a lovely, friendly teacher speaking to us in French with a Russian accent. I think they'll now be more motivated to get some poetry up their sleeves for sharing on that occasion. The Lithuanians are doing an over-nighter so they can connect with us live. Grazina is a veteran of virtual exchanges. I feel quite comfortable with the fact that it probably won't be on-going. Short projects can possibly provide a much-needed reality shot in the arm and awaken students to the possibilities that are open to language learners these days. I'd be very happy if they are then inspired to do individual or small group exchanges as I think they may be more sustainable than the big ambitious 'projet pédagogique' with clearly defined objectives, although there's probably a place for this too. Certainly the real-time exchange isn't really feasible on a regular basis unless students are doing it independantly, because of the 'décalage horaire'.

How am I coping with the huge change in my life? Psychologically it's fine, at the moment. It's the aging body that tires. I manage it by enjoying my solitude when at home. I'll emerge from my cocoon and be a bit more sociable once I'm settled but right now I need that down time with minimal stimulation. I'm very fortunate to live in such a refreshing physical environment. Here's the view from my terrace today, and in fact from most of the rooms of the house.  You'll just have to imagine the bird song from the Town Belt and the big fat wood pigeons roosting in the magnificent native tree next door. 
^. .^


  1. Coucou Ruth! I am really pleased to read from you. Well congrats on finishing week 2 and on having down huge amounts! I am currently overnighting at my sister in law's in Wellington as there is a myPortfolio all day meeting tomorrow and I have been asked to take part. So the short comment for tonight is: stay put re. MyPortfolio and I will extend on what steps you can take on Tuesday! Rest and relax it is beautiful from your window. I ll be back to you v. shortly count on me! x

  2. You will find this comment at the end of a very busy week. I enjoy very much reading about how you are building a rapport with all students and colleagues at your school.
    It is great to read that myportfolio features in your musings. Indeed it is a well suited space for BYOD schools. First of all ensure that the admin don't create another account for you. You simply need to move your account from MoE to Columba:
    Login>Go to Groups>Institution Membership> Request membership at Columba
    Once approved Go to Groups> Institution Membership> Leave MoE
    You may want to change the email address attached to your account:
    Go to Content> Profile> Contact Information > add email address, save (bottom page)
    Then all your students would need accounts
    Then you would need to organise your students in class groups
    Then we need to talk about what you want to do specifically!
    This is where we do a Google hangout one afternoon to make the first step.
    I have written back to both HoD and Principal at their request. It sounds exciting.
    So look after your account first so that you are not confronted with a serious case of split personality and let me know!


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