22 May 2010

KidRex - Safe searching for Kids

This afternoon I came across a link to KidRex.org. It's a website designed for kids, by kids! Its a customised Google search engine that promotes safe searching for young children. I thought I would give the search engine a go to see if it really was safe! I typed in a range of search words including popular shows for kids and common phrases and was impressed with the search results. Most of the results were official sites, lend themselves to being child friendly or educational.

When I typed in some inappropriate words, this is the message I received. There were a few searches that fielded Google Ads - many of them not overly explicit but inappropriate. I have emailed KidRex.org to let them know about this, so hopefully as time goes by some of these bugs can be ironed out. However, overall I think this site and search function has potential.

16 May 2010

Book Scavenger Hunt with Manukau Libraries.

My children and I enjoyed a great day out with Manukau Libraries. Thank you for hosting The Great Garden Scavenger Hunt at Botanical Gardens yesterday. We've never participated in such an event but we totally enjoyed the day out. It was great fun for our oldest son (10 years) right through to our youngest (4 years). Although, our youngest got pretty tired towards the end.

We started the Scavenger Hunt with a registration form each. On the registration map were clues in the form of stars on a map that lead us around the gardens finding book characters, once we found a character the task was to match up the character with a book and a fact about the book. All together there were 10 characters ranging from fiction to non-fiction. See below some of the characters we found. The kids were pretty pleased with themselves for finding all of the clues and the characters. Watch this space for a link to Lee's post about the event.

The Pig from Piggity Wiggity Jiggity Jig written by Diana Nield.

The boy from The boy with green hair by D.R. Evans

11 May 2010

I Can Animate

I have a 10-year old son. He has the attention span of a fly (usually). He's incredibly creative, inquisitive and articulate and is awesome with ICT. This afternoon we asked him to teach his younger brother and sisters how to create an animation. All four of them set out on their first animation creation. They watched this several times on completion and when asked what things they might like to improve on here is what they came up with:

*No hands
*Too many shadows
*Stay in one place

Watch this space for more animations over the coming months.

NB: Excuse the storyline. We don't condone violence in our family but when you see children engaged (all 4 of our kids spent at least 2 hours exploring I Can Animate this afternoon) you kind of have to roll with it. See for yourself :)

Teacher Dimensions to be replaced by Teacher Criteria

The Satisfactory Teacher Dimensions will be phased out in 2010 and replaced by Registered Teacher Criteria. The Registered Teacher Criteria (pdf) will be mandate from 2011. While I can't see any significant changes in terms of overarching principles, there does seem to be a simplification process carried out (not nearly as many indicators in the criteria as there were in the dimensions). The criteria is certainly open to interpretation in terms of how these are met by individuals but it's great that the strength of the requirements still remains.

Overarching statements

1. Teachers play a critical role in enabling the educational achievement of all ākonga/learners.

2. The Treaty of Waitangi extends equal status and rights to Māori and Pākehā. Thisplaces a particular responsibility on all teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand to promoteequitable learning outcomes.

3. In an increasingly multi-cultural Aotearoa New Zealand, teachers need to be aware of and respect the languages, heritages and cultures of all ākonga.

4. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the Code of Ethics / Ngā Tikanga Matatika commits registered teachers to the highest standards of professional service in promoting the learning of those they teach.

Towards Full Registration Booklet

There will be workshops around the country delivered from May to September 2010 to support professional leaders with the Registered Criteria. Visit the Registered Criteria section on the Teachers Council website to find out more.

Post by Naketa Ikihele

10 May 2010

Latest COI Reports online

Wadestown Kindergarten, Botany Downs Kindergarten and Kidsfirst Kindergartens Bush Street have recently published their Centre of Innovation action research reports. These are available for download from Education Counts. I'm looking forward to reading these comprehensive reports. Watch this space for future reflections and commentary.

Reports can be found here:

A curriculum Whāriki of Multimodal literacies - Wadestown Kindergarten (April 2010).

Inclusion at Botany Downs Kindergarten - Botany Downs Kindergarten (April 2010).

Central character story: Weaving families and their stories into children's learning in early childhood - Kidsfirst Kindergartens Bush Street (April 2010).

Post by Naketa Ikihele

09 May 2010

Creativity is Essential to Learning

I never get tired of listening to Ken Robinsons messages in this 20-minute video. Nearly four years on from presenting this at TED, his key points are still very pertinent today. Let me share the points that always resonate with me:

*Children starting school this year (2006) will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue what the world will look like in five years time and we are supposed to be educating them for it.

*Creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.

*If you're not prepared to be wrong you will never create anything original. We are educating children out of being creative because we are so concerned with them always getting it right.

The challenge then is to transfer these concepts into 'everyday' teaching practices and ways of working? What are your thoughts? And how do you ensure creativity is given the same status as literacy?

02 May 2010

Motivational Posters

Thanks to @achurches for sending this link through Twitter.

Poster Street has a range of great motivational posters for a range of contexts: office, kids, teachers and teens just to name a few.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Powerful photography that will make you cry.

As I was flicking through my blogroll this evening I stopped to read Garr Reynolds latest post on Presentation Zen titled "The storytelling power of photography". I would usually flick through key words before giving a post my full attention, the key words that struck me were 'storytelling' and 'photography'. I am quietly obssessed with digital storytelling and find myself attracted to any text related to the issue and have recently found myself intrigued with photography as well. So, I couldn't look past the title of this particular post. I am so glad I stopped to read this post. Within the message of Garrs post was the most amazing video I have seen for some time. Heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time. Please take a few minutes to watch the video embedded below, it will move you!

01 May 2010

Motivational Posters

Thanks to @achurches for sending this link through Twitter.  Poster Street has a range of great motivational posters for a range of contexts: office, kids, teachers and teens just to name a few.

Here are a few of my favourites: