Keep Calm and Get Out of the Anglobubble!

Here is my latest #tmsydney presentation. It was inspired by the theme of literacy and influenced by my recent attendance at the AFMLTA Conference. The ideas are a bit of an amalgam of the keynote given by Prof. John Hajek.



FLIP Lessons

Wow! Another fast and furious TeachMeet took place last night at Shore nestled in the heart of North Sydney. It is unbelievable how fast a 7-minute pechakucha flies through. See below for my presentation on FLIP lessons in the languages classroom.

If you have the opportunity to attend or contribute to a TeachMeet, do it because it’s a night of fun, ideas, inspiration, conversation and support from an amazing bunch of educators.


What were you thinking?

This post is addressed to me and it’s a way of framing some thoughts I’ve been having ever since I put my name on the TMSydney city wiki as a presenter. To me, this now seems like utter lunacy as the list of names on the wiki grows with some of my favourite and most respected tweeters in my PLN. I am asking myself what I have to offer in the way of new ideas, innovative techniques or interesting uses of technology in the midst of people from whom I gain inspiration daily?

I am excited by the way Sydney’s TeachMeets are growing after only recently the seeds were sown by Henrietta Miller and Matt Esterman. I follow many colleagues in the UK and have seen mention of these gatherings over the last couple of years and I believe in what they can do for teachers. To have a group of educators passionate enough to share their classroom practice with others teachers after a long school day is great.

My original worry has lead me to the conclusion that these TeachMeets must attract teachers who haven’t yet been won over by Twitter, who aren’t confident integrating technology and who are open to building a PLN. Otherwise we may be in danger of preaching to the converted and becoming nothing more than a cosy little club. This means we should all bring an ‘unconverted’ friend along. I know that I, for one, would feel a lot more comfortable that I put myself on that presenters list, because I would hope that something I said maybe new to them or might spark an idea. The beauty of a TeachMeet is that anyone can get up and present and I hope I’m not too intimidated by the amazing people there too.

On continue

Just a quick post tonight after the excitement of my first proper TeachMeet today. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, meet Twitter folk face to face and also to catch up with former colleagues. What a diverse bunch of people!

I put myself out there for a 2 minute presentation just because I could. That’s what so fantastic about the TeachMeet / Show and Tell format. Getting up in front of strangers and giving a mini presentation isn’t so bad in such a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. I hope to attend and contribute to many more of these. I’d especially like to encourage members of staff at St Paul’s to attend and present. It’s worth it for the professional learning and network-building and of course for all the ideas!

So, as the title suggests, we continue this week with all those other exciting school events that make the life of a teacher never the same on two days. Tomorrow I will have a French breakfast with Year 12 ab initio, give an HSC French assessment, continue to teach Year 9 about the perfect tense; hopefully with a game of Battleships and after all that, speak lucidly with Year 7 parents until 8pm. In amongst it all I will be finalising marks with complicated Excel spreadsheets and formulae along with writing my last lot of report comments for Year 10.

But after all, this is what I signed up for and events like today’s just stoke up the passion to keep going.

Feeling Good About French

Meet Moshi, he’s my newest addition in Year 8 French. As you can see, he’s got an interesting face that some might call cute. This little squishy, furry and cute toy has recently helped me to make some important connections in my teaching.

I don’t think the idea is very new: someone asks a question in French and then throws a toy or ball to the person they want to answer. Only the person with the toy can speak. I have been using this questioning technique with my Year 8 class with success. They have a series of (or just one) questions relating to the current topic, this time it’s morning routines, and instead of the teacher asking all the questions, the students are taking on that role. This is one way the Moshi is being a welcome addition to the class.

What I didn’t realise was how the students would react to the toy. This has been the best bit. In a middle ability, co-ed class both the boys and girls love him and here is where I’ve made the connection. When they catch the toy and have to do something challenging and out of their normal comfort zone – speak French – they have an interesting reaction. They smile. I think catching the toy, liking it and having a ‘feel good’ moment and then doing the hard bit of speaking French is a great positive reinforcement. Wow!

I’ve decided to talk about this and other things at the Sydney TeachMeet in a micro 2-minute presentation. Looking forward to it! Here is my presentation slide.