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Suzie Vesper's discussion posts

  • Suzie Vesper 27 Feb 2013 9:58pm () in Weebley ......pluses and minuses please

    I'm not sure that I'd put Weebly into the LMS camp. It is basically a tool for creating websites and it doesn't give you much in the way of features beyond this though it does do websites really well. I use it for one of my own websites. It is pretty easy to use. If you're looking for free LMS options, I think things like Edmodo provide more features to help you manage the learning environment but this is just my opinion.

  • Suzie Vesper 24 Feb 2013 7:42pm () in e-Learning plans to shout about!

    This year, my e-learning focus with my Year 7/8 class is to make them positively contributing digital citizens and to introduce as many digital ways of working as I can to improve outcomes. As a result, we are bringing in Google Apps as a school so that the senior classes can have their own accounts for docs, blogging and sites. We are also looking into BYOD with many bringing in their own devices already. As for the digital citizenship aspect, I've managed to squeeze out a dedicated slot in the week and have signed up for a Flat Stanley project called 'Digitween' where the students research aspects of digital citizenship and work on presentations with students from around the world. It should prove to be interesting!  I'm also using Edmodo to help the students learn ways to interact online and as a form of learning management system in my class. Looks to be a pretty good system so far.  I've also signed up for a teacher Diigo account where I can sign all of my class up to then have a place for shared bookmarks (though Edmodo does this to an extent too).  Finally, I'm exploring technological options for two severely dyslexic students in my class. Anyone else out there doing the same thing?

  • Suzie Vesper 21 Feb 2013 11:25pm () in How's the year going for you?

    This is a more relaxed topic to ask how your year has kicked off. Anything in particular that you are enjoying or finding challenging?

    Having been out of the classroom for six years, I feel I'm playing catch up quite a bit but am beginning to feel a little more under control. I have a great class which helps! How about you?

  • Suzie Vesper 20 Feb 2013 8:28pm () in Online Teacher Planners (getting rid of the black folder!)

    I know Claire was looking for a package deal but I'm currently just using Google Spreadsheets for both my planning and as a mark book. I've got a planner spreadsheet that has tabs for each week in a term and will just create four of them over the year. I've also got a spreadsheet that I'm using as a markbook with different tabs for each type of marks I'm collecting. I've found this useful when entering spelling results from 'Spelling under scrutiny' tests as I then apply conditional formatting rules to each column so that it automatically colours the background of the cells according to the scores so I can quickly identify patterns and areas that need attention.

  • Suzie Vesper 13 Feb 2013 11:27pm () in Extending your top mathematicians

    I'm going to be working with the top maths kids in the team who are all working at level 7/8 in maths. I'm looking for ideas on how to extend these kids. I'm thinking of using a problem solving approach with support from some of these websites:



    Anyone else have some good suggestions?

  • Suzie Vesper 13 Feb 2013 11:20pm () in The Daily Five adaptions

    That sounds familiar! Timetabling is quite challenging. I've sometimes split my literacy block over two sessions which works quite well as they just continue to work through their choices. I have to say that I'm loving the Daily 5 - it is the most settled part of the day. I've now boiled it down to 'Read to self', 'Read to someone', 'Listen to reading' and 'Writing'.  I work on the word study stuff through a dictation programme that the school uses which I think is an excellent way to tackle it.  If anyone is interested, I've pasted the process below. 

    Why become dictators in the classroom? 

    Under 30 mins to teach listening, focus, speed writing, having learning conversations, editing (punctuation, spelling), handwriting.

     Meets a range of needs

    Routine and safety

    Peer support

    Focus on what they need right now. 

    1. Prepare a short dictation (1 sentence for Year 1 up to 5 or 6  sentences) that uses the words and focus skills you want to teach/ practice.

    2. Focus and Listening- Children focus and listen to you as read the whole passage. (Eyes tracking, pens down)

    3. Speed writing - You read the passage again but this time phrase by phrase pausing to give most children time to quickly write down what they hear. They leave a gap for bits they don’t get. They can put down first letters or guessed spelling for unknown words. Don’t make this too easy to start with!

    4. Read the whole passage again as children check for any gaps/ errors,  then rule off.

    5. Learning Conversations and Editing - The children then work in pairs for 5 minutes. Set the timer! Pair SLD children with slightly more able children. Pair GaTE children with other GaTE children. Together the children edit the piece using green pen. They check omissions, spelling, punctuation etc. It is most important that the teacher moves around and eavesdrops on these conversations. This is when you will hear what they are know and don’t know. Take notes for the feedback session and for your next dictation.

    Dictionaries out- check skills

    7. Handwriting - Write out good copy in neat handwriting. 5 minutes. Set the timer! The teacher can use this time to move around and give feedback on handwriting.

    8. Directed Teaching - Show the full script on the data screen. Use this time to go sentence by –the- spot teaching.

    9. Marking, identifying goals - The children mark their own work in green pen. Circle errors.

    At the bottom use a code to identify key goals.

    eg  L = Listening ( got it down wrong)  P=Punctuation  S= Spelling H W = Hand Writing ( didn’t get finished)

    Children verbalise a goal to their partner

    Follow this routine each time. You will be amazed at how much the children improve their focus, speed and basic skills. They also really enjoy it after the first few times and they see their own progress with both speed and accuracy.

  • Suzie Vesper 30 Jan 2013 10:08pm () in Resources for the census

    Like many of you I'm sure, we are going to be covering the 2013 census in our Year 7/8 class. I thought we could pool resources in here. I've adapted an information sheet from resources available online to create an activity using an online timeline that I built in TimeToast.

    Here is the link to the TimeToast timeline about the history of the New Zealand census.


    Here is a link to download the document with the activity (you need a free Scribd account to download)


    What have you created for the census? It would be great to share here.

  • Suzie Vesper 29 Jan 2013 8:45pm () in The Daily Five adaptions

    Hi there - it is an offshoot of the Flat Classroom project. It started as Digiteen for secondary kids but now they have DigiTween for kids at intermediate age. Unfortunately it costs $65 USD for the first 15 kids in your class and then extra after that but you might be able to negotiate as they are looking for classes outside of the US to be involved. Looks to be a pretty exciting project though.


  • Suzie Vesper 29 Jan 2013 7:38pm () in The Daily Five adaptions

    Thanks for the responses!  I can see that I am going to have to watch that I don't try to jam too much in to the literacy block as I am also hoping to get in blog reading and commenting as well as work around a digital citizenship global project I am hoping to join :-)

    Another question around this approach. How do you get in a solid enough writing session. Do you do any extra whole class sessions? Do you find that reading takes more of focus on some days and writing on others?