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Susan Feron's discussion posts

  • Susan Feron 26 Mar 2015 8:22pm () in Interactive Whiteboards

    Hi out there,

    I have a team of teachers who would like to be using interactive whiteboards.  I am aware that lots of schools have stopped using them.  Is there a school in the lower half of the South Is who would consider selling theirs? I am well aware that there are now other technologies that teachers find more useful but would like to start the journey from a place where my team are comfortable and enthusiastic.

    Kind regards

    Susan Feron

  • Susan Feron 27 Jan 2015 2:39pm () in It's 2015! What have you been thinking about over the holidays?

    Well I have been thinking about a big move South to Ranfurly where I will be teaching year 1 and leading the year 0 to 6 team.   Thanks to all of you for the ideas and inspiration over the last two years.

    Goodbye for now, 


  • Susan Feron 02 Dec 2014 2:55pm () in Chromebook vs Ipads

    I have a byod class of year 7&8. We use netbooks and a mixture of android and Ipad devices. My experience is that netbooks (and of course chromebooks) are fine with google docs but when it comes to more creative forms of learning ipads win hands down. I myself have androids because of the price. Give an ipad a bluetooth keyboard case and you effectively have a netbook. If money wasn't a big consideration I would definitely go ipad with bluetooth keyboard case. This solves the loose keyboard problem and gives a nice stand.
    My favorite apps for using are explain everything, book creator, google drive suite, imovie and microsoft 365. This is why I wonder whether chrone books would do the job. I would be checking out the chrome web store very carefully before buying chromebooks.
    I hope this helps

  • Susan Feron 03 Nov 2014 9:42am () in e-asTTle

    Hi all,

    This year I have used easstle for maths each term and reading in feb and oct. My class have made super progress on thier star test with most children jumping 1 to 3 stanines.  Then I did the easstle test and it says half the class have gone backwards. I know they test slightly different things but it seems like a fairly big discrepancy.  I am wondering if their is a problem with the test process.  Two things i think could be an issue:

    1: I don't have students respond to texts in the question and answer format

    2.  As Suzie said the scrolling for reading the text and answering questions is awful espechially  on a small screen.


    My plan of action is to complete running records with a very comprehensive comprehension check.  If their is still a discrepancy I will print out the text and redo eassttle.  In the meantime I will train the students on question and answer responses to text.  

    Interestingly on easstle the class did ok with language features and inferential thinking. They did badly with ideas.   For ideas you have to read the text.  Also my reading responses are done on cross classification charts or de bonos pmi.   I am also wondering if the ability to select ideas is decreased because they think deeply about all the sentences.

    So great knowing others are having problems and it could be the test that is the issue.


  • Susan Feron 09 Apr 2014 6:28pm () in When you go digital - something has to give...

    Totally agree with Andrew.  However,  on the saving time so I can spend more time making sure the digital stuff works there are a few things I have been able to stop doing.  Stopping shuffling and filing paper saves 30 minutes or more each week.  Spelling city has saved me from administering and marking spelling tests and work.  Mathletics saves me from photocopying for some of the maths learning.  Google docs saves photocopying worksheets, handing out and collecting them in.  All digital learning means I csn personalise the learning, task and feedback better than pre digital teaching.

    Regards Susan

  • Susan Feron 18 Feb 2014 8:37pm () in Disposable Wipes

    Yay,  thankyou for this.  We have a noro virus breakout in our small local community at the moment.  I have been looking for a cheap supply of keyboard cleaner today.  Now I will just give the science teacher your recipie!  I want keyboards cleaned after each user to try to reduce the strong liklihood everyone has to have time off in the next 10 days.  Is this stuff ok for screens as well?  Tablets?  ipads?

  • Susan Feron 15 Feb 2014 2:28pm () in New challenge: Finish this sentence....

    This year I plan to use my problem solving skills and limited ict support knowledge to keep the computer network and BYOD wifi working so that learning can continue to be transformed for all!  

    Big success with voluntary BYOD.  Nearly all our year 7 - 10 students have devices at school.  Most of the year 11 -13 and some year 5&6.  Now I have to upskill the teachers in how they can use more than Google Apps to transform learning. Of minor issue is the hours I have to spend approving their devices and hooking them up to work on the Loops wifi.   Having successfully avoided the job of ICT coordinator for the first 15 years of my teaching I am now it!  Ict coordinator is just as much of a nightmare job as I always knew it would be.  I now sleep, eat and workCry.  Hopefully it all calms down as the beginning of the year stuff gets done.

    In the classroom I plan to use social media to increase my students collaboration with each other, New Zealanders and globally.  We are starting with Digitween and ending the term with Learnz.

  • Susan Feron 14 Feb 2014 6:12pm () in disengagement

    Hi Louise,

    Students who have home  reasons for disengagement are so hard.  I agree that ultimately the only thing that works is convincing the child you believe in them and really care.  Kindness and fairness go such a !long way.   Has he shifted schools a lot?  There was research I found 15 years ago that detailed problems that can bring.  Most of which seemed to result in apathy and noncompliance.  Does he have any friends at school?  Can you help him get hooked in with the sporty crowd?  I also that no doing research into sporting issues could be a good way to hook him in.  


    Don't throw away the incentives however.  I go to work partly for the pay.  Remember this kid possibly thinks no one cares and that he is worthless.  Incentives might be the only nice things anyone does for him all day.  I remember being taught the incentive scale.  Going from: not needed, praise, Written praise, time incentives eg: computer time, tangible incentives eg: stickers, and the biggest of all is food. If tangible incentives work you are already on the way to weaning him off them!  Quite frankly if my pay packet disappeared I wouldn't go to school every day.  I still work for incentives.  Incentives are hard on the teacher however.  With a boy I had who needed reinforcement every  30 seconds i used to put a marble in the jar whenever he was doing the right thing.  He could hear the marble clink, I could keep teaching and his focus wasn't interuppted.  The strange thing with that boy was that we didn't chart the marbles or give further rewards for marbles.  I just tipped them out and started again the next day.  

    I hope you see some success soon.  You may well be the person that this boy looks back on and says "that teacher changed my life because they cared."

    Hang in there,


  • Susan Feron 12 Jan 2014 11:03pm () in Changing the group name and heading back to school
    • I have been reading up on some of the ideas I want to improve on for this year.  So for reading:  daily 5, the cafe book, book whisperer.  Result of that lot is I am emptying my bookshelves of Childrens books and taking them into school.  Plus I have brainstormed how daily 5 might look in my class.  This needs more thought yet.  For writing I have reread bits of Lucy calkin and Gail Loanes book.  So this year I am going to try writers notebooks again probably using 3b1's initially then challenging students to buy something lovely when they fill the 3b1.  I have also added writing form notebook to daily 5 mindmap.

    • For inquiry projects I have read invent to learn.  Good idea but what authentic learning opportunities do I start with...
    • Registered for flat classrooms project.
    • Decided to start the year with bounce back social skills teaching.  One of the benefits of small communities is that I have prior knowledge of my students.  Skills in friendship, negotiations, assertiveness vs aggression are badly needed by some of the incoming students.
    • And then I need to do planning paperwork, have the new Principal around for afternoon tea, get start of the year assessments done, tidy up last years computer files and set up this years, get new tables made by my patient husband and a pile of other set up the learning environment stuff.  The great thing about a flexible learning environment is the lack of desks and seating layouts to sort out.  
    • Of course now I that I look at this list I wonder how to fit it around a new dog, quilting, making clothes, sewing next years Christmas presents, learning to code, !earning French (great free app called duolingo) and playing computer games.  I think relaxing and socialising is firmly at the top of my list for another week.  Thankfully school goes back on the 7th February so I have time yet.
  • Susan Feron 10 Dec 2013 5:04pm () in Child with severe expressive language diffficulties

    I am assuming speech language are involved so may have already made these suggestions.

    I have used a folder of picture cards that the boy would point to to communicate.  This was fairly effective.  I have heard (but not seen) that their are ipad apps that will do this now.  He was also taught Makaton sign language.  This is designed for special needs so they can communicate essentials.  It is similiar but much simpler than NZ sign.  

     As a reward for the other students they would play a barrier game with the child.  It would generally involve some talk, pointing and colouring.  This targeted fine motor and communication at the same time.

    Being in Christchurch at the time I would always have toys from the Special Needs toy library as well.  Marble runs etc that targetted fine motor skills.  He had a visual timetable saying what order the toys were to be played in.  This was his 'work'.  His developmental age was 2-3 years.  Again the other students (8-11 years ) loved to 'work' with the toys when they were finished.  the Correspondance School used to send us toys and activities that vaguely went with the topic we were studying.

    Hope this helps.  

    Cheers Susan