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Started by Suzie Vesper 04 Nov 2012 10:36pm () Replies (33)

Hello and welcome to everyone that has been joining the group. I am keen to hear what everyone's interests are and what we could discuss here.  I thought we could all do a bit of an introduction too!

I'm Suzie Vesper and I currently work two jobs: a national Digi Advisor for schools and an online ESOL teacher for 16 Year 7/8 students from around NZ. However, next year I am heading back to the classroom to teach Year 7/8 at Mount Pleasant School in Christchurch. I am keen to talk about anything and everything related to teaching at this level and hope to learn a lot from everyone else. I'm particularly interested in how people run their literacy and maths programmes at this level. If anyone wants help related to web 2.0 tools or Google Apps, let me know as I use these quite heavily in my online school.

So what about you?  What is your background and what are you interested in?


  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 05 Nov 2012 9:59pm ()

    I'm Vicki Hagenaars.  I have taught at Wanganui Intermediate School for nearly 10 years.  Five of those years I was HOD of Math with the responsibility for introducing the Numeracy Project into the curriculum in that time.  Currently I am the HOD of IT/eLearning. 

    I am involved in the VPLD and Ethos communities as part of my own professional growth.  I joined the community as there are no other arenas out there just for this age group.  As a result of this observation I sought and won a sabbatical during Term 3 next year to create a wiki of resources, initially for our own setting but available to all.  I hope the members here will be willing to contribute their feedback and ideas as it grows, takes shape and evolves. Will certainly call on your expertise, Suzie.

    I am interested in the use of IT in all aspects Intermediate teaching/learning as well as how schools have implemented their curriculums.  We seem to be stuck in the same old prescription with a growing number wanting change - but to what? 

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 06 Nov 2012 12:19pm ()

    Hi Vicki!  It sounds as if you have a huge amount of knowledge to share here and the wiki sounds great. Any sneak peeks allowed? Any particular area that you want help to flesh out?

  • caron sullivan (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 7:36am ()

    HI Vicki,

    I am teaching a Year 7 & 8 class, leader of syndicate and interested in keeping abreast of not current, but future trends. The climate changes in education as quickly as our weather. 

    I would love to view your wiki. Is there a link? We have begun a BYOD this year and so far it has been pleasingly successful. There have been glitches but overall the benefits have been amazing. Our kids prefer IPOD touches which has surprised me. I thought we would have more tablets and laptops. What they produce on these tiny devices is impressive. The attraction is the size of the device I am told.

    We are rural, so welcome this forum as a gateway to PLD

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2012 1:55pm ()

    Hi Vicki,
    Our Year 7 and 8 class will be moving to BYOD next year with iPods so keen to hear what tips and tricks you have. Welcome to the group.

  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 08 Nov 2012 2:32pm ()

    Will keep you posted as to when the wiki actually begins to be populated with 'stuff'.  My sabbatical is next year in Term 3 but intend to put things up over the coming holidays (post the current rush to end the year).  Suzie, I have much to share and only just gaining confidence in just how much! Will be very keen to collaborate with others through this portal.

  • Karen Mills (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2012 3:02pm ()

    Afternoon All,

    I am currently the Facilitator of the iTeam Tauranga cluster but will be back in the classroom next year after a 7 year break from a mainstream classroom. (OMG!!) Anyway, I will be the Syndicate Leader of a Multimedia Syndicate (1:1 Macbooks) at Tauranga Intermediate and will be teaching Year 8. 

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2012 3:57pm ()

    Hi Karen - I understand that feeling! I've been out for six years and after visiting the school this morning where I'm going to be teaching Year 7/8, I am feeling slightly freaked out but very excited :-)

  • justin hickey (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2012 3:40pm ()

    Hi my name is Justin Hickey. I am y7/8 teacher at Awahono School, in the grey valley, in from greymouth. I have been flipping my class this year, mainly in maths. I have been using the 'teacher tools' online facility and have used educreations on the ipads to try and create my own online tutorials. I would ssay that it has been successful. For literacy I am integrating my topic units. The students are using their research material as text for exploring comprehension strategies. For writing I have begun to look at online games to inspire and motivate students writing, Games like http://www.howrse.com/ , csi:web adventure http://forensics.rice.edu/ and CSR Racing (ipad app.) are proving to be very popular with the students and the interests levels and quality of writing has definately improved.

    We have also looked at changing our classroom this term so that some of the desks have been removed and we have created work spaces instead. The students love it and again, their response to it has been very positive.

    So all in all we have had a good year and look forward to exploring e-learning even more next year. We have some positive projects planned and would like to continue the good progress we have made this year.

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2012 4:03pm ()

    This sounds fantastic Justin. Do you have any of your tutorials available online? What 'Teacher Tool's are you referring to? Do you have a link?  I'm keen to look at gaming next year as well and was thinking of bringing in Samorost 2 and Machinarium as possible options. Great to have some other ideas as well. Are you able to post some photos of your working spaces? That sounds really interesting.

  • justin hickey (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 10:35am ()

    I have just checked out both games. The kids love and have commented that is is really challenging but fun. How do you see them being used?

    I have been giving the students time on the games and then get them to create a character within those games. They have been using the games to help develop their settings and then having them create their own complication and resolution. I am sure there are other ways to incorporate these games into my literacy program, but am not quite sure how at this stage.

    How do you use the games, or how do you see them being used?

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 19 Nov 2012 11:20pm ()

    Hiya - I'm thinking that this conversation deserves a thread of its own so here is the link to some ideas and links about using these games:


  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 7:36pm ()

    Hi Karen

    Need to keep in touch with you.  After completing a workshop on blogs with some of the Tauranga Int staff last year at Ulearn I am keen to visit next year while I am on sabbatical to see how the school works with inquiry etc.  One of my holiday chores when I can focus on what I am actually doing during that 10 weeks.




  • Karen Mills (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 8:21pm ()

    Hi Vicki,

    I ran the blogging workshop at Ulearn last year so must have been that one. Feel free to come and visit. How exciting to be having a sabbatical?

    I am also interested in how the Flipped classroom might work in our environment. Lots of reading and thinking to do before next year.


  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 15 Nov 2012 8:09am ()

    Hi Karen

    I did wonder . . .  but my notes were at home and I was at school when I picked up your reply:)  You will be pleased to know that I have actually used your help and somewhat got our Blog up and running.  Not getting to it regularly is the reason I am looking at alternatives for class organisation and loved your ideas of the one exercise book per student etc.  Will keep in touch. . .   And let me know if I can help you in any way.



  • sandrafraser (View all users posts) 30 Nov 2012 6:51pm ()

    Hi, my name is Sandra Fraser. I am an Assistant Principal in charge of eight year 7/8 classes (4year 7 & 4 year 8).  I also teach a year 7 class.  This term I have been lucky enough to be given an iPad to use in my classroom. I am trying new things and like others always on the lookout for ideas on how to use it in the class.  I am sure I will get many ideas from forums such as this.




  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 04 Dec 2012 10:43am ()

    Hi Sandra,

    I'm going to be in a BYOD iPad class next year so we can set up an area in this group for swapping iPad ideas. Welcome to the group.

  • Susan Feron (View all users posts) 01 Dec 2012 2:57pm ()

    Kia Ora,

    I am going to be teaching Year 7&8 next year.  After spending the last three years teaching year 0-2 I am excited about the oppurtunties for creating a class that use digital tools as part of their everyday learning.  At this stage I plan to get digital learning logs / reflective journals established using Gsites.  

    I also want to try a digital version of Lucy Calkins idea of a writers notebook.  I am introducing BYOD by stelth and have asked all the students to have a phone.  I am thinking they could voice record their ideas for writing or even better use whatever notepad tool their phone has.  Maybe they could take photos of places and videos of activities and start a writers blog/ journal page of ideas.  Has anyone else tried anything like this?

    I would love to include computer games in the class as I myself am addicted to real time strategy games.  We will be using mathletics and reading eggspress as I have used these successfully with the juniors.

    I am excited about possibly starting a class web page that the students are responsible for again.   I used to have one when I taught year 4&5 in Christchurch that worked really well.

    As usual I will take on too much and get in trouble for neglecting my family.  

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 04 Dec 2012 10:45am ()

    Sounds familiar! My family grizzles too :-)  It sounds as if you have a lot of exciting things planned for the year. It will be a bit of a change from the Year 0-2 class!

  • sandrafraser (View all users posts) 02 Dec 2012 12:26pm ()

    Hi Susan,

    I am quite new to all this, but have a real passion for using technology as a tool in my year 7 class. 

    During this term as part of a literacy tumble the students had to take a photo of something around the school using an ipod and then upload it to our class blog and write a blurb about the photo. This was a new concept for me but it seemed to go well, the students helped each other and were definetly engaged.  I sent the link to the parents and the staff at school.  We have had a few comments but would have liked more, but it is a work in progress and I am sure we will get more comments.

     I wanted to trial a blog in term 4 as I am keen to start one in term 1 next year, these students have been my guinea pigsLaughing

    Feel free to check it out and leave a comment if you would like to.  The students do enjoy seeing the comments


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