Colar mix as a creative writing starter

Stories and pictures

Stories and pictures

ColAR mix is an app that I discovered through listening to the @2guysshow podcast. One way that they suggested using it was as a starter for creative writing, an engaging tool to use as a hook into story/creative writing. Students become much more engaged and willing to creatively write a story, and after bringing their ‘picture to life’ the writing becomes so creative and varied.

I have used this a few times now in different classrooms all to a great sense of wonder and wows from the students. Last week was no different teaching a grade 5/6 class for the first time, they all thought this was cool. There were some very creative stories about their characters in the pictures. The students used their imagination and in most cases really let it run wild,  making some interesting fantasy reading for me. I managed to have a student who normally struggled with change, do the colouring in, and after completing a second picture actually write a few words. Here the learning isn’t done through AR but the students were highly engaged with the learning after completing their pictures. Generally the spelling was really well done also, with story construction being of a high standard.

I want to find explore and use further examples of augmented reality to enhance student learning and engagement. I believe that this technology has the potential in education to drastically change both engagement and learning.  QR codes are an easy place to start but I want to do so much more with this.

The @2guysshow website, 2 guys and some ipads, has a great article on various augmented reality applications, where and how to use them. What grade levels and subjects that so far they have been used for.

Simon Youd
The #reliefteacher


Finding your purpose, I am ordinary but can do extraordinary things

I have been thinking about what my purpose is as an educator, reading a few posts and articles lately. My thinking and reading started with the following tweet by Sean Gardner @2morrowknight. Your #purpose doesn’t have to be something that makes you famous. It’s something that makes your life meaningful.

I also read the article Finding Your Purpose As A Teacher by Terry Heick as a challenge to ‘focus on your focus’ if you like. How do I define what I am and what I want to be as an educator. He walks through a few steps to be able to clearly and concisely define what your purpose is.

How do you define purpose as as a relief teacher. You know what you want to teach and what you enjoy doing the.most, yet if you only apply for jobs that fit your focus then you miss out on other possibilities. As a classroom primary teacher there are more job opportunities than as as a physical education specialist.

I enjoy the challenge.and opportunities as a primary school classroom teacher, having worked part of 2014 one day a week teaching a grade 5/6 class. High school subjects and teaching have often become isolated silos with little freedom to have work,projects, or learning truly cross curricular. Primary classrooms are, at least in my humble opinion, much easier places to design learning opportunities that cross multiple areas of the curriculum.

I was out walking and listening to an Every Classroom Matters podcast, the episode with David Menashe the priority list   by Vicki Davis the @coolcatteacher . Her podcasts are great at only 10 minutes in length. This was interesting timing as I was thinking about and starting to write this post. He talks about leaving a legacy in the students that you have the privilege of working with. Make an impact in their lives, do your utmost to make learning personal and engaging to every student.

What is my purpose, to foster a love of learning through the use of technology. That is where I feel my calling and impact will be. My ultimate career path would to be a technology integrator in a school whilst also teaching physical education or  computing. I believe engagement through technology offers so many possibilities for authentic, engaging education. This makes my life meaningful, I left retail after 13 years as this added no meaning to my life, education fulfills my desire to improve the lives of others.

I read the following by Dr John C Maxwell two years ago titled Ordinary to extraordinary:

If Ordinary People …

Gave a Little Extra Effort,
Spent a Little Extra Time,
Sought a Little Extra Help …
They Would Become Extraordinary!

I am ordinary, but that is okay, because I can do extraordinary things. Why do we hold ourselves back? If we just let go and committed to the change we could do so much. This is my purpose to be better and do better. What is yours? Please feel free to share or comment.

Own What You Do, It’s okay to be a relief teacher

Own what you do. I recently read a blog post by Vanessa Hiser @VanessaHiser titled: Teachers Without Work – A Self-help Guide This post spoke to me at a time when I felt low due to poor health and not having anything other than relief work for the year ahead. Picking up the odd contract here and there, but never over multiple school years.

One quote that definitely resonated with me is “Being a talented, qualified and enthusiastic teacher with no job is an emotional, professional and financial BIG DEAL”. It does matter to me and I do feel let down by not getting a job and being able to provide for my family the way that i would like to. This is a career choice that I have made and a profession that I wish to pursue for the rest of my working life. Teaching has provided me with a sense of purpose in what I do unlike working in a supermarket, which I did for 13 years. I enjoy and look forward to the challenge of teaching, working with and being inspired by students.
I have read many posts lately about negative mindset and avoiding the downfall of thinking the worse. This is particularly hard when you don’t know where the next days work is coming from. Why you don’t get selected for jobs and interviews. You doubt yourself and your abilities. The worst is when you look at yourself and your skillset then believe that the reason you don’t get jobs is because people just don’t like you. You then doubt everything about yourself and your career choice. It is a long way to come back from there and be positive.

I have come to peace with where I am at, to OWN WHAT YOU DO. I am a relief teacher and that is okay, I provide a valuable service, if there wasn’t a need for what i do then the position would not exist. This is not something that I want to do always, but as Dr. John C. Maxwell talks about in facing adversity, I can do anything temporarily. There are benefits to what I do, I see a wide variety of kids and hopefully get to have a positive impact in their lives. I learn constantly about new situations lessons and ideas from other teachers and classes. I have seen and experienced many school cultures and classroom spaces that feed into ideas that I will take forward with me.

I am a physical education specialist, but the experiences I have gained working in many varied classroom environments has provided me with skills and experience that I would not have otherwise gained. I am prepared more for  future where I can be either a subject specialist or a primary classroom generalist. I am very excited about the possibilities and freedoms that you have a classroom teacher in a primary school. Traditional high school settings in subject silos allow for less cross curricular work than can be easily achieved in a primary setting. Technology offers so many potential benefits to learning that I now get to explore and learn about.

I get to enjoy more family time than I would if I was a full time teacher. I can pursue more personalised learning opportunities on subjects that interest me in my free time.

There were three points that I took from her writing post about what to do now whilst waiting for more work: to blog/write, learn to code, and engage with twitter. I am reengaging with blogging again, I made a few posts last year but then lost the habit and discipline to continue. This makes me think more, read more, and to personally engage with learning. Learn to code has been on my radar for awhile but will be an activity that I pursue this year. I have been on Twitter for  few years, started lurking a bit last year but now I am starting to actively engage with people and content on Twitter. Twitter offers many learning opportunities that i am trying to pursue, following my interests and areas I believe I need to improve in.

Own what you do, be what you are. I am a relief teacher and that is okay. I will use this to to advance my personal learning and to improve my skill set. This is my first blog posts for the year 2015, but it will not be my last. I have enjoyed the  journey with the many educators I have connected with on twitter. Please continue to inspire and share.

Simon Youd
The #reliefteacher

LMS selection process, decision

I have been thinking and reading about various LMS platforms to use and implement in a classroom environment. The choices are many and varied. I needed one that was free, i could access from multiple devices, and could work with at home, not just at school. I chose to use a Google site as my main platform, with Edmodo also integrated for certain lessons. The article Selecting a Learning Management System: Advice from an Academc Perspective informed my decision making process and gave me many ieas for a thought and decision pocess.
I have chosen the Google site platform as I want the site to be semi open, shareable with parents and grandparents of the students. Something I can easily show as part of my portfolio to potential employers, share with the school principal and other teachers to share ideas, provide me with a checkup and guidance for what to teach. This also integrates well into the whole Google environment, which is the way I would like to run my class and teach through, using all their tools. Ultimately I wish to evaluate and use the Google classroom tool to run class and my teaching through.
I wanted to use a platform that was generally open, although it could well be argued that Google is not all that open. It will suit my needs and desires for how I teach, and the lessons are easily available to me to use in a relief class also if so desired. I have placed a link from my class site into my online portfolio as a way of showing and sharing what I do. I will also be working with my students to create their own google sites as portfolios, and to generate sites related to certain topics in class time. The use of an open Google certain also allows for a greater freedom in how to work and use the site, what tools can be used and integrated with different lesson structures and learning outcomes.

Using colAR as a creative writing starter

I found the start of the lesson to have a very much wow factor, when they started to look at the pictures through the AR lense. This really blew their minds when I showed the pictures enhanced. I tried this after hearing the idea through the 2 guys podcast show. Some struggled with the writing task, this group is fairly low level skill wise and i need to find ways to work better with them. This was a great starter though and one i will use again, the students were very keen to look at their pictures and this gave them ideas to write about. Overall i was generally happy with what happened,i just need to make sure that all students are engaged with the task and do the work.

I needed to check before the lesson that each lesson works properly, that the technology works, as I needed to unlock some pictures to be able to use all in the classroom. This was disappointing for me and the students, annoyed at myself for not thinking of and checking this before the day.

Reflection on 2009 BHM Thesis, The role of golf in the lives of older adults.

Thesis link:

This is a piece of work that I am both proud of and disappointed in. Proud because I achieved the goal of completing honours, one I started the degree with. I came through a lot of personal problems at the time to complete and hand in a thesis that was marked. Disappointed that I did not complete this to the standard I had desired, I spent one month unable to work on this and feel that the end result was a much lower grading because of this. I achieved the goal I set out to four years earlier, but at a standard much lower than I truly desired and aimed for.

I enjoyed the challenge of studying and writing academically, generating a desire to complete higher degree research to develop a career path to teach back at the university. This study came as a result of the original study involving migrant students playing golf as a means of generating social capital and integrating into school, falling through. The support and guidance I received from my supervisors gave me a great insight into research and what is required to deliver valid results. I enjoyed the process of study and work, delving deeply into a topic and writing academically to communicate your results. I really enjoy academic reading and work, with the necessary processes involved to maintain rigour.

One finding that came through from the interview discussions with participants was the development of lifelong participation in physical activity originated in school physical education settings and engagement. They identified with certain parts and activities in the physical education they received as critical to them playing golf throughout their lives and becoming more involved as they aged. Physical education to them as students engaged them in such a way, and provided them with opportunities that gave them a lifelong desire to participate, and to pursue golf as as sport of choice.

One topic area that came through this study, and research, that relates well to sport, physical activity is the ability to use sport to generate social capital. Sport groups, activities, and friendships that provide people with social benefits through the people they know and interact with. This is a more intangible form of capital, but evident in the ability to ask people that you know for favours or help, because of the connections you have with them. This is important in student lives and learning, with the ability to form learning connections and communities with other people in such a way as to deliver a support network to support and enhance your personal learning pathways. Social capital is fitting into groups through norms and expectations of behaviour whilst also sharing informal interactions between members.


Reference/Work Record from Ray McMillan, Principal Roebourne District High School

Reference link:

During my year at Roebourne I attempted to be involved in as much as possible at the school. I had opportunities to work with a wide variety of people employed directly at the school, and also through the wider community connected with the school. I was able to attend and be involved in a variety of professional development and learning opportunities. I was given the responsibility of organising school carnivals, and coordinating teams and excursions for inter school events, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges given to me, and have gained some great experiences to use in future schools and positions.