Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bullying in Schools.

bullying-739607photo © 2008 Pimkie | more info (via: Wylio)
Last week the issue of Bullying seemed to stand up and confront me.  A parent came to me to report an issue of bullying that her child had come to her with.  That day Mrs S online asked for comments for a post on bullying that a student of hers had posted.  At a Board meeting last week we read a letter by Anne Tolley our Minister for Education about bullying.  On Friday I began investigating a bullying incident.  Then on Friday evening I caught the end of an interview with a very articulate 13 year old on Close up. How proud she can be of herself.  How proud her parents and teachers must be. The interview is worth watching, and you can link to it from here.  It is Number 3 on the line up.

As I began to think about the issue of bullying that I am dealing with at present, I thought of the very serious incidents that have been bought to our attention in New Zealand schools.  Surely it is an issue that needs to be addressed.  It is easy to pay lip service to it.  Why do schools do that?  I personally think it is because they actually don't know how to handle it.  We are educators, and like it or not, we need to educate our students to deal with bullying behaviour, whether they are the bully or the one bullied.

Schools of course can't do it by themselves.  They need the support of parents, and sometimes services such as counsellors and youth aid officers.  They need to support those bullied, help them to cope and take steps to prevent bullying happening to them.  The school has to take steps as well to keep students safe.  Schools also need to support the bully, letting them know they are accepted but their behaviour is not acceptable.  This all sounds reasonably straightforward but of course issues like this are rarely straightforward.  As I deal with the specific issue confronting me at present, I ask myself how do I best deal with this?  How can I help get change in this situation?

Their often is a strange code of silence around bullying.  The bullied of course often remains silent.  What concerns me is that often others who witness the bullying do not stand up for this person, and I am coming to believe these people need to be awakened and faced with how they need to respond.  Be they students or Principals and senior staff of schools.  Giving lip service to the issue of bullying is not enough.  Bullying is violence, be it verbal or physical.

Some websites that deal with bullying are:
Stop Bullying.
Bullying Prevention at the elementary level.
Bullying No Way an Australian resource.
No Bully.  Resource from NZ police.
What's Bullying.

How do you deal with bullying in your school.  What in your opinion is successful when it comes to dealing with this issue?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Loving My Ipad2

Ipad 2photo © 2011 inUse Consulting | more info (via: Wylio)
Yes I am just loving the iPad2.  It is a personal item, so thus far I have refrained from taking it to school.  Well I did take it once.  I have a student in my class, an eleven year old who is in the earlier stages of learning to read.  I encouraged her by saying when she had a number of ticks  for chunking through words, using the sounds and not making big, fat guesses, I would reward her with a story on my iPad.  She worked hard and I gave her my iPad and she followed the story of Cinderella.  Of course I sat along side her guarding my precious piece of hardware!  The Cinderella app was not a fantastic app but we enjoyed the story and I already have another app waiting there for her when we make another page of ticks for meeting her goal.  She is buying into it. I love it, because of course as a teacher I have a hidden motive. It passes more text past her eyes!

I love the way I can sit in my armchair, open the cover and there it is.  No slow waiting for it to boot up.  I barely got the cover off tonight when it started playing the video I had closed on the night before.  Now there is a problem.  I find my bedtime is getting later as I explore blogs, twitter etc on the iPad.

There are a wonderful array of apps to be explored.  Some excellent ones for children.  So far I have ignored games.  Evidently Angry Birds is the in game!  Where do people find the time?

As I read student blogs, it is easy to leave comments.  I have tried writing a post on Edublogs with it.  Didn't work but a plea for help to Sue Waters solved the problem.  Write in the HTML tab and works perfectly.  However probably the laptop is a lot easier for writing posts.

Watching videos on the iPad2 is a dream.  What am I watching?  Well, actually videos on phones!!!!!  Yes I have decided now I want to buy a phone that will work for me in the classroom.  After participating in a webinar on Tech Talk Tuesday, presented this week by Richard Lambert, I tracked down his blog.  There he talks about the use of phones in classrooms.  I'm sold!!  I can't justify an iphone. Yes, I'd love one.  However I splurged on the iPad2, so that's enough.

Amy geeks out over Android phonesphoto © 2010 George Kelly | more info (via: Wylio)
So android phones are my area of research at present.  I have decided it willl be either a Motorola flip out, or a Motorola Milestone.  I want something with a keyboard, (note-taking), a reasonable camera and video, a good internet processor.  These two fit the criteria.

And while I was attending the webinar, the topic was digital storytelling.  Now I am all fired up to go with that. I have ordered his book.  Now.... what gadgets will I need for digital storytelling!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

An Ipad2 Initiation.

Recently I received my Ipad2 that I ordered a few weeks back.  I am not sure if I really needed it, but I did want one!  I already have a Kindle and Kobo ereader and the Kindle3 is a great ereader and I would go no further than it.  So I didn't need the ipad as an ereader.

However in the last year I have started to get The Reading Teacher magazine online and downloading articles as PDFs. I like the idea more, not so many magazines piled up on the bookcase!  I have bought the PDF Pro Reader Editon app and this is perfect for reading these articles, the screen is not too bright and I can highlight etc.  Possibly a little expensive as an app, but now that I have become skilled at using it I don't regret it.  To show how green I am with an ipad I spent about 12 hours wondering how I could enlarge the print.  The penny then dropped and I remembered how to make it larger.  The downside of this, is now I am touching and swiping and expecting my Kindle ereader to act in the same way!  Of course it doesn't!!

A free app that I have downloaded is Flipboard.  That makes blog reading and other favourite places like flipping through a magazine.  Fun.  I have had a go at logging onto Twitter with the ipad.  I found myself a little at sea there, finding myself doing things I just don't want.  My favourite quote has accidentally changed and I have been in danger of retweeting tweets I didn't want to do.

To see what an upmarket magazine looks like on the ipad2 I tried the most recent Austalian Women's Weekly.  Interesting but don't think I will repeat.  It took awhile to download, and while the photos were sharp, there wasn't that much reading really in it for me.

I have noticed the finger marks quickly build up and the dust, even though I do have a cover. However all in all I know that I am going to build up my use of this interesting piece of technology.

As a teacher I will be wanting to know what apps are really good for education.  I hope to be able to use it in class with a link to my projector.  If you read this post and have used the ipad2 in education, please let me know what has worked well (or not!) for you.
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