My posting here is threatening to fall off the wagon so I'll just post a few random notes here about things I've been noting of late.
Our new library and classroom block are now open for business. We will start moving the students into their new surrounds throughout this week in a staggered fashion, as we work out what resources will make the journey from the old to the new. I'm super impressed with how the technology has panned out and the AV specialist who walked me through all the options when the buildings were still shells has done a great job. We have four classrooms, two adjoin each other with a portable wall separating the two (if needed) a new teacher prep area (never had one of those before) and a shared open learning area that has been titled the Aula. Each room has a short throw projector on one half of the low sheen whiteboard (not interactive), ceiling speakers - any AV device can be attached and controlled by the projector remote - even my iPhone's music list! We have one IWB in the Aula which means that it will be best used for student small group activities or collaborations. I'm looking forward to teaching in this gift from the Rudd government - it may be the only time in my teaching career that I'll have the opportunity to work in a brand new, never been used before building.
Gary Stager & The Middle Schooling Conference
Gary has been mentioned as a must see education presenters by many people who I read. So I made sure that I was in the front row when the opportunity arose. His reputation is well deserved and he kept me engaged for both his ninety minute presentation and his closing keynote. He whips through topics and points at a frenetic pace and probably needed a lot more time to really unpack his whole presentation. Everything he says is thought provoking and he is unashamedly controversial. I have my notes tucked away and need to re-read them and reflect on them in a future blog post to do them full justice. So, even though I also got a lot out of Erica McWilliam's presentation, it is Gary's point of view that presents the most challenge to the way I conduct my job.
Lego Ebay Addiction
My youngest son has discovered Star Wars and is now a connoisseur of the licensed Lego products. He bought a couple of sets with his birthday money and I hunted a few second hand sets on Ebay to get him started. Now it has become a bit of an obsessive hobby on my part as we both research on the Brickipedia for the best sets to add to my Watch List. There are many resources on the web to ensure that what people are offering for sale is what we might be interested on including LUGNET and GalaxyBricks. My frugal German ancestry is coming in handy as I'm only bidding for items at very low prices, constantly being beaten in the final few minutes of an auction by someone prepared to shell out more $A than me. (Although I did score a new Boba Fett's Slave I set for $50 less than down at Target in a surprising result.) Anyone wanting to offload excess Star Wars Lego might have a willing buyer here! It is something fun to do with my son - I think the next step is to work on creating some stop motion clips together. It could be my project for Ewan's 100 Hour Challenge.