RoboCup Junior

This Saturday, my school participated in the regional competition for RoboCup Junior. This was the first time in quite a few years that the school has been involved, and we were living up to some incredibly high standards - in the past our school had brought back trophies for their impressive efforts.

My school decided to participate in the Rescue division based on advice from Jim Riley, the ACT RoboCup Junior Chair. This involves following a line through obstacles to rescue a victim in a 'chemical spill'.

Both Caren and myself, teacher-mentors for our three robotics teams, went into the competition with the expectation that we would have a go, have fun and learn a lot about how the competition worked for future improvement. And that expectation was fulfilled! We. Learnt. SO. Much!

We discovered that students in Years 3-6 can persevere and problem solve. We also found out that children get hangry and need regular feeding (who would have thought?!) in order to be able to cope with adversity. Our teams weren't as prepared before the event as we were hoping, but in the end, we all managed some success. One of my favourite moments was when a Year 5 student finally got his robot to line follow (something he'd been working on ALL DAY) and the absolute joy on his face when he proudly showed me will be something that sticks with me for a long time to come.

Unsurprisingly, we didn't win any awards at the end of the day, but we did come away with the generous donation of a set of rescue tiles that the ACT RoboCup Junior committee gave us to help us develop our programming skills.

It was definitely a worthwhile experience, and we all learnt a lot. A huge THANK YOU and shout out to my fellow teacher-mentor, Caren, who worked hard to get the teams as prepared as possible, our STEM executive teacher, Lynne, who came and covered the 2 hours I needed to pop out and attend an engagement party, and Chris, our new principal, who brought his family out to support our teams.

Another thanks goes to the parents who supported us in dropping off and picking up children for the Friday evening workshop, and the Saturday competition. Some parents even stayed and helped out with programming robots and problem solving while Caren and I were busy with the other teams. What a great result!

The biggest THANK YOU needs to go to the ACT RoboCup Junior Committee, who worked tirelessly up til and during the competition, and who supported our little teams to go as far as they could. Thanks so much!

Thanks for dropping in,

Google Drop-in Sessions

Google Educator Level 2

I have recently completed training for my Google Educator Level 2 certification. After two weeks (in stand down) of hard studying, I was #superexcited to pass the exam and get my next Googly certification!

I took five pages of notes while studying and I have actually referred back to my notes when trying something out at school.

Google Drop-in Sessions

To make the most use of my new knowledge, I have volunteered my time each fortnight to help my colleagues with their Googly questions. So far I've hosted three sessions, and have shared several apps, extensions and websites.

The idea behind the drop-in sessions was that people could pop in, ask a question and go (as I am acutely aware that we are all time-poor with a million demands on that time).

Session #1

In the first session, I had 5 people come in and chat. It was a great experience for me, as I was asked questions I didn't know the answers to and had to learn on the fly. I also loved how collegiate the group was, helping each other out while I was supporting another colleague one on one. 

In this session, I shared Alice Keeler's website, and her Chrome extension "Open Side by Side". I also shared "Classroom Screen", which my students enjoy.

This session also made me aware of a small group of staff who were finding access to ICT difficult, and a request was made for them to have an iPad each. I followed up immediately, and set in motion a project that the ICT coordinator and I have worked on to solve this problem. (Which, as an aside, has also set in motion an entire re-imaging project for ALL the iPads in the school - whoops!)

Session #2

Before the second session, I was emailed by the Japanese teacher at our school about how to record her voice so students could review lessons and listen to the correct pronunciation of the Japanese words they were learning.

I did a bit of research and playing, coming up with these three:

Our amazing ICT coordinator also suggested Soundtrap for audio only.

Speaking of our incredible ICT coordinator; without his support, I wouldn't have felt confident in my ability to be able to pass the exam for Google certification. I wouldn't be offering support sessions for my colleagues and certainly wouldn't be providing the odd bit of tech support. I feel lucky to have the support and guidance of someone who is so knowledgeable and willing to mentor others in their ICT learning. Thanks Ry, you DO make a difference!

Session #3

This week, I hosted the third drop-in session. This was a bit of an odd mix, as I was mostly spruiking the newly re-imaged iPads (not my area of expertise) and helping a colleague with a Chromebook issue involving Flash player. I had several people pop in to check out the iPads, and just to chat ICT in general.

I did do a bit of research this time around, thinking that I might need something interesting to show (just in case no one had questions), and coincidentally, this came up in my feed - a well timed post by one of my favourite techie teachers, Matt Miller from Ditch That Textbook. I didn't use anything from this post for my session, but I am absolutely trying out the new Kahoot features, using our newly re-imaged iPads with my class ASAP! #superexcited

I already have a bunch of questions lined up for the 4th (and penultimate Google Drop-in Session) for next fortnight.

Thanks for dropping in,

Hallway of Happiness

Hallway of Happiness
I am very lucky to work with colleagues who are amazingly supportive.

This is the Hallway.

It's the Year 3/4 corridor in my school, and it has 5 of the most incredible, inspiring and innovative teachers I have worked with. Here's a sneak peek into our corridor and the people who work here.

As a typical Aussie, I rarely refer to my friends or colleagues by their proper names, instead, they all have shortened versions. I also rarely acknowledge when people call me by my full name, but that's mostly because I don't think of myself as a Rebecca.

Instagram for Teachers

In this heavily connected social media world, it is too easy to see other people's photos and posts and compare yourself to these lovely, shiny people who seem to have it all together.

Teaching is like this, too. I see other teachers, in a seemingly effortless manner, do things that I find so difficult. It's these moments that make me want to share the small victories I achieve.

I started an Instagram account specifically for sharing school photos. I wanted to keep my home life separate, but also to use that account to curate a list of my most inspiring teachers to follow.

Here are a few of the inspirational teacher Instagrammers that I love to follow:


and another Canberran local,

Thanks for dropping in,