Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I heart Excel Survey !

I am in love with Excel Survey !!!!

It is now official I think that Excel Survey is a fantastic tool. It is very easy and quick to create a survey and students find it clear to answer.
I use it to collect students’ voice data in order to plan my lessons and see where I need to go next. It is also quite useful to gauge if my students understood a concept or if I need to spend more time in class on a topic. Students can answer a multichoice question, or even better they can explain their answer with a short text. I like reading their reasoning so I can see if the learning is deep enough.

This week, I could see that students understood adjective agreement in French but their choice of
words was not correct. The concept was understood but they came up with answers like “the verb is feminine”. So the next lesson we went over the meaning of noun, verb and adjective. It is a wonderful learning opportunity which would not have happened if I hadn’t used Excel Survey or at least if I hadn’t listened to my students.

After creating the survey I put the link onto Moodle for the students to access. If (when) we are moving towards Teacher Dashboard school wide, it will even be easier to share the survey. But until then you can share with anybody as long as you share the link, in my understanding, you don’t need to have a Microsoft account to access the survey.

In conclusion, the important factor is to survey our students and listen to them to see where their learning needs to go, and Excel survey is a great tool to do it. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Classroom !!!

A good news from a bad news...

As the Japanese teacher and I only teach a minuscule number of students at senior level, we have
been given a new room. This room used to be the Languages Resources Room and during the last term it has been refurbished. It looks amazing !!!

The new room is near my French classroom at the bottom level of the block. It has a new heat pump (great for winter and our hot summer!!) and a data projector. This is not very exciting as all our classrooms at school have one of each; the most exciting thing is our furniture !!

The Japanese teacher and I sat down and picked some tables which can put in different shapes (yuppie !!); we also got some bean bags and some ottomans. The idea is that students would sit and work where they want and how they want. We could have a reading corner, other students could work on a listening task while others could work with the teacher around some tables. This is a very exciting time for us, although we will start using this room only next year when all the resources are brought back to the room.

Although we could not change the shape of the room as we can't move the walls, this is a kind of  MLE for our combined senior classes. It is very heart warming
to see our students getting excited every time they peep through the window to
check how the renovation is going.

Now the goal for us is to ensure that we use this room as it is planned and not fall back into an old fashion teaching.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I ain't dead !!

I haven't been blogging in ages and for different reasons. Some reasons are personal (family life), health issues and some reasons are much more simple, like I needed a break to assess where I was.

As I  have found myself again, I feel ready to write once more. Although, I haven't been writing for 2
years now, it does not mean that I haven't been thinking for the last couple of years. Actually, I have been thinking a lot, in every directions and maybe it is why it has been difficult for me to write. Not only I have found myself again but I seem to know where I am going now so it seems much easier to channel my thoughts. The last 3 years have felt like a "ride on a horse with no name". Although the desert can be harsh, it can also liberate us from unwanted stuff....I feel invigorated and ready to tackle a lot of things and maybe even bring down some mountains. I feel like a strong teacher scared of nothing.

Let's recap where we are up to in August 2015. I am still teaching French in a rural school in New Zealand and I still love it like on my first day. In February, I have been given 4 hours a Cycle - we have a 6 day timetable- to do some Future Focused Learning at our school. I have also been involved in the Kia Eke Panuku Team- how to raise Maori achievement.

In other words, since Feb, I have been very busy and I have been very challenged. The most challenging thing for me has been to learn how to work with teachers. Indeed, I thought it would have been easier to deal with teachers than teenagers but it turns out that it is much the same and the challenges are actually quite similar. But I think this is a topic for another post =)

As I am typing on my keyboard, I am tying to think what is my priority today regarding my thoughts. Funnily enough, I think I want to rant a bit ! This is not very surprising for a French though! I am angry to see that schools in NZ are seen as a place where students come to get ready for a job.

I believe that if we were sending our kids to secondary schools for the only purpose of getting a job then they will be no point of doing so. At the end of Intermediate School (age= 12 y old), students should then learn how to become a baker or a builder as their primary and fundamental education is (or should be) finished.


Students should be sent to secondary school to be challenged, to be shown how to become a critical thinker and learn how to make informed decision. A student in high school should be taught how to find information and critique this information, in other words a student should be taught how to evaluate all the information available at his finger tips and not become a sheep!

Secondary school is not only a place of knowledge as content but also a place of critical thinking !!