Monthly Archives: March 2016

Offline inspiration – can it be done?

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This post may seem contrary to the title of this blog,but it’s ok. Life goes on.

When Christmas shopping in November, I bought a copy of this book for my friend.


Then I added another copy to my basket…for me. (Thanks kikki.k)

It’s as simple as the title suggests – go offline and be inspired. It features 135 ideas to inspire you to go offline and experience the world around you. It also has a book cover which doubled as a 30-day challenge poster. The idea is that you do it to completing a set activity each day for a month.

While I could probably do each daily challenge,I’ve decided to select 8 in particular that I’d like to achieve by the end of the school holidays:

#3 – instead of reading the news online,read a newspaper (goodbye,ninemsn.com)

#5 – rediscover an old cookbook and put a recipe to the test (goodbye taste.com)

#8 – leave your phone at home & go for a walk outside (not recording it using Runkeeper)

#9 – decluttering your wardrobe and embrace the feeling of freedom it brings

#14 – meditate for 5 minutes (I’m guessing without a guided voice from an app telling me how to do it and what to think of…)

#17 – book in a time to catch up with an old friend (can I book in the time without using Facebook?…)

#25 – make something with your hands (without referring to the step by step instructions on Pinterest)

#27 – start the day with a walk around your neighbourhood,yoga or some simple stretching

So,wish me luck. 5 days of holidays done, 12 to go…

Tutoring with technology

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This year I’ve taken on 3 sessions of tutoring per week. A set of twin girls in Year 5 for an hour each Monday and then a Year 3 boy and his Year 1 sister for one hour each on Tuesday and Thursdays. The twins actually requested tutoring as they enjoy learning and recognise it as being important. They’re easily motivated, competitive and soak up any new concept given to them.

The brother & sister require a little more motivation. I understand – they’ve already spent 6 hours at school…now they have to do an hour more? Like many youngsters, technology is a useful currency with these 2 children. I mix up our activities, from spelling to handwriting, board games, card games, times table races, reading…etc. But what apps could I use?

Apps I love using as part of my tutoring sessions:

Victorian Modern Cursive ($4.99) – practice correct letter formation with different mediums – chalk, jelly, chocolate pudding…etc

Gobbling Goblins  (free) – choose from simple skip counting by 2s to counting by multiples of 2,5 & 10, or more! Kids love creating revolting dishes for the goblins to eat!

10 Frame Fill (free) – helpful for creating an interactive visual for ‘How many more to make 10’ and focusing on 10s facts.

Dyslexia Quest ($5.99) – provides a fun way of assessing a students working memory, ability to discern between letters and words and some thinking challenges!

Inference Clues ($7.99)- like it suggests, assisting kids to find the actual words or phrases which help them create an inference.

Number Pieces (free)- I find this wonderful as I don’t have a full set of MAB blocks to carry around with me, but having each piece to create numbers for place value work as proved very helpful.

Spellosaur (free, full version $5.99)- I’ve paid for the full version of this, as I can add multiple users and edit their personalised spelling words. Letter scrambles, missing letters, dictation tests etc.

Collins Big Cat storybooks (all books free) – I’m using this for my Year 1 student to focus on retelling the story as this has a record function so she can record her own voice as she retells it!

Zoombinis ($7.99)- This isn’t strictly an app that promotes a lot of literacy or maths skills, but I’ve noticed that my Year 3 students requires a lot of thinking skills, comparing and contrasting and problem-solving strategies. So we’re working on this…plus, I’m enjoying taking a trip back to my childhood when I used to play this at home on the PC!

Any other apps that are helpful for primary-school tutoring?

Appreciation.

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It doesn’t take much to appreciate what you have. But many of us don’t do it often enough. During the last week of term before Easter, staff were involved in a morning devotion focusing on gratitude – an attitude of gratitude goes a long way.

This year I appreciate so much more than I used to.

The fact that I am healthier than I was in 2015. I enjoy the variety that my job offers me. The new opportunities that I have had. The support I am offered. The love I am given. The friendships I have.

I was talking with my fiancee last week about being in the ‘now’. I feel that the constant integration of technology into our lives has suppressed our ability to appreciate what we already have. Now, when I’m the passenger on a road trip, I’m often looking at my phone…instead of looking out of the window. Instead of leafing through my countless recipe books and family recipes, I jump online to find a recipe quickly. Instead of having to wait days to have photo film develop, we upload them to social media…after we’ve deleted the first 4 attempts because someone wasn’t looking, or it was a ‘bad angle’ of mum.

Now we have apps on our phones and iPads to help us create to-do lists, with schedules and reminders. Thankfully…I have scaled back from this and have gone back to an old-fashioned diary this year. And on the table next to the couch are 3 pens and a pad of sticky notes.

Don’t forget to appreciate the little things! Like pens…and sticky notes.