Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Fighting fire with fire?

Little Hoots "wisdom"
It happened last week.

We were driving home, and she was thirsty and could not wait another second.
She was dying, for sure!

We asked her to wait for five minutes until we got home...

There was a very loud melt-down in the back of the car...

Hubby turned up the volume of the music in the car...

After a while we heard the following from the back:
"My teacher says you don't have to jump in the fire when your friends are doing it!"

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We got home, and she drank two sips from the glass of water. (Of course!)

Monday, 23 February 2015

Please pay it forward on this Monday and give these students a view



                       Millennium Lady: We made a video about Management in SA



The Student is doing a post-graduate degree in management. For one of their assignments, they had to discuss the three levels of management... (Yes, boring!)


The group with the most views on YouTube can win R10 000 in virtual money for their project due in March. So, please view their video and hopefully you find it a bit entertaining. (Spoiler alert! NO!)


But you will do your good deed for this Monday!

(And a big please from a mother who can't afford another year of varsity! The Student needs to successfully finish this!)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Night tour at the Joburg Zoo


We had such a blast on Friday night at the Joburg Zoo. We did one of the night tours with the Voortrekkers, and it was really awesome!

We saw a lot more of the animals close-up than we usually see during the day.

Our ride and guide for the night
Kinky the elephant up close


White rhinos
Antics


A treat seeing this guy
The Zoo at sunset

Feeding Gladys the "most beautiful" Bactrian Camel 
The lion couple gave us a good show
while grooming each other and growling
Campfire and picnic at the Zoo

Marshmallow braai
We can really recommend doing this!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

App-smashing 101 with Sabba Quidwal


Sir Ken Robinson:
"We don't grow into creativity; we grow out of it or rather we get educated out of it."
Sabba Quidwai gave a few advanced presentations at the most recent South Africa iPad Summit. The following is stated on her website Ask MSQ:
Sabba Quidwai is a passionate educator ... [who] loves most about the creation of technology-enhanced curriculum is its potential to empower all learners and is driven by the following philosophy:

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." ~ Confucius.

The App-smashing 101 presentation on Tuesday was extremely inspiring teaching how to use apps in a very creative way, by way of app-smashing (combining) the apps.

A definition of app-smashing is the possibility of "students to create content with a variety of apps and then publish it to the web". More information and resources can be found on EdTechTeacher

App-smashing

Sabba focused on technology as being able to reignite the passion for creativity. Our learning through technology opens up the value of/and fostering creativity! (See the top quote by Sir Ken Robinson.)

When using the iPad we are rethinking the iPad as a portable media creation device.
We move away from one tool at one time!

The one screen iPad is being suggested as the ultimate to begin this creative learning experience. We don't need thousands of apps, but only those that let's you push and pull from the device.
A good way to evaluate an app is it's ability to be downloaded/exported as well as being imported into another app.


The evergreen apps that can be used with any subject and in any learning environment:

Explain Everything
Book Creator
iMovie
Touchcast
Keynote
Puppetpals
Skitch
Tellagami Edu
Chromville
DoInk

iPad hieroglyphics
The iPad hieroglyphics provide a base foundation for newer iPad users to understand how to navigate within and between applications.




An example of app smashing:

1. Use Safari to research the information.
2. Create a Storyboard.
3. Create characters in Tellagami.
4. Pull it into iMovie.
5. Create an augmented reality overlay with Aurasma.
6. Create a final trigger image on the wall where the children can look at all the projects.


The following Chemistry of Combos are suggested to use for ideas when app smashing.
The Chemistry of Combos
iPad Educators
The final products can be shared through DropBox or ViewChat.

Preparation is the most important, and should include:

1. The goal or the question.
2. The storyboard makes it easy to understand the thinking and learning process.
3. The creation only follows after that!

It sounds like a lot of fun using this in the classroom. You are only limited by your own imagination!

I can't remember if Sabba or one of the other presenters said this, but: Think of what you want to do, and then search for the app. Do not focus on the apps per se. The technology is not about the app, but what you want to do with it!

There is an app for everything!


Related post:

iPads in the Classroom: from consumption to creation - Tom Daccord #iPadEdSummitZA

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Currently...

I found this on Cat's blog: Juggling Act of Life

Listening to: Hozier - Take me to the Church
And I love this ballet version




Reading: Library Advocacy Unshushed MOOC, but struggling to keep up...

Thinking about: My wonderful Hubby who made Valentine's special with a date and movie, and he even bought flowers for the girls!

Looking forward to: Our trip to Texas in the middle of the year. Very scary, but also very exciting!

Anticipating: A very good and busy year! We are doing it!

Planning: The overseas trip (well, we should be starting...!)

Wearing: Cool summer clothes. It is the best time of the year!

Drinking: Coffee. A bit too much!

Eating: A bit more healthy. I am kilojoule counting with My Fitness App on my iPhone 6. Loving it! It seems it is starting to work as well!

Thankful: For being invited to the first International iPad Summit in South Africa the previous two days. My head still spins with all the possibilities. I am also feeling a bit more optimistic about South Africa's educational future with all the bright teachers that attended the conference!

Wishing and praying: Always my children. But it seems they are sorted this year. Little Miss has settled in nicely at school, and waves us goodbye with smiles in the morning. The Student is also enjoying her business classes this year!

Not looking forward to: My birthday! (Getting too near a big number... AAArgh!)

Dreaming about: New possibilities! In my career, mostly!


What's happening currently with you?

Monday, 16 February 2015

iPads in the Classroom: from consumption to creation - Tom Daccord #iPadEdSummitZA

Tom Daccord:
"Educators shouldn't think of iPads as repositories of apps but rather as
portable media creation devices."

I was extremely fortunate to be invited to attend the first South African iPad Summit this week at The Forum in Bryanston.

Core Group invited three international speakers, with over 400 educators from southern Africa attending. It is a buzz to see all the teachers with their iPads taking notes and photographs and discussing the practicalities of implementation of the iPad. It makes me very excited for our education in South Africa!

Tom Daccord, who is from Boston in the United States, has worked with schools, districts, colleges, and educational organisations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He was a history teacher for many years!

My head is still spinning from all the new information of the conference today, but here are
A few important pointers taken from the Keynote speech by Tom Daccord:

- Teachers should not focus on app teaching. It is the narrow vision of an iPad. It is not a passive instrument, but should be used creatively!
See the quote on top by Tom Daccord.

- Teachers should build a vision to work towards. What does awesome look like? (Free Teacher Activity Book for iPads in the Classroom available!) That is the starting point of great learning!

- Three commonalities are identified of great teachers using iPads:

1. Empower through creativity. Children should be empowered to demonstrate what they know in different modalities.

2. Connect. iPads connect globally and students have access to the global community and learning. Use social media!

3. Make learning last. Teachers help students to create opportunities to actively learn.
We were told the anecdote of Tom Daccord's step daughter who was in a classroom setting where the teacher told the children to learn Chinese vocabulary and left. The children came up with the idea to incorporate it with making cooking demonstration videos. She still remembers that vocabulary to this day!
- There are evergreen apps that can be used at any point of time with any subject, such as Book Creator, iBooks, iTunesU, Padlet, Notability, Camera.

- The first five days are crucial when introducing the iPad.
Tom Daccord suggests getting to know the students are the most important. It is being done by making use of apps on the iPad, such as the Socrative apps. The teacher will learn more about the children and their background, and the children will already begin to familiarize themselves with the iPad.

---------------------

I will be sharing some more about the Summit in the upcoming days. I have also seen some handy apps that I did not know about. I will probably encounter some more tomorrow!

I hope my daughter's school start their implementation sooner rather than later. I will be that parent phoning again...

(Today I wished again I was a teacher!)

Friday, 13 February 2015

Mom's the Valentine!


This Little Valentine gave us an uphill battle this morning in getting her into a kind of red and white outfit for a Valentine's Day at school.

We already had the clothes picked out last night, but today she was not happy with the red leggings and the hair was not done the way she wanted it! I don't know what the idea of the wings are, but as long as she is happy and and we can get out of the door... We go!

Little Miss is extremely fussy with what she is wearing and how her hair is done!
She only wears about 1% of her clothes, and the rest always have some sort of an issue.
Scratchy, or too warm, or too cold... (That "sensory issue" thing needs to be checked out?)

--------

On Valentine's:

We always love to get into the excitement of a theme.
As long as it is fun, fun, fun... Why not?

Little Miss does not have a special someone yet (so she says!) , and she gets very upset when I suggest that we buy something for a "boyfriend"!
She already bought a Valentine's flower for her mom, which she hid away yesterday. (I caught a glimpse of it...)

She of course bought it with her tuck shop card at the school. This tuck shop card has been the absolute highlight of the year. We have to limit her to only one day a week, because she will go back and back.
Yesterday she was only supposed to buy one thing, but she also bought a small something for her best friend, and of course the flower for me, and a biltong snack, and... (if pressed, she usually confesses in buying more stuff).
But, if the R100 for the month is finished, it will be finished!
It will be a good lesson with the finances!

She was sent to school with some hard cash today, because they have an entrepreneurs market at school.
I can't wait to see what she is going to buy with it...
(I did suggest a present for Dad, as well as for Big Sister!)


Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!!
What will you be doing?

I would love to go out with Hubby! (*HINT!*)
Big Sister is even coming home for the weekend to baby-sit tomorrow night.
But the finances are low...

- Photo by Dad this morning!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

10 things to love about load shedding and blackouts


A list of all the things that makes load shedding a positive thing!

I know that a lot of businesses suffer, and that there are people as well that suffer during these blackouts!
That is unforgivable!

But while the South Africans are getting our fair share of power outages, and we are dramatically declaring "Doomsday!" in all our discussions with each other, I thought I would focus on the "benefits".


10 Things to love about Blackouts:

1. Revelling in the quiet! 

We've got so much noise around us, that it actually feels like a relief to hear yourself when the white noise of the machines powers down.

2. Time for reconnection

There is nothing as good to sit with the family around candle light and talking. We can bond again!

3. Braai

This is a very good reason to start the fire for a barbecue. (Not that we need any excuse for a braai...)

4. Lighting

We can use all our candles that have gathered dust in the cupboards.
There is nothing as romantic sitting by candle light or bathing by candle light!
I love using my solar lights as well during this time!

5. Good excuse to not be able to study

When the power is down, we can't access our online study courses and MOOCs.
Getting a free pass for the night!

(Photo taken with a flash on Friday night)

6. Going to sleep early

There is nothing that makes us more sleepy than the dark. We have been going to bed earlier because of the load shedding.

7. Catch up on downloaded movies/series

We rarely get time to watch the downloaded movies and series, and load shedding gives us an opportunity to catch up on it. (While the batteries are still charged, of course!)

8. Watching stars

We can see a bit more of our starry sky here in the city when the power goes down.

9. Telling stories

We can tell stories to each other, and also when the children go to bed. It also adds to our bonding with each other.

10. Listening to music/radio

We can crank up the radios we don't usually play in the evenings, and we also take turns to play our favourite music (on our gadgets) to each other.


Please let me know of other things to love about load shedding?

Friday, 6 February 2015

South African Home Affairs - a breeze! What?


Yes, we finally scheduled an afternoon to go through to Home Affairs to apply for two passports. We were dreading the queues and the bad service. We should already have gone last year, but there are
always ALWAYS a better thing to do than going to your local Home Affairs!

We decided on the Roodepoort offices as most people said the service there is the best.

We were pleasantly surprised:

- We did not have to fill in any forms. Everything is electronic. (A BIG bonus to me, as I HATE filling in forms.)

- We were immediately put into an electronic queue after we paid the said amount (R400 *ouch!!*= 35.38 US dollar) for the passports. That helps considerably as you don't have to figure out in which queue you need to be.

- The photos were taken on site. (Little Miss and I rocked up with a whole set of awful "passport photos" for ourselves). You don't have to fight all the budding photographers outside the door, or pay for your own set of photos any more!

- We could wait for our turn sitting down, and helping Little Miss with her homework.

- The fingerprints were taken electronically, and we did not have to content with getting black ink off our fingers any more!

- It took us just a little over an hour to get it done, and they said we will only have to wait for four weeks for our passport documents. (*Holding thumbs*)

Instruction by Little Miss to take photos of her hairstyle while waiting
(We had time for this...)
- We got an sms notification immediately that we have applied for the passports.

- The service was good, although there could have been more friendly faces. (But I don't blame the Home Affairs officials for looking like Dread at the end of the day working there...)


- Final note: So glad both parents went together, as the passport for the little ones requires both parents' fingerprints!


My brother in San Antonio, we are seeing you in middle 2015!
Little Miss and I will be going over the oceans for the first time in our lives! (The Student has been to France and England, and Hubby has been to a couple of places as well!)

Monday, 2 February 2015

Third week starting good


She told her dad yesterday that he can leave her at the gate, and that she would go in by herself.

Which she did today!

Her dad had to compose himself, and let her go...


(How quickly the dynamics change.
And how quickly they are independent little beings!)


I hope I won't be hearing "It's not a lekker day!" this afternoon.
But it seems the third week started on a good note!


Related post:

First week of school - still getting into it!