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Monday, February 23, 2015

How to improve your blogname

I am working with some classes at the moment setting up blogs to document student writing, so that students can create and share their writing with a more global audience.

Rather than using a common nickname, Sheryl123, that you have used with other social media sites, establishing a more "grown up" name might be beneficial for students in the long run as they learn about Digital Citizenship and establishing a responsible online presence.

If you find idea generation a challenge, it might be useful to use some of the random generator web sites out there.

This web page throws out suggested names every 10 seconds. Clicking the option can give you further control over the randomness of the page. Names like CubicStack or FunLunatic might not mean much, but might provide some inspiration for a generic blog that can evolve with you over the years.

Another site that provides you with name suggestions based on

Hipster Business Name Generator
Even though it is generating business names, it might come up with a good name for a blog. Names like "Feather and Grass" might be a generic name to use for a blog name.

Random generators are great to use for names, writing ideas and blog post topics.

How do you generate your name?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Writing Opportunities for students

Young Writers are spoilt for choice with a wide range of opportunities and competitions that they can contribute to.

[source: via Centrum]

Letters to the Editor
Do you feel passionate about an issue, submit a concise summary of your position on an issue to the editor of The Australian, , The Age or the Leader Newspaper in your local community.

Contribute to an interest area
Do you have an opinion on a new Album or movie? Send your thoughts into Beat Magazine 

Oz Kids in Print
Provides students with the opportunity to submit their work for publication into their quarterly magazine and they publish a Young Australian 

Express Media
There are a number of publications that young writers can contribute to:

Look Locally, what is your local council doing?
Dandenong Ranges Autumn Writers Festival has writing opportunities for all students and also adults throughout May. Many Municipalities have writing festivals which give students the opportunity to submit their writing and you don't need to be a resident of the municipality.

Charlotte Duncan Award 2015 opens on 1 February 2015 and closes 30 April 2015
Award for a short story for young readers aged 9-12 years. This award has been established in the memory of Charlotte Duncan to raise funds for the neo-natal unit at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. Entry fee: $9.90 per story. 1st prize - $75, 2nd prize - $50, 3rd prize - $25. Winning entries will be published on the Celapene Press website.

2015 Dorothea MacKellar (National) Poetry Prize opens on 1 March and closes 30 June 2015
Available for all students, they can submit up to three poems EACH.
Many schools do poetry in Year 9 and this is, an excellent opportunity for students to get published. Schools pay equivalent of $1-2 per entry.​

2015 Short and Twisted Anthology
Lots of opportunity for poetry and short stories to be submitted. Free to entry.

Enjoy your writing!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mater Christi Learning Commons

I was fortunate to have a tour of the Mater Christi Learning Commons late last year.

Their recreational reading section looks across the Dandenong's and there are various different styles of furniture for students to sit or lounge on.

I can imagine that  this space might get hot in summer but the large window is beautiful.

The study space mean be booked by teachers and can have two different classes in this space. A lot of these tables are used by staff after school for meetings and often you can see students studying while staff members are talking pedagogy.

Again, there is a range of furniture that the students move around to suit their study needs, be that group work or independent study.

A suggestion book is maintained to encourage students to make the learning space theirs. Students request books, physical changes or opportunities for events.

A Senior fiction and staff fiction reading session is maintained, growing with the needs of the Learning Commons clientele.

A few as more points struck me as being conducive to establishing and developing a learning commons. Students can borrow as many books as they want and they are encouraged to take books home over the summer break to read. At lunchtimes the students use the space in which ever way they want to. Study, socialising, game playing, making things. The philosophy that it is their space to use and develop is reinforced by this attitude.

It should be interesting to follow Mater Christi College as they continue to develop this site and push the boundaries of what a library could be.