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Monday, March 16, 2015

5 ideas for celebrating St. Patrick's Day in your #learningcommons

Making your library space dynamic and changing displays is important to encouraging interest in the space and collection. St. Patrick's Day is one of those celebrations that can be easily put together and decorating your learning space shouldn't take any longer than an hour at most.

Here are a few ideas for decorating your learning space.

1. Bunting

What would the world be without Bunting? All you need is some string, some colour printouts and a hole punch and voila!

Brother have some lovely Lucky Shamrock Bunting to download for free. The other option is to use green scrapbook paper and cut into triangles or squares and punch away!

You could even use green pom poms or green felt shamrocks to create a point of interest.

2. Shamrocks

Print off and cut out some shamrocks by hand or there are many online stores that sell Shamrocks that have already been cut out in paper and also felt.

Alternatively, invest in a Silhouette Cameo and cut them out yourself. I love what this person has done with the story of St. Patrick.

3. Book display

Goodreads have a list of some popular Irish authors and there are some great articles out there about some must-read Irish authors.

Encourage discussions about some of the more prominent Irish authors such as Oscar Wilde, Yeats and Maeve Binchy. You might even have a lunchtime spoken word event where someone reads out an exert from "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

We were hard pressed to find an adequate amount of authors in our library so we had a combination of stories about Ireland, Irish authors and every green book we could put our hands on ...

Another option is Irish Non-Fiction and links to articles which talk about the successful commercialisation of St. Patrick's Day.

4. Food

We set up a bowl of green lollies for students who are borrowing! We came up with Spearmint Leaves, Green Aeroballs and Green M'n'M's.


There are some lovely free printables out there. I like the bookmarks which acknowledge the foundations of the day and also Irish sayings or blessings.

Some of these bookmarks can be enlarged on the photocopier and become wall decorations.

Enjoy your celebrations!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Flipping Classroom

I had the opportunity of watching Andrew Douche strut his stuff at a Professional Learning session a few weeks aback about the Flipped Classroom.

He was engaging and inspirational presenter who used many of his own classroom examples to engage and carry his audience through the journey of designing curriculum to meet the needs of his students. During the presentation he also demonstrated how some of the newer software tools could be used to present material in an engaging way.

In a former life I worked at Methodist Ladies' College in Melbourne in their (Information Technology Learning Centre) and during that time I team taught with two other wonderful Information Technology teachers. We were doing team teaching, flipping, differentiation, formative assessment. All the good stuff before it had it's own #hashtag.

[source: Wayback machine]

Teaching for 20 years, you notice "good teaching practice" being re-packaged and re-branded again and again.

Flipping the classroom is more than just sending kids home with a video to watch. It is intentionally seeing the "out of class" time as an opportunity to continue learning and comprehension of what is happening in the classroom. A classroom without walls.

But what if your sports commitments are five nights a week or what if you have to go home to take care of your younger siblings? In an ideal world, students can go home and study or continue their learning. But often we don't know what their home life is like. As teachers we don't understand that perhaps the only time they have to engage in structured learning is when they are at school.

Flipped learning can work well for some units of work but not necessarily others. And in that case, isn't it just good teaching practice to integrate opportunities for students to continue to develop their thinking outside your classroom?

Some links to get you thinking ...