DIY Teacher: Teaching is manic – bring it!!

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May 13th, 2011

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Week 3 with Bianca!


Hello Edmodians!

My week has been a little frazzled, and after a quick shout out on twitter asking what I should blog about, this tweet got the green light:

I do have a new prac student who started with me on Monday. I had to apologise a number of times for talking to myself and for the tangents on which I wastaking our conversations. There just are so many things I want to be doing –constantly. So this blog post I’m going to try to cover a few divergent things in avery short space. I’d apologise but then, well, I’d be apologising for being me and that’s just silly 😉

One: My most recent blog post on my personal blog reflected on the currentlayout of my classroom. It’s called ‘Teaching in the round …’ although it isn’t truthful to what we know as ‘theatre in the round’, but it does feature a circle! The circle is one of participation, not observation, and that’s a key differencebetween the two, I guess. Really one of my biggest challenges is that I want to teach in a 21st century way but I’m stuck in a 20th century building. It sure makes it hard to ensure that the learning space matches the physical space. I’ve found this ‘make-shift’ 21st century learning space of mine to have been highly effective this week. So if you’re stuck with 20th century designed spaces and you want to do something radical – move the furniture!

Two: Something so simple it’s kinda silly, but thought I’d share it with you anyway. I take photos of my whiteboard. I honestly do not have an IWB in my classroom (just a quaint old dusty digital projector that was whizz-bang in 2004 and has one broken leg ensuring that all images are thrown on the screen atan angle) – only my whiteboard with stubborn smudges that refuse my elbow-grease. Why take photos you ask? Because I’m a 21st century kid (OK … adult …but let’s use the term loosely for me, yeah?) and I want to keep a constant record of my life. Admittedly I don’t share these images on facebook (often) but I do occasionally post them to my blog and frequently to edmodo. I mean, after all kids are often absent from class (either physically or mentally) and we need to provide them with catch-up notes. Why not whip out your iphone, take a quicksnap-shot of the board and upload it to edmodo?

Here’s one I prepared earlier:

I’ve found that taking photos of the board saves me time because I don’t have to hand write the notes (a skill I am increasingly getting weaker at) and because I can return to my board notes to remind me of things I’d normally forget (likea sample essay introduction, the names of students in PBL teams, the seating arrangement for that ratty Friday afternoon class, the impromptu homework tasks I set, etc). All of this stuff goes from the old skool hand-written notes on the whiteboard to my uber-swish 21st century digital device in 2 seconds and with a little bit more time (say 2 minutes max) I can have it up on edmodo for a student or typed into a program for me for later reference. I know this isn’t the most innovative way of using technology in the classroom – it’s so basic it’s almost embarrassing putting it out there – but it works and ultimately that’s the dream for all teachers, right?

Three: I just wanted to include a bit of a hat tip to the wonderfully motivated and innovative teachers down here in Australia who are just grabbing edmodowith two hands and running with it. As @clarindabrown pointed out on twitter, ‘edmodo has gone viral’. The best thing about true 21st teachers is that they are dedicated and they take risks. Social networking has brought together teachers from divergent backgrounds (public, private, high school, primaryschool, city, country and all the different subjects you can imagine) to collaborate on a wonderful teacher-led project.

Introducing, the Edmodo teacher hub: (

This wiki was the brainchild of a twitter colleague of mine, @enzuber and it already has quite a few contributing members. The purpose is to create a ‘space’where all of our edmodo ideas, experiences and resources can be accessed easily. I think it’s great – so go on, check it out and if you’re feeling confident, add something!


9 responses to “DIY Teacher: Teaching is manic – bring it!!”

  1. Betsy Whalen, Edmodo says:

     Great post — have you thought about, instead of using wikispaces, bringing the wiki into Edmodo and just making the posts public for all to see?   Just a thought:)  

    • Biancah80 says:

      Hmmm, yes it’s a possibility but wiki works better for the purpose (I think) because it remains static – so links etc are always in the same place. Plus the community of users can add to/update design/layout if they wish. (Sorry bit of edupunking and I think it’s wonderful to see the idea develop organically for the benefit of teachers and edmodo users …) 

  2. Trulljustin says:

    my history and comp key teacher uses edmodo and edmodo is allright but some kids still work old school so you might still want to use your class room and not just teaching sights/ from a student i know from experiance

    • Bianca Hewes says:

      That is such a great point Justin! We really need to hear from students on forums like this and I thank you for taking the risk to comment on a teacher’s post – that would have scared the pants of me when I was a kid!

      I hope your experiences of using technology in the classroom help you to learn in a more engaging and effective way. But of course there are SO many ways that we can learn, and chatting to people in person is a wonderful way as well as using ‘teaching sites’.


  3. Emily Huff says:

    Love “Really one of my biggest challenges is that I want to teach in a 21st century way but I’m stuck in a 20th century building.”

    Could you elaborate or explain to me what you do with your classroom?  I’d love to try and re-work mine but don’t really know where to start 🙂

  4. I liked reading this post. I think it’s great that you are putting your thoughts out there, well done for doing what works for you and your class! 

  5. Bianca Hewes says:

    Hi Ashley 🙂

    Thanks for that! Haha … I do have a habit (bad, some might say) of being honest with my experiences, even if they aren’t flattering to me as an educator. We learn through experience and reflection, so I think it’s important to share that with other teachers if they can benefit from it!


  6. Brady says:

    cool post 

  7. Brenda says:


    I have an active board, and i still take picture of my white board. You are correct it is easier to remember a discussion for the absent students, and also show the thinking the students do as your discussion progresses.

    I keep my kids in a U shaped seating arrangement that way it is much easier for me to walk around and keep thim engaged in the discussion.

    May you have a great 2012!

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