A star is born

If you haven’t seen the video of Susan Boyle singing on Britain’s Got Talent, 2009, it is an intensely moving and inspirational experience.  Despite negative vibes from the audience and judges before she performed, Susan was not swayed and remained calm and confident in pursuance of her goal.  Along with her performance, Susan taught some great lessons:

Susan Boyle taught us all that we should not be put off by others’ preconceived judgements.  How many students are judged by how they appear?  Especially students with challenges.   It is all too easy for them to be labelled as difficult or disruptive, unable to learn and lacking in intelligence (especially if they have poor verbal skills).   Given the opportunity Susan Boyle surpassed the judges expectations.  Many educators have this belief in the students they teach, but many also do not, preferring to label them in some way.  Susan taught us to see there is more to a person than what we initially perceive.

Let us all take that and apply it to others that cross our paths.

Image by Albino Flea

Create a booklet – easy!

I wanted to create a booklet and although I found information that enabled me to do this in Word, it was turning into a complex task.    From the print menu I needed to identify my pages in order of printing, ie page 12,1; 2,11; 10,3 etc.  Despite doing this, it wasn’t working as simply as I would have liked.  When I numbered my pages in a 12 page booklet, the printer churned out page after page, with numbers such as 52 and 64 on my pages.    Also it would appear very tedious to have to identify pages in order of printing with a very large document.

I came across a really simple solution via Office Watch.  I saved my Word document as a PDF file, (Office 2007 users can do that with the free Save As PDF add-in) and then printed the PDF saved version as a booklet.

How to print your PDF document as a booklet:

Go to File > Print, then, Page Scaling (left hand side of the Print menu) – click on ‘booklet printing‘.

If your printer is capable of back to back printing, go down to booklet subset (underneath page scaling) and select ‘both sides’.  Quick and simple.

If you are creating your A4 document to be printed as an A5 booklet, I’d recommend replacing a 12 pt font with 17pt in your original document, and make headings 20 pt.

News stories in pictures

When I came across this site I thought it was a wonderful resource to use in the classroom.  If you haven’t come across The Big Picture, take a look.  Taking a few minutes at the beginning of a lesson to reflect on what is going on in the world is a great lesson in itself.   The images that go with the news stories make the news articles suitable to share with primary students.  Great also for the ESL classroom.

Shattered roofs of collapsed houses are seen against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains after an earthquake in the Italian village of Onna April 6, 2009.

Maths online

It’s hard to keep up with all the innovative and great resources that the internet offers for learners, it truly is an age where resources abound as never before.  I only wish that I could have had access to a fraction of what is now available during my school days.  Maths was never my strongest subject and I know that the gaps that remained through my schooling have followed me to adulthood.  Now, instead of enrolling in a maths class (which of course I never did) I can fill in the gaps from  home with my own personal tutor.  Math online is a wonderful free resource available to all Australian high school students (teachers and parents) and covers the whole Australian maths high school curricula from grade 7-12.  You can see the demonstration here.  There hundreds of  lessons explained by a tutor (video) going over the concepts and examples.  There are worksheets, answers and a summary which can be printed for reference.  Students results are recorded online.  I’m really impressed with this resource which is a great example of 21st century learning and encouraging students to take control of their learning.  Great for ongoing learning as well as exam review and for parents to provide support when their children are seeking homework help.