I received this email from Priscilla just recently and I feel it is important to share my thoughts.
I am so not tech savvy but will gladly take my laptop to school with me if I thought I could access some cool lessons to intrigue the students!
I stumbled across your site as I am relief teaching this year and am finding it extremely difficult and daunting when I have to teach the older kids and would love some interesting ideas!! I have three year 6/7 classes for an hour each tomorrow arggghh!!
Still searching to seek out some interactive ways to educate and entertain them so they don't eat me alive!!
Thanks for your comments Priscilla.
I have found schools terribly difficult for relief teachers to hook up to their network. Honestly I found it a pain, when I was a principal, to try to get relief teachers hooked up.
First of all you are not a registered user on the school network. That is problem number one and not an easy on to overcome.
Secondly, you are not a registered user of the internet system (usually called something like MIS - Managed Internet Service) or similar. That is even worse to fix because often times you are not a full time employee of the Department of Education.
But there are ways around this.
1. I try not to rely on a lesson which relies on a live internet connection. This is fraught with problems like speed, connectivity, reliability and the inevitable drop-outs. This will not only crash your computer but crash your lesson as well. I have done it in the past using my iPhone as a personal hotspot but you must have a good data plan because that can be expensive.
What I do is download the video, YouTube or whatever as save it as a media file which I can play on my laptop. I have hundreds I use and because I use them over and over again, I don't mind the initial time to set it up. It use keepvid.com. You simply have to download the directly of the video clip. It is FREE.
Be aware that there are some advertising links which you are encouraged to click, but do so carefully. I choose not to. The download button to the left of the video URL is small. Don't be trapped into clicking the BIG button. You get a choice which format you can down load. I usually choose the wmv file and the lower resolution file. This file is smaller and easier to load. The High Definition files take longer to download and can sometimes cause my little notebook to go into melt down.
Once the file is loaded onto you laptop, it is yours to use at your leisure.
The other program I like to use is VUZE. It is a bit torrent so you need to be very aware of copyright infringements. If you are looking for something on the Solar System for example, you can find heaps and great free material.
If you are going to be a regular in the upper school, you have to check out my Teaching Strategies for Active Learning - with Dinosaurs. I purchased the whole set from eBay for next to nothing (about $25) and developed a teaching unit for and Part 2. The kids eat this stuff up - especially the older kids. Who doesn't love a good dinosaur fight? Make no mistake, the comprehension activity is quite complex and the kids can't goof about. They have to listen very closely to get the answers.
I love this age group so I have heaps of activities on the site to help out. I get a lot of value out of the Geebung Polo Club but then it is a favourite of mine. I put on my finest performance and have included a few YouTube clips of polo games and the Cobb and Co coaches. I also have several small movies in the Gold Room and it won't take long to achieve Gold Membership.
The other kit which has saved my bacon over and over again is the Maths kit from Teresa Evans. I purchased the whole kit for under $30 but can just buy a couple of the books for cheaper. I keep the templates on my notebook so I can put them up on the white board to use as a lesson or to explain the strategy for small group work. Honestly, this is a great set for the middle to upper primary but it also has relevance to lower secondary kids as well. It is well worth checking out.
Please enjoy your membership. I hope you can make use of all the free resources available.