Friday, November 6, 2009


I actually really enjoyed presenting at the Mini-conference. It wasn't nearly as scary as what I thought it would be and I got lots of positive feedback. Yay! Feeling the ICT buzz!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have been using the Screenshot program MWSnap300 a lot lately. I recommend it if you are a PC user and can't live without using the shortcut keys of a Mac! I have added the link on the left side if you want to download it.


I have just been playing on the Amazon website and learning how to add a carousel widget to my Bookworm Wiki. I love it. So much fun. Check out the new page on my wiki:


Yay! I have just finished my PowerPoint to share at Staff Meeting and the Mini-Conference. I have made my PowerPoint into a quick 1 minute movie if you want to see it again.


This morning I conferenced with each of the students who were part of my Action Research to find out their opinion of our reading activities. Here are the results:

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm in the process of preparing to share my Action Research at Staff Meeting on Wednesday. It is a great way of reflecting by reading over what I have done and summarising it to share with others. It will also be a good practise before I present at the Mini Conference!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Podcasting Fun

I am having great fun this week teaching a group of children how to podcast. They are writing their own alternative fairytales then recording themselves using "Audacity". On Thursday, during our computer lab time, the children will create a picture using "Kidpix" to illustrate their story. I will then publish all their work onto the Bookworm Wiki. Jolly good ICT fun!!!

PS Just thinking that I need to purchase my own microphone. Will have to look into that in the holidays...

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I have agreed to present at the Mini-conference in November. I will get to share my Action Research with a group of 20 teachers. I think it will be great but I must admit I am a bit nervous - I have never presented before! Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fun & Funky Fairytales

I started my "Fun & Funky Fairytales" reading theme this week. It took me 6 1/2 hours on Sunday afternoon to organise my resources so I am glad that the children are enthusiastic!!! I am introducing the children to podcasts through this topic. I found a great website called Storynory (see the links section to check it out). I also found another great website called Brit Lit (also in links) which has awesome reading activities related to fairytales. I have introduced many new graphic organizers through this topic as they are a useful tool to compare traditional fairytales with alternative versions. Now that that is all planned I can have a rest this weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This week I helped one of my colleagues to add interactive games to her wiki. It was nice to be able to share my skills and help someone who needed it. It was not so long ago that I was learning this skill myself. If I did not have such great helpers, mostly Jane, I would never be where I am now! I think with ICT you are continuously learning and developing your skills. I think the more we share ideas and support each other, the better we can all become!


After staff meeting today I am pondering how I am going to present my action research to the staff. I am thinking I will have a simple powerpoint outlining my research then show this blog, the reading wiki and some of the children's work. I also want to get some comments from the children about all the activities they have been doing, what they enjoyed most etc

Saturday, July 18, 2009


After having a refreshing holiday I am back into it again and planning for a fun term of reading for my top group. I am starting the term with our first study "Horrible Science". I have discovered the "Horrible Science" series and absolutely love it. Just the right amount of useful facts but with a humorous element which I think will really appeal to the children. I have also found the official website which has fun information and activities as well. I have hunted down some bargains of the books, fact files and magazines on Trade Me and now I am ready to start the term with a bang!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Comic Life

At the moment the students in my top reading group are involved in a "Dragon Study". They are reading a range of chapter books and sophisticated picture books during class and for homework. Their activity is to design their own dragon comic using 'Comic Life'. The children have been highly motivated by this activity. They have been making props using cardboard and taking digital photos of a blown-up dragon. The pictures have then been downloaded onto the laptop and used in 'Comic Life'. The children have then added their own cartoon speech bubbles. I am hoping we will be finished by the end of the week and I am looking forward to seeing their final creations.

Interface Magazine

I have just been doing my professional reading of the latest Interface Magazine. I love the "File Share" pages where it shows you lots of great websites which are suitable for kids. I have just been testing out a site called "Math Attack". It is a fun interactive game to practise basic facts with a mad scientist twist. I have added it to my maths wiki and I am sure it will become a favourite.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Bookworm Wiki

This week, while my third year student has been on control I have started developing a wiki to electronically organise my reading activities. These activities are for my top reading group involved in my action research study. I think this will be a valuable resource as I will be able to add more to it and use it again next year and hopefully beyond! I have added the link to my new blog in Miss B's links.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inspired By Disa

I had a great session with Disa yesterday who was not only a great help but very inspiring! We discussed my Action Research in depth and Disa showed me her awesome wiki which gave me lots of new ideas. I also found that I had completely forgotten about the program Comic Life. I have not used it since 2007, but since my recap session with Disa I am keen to use it again. I already have plans to integrate Comic Life into my next independent reading study on Dragons.

Two other aspects also came to light. I want to add some more reflective learning activities into my independent reading studies, especially Kath Murdoch formats as I find her material fantastic. I am also pondering exactly how I will measure the success of my action research. I know already that the children are more motivated and that I have tested them with Probe and their reading level has improved. This is great but I want to measure the depth of their understanding further. Disa and I discussed the idea of having a control group of students not involved in my study and compare the depth of their responses to that of my students. I will ponder this a bit longer and make a decision soon.

I loved how Disa had her reading activities on a wiki. I currently have my activities on a sheet which is working well but I can see the bonus of having everything on a wiki, especially adding links. This would be so much faster and easier than the children typing in web addresses from a sheet. Next week, when my third year student is on full control I am going to create a new wiki and try out this new approach. Thanks Disa!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Survey Results

I was pleased with the answers the children gave in relation to their attitude towards their current reading activities. In general it was quite positive. I was very interested though with the children's reponses of which activities make them learn the best. Have a look at the results and see what you think!

RESULTS FOR QUESTION ONE - How much do you like the reading activities we do in class?
* Writing answers to questions in your book
I love it = 1
I like it = 2
I dislike it = 0
I hate it = 1
* Filling out a book report form
I love it = 1
I like it = 1
I dislike it = 1
I hate it = 1
* Completing wordfinds, wordsearches or crosswords
I love it = 2
I like it = 1
I dislike it = 1
I hate it = 0
* Making something eg bookmark, life cycle
I love it = 2
I like it = 2
I dislike it = 0
I hate it = 0
* Using the computer to read or research information
I love it = 3
I like it = 0
I dislike it = 1
I hate it = 0
* Using the computer to see pictures or video clips
I love it = 4
I like it = 0
I dislike it = 0
I hate it = 0

RESULTS FOR QUESTION TWO - Which activities help you learn the best?
* Writing answers to questions in your book
I learn lots = 2
I learn quite a lot = 0
I don't learn much = 2
I don't learn anything = 0
* Filling out a book report form
I learn lots = 0
I learn quite a lot = 1
I don't learn much = 0
I don't learn anything = 3
* Completing wordfinds, wordsearches or crosswords
I learn lots = 2
I learn quite a lot = 0
I don't learn much = 1
I don't learn anything = 1
* Making something eg bookmark, life cycle
I learn lots = 1
I learn quite a lot = 1
I don't learn much = 1
I don't learn anything = 1
* Using the computer to read or research information
I learn lots = 2
I learn quite a lot = 1
I don't learn much = 1
I don't learn anything = 0
* Using the computer to see pictures or video clips
I learn lots = 2
I learn quite a lot = 0
I don't learn much = 2
I don't learn anything = 0

My conclusions:
* The children have varied opinions about their reading tasks and how much they learn from them
* Using the computer to see pictures or video clips was the most popular reading activity
* Making things was also popular
* Interestingly most of the children did not think that they learn very much from a traditional written book report
* In general, because my sample size was so small and the children's answers were so varied it is difficult to make any strong conclusions from the results of this survey. Oh well! It was an interesting learning exercise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Just added a wordle with all by favourite action research words (just look to the left!) If you want to make your own wordle see my list of links.

Wild Winter Weather

It is currently blowing a gale, hailing and possibly snowing! How perfect it would be to have a snow day tomorrow. I could spend the day doing my action research in front of the fire!

Online Reading Survey

I have just made an online survey for my students to complete. By giving my students (involved in my action research) this survey I hope to gain their opinion of our current reading activities and their ideas for future activities. I would also like to see whether their enjoyment level is higher when using the computer in comparison to written activities. My survey can be viewed online at

Interactive Maths Games

Over the last week I have also been adding more links to my Magic Maths Wiki. I am looking for suitable online interactive games to support topic maths skills such as shapes, measurement, time etc. I have found lots of good ones but unfortunately it is quite a time consuming exercise. I will go back to searching when my 3rd year student is on control in a few weeks. Yay!

The Magic of Movies

I felt I hadn't left a post for a while so I thought I should get back to blogging! I have been busy trying out lots of ICT with my class. The Barnyard Buddies blog is going really well. Not a day goes by without the children talking about it. I have had lots of positive feedback from parents too which has been great. I am becoming more skilled with my class blog now. I played around with Windows Movie Maker and put The Barnyard Buddies photos into a simple movie and added it to the blog. I shared it with my class today and they loved it. My students are really keen to learn how to make a movie which is great. In the future the "Star of the Week" will get the opportunity to make the movie with me and choose their own photos, fonts, music etc. I think this will be a great way to scaffold my students so they will learn the skills they need to independently make their own movies. Therefore in relation to my action research, in the future I could use movie making as a tool to share the children's responses to books.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Blossom the Bunny

I felt that Harry the Hamster maybe lonely in the Brainstorm Lounge so I have adopted another Cyber Pet. Blossom the Bunny is happy to munch on carrots (click on the more button to feed her one). If you want your own bunny, tiger, or even a bat check out the link to the left.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Whoooo Hoooo!

Yay!!! I have wireless internet in my classroom. I am a very happy teacher!!!!! I can now blog at school and at home. Definately feeling like the cat who got the cream!

The Barnyard Buddies

I am excited to start my new classroom blog with my students this week. This year's stars are The Barnyard Buddies. A super cute horse and cow. Please feel free to check out my student's blog (see the link to the left).

Harry the Hamster

I have just added Harry the Hamster to my blog. Isn't he cool! If you click on the square you can feed him or click on his wheel and make him run. Check out the link if you want to add something crazy to your blog.

Help for Beginner Bloggers

Allanah King who I have talked about before on my blog has her own "Bling For Your Blog" blog. She is one clever lady - check out the link if you are interested.

More Bling!

Just added some more bling to my blog. Thought The Brainstorm Lounge needed a clock and of course a pet goldfish! See the link if you want to add a clock to your blog.


Miss B is frustrated. She has planned all these neat sessions for her students incorporating ICT and whenever we go to use the classroom computer they do not work. It has been frustrating trying to connect to the internet, install programs to support the games (flash player etc) and overcome administrator passwords and blocks to networking sites such as my blogs. Grrrr! Hopefully I will sort out all my teething problems soon and will experience some success.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Action Research Addiction

One thing I do really like about an action research project is even when you are not working on it ideas tend to pop into your head. While I was out pounding the pavement in the Waldronville sunshine (trying to burn off all the chocolate I ate over Easter) I had another idea for my research. When I was surfing the net last night I found a typical outline of a written book report on penguins. I thought I would get my reading group to complete this penguin report and rate their enjoyment. The next day I would get the children to podcast the penguin book using Kidpix and rate their enjoyment of this activity. I would then compare their ratings and comments, as well as the quality of the information they reported.

Cluster Maps

I have just added a Cluster Map to my blog. This tracks any visitors to your blog on a world map. If you are interested in adding one to your blog check out the following site:

Book Reports & Podcasting

I have just found an article about turning book reports into podcasts. I know that Jane Nicholls is an expert on this. I will email her tomorrow and she what pearls of wisdom she can offer. I will share this with you soon.

The Evils of Book Reports

Whilst surfing the web tonight I found a great article titled "The Evils of Book Reports" written by Dr Scott Mandel in Los Angeles. Obviously from the title of her article she disagrees with the idea of a traditional book report. The reasons she gave are as follows:


She believes that reading needs to "become a pleasurable experience--not one associated with a dreaded "book report"!"

I agree with Dr Mandel as one of the main aims of the reading programme in my classroom is to foster enthusiasm for reading and a love of books. Reading needs to be pleasurable and fun.

One of Dr Mandel's suggestions which she has successfully used in the classroom is to:
• "Start a classroom "card catalogue". After each student reads a book, he/she makes a card with a short summary for other students in the class to read. This is an easy way to check on the students reading!"

I thought this was a great idea but I would modify it slightly for my classroom. I thought I may trial a wiki of our favourite books. Therefore the children could write about their books and share them with others. Thanks for the inspiration Dr Mandel!

If you are interested in reading this article it can be found on the "Teachers Helping Teachers" website at the following address: (Or click on the site under Miss B's Useful Links)

Current Student Achievement

Age (1/1/09): 7 yrs, 4 mths
Probe Reading Level: 11.5 yrs

Age (1/1/09): 7 yrs, 4 mths
Probe Reading Level: 12.5 yrs

Age (1/1/09): 7 yrs, 6 mths
Probe Reading Level: 9 yrs


Age (1/1/09): 7 yrs, 3 mths
Probe Reading Level: 9.5 yrs

Students involved in my study

I have decided that four children will be involved in my action research project. For the purpose of this study they will be know as:


New Title

The new title for my action research project is:

PS If you want to make a fancy heading like this check out Webfetti on Miss B's links (click and it will take you right there) or if you want something a bit plainer try Cool Text.


In 2007 I went to the Ulearn Technology Conference in Auckland. It was a very valuable professional development experience. During my time at the conference I went to a fantastic session taken by Allanah King. Her session was titled "More Bling for your blog". Remembering this gave me inspiration for my current action research. I was thinking about reading activities used by teachers. The idea of a traditional book report came to mind. I then came to the conclusion that I wanted the children to complete "Book Reports with Bling". Therefore, keeping the important elements of book report but adding interest and "bling" through technology.

New Plan

During staff meeting I created a new action research plan. Here is the slimmer version:

SMART Goal Setting

Name: Natalie Barnett Date: 25 March 2009
Specific Teaching and Learning Area: Reading
Area of Interest: Gifted Learners and ICT

Goal: To extend the learning opportunities for my gifted readers by teaching them to record their responses to books using ICT
Which area of teaching and learning are you focusing on? What is your specific goal?


• Record observations, ideas and reflections using a personal blog

• Children’s achievement level will be measured using Probe reading testing.

• Children’s interest and knowledge of technology will be assessed by completing a survey.

• Initial digital work samples will be taken.

• At the end of the teaching period Probes will be repeated, latest work samples compared with earlier ones and the survey will be completed again.

How are you going to keep a record of your observations, actions and reflections?
How will you measure where the children are at currently?
How will you measure any changes?

Action Plan
1. Create learning blog for myself.

2. Brainstorm ideas and add to blog.

3. Probe test to assess children’s reading level.

4. Survey the children to assess children’s interest and knowledge of technology.

5. Introduce children to Kidpix programme. Keep work samples.

6. Teach children to use the following ICT tools: digital camera, Kidpix, Powerpoint

7. Integrate new ideas into the reading programme.

8. Repeat testing and work samples. Analyse and compare

9. Present ideas and findings of my action research.

What key steps will you take? Each step will take you closer to achieving your goal?
What is your first step? ( where the children are at)
What is your first step? ( action to change or improve)

• Kidpix on my laptop, computers in the computer lab and the classroom computer
• Adapting knowledge of Mac programmes to using PC programmes
• Small group (4 children)
• Helpers (past colleagues: Jane Nicholls & Esmay Sutherland), Desa, Keith
• Time available – two terms
• Regular computer lab time (Thursday afternoon)

List the things you’ll need
Don’t plan things that will be difficult to achieve. Think about:
- the availability of equipment
- your skills at the moment
- the time available.
- who will help you?
- size of group


Term 1
• Brainstorm possible topics
• Decide on a issue I want to investigate
• Formulate research question
• Decide on children involved in the study
• Construct an Action Research Plan
• Create a learning blog
• Collect student data
• Collect student voice information (survey of personal use of the internet, knowledge of programmes etc)
• Complete professional readings
• Complete professional dialogue with colleagues

Term 2
• Plan new activities to be introduced
• Teach new programmes/activities
• Implement ideas into the daily reading programme
• Collect data from students (achievement level, survey of knowledge & enjoyment of new tasks)

Term 3
• Analyse data
• Publish and share findings

1. When do you plan to start work on this goal?
2. What is your plan for ongoing work? (e.g. Every Friday morning)
3. What extra time can you put in? (e.g. at home)
4. What is the completion date?
5. What date will you reflect and assess the work?
6. When will you be presenting the goal, outcome and the evidence to your peers?

Time for a diet

I have decided my action research plan needs to go on a diet!


Tumeke!!! Too Much!!! Miss B has too much in her action research plan!

Draft Action Plan

Action Research Project Action Plan

Name: Natalie Barnett Class Level: Year 1-3 (Model 2B)
Topic: Using ICT with Gifted Readers

Question: How do I extend gifted readers through the use of ICT?

Using the web to locate information (eg websites, wikis, blogs)
Using graphic organisers to process information (eg Mindmaps, PMI, KWL, Venn Diagrams etc)
Using computer programmes to present information (eg Kidpix, Powerpoint, Garageband)

Professional Readings
Professional Dialogue with Colleagues (Disa, Keith, Esmay, Jane)
Observation of reading programmes for gifted readers

Time Frame: 2009
Term 1
• Brainstorm possible topics
• Decide on a issue I want to investigate
• Formulate research question
• Decide on children involved in the study
• Construct an Action Research Plan
Term 2
• Complete professional readings
• Complete professional dialogue with colleagues
• Observe in other classrooms
• Collect student data
• Collect student voice information (survey of personal use of the internet, knowledge of programmes etc)
• Plan new activities to be introduced
Term 3
• Teach new programmes/activities
• Implement ideas into the daily reading programme
Term 4
• Continue with revised reading programme
• Collect data from students (achievement level, survey of knowledge & enjoyment of new tasks)
• Analyse data
• Publish and share findings

Group Size: 4 children

Possible Research Question

How do I extend gifted learners using new forms of ICT?

Thinking, thinking, thinking

Miss B is spending time thinking about her action research topic.

2009 Action Research Topic???

What to choose for my topic, now that is a difficult question! Possible topics that I am interested in are:

* Gifted children
* ESOL children
* Learning difficulties
* Multi-level learners
* New forms of ICT (eg blogs, wikis, podcasting)

PROBLEM: Far too many ideas for one action research!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My experience with action research projects

For the last 3 years I have completed action research projects as part of my professional learning.

2006 - St Joseph's School
Action Research Project Topic: "Questioning Skills"

This research project focused on integrating a range of questioning techniques into my classroom programme. This included using a question cube, question matrix, de Bono's Six Thinking Hats. I was teaching a Year 1/2 class at the time.

2007 - Pine Hill School
Action Research Topics: "Blogging", "Deputy Principal Induction", "Writing"

Three action research projects were completed as part of my annual appraisal. At the time I was teaching a Y0-2 class. My favourite action research in 2007 was my blogging project. This involved learning how to create and maintain my own blog. I developed a classroom blog Maisy's Mag. This involved the students taking a toy monkey home with a journal and digital camera during the weekend. The children returned to school on Monday and shared their adventures, then their journal entry was blogged. This was a great introduction to blogging. The following year I became confident with the process of blogging and created "Read About Ralph". This was a very successful blog. Please feel free to check it out: (Click on Miss B's links on the left hand side of the blog to take you right there)

2008 - Pine Hill School
Action Research Topics: "Podcasting & Wikis", "Writing", "Home-School Partnership"

Last year my favourite action research was based around wikis. I wanted to learn more about how to use a wiki in my classroom. I created a "Magic Maths" wiki to use as part of my numeracy programme. Please feel free to check it out : (Click on Miss B's links on the left hand side of the blog to take you right there)

2009 - George Street Normal
Action Research Topic: ???????????????????????????????????????

What is Action Research?

My definition:

Action Research is a valuable learning process for teachers.

It is:
* ignited by an interest
* supported by research
* planned and implemented with passion and purpose
* a brainstorm full of wonderings and challenges
* fluid and reflective
* Shared and celebrated with others

A completed action research project:
* motivates teachers and/or learners
* allows teachers to grow creatively
* encourages teachers to find their own best practice