The World’s Biggest Theatre Ensemble

I am really excited about this new project I am apart of.

It’s called World Theatre Video. You can check out the website here.

I’m excited about it for a number of reasons. Most importantly though, I’m excited about the way in which it was created.

I’ve posted before about the enormous benefit of starting a PLN (Professional Learning Network for the uninitiated). I cannot stress how isolated I felt in the classroom for so many years, desperate to connect with someone who understood how I was feeling, what I was going through and what I needed.

Now, I will have had my PLN for almost three years this coming January. This blog and now the Facebook page are both products of me starting a PLN. The motivation it has provided me, the support and encouragement it has offered me, has kept me engaged in my profession as a teacher. It is always challenging me to try something new.

It’s a place in which I feel ideas, as lofty and undeveloped as they may seem, are not scoffed at but encouraged and may actually eventuate.

Things, such as this project, World Theatre Video.

Earlier in the year, I made a rather fleeting request on Twitter to see if any drama teachers would be willing to collaborate with me on a World Theatre Day project. You can read about what happened here.

Due to that tweet and everything that happened in its wake, I have had the pleasure of meeting both @MoAsh245 and @edtech4theatre in real life.

It was a rather exciting moment. To connect from half way around the world and another state entirely is a really remarkable thing.

The organic nature in which it all came about was a wonderful thing to be a part of. It made me think how easy it is to connect with those that are willing from anywhere in the world not just from your region or immediate community of schools. Why do we have to keep it to our immediate environments?

In reflecting on that time it was a fun, simple project that engaged my students. Thankfully they were all willing and excited to be seen by students around the world. It made theatre and their own performance real to them. It made them accountable. I also think it is a fabulous way to expose drama and to celebrate the awesomeness that is drama teaching and live theatre.

I’m proud of Nick for expanding the project and incorporating his knowledge of Google Apps to make it a credible, worthwhile project that demonstrates how creative and tech savvy drama teachers can be. That we don’t need to be entering into million dollar software deals. That there are free resources at our fingertips if we just leave the bureaucracy and red tape out of it. Also, it shows how well we can collaborate, particularly virtually! That technology is not something we are afraid of embracing as we move into developing 21st Century learners and the face of theatre as we know it.

Many people still scoff at PLN’s and the use of social networking out of work hours to expand and develop their knowledge of teaching. It does move at an extremely fast pace but I guarantee that I wouldn’t be half as knowledgeable about education “stuff” if it wasn’t for my PLN. It makes me feel that sometimes schools are just so slow and really behind the eight ball. It really is up to the individual teacher to make 21st Century learning happen in their classroom despite the system and the people who are happy to ride along in cruise control in their old beat up Holden. If you catch my drift…

I encourage you to get involved in this project. It is fun. It poses so many questions as to the validity of social media and technology in our classrooms and in theatre as well as the possibilities for it in the future. This may be the opportunity some of your students need or are looking for. It may be what you have been needing or looking for.

Photo Credit: Βethan via Compfight cc

Teachers, Are You Being Mindful?

As a teacher, how well do you look after yourself?

I’ve mentioned before how much of an advocate for teacher wellbeing I am.

Teaching is a demanding job. One filled with passionate individuals who often overlook themselves in order to support their students and deliver awesome lessons.

I’ve wanted to mention a great initiative started by some teachers on Twitter for some time now. An initiative to encourage us as teachers to take time and be accountable for taking that time to look after ourselves.

It’s a simple Twitter hashtag: #teachfit. Not sure what a hashtag is? Click here.

#teachfit is a place where teachers can check in and let the group know how they are going with their fitness goals and more often than not, get some encouraging feedback for their efforts. People have shared inspirational and motivational quotes, articles, exercise apps, recipes. We’ve had our encouragement Storify – ed.

The #teachfit hashtag has been building momentum since January when I was looking for ways to get motivated to do more exercise before heading full on into a day of teaching. I wanted to become more mindful of all my habits: eating, exercise, emotional reactions. A core group of us @Madiganda, @torkee and @shhartley worked together initially to encourage each other to meet our fitness goals and from there it grew.

Now it has a nice little core (excuse the pun) group of followers who check in as often as they can. Almost 30.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep expanding the group?

My purpose for writing this today is not only to make you aware of the power of a PLN in helping you to achieve professional and personal goals but to also take the time to acknowledge the efforts of my fellow Teach-fitters and their efforts over the past six months and to ask you, how well do you look after yourself as a teacher? Are you mindful of your health each day? If so, that is fantastic. If not, how can we help?

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We’re Now on Facebook

Stage Door

I finally created  a space for posts from the DTN to be made available in your News Feed on Facebook.

If you would like to keep track of all your Drama related stuff through here, please like us.

https://www.facebook.com/dramateachersnetwork

Thank you for your support of the blog.

Facebook Page & Blog Post Image Credit:

Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

slimmer_jimmer via Compfight cc

4 Theatre Podcasts You Should Check Out

I’ve always been a bit hot and cold when it comes to podcasts. Sometimes I’m all for them and other times I’m not. I think this is because there are so many out there and you can’t be sure on the quality and I guess, in the past, some have let me down. There are so many, on every conceivable topic so it’s hard to narrow down exactly what it is you are looking for. I feel overwhelmed every time I hit the i-Tunes store!

I recently had the opportunity to be a part of the Edreach Network’s TheatreCast program with @edtech4theatre and @msfilas. It was a fantastic professional development opportunity. I finally got my act together and got a webcam and headset so that I could use Google+ Hangouts properly. It was also really nice to finally connect in real time (if still virtual) with some of the contacts I’ve made through my Twitter PLN. In listening to their podcast, I could hear the passion and the struggles that these teachers from the other side of the world were feeling just like me. It was nice to be able to share conversation with them even though we are thousands of miles away. I now subscribe to the podcast and enjoy listening to it in my car on the way to work.

In recording this podcast, it really prompted me to find out what other podcasts are out there that could be useful in our classrooms and you know what? It was tricky. Particularly finding ones about theatre and theatre education that were of repute and quality. So to fill out my list I’ve had to think laterally(??) about how some of my favourite, quality podcasts could be used in the classroom. As they say though, where there is a will there is a way, so if you find something that works, go for it!

1. National Theatre

These podcasts, seriously, are probably the best out there for drama teachers. They are resources you can actually use with your students. They have collections on acting, voice, costume, playwriting, theatrical styles and their various productions that they’ve put on over the years. From such a credible, respectable theatre, I’ll say it again, these podcasts are an invaluable resource. Search for “National Theatre” at the i-Tunes store.

2.Ted Talks

You’ve seen the videos, well now you can get the audio as well. There are talks on everything and The Arts is not forgotten. I’ve mentioned some of the clips before in a previous post. These could be used as stimulus, extension work or discussion. Or maybe just a little inspiration for your commute to and from work perhaps? Search for “Ted Talks Audio” in the i-Tunes library.

3. This American Life

I love these podcasts because of the topics that they talk about. It promotes discussion and thought. I really think you could use some of these as stimulus for playbuilding and devising. Search for “This American Life” in the i-Tunes library.

4. Edreach – TheatreCast

Edreach is a database full of podcasts, videos and posts from all areas of education. It provides passionate and outspoken innovators in education an outlet with which to express their highly innovative ideas for education. It’s great to know drama, theatre and the Arts is being covered by Danielle and Nick. Search for “Edreach” or “TheatreCast” in the i-Tunes library. You can check out the You-Tube link to the podcast I was involved in below:

Are there any podcasts that you swear by? Share them in the comments.

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#PLNlove – Workshop 4

So last Thursday our little group of rookie bloggers finished their four week workshop series on blogging. Please have a look at the great blogs that are starting to blossom:

Also, some great new people to follow on Twitter include @eslenglishatjac and @meshye1.

It has been fun sharing my love of blogging with the staff and it has been wonderful to follow up with some of them and see that they’re still doing things with their blogs that I showed them in the workshops. The journey continues for them and where it takes them is an unknown with many stops most likely on the way but I’m sure it will be a trip worth taking.

I have added all the workshop notes to a new page called #PLNlove which you can find at the top of the blog. For further detailed guidance on blogging I thoroughly recommend checking out the full version from which I developed my notes here.

Image Credit:Fim da Linha / Fábio Pinheiro / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

#PLNlove – Workshop 3

We only have two workshops left in our #PLNlove series of blogging workshops for staff at my school.

This week we are looking at a stack of things. These include:

  • Avatars;
  • Working with Images;
  • Embedding Media;
  • Widgets;
  • Tags & Categories.

There is a lot to get through but the group was absolutely fantastic last week and managed to get through the content really quickly.

Today they will post a link to their latest blog post in the comments below. Their post will include an image and some embedded media. Their avatar should appear in the comment box and when linking to their post the new widgets they have added will be on display.

Comments are always appreciated 🙂

The notes provided for these workshops are modified from the Kick Start Your Blogging Challenge. Copyright of @SueWaters and @edublogs. Used with permission.

See the full notes at http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/challenges-2/30-days-to-kick-start-your-blogging/

Image Credit: Some of the details on my Moleskin, Kim Joar, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

#PLNlove

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day this week and my great desire to “pay it forward” and achieve some of my professional goals  this year (I’ve posted about this before here), I am offering a blogging workshop for my staff after school for four weeks this term so they can feel, in my honest opinion, the great love and enjoyment blogging can bring. We are starting this afternoon and I’m excited!

It is a variation on the fantastic free professional learning I took part in in the school holidays of January 2011 as part of the Edublogs “Kick Start Your Blogging Challenge.”

In Week 1 we are looking at:

  1. What is a blog?
  2. Creating a brand new blog.
  3. Changing the theme and appearance of a blog.
  4. Commenting.

Today the teacher’s will be setting up their blogs in a one and a half hour session. The first part of the session will be a guided demonstration of how to do the things listed above. The second part of the session is an opportunity to take some time to play with their new blog and have someone on hand to guide them through any troubles they may be having. Many teachers often comment that they never get enough time to just “sit down and play” so many are glad that they have allocated the time to some professional learning for themselves today and for the next four weeks.

As part of the activities I have set, each participant will be posting a comment on this post with a link to their newly created blog as well as answering the following questions:

  1. What part of this first activity did you find easy?  Or the most enjoyable?  Did you find any tasks easier than you expected?
  2. What parts of this activity did you find hard and why?  And if you are stuck with a step(s) — tell us in your comment so we can give you some help!
  3. Make sure you leave your blog URL in your comment so we can drop by and visit your blog and leave a comment!

It would be really wonderful if you could click on the links, head on over to their page and let them know what you think. Comments are always appreciated and this is how we learn and grow through blogging: sharing and commenting.

About the Blog Post Title: For those unfamiliar as yet to Twitter and the use of hashtags, this is a very popular tag followed by many teachers when talking about the affection they have for their blog and the professional learning network.

The notes provided for these workshops are modified from the Kick Start Your Blogging Challenge. Copyright of @SueWaters and @edublogs.

See the full notes at http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/challenges-2/30-days-to-kick-start-your-blogging/

Image Credit: Big Heart of Art – 1000 Visual Mashups, qthomasbower, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)