My great QR code adventure

About a year ago, I started hearing references to QR codes, and noticed the distinctive, square barcodes turning up on advertising posters, business cards and websites. I did a little further investigation when I received my upgraded iPhone4 in late 2011 – and even uploaded a recommended QR code app, I-nigma, from iTunes – but, apart from a few tests, I haven’t really done very much with this aspect of technology.

But it certainly seems to have some clever possibilities.

In preparation for my presentations at Friday’s MANTLE conference, I created QR codes for the websites I would be referencing in my talks. For example:

QRCodeBooked Inn blog



GoldQuest blog


Penrith PS Library wiki

Penrith PS Library wiki


Penrth PS rappers and bloggers

Penrith PS rappers & bloggers



My PhotoPeach profile page


PMBW TL professional learning group

QR codes Kaywa generator

NSW DEC CLIC raps and book raps


Endangered animals

Stage 3’s Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest


Imagine your own adventure

I have been invited to present at the 2012 MANTLE Conference in June, speaking on two topics: “Engaging students through Guided Inquiry” and “How to promote your school library on a shoestring budget”.

Both topics will have some added tweaks to presentations I’ve done before, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge of the conference, and meeting teacher librarians of the Newcastle, Maitland, Taree, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast districts.

Patrick Sullivan at NER TLs’ professional learning day

On Monday, I was fortunate and honoured to be the keynote speaker at a New England Region teacher-librarians’ professional learning day at Westdale Public School in Tamworth. My brief was to present “School library makeovers on a shoestring budget – and Adventures in Web 2.0”.

It was great to meet host TL Zoe Morris and all the TL attendees, but many thanks to Patrick Sullivan (aka sullypm) for introducing us to his Breakkie with a Teckkie page, which both promotes the Web 2.0 video conference series for NSW DEC teachers, and has hyperlinks to a huge range of amazing Web 2.0 tools.

I particularly liked (and am already using, or about to use):

Build your wild self avatar creator

Posterous spaces, which Pat demonstrated by uploading a picture he’d just taken of me delivering my presentation: HERE

Oxford owl: help your child’s learning with free tips and eBooks


Storybird collaborative storytelling.

2012 is the National Year of Reading

I’ve just registered our school for the National Year of Reading.

Australian libraries are supporting the campaign to turn 2012 into the National Year of Reading, linking together all the great things that are already happening around books, reading and literacy, and giving them an extra boost, with inspirational programs and events taking place across the country. The website at is already quite extensive and will continue to grow. There is also a wiki at for resources and templates the committee has made available already.

The Travelling Fearless Project

Fearless at the gate

My fifth day each week (timetabled in chunks across the rest of my four TL days) is to work with students on PSP (Priority Schools Program) literacy and numeracy projects. This term, it’s Kindergarten’s turn, and we’ve been part of the “Travelling Fearless Project”, in which Fearless, the misnamed, cowardly, British bulldog puppy from the Colin Thompson & Sarah Davis picture book, is visiting various schools, coordinated by Cath Keane at School Libraries & Information Literacy.

My Kindergarten literacy students (five representatives from three classes, working as a small group, four times per week) brainstormed this slideshow (content, poses for photos and captions) on Fearless’s visit to our school, making good use of our IWB and exploring every nook and cranny of the new library. Photo Peach is so easy, it’s almost foolproof:

View the students’ slideshow HERE! (Update: A sequel is now online HERE!)

I hope to provide annotations, and the results of our pre- and post-tests, on a parallel page to our wiki work soon: Select the third option on the menu. Enjoy!

Destination 2011: Guided inquiry

I’m off tomorrow to a teacher-librarians’ seminar on “Guided Inquiry”, presented by Dr Ross J Todd!

Teacher-librarian Lee FitzGerald, a former editor of “Scan”, is also presenting and last time I heard of her experiences trialling “Guided Inquiry” under Ross’s guidance, I went back to my school and made a point of recording more often student pre-test and post-test results and tracking the emotional side of my students’ self-evaluations, thus gaining very solid statements of the students’ analyses of their learning, in their own words.

Powerful stuff! The Kinder students who were part of a wiki project in 2007 still talk about those experiences to this day, and the Stage 3 students who did a bushrangers WebQuest in 2008, and recorded their learning on a blog, are being represented in a text book very soon!

Both of those successes occurred without the benefit of now seemingly-indispensable elements such as IWBs and the Connected Classroom. Looking forward to tackling the next stage!


Ross Todd
Ross J Todd presents the election speeches of
Obama and Cheney… as Wordles

Digital fables

Taking a break from stocktaking for a moment, I wanted to share some digital stories my Early Stage 1 bloggers made over the last few days. These Kinder students, plus a K-2 Language Support class, have continued coming to the library for their regular PSP literacy sessions – what to do now the book rap is over?! – and we’ve been able to extend their Term 4 class learning about fables. They have enjoyed incorporating ideas from Stage 2’s digital stories, which were support material during the recent Bear and Chook books rap.

As you will see from the two Powerpoints, first we read many versions of each Aesop’s fable, then spent time in the playground with mud-map storyboards, the library toy collection, some hastily-made props, and my trusty iPhone. After I uploaded the photos into Keynote (Mac) templates at home, I converted them to Powerpoint format and brought them back to school on a memory stick. The students then viewed their photos again on the IWB, and then we jointly constructed new text during Circle Time (talking & listening). Then some editing after feedback from other audiences – and uploaded to our school blog site.

The ant & the grasshopper

The hare & the tortoise.

If time allows, we may try to do The lion & the mouse next week. (Update! We did it – click on the title!)

This is my third consecutive year working with Early Stage 1 students on fables. The students who created our first batch on a wiki in 2007 (at still talk about them!

Aesop: biography of a great thinker