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    Invitation: Talking Stories at Cape Town Book Fair

    July 19th, 2010


    Talking Stories training for Khanya Facilitators

    July 1st, 2010

          
     Today a group of Khanya facilitators attended training in the use of Talking Stories software in schools.  These facilitators come from different districts and work with large numbers of schools, helping teachers to integrate technology into teaching and learning.  

    If you attended today’s training, please leave a comment outlining your thoughts about the workshop.  Was it beneficial?  How could we improve our training programme?  Do you think this software will be useful for raising literacy standards in your district?


    Thank you, readers!

    March 15th, 2010

    Today this blog reached a new record of 460 visitors in one day (and that’s before afternoon tea)!  Thank you for your visits and your encouraging comments.  I hope you are enjoying and using the links to educational resources on the net.

    If you keep following our weekly guide on the use of Talking Stories with your class, then by the end of the year you will have covered every book in your level, and touched on every assessment standard for the South African home language curriculum.

    A number of people have asked for this blog to be provided in other South African languages.  I would love to do this!  It’s a work in progress…  This year I will compile a complete English-language year plan for the use of Talking Stories.  (You can already conveniently access the first term’s weekly planner by clicking on the Level 1, 2 and 3 tabs at the top of the page.)

    If this blog continues to be well-supported, then next year I will add weekly comments in at least one more language… It will be more challenging to find links to useful internet resources, since these are currently drawn from English websites from around the world…  If you have ideas, please let me know!

    Please keep adding your comments…  It helps me keep writing if I know you’re out there reading and responding.


    Talking Stories not talking?

    February 3rd, 2010

    Many times when we visit schools, teachers tell us that there is no sound on the computers.  This is a terrible situation!  Nobody wants Talking Stories that can’t talk!!

    If you have a problem with sound in your computer lab, do a few simple checks:

    1. Check whether the sound has been switched off.  Click on the small ’speaker’ icon on the bottom right hand side of the screen, next to the time display.
       Drag the volume to maximum.  Make sure that the ‘mute’ box hasn’t been selected.  If it has, click on it again to deselect it.  You can tell whether the mute button has been clicked, just by looking at the screen – if it has been muted, the speaker icon will have a red line through it.
    2. Right click on the same speaker icon and drag all the settings to maximum.
    3. Make sure that the headphones are plugged in, and make sure that it’s your workstation they are plugged into!  Also make sure that they are plugged into the green headphone socket on the computer (not the pink microphone socket).  In a Khanya lab a small splitter will be plugged into the socket – it looks like this:
      The splitter enables you to plug two sets of headphones into one socket (like a double adapter) so that two children can listen at one workstation.  Splitting the sound unfortunately reduces the volume a bit, so make sure your volume setting is always at maximum.
    4. Check the volume control on the cord of the headphones:
       Make sure that it is set to maximum and not minimum – sometimes it’s hard to see!

    Try these simple checks before you call the technician.  Nine times out of ten you will solve the problem!


    Did you enjoy the Talking Stories training day?

    January 13th, 2010

    Yesterday 250 teachers from 14 schools attended Talking Stories training in Cape Town, and the day before yesterday a further 100 teachers from 9 schools attended.

     How was it for you?  Was the training beneficial?  Do you feel it has prepared you to use the Talking Stories resources with your class?


    Start of the School Year

    January 5th, 2010

    Your new children have arrived. Some are bewildered and apprehensive. Others seem confident and happy. It’s going to take a while for them to settle down, and for you to establish your classroom routine.

    There are a number of ways to help ensure that Day 1 is successful:
    1) Be really well prepared. Make your classroom a clean and welcoming place. Have interesting pictures up, and perhaps a vase of flowers on your desk. Make sure that all your photocopying and admin are completed.
    2) Introduce an open-door policy in your classroom. Invite parents to stay and help their children settle. Keep your eye out for those who might be able to assist you regularly in the classroom. Look for people who are available during the day, and who are warm and kind towards ALL the children. Parent helpers can be a Godsend in large classes.
    3) The start of the year is an important window of opportunity with parents as well as children. Make contact with as many parents as you can. Convey love and warmth to each child.

    What are your Day 1 tips and reflections?