Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The Debating teacher at our school created this blog http://phsdebate-aad.blogspot.com/ for the Debating Society. She followed the instructions given in a previous posting (August 12), and then just ran with ideas.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

PATs - In general

Grade 11 - The marking of Phases 1 and 2 went really quickly. The learners had done much of their work in tables and I was able to skim the answers. The part which required the most thought was the questions and the search criteria. It took me longer to fill in the rubric than it took me to mark the task, about 2 mins in total. I did talk to most learners individually as I marked the work.
In preparation for Phase 3 I sat them all on the carpet in front of me (in front so no computer would get in the way of eye contact) and explained what was wrong with their Phases 1 and 2. They all seemed to understand what was wrong although when I watched them working on Phase 3, it was apparent that some had not really heard. I should have shown them examples of what was required, although the instructions did mention the type of activities required for Excel and Access. After speaking to each individually at least once as they were doing Phase 3 I believe all know what is required in the next phase.

Grade 10 – I am not starting the PAT until I have finished Theme 4, or at least nearly completed Excel. I do not believe the learners can do a PAT which uses Excel until they know the capabilities of Excel. They need to know what the tool can do before they use the tool!
Currently they are working on Integrated Task 3. Two problem areas became apparent in Stage 1. I wanted the URL of where they would find information. Some of them gave me Google or Ask Jeeves which is not a URL but a search engine. Then --- they had to give the URL of where one could find information on training for the Comrades Marathon. Some gave me information on how to get fit, but not fit for Comrades! As a person who has run Comrades 3 times I feel passionate about the race. I expected the learners to realise that the Comrades is not just any race but 90km over hilly country. They had to find the information to answer the question properly. All of the integrated tasks are preparing the learners for the PAT and focusing on solving a problem.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Access - Inserting image in a form possibly in the PAT

The learners may want to add pictures to their PAT database. This video can teach learners how to add images to a database and view them in a form.
To view the video off line (later), right click the video hyperlink, download (Save Link Target As),and then view off line USING Internet Explorer or any other web browser.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 3

I am so excited. Here is a list of what my learners are creating to show the management of Omewa the uses of Excel - Accommodation fees, Accommodation invoice, Accommodation income, Accommodation prices, Costs of paper in the office, Facilities prices, Income from accommodation, Invoice (guest visit charges, tariff information), Management salaries, Salaries and wages and accommodation income, Ticket prices, Wages.
Here is a list of what my learners are creating to show the management of Omewa the uses of Access - Accommodation (picture, price, type); Animal information/database (characteristics); Animal species; Animals - footprints, size, colour; Client details; Employee information; Information on animals (habitat, pictures, tracks); Staff database (Age, salary and address); Vegetation database (plant, picture, plant information); Wildlife details and information.

The learners are now collecting information for wonderful things (see above) for Omewa.

We are helping the learners now in Gr 11 so that when they get into Gr 12 they probably will be able to create their PAT on their own.

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 3

My learners are collecting information for Phase 3 of Omewa PAT. Their questions in Phases 1 and 2 were bad, I know, and some of the present things should have been thought about then.
What is coming through now is that they are realizing the differences between Access and Excel. They are now seeing that Excel is for number manipulation and Access is for working with data.
The PAT is a good CAT experience!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gr 10 PAT from the Gr 10 SAG

Some teachers made these comments about Phase 1 of the Grade 10 PAT in the 2007 SAG. Some of these comments are applicable to other PATs as well.
• Scenario and questions must focus on the same subject.
• The scenario sets the area of the problem. The big question must come from that scenario.
• The scenario must show an information need.
• The questions must come from every category, i.e. factual, investigative, change, comparison
• Suggest learners put the questions into a table under the different categories.
• The questions must be answerable.
• Limit the work to the time available – do not write a thesis.
• Indicate the type of information supplied, e.g. is it going to be used for calculations in a spreadsheet or for answering in text format.
• Number the questions so that the numbering can be used in the next phase/stage.

Gr 11 PAT - Phases 5 and 6 - Documents

Here are the last phases of the Omewa PAT, phases 5 and 6 - the English and Afrikaans versions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 4 - Documents

The instruction and assessment sheets for Phase 4 are available in Afrikaans and English.

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 3

This should have been dealt with in Phases 1 and 2, but I am now trying to fix something not done! The learners cannot follow instructions! They are still wanting to give a talk on the benefits and uses of Excel and Access! I have told them they must show me / prove to me how it can be used in Omewa time and time again.
So today I made them look at the activities in the textbook and asked how they could adapt those for Omewa. They saw the light! So in Phase 3 they are now looking for meaningful information, for Omewa, to put in a spreadsheet from the text book.
I just spoke about a spreadsheet, not a database, and hope that the idea will be used with Access. Not the perfect solution but ...
I feel so embarrassed discussing my problems on the Internet but hope that others may learn from my experiences.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 3

I started working with my learners today on Phase 3.
I returned their Phases 1 and 2. Only 1 learner out of 55 had given me an example of where they could use a spreadsheet, and none had given me the use of a database FOR Omewa. Although the instruction sheet for Phases 1 and 2 gave examples of where the applications could be USED, none of my learners used those ideas. They all stupidly created theoretical questions on what is a spreadsheet, what does a spreadsheet cost, etc. They did not look at how Omewa could USE a spreadsheet or database.
So today I discussed ways in which they could show Omewa what they could do with Excel and Access. I showed them the invoice in the Grade 12 book on page 134. That was an important decision – then they were able to think of real situations where they could use Excel and Access in the nature reserve. Now they are busy collecting information to answer their questions such as the cost of overnight accommodation in a nature reserve, etc., real questions! It will go better now, I hope.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blogging - Create first blog

Blogging is most useful. Listen to the slide show or read the pdf of the slide show.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Survey

Give this to the learner BEFORE they start Phase 4 (Processing of information)

Remember that you have to process the data received on your survey forms
using Excel. You need at least 3 questions that you can process.
Your questions should have been something like:

Which option would you choose?
c Option 1
c Option 2
c Option 3

Would the following interest you?
a) Interest 1 YES NO MAYBE
b) Interest 2 YES NO MAYBE

Monitoring the learners’ work

All of my learners have to print out their work, all the activities and tasks. My web shows what work has to be done each week.
I have started a new thing of taking in 5-10 learners’ portfolios every Thursday, checking that their work is up-to-date from the beginning of the theme. I take in portfolios from learners sitting in particular positions in the class. If the work is not up-to-date I contact the parents via e-mail. I started the emailing last week, what a difference! All the Grade 11s are working wonderfully. The Grade 10s are still a little slow in accepting my working system but they will soon learn.

Gr 11 Excel and Access

What a wonderful week with Grade 11! They have spent the last few days working on Excel doing the section on Analysing data (pages 184-193). The instructions in the book are so good that they worked without my assistance, and so well. At the beginning of the term they worked through the first 2 chapters of Access and that also went well. I normally spend my time walking around the class monitoring and helping where necessary, but I am not needed to teach the work: I just facilitate the learning and set the mood for the class.
The learners have understood these two programs so well. I wonder what will happen when I give them a test. I feel so proud to have worked on the team, writing the book.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Gr 11 PAT – Phases 1 and 2 – Comments

I have just finished marking phases 1 and 2. Most of my learners created wonderful questions on Cybertracker. But I want to hang my head in shame with respect to the questions relating to Excel, Access and PowerPoint. If the purpose is to show the management of Omewa the wonders and uses of those packages, the learners should have been looking for ways to show what those packages can do for ‘them’. For Excel the learners should have been looking up how to create an Invoice, ways to do the wages, ways to show them how to work out their expenses for their trucks, i.e. show them where Excel can be more useful for them than a calculator or abacus. Well, we can guide them now although we cannot change the marks.
With regard to the survey their questions were wonderful, but I wonder if they have thought how they are going to process the data and present the findings. I must discuss this with them when I return all the Phases 1 and 2.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 3 - Documents

Please find the link to Phase 3 of the PAT in English3 and in Afrikaans


I have been thinking and 'broeiing' about the PAT a lot lately.

We are working on the assessment for the Gr 11 OMEWA PAT and also creating a PAT for Grade 10. What I have realised: One has to finish most of the practical work before starting with the PAT.
• In Grade 10, the learners HAVE TO be finished with most of the word processing and must know the basic Excel. How can they plan a PAT which must include all the practical skills if they have not done it?
• In Grade 11 Access is part of the PAT. They have to have a basic knowledge of Access and what can be done with it, before starting their PATs.
This means that all your Grade 10 & 11's are going to be busy with PATs during part of term 3 and term 4.
How will one cope with all the marking?

The PAT is such an important exercise. We just have to make it work! Apart from the fact that the learners have the chance to show what they can do, and can really be creative, they get the chance to work on a big project which we try to make as real life as possible! And I'm sure they learn so much while doing the PAT!

I, personally, cannot see how we can 'tone down' the assessment sheets and still make sure that we have assessment that is objective, and the same in all cases.

Let us hear from you who are also doing OMEWA and whose learners have handed in their Phase 1 & 2.

How did it go? Did your learners ask good questions? If their questions are poor, before they start Phase 3 we must guide them into changing and improving their questions. Seems like that is another topic to be discussed ...

This weekend

I have been putting off marking the Grade 11 PAT Phases 1 and 2 – it just seems so much marking but then again there must be a clear system of marking and standardisation which requires such detailed divisions.
At this time of year I must also mark those Grade 12 projects with an even greater attention to detail – ugh!
And I must set the September Matriculation exam.
And get ready for the Grade 11 cluster meeting.
And check the portfolios of selected Gr 10 and 11 learners.
And do normal extra mural work.
I would like to sit in the sun and enjoy the start of spring.
But I must put my head down and get it done.