Saturday, 16 June 2018

Visual Connections

Yesterday I was in Karen Ferguson’s class at Tech and was immediately drawn to the display she had on her back wall. Karen has created a 5ft x 3ft google drawing that breaks down the structure and language features of an explanation. Her display is specific to her graphics class but as I could see the potential connections that could be so easily made by my learners I immediately asked Karen if I could use her template to create an example specific to my learners. I have seen a lot of displays in classrooms and online that teachers have created to help their learners make connections, but the content, layout and size of this one completely nailed it!


The link to Karen’s blogpost where she explain her thinking behind this resource is here. As always Karen was happy to share work so my next step is to create my own version to help my learners cement their own connections to the structure and language features needed in explanation writing.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Creativity in LS2...

This term our Manaiakalani staff meeting reminded us about the importance of creativity in learning. Miki and Josh used their creative skills to create this image for the title page of a DLO they are in the process of creating. 

The DLO is at the moment a work in progress but when I saw what they had done so far I wanted to share it because I think it is a great example of creativity. Miki and Josh are happy for me to share their work and emailed me this to add to my blogpost:

'We are creating an animation about the muscular system. This is a Google Presentation and we used different shapes and lines to create an arm which shows you our muscles. We have used the same drawing of the arm muscles to create a GIF that shows what our muscles look like when we move our arms on the next slide. To get it to look like this we tested some shapes and lines to try to make it look real.' - Miki and Josh

I am looking forward to seeing their finished DLO because the language the boys used when they were explaining to me how they have used lines and shapes to show how the muscular system works was rich and really showed the deep learning that has taken place.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

CoL Meeting #4

Russell's Korero:

Tonight we were reminded by Russell the history behind schooling improvement in our cluster. The slide below was written before the shift from the analogue to the digital age but identifies the 4 things that change the outcomes for our learners.

We need to link evidence to practise. Our inquiries help us to share what works and teaches others so they can apply this to own teaching domains.

Teachers strategise to maximise learning - e
g: Learn to read v read to learn strategies must link to the domain it is being applied to. Students need to develop learn to read strategies so they can apply these when we teach them how to read to learn.
Students need to want to learn and understand how they can improve their learning - Teachers need to stop being passive and ignite the motivation to learn through effort and application of strategies to increase engagement.

Teachers shouldn't blame students but should evaluate their success and reflect on how the teaching helped it happen and/or be aware of what needs to change. We measure success by value added. When we open the doors the learning is hiding behind we empower our students to want to learn, when our students want to learn they do learn. It is the power of our teaching inquiries that lets us evaluate, reflect upon and share the many different ways we unlock these doors.

Language in Abundance - Dr Jannie Van Hees:

Learners feel valued and included when language focus is personalised. Teachers need to see value of gifting language - how can we plan for this we learn best we when elaborate our responses by focusing and noticing language - we learn when we learn with and from each other. Traction is not being made as the opportunities for receiving language are inconsistent. Are we (teachers) gifting enough language? We need a balance of student and teacher talk. Children need to think before they speak to their peers rather than just mumbling an answer. Not learner - teacher but US as a class. Students need to be replying to students. Providing opportunities for our learners to use language in a way that engages them will help them become active participants in the conversation. If we encourage our students to explain their thinking by being in dialogue with each other we must remember to teach these skills as the potential for learning is astounding

Strategies to explore:

Talk together

  • how do we do this - need to be in a u-shape, make eye-contact
  • xxxxx said .......  Can we contribute back to him/her without asking a question?

To and fro talking or chain linking

  • Effective conversation is not talking past each other to pick up message in the meaning - need to talk to / listen to.
  • Need to get our learners to realise the ways connections are made through sentences.
  • Links between paragraphs - sentence about one topic - buddy needs to say a sentence that supports and links to previous one - random sentences cannot be linked - Get students to stand up and can only link arms if they link sentences.
  • A conversation needs to be more than just one reply (eg: 'When we opened our compost bin yesterday we saw so many crickets'.... 'that's because it's warm in there and there's food'... How can you add on to the first sentence without asking a question?)
  • Make a template recording chains under each - so it becomes a discussion not just a response and comment, try to keep the chain going.
  • Comment - comment that is not a question but includes the fact, values the speaker, and extends the conversation.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Innovate and Try #2

Following on from the use of a mentor text I knew that collaboration was the safety net needed to preserve the student self efficacy that was beginning to emerge. The series of photos below reflect the learning pathway we followed to strengthen our connections to the learning and stem from some of the ideas suggested by Aaron Wilson to help break down the barriers my target group have of not knowing what to write.

Retelling the mentor text using text maps

Using new or interesting vocabulary noticed in the mentor text to create word clines

Using the text maps and word clines to create a simple plan 

Using the plan to create a collaborative orientation

Implementing 5 -7 -10 timed writing challenge

Giving each other feedback and feed forward

All these images were snapshots of opportunities for learning talk to take place. I noticed there was no lull in the conversations as my learners took ownership of their new knowledge. The clip below shows some of the talk that helped my learners use their words in context.

Innovate and Try #1...

With my targeted group of reluctant writers I know anything I plan must capture their interest, seem achievable and have a clear end point. By chance I recently followed a thread on social media that linked to Pie Corbett's Talk 4 Writing site, and saw ideas that I could use that would do exactly that. 

At the start of this term we started looking at narratives using the mentor text 'Fly by Night' by June Crebbin. My thinking behind this learning was that my learners would notice the structure and language features used by the author to paint a clear picture in the reader's mind. To begin I read the text (minus pictures) aloud and asked my learners to listen carefully to the words the author used. Our next step was to create our own text maps that would help us retell the story. This proved to be a valuable exercise as the vocabulary that was noticed and shared for discussion and clarification initiated a powerful learning conversation about the author's word choice and use of sentence type for effect.

Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa

I am privileged to be the teacher of students who are proud to share their language and culture with confidence. So with their support today I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and embraced Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa fully. 

Yesterday I sat down with my Samoan students and explained that this week was Samoan Language Week. We looked at the resources available to us online and with their help decided the direction we would follow in LS2. Two of my students felt it was important that we started by gaining an understanding of fa'a Samoa. Under their guidance, and with promises to help me with the teaching, we created a DLO that would help introduce us to this information. What I didn't expect was the DLO I was sent at 9 o'clock that evening that had been put together by Angela. She had thought carefully about the language she thought we should learn, and with the help of her family had created a prompt sheet for me. 

Ownership of the learning lead to widespread engagement across the classroom. We tapped into the expertise of our Samoan language speakers to ensure our pronunciation was correct and confidently explored our new learning with me leading by example. I was very self conscious but modelled what I expect my students to do. Along the way I was gently corrected when I got my pronunciation wrong, but at the same time continually praised by my co-teachers. 

Our purpose today was to pay it forward by creating DLOs that others could use to learn aspects of the Samoan language. After working collaboratively with our LS1 learning buddies to create these DLOs we had our own sharing time. As I said in my opening sentence, I am privileged to be the teacher of students who are proud to share their language and culture with confidence.

Masina o le Tausaga/Months of the Year 
Created by Christopher, Acein, Diana and Jay-Don

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Pau Te Hau!

Last week Grant Ogilvie and I took part in the teacher training session for the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) research we will be taking part in with Dr Nigel Harris from AUT. Our session began at 7am with a tour of the amazing facilities at the Millennium Institute of Sport. An early start but absolutely worth setting the alarm earlier for. The focus of the day was set the teachers who will be carrying out the HIIT sessions up with the tools and knowledge needed to run successful  sessions. 

Here are my notes:

  • Physical activity can help buffer stressful events
  • The more they burn the better they learn - more activity can improve cognitive and academic performance, focus in class, memory, on task behaviour, 
  • Greater the strength of the energiser the stronger the focus
  • Initial response to exercise sessions is that it’s too hard - rsh shows encouraging participation and reason will break down the barriers 
  • Students need to see value and we need to understand this and find what motivates them = increased motivation
  • Burn 2 Learn study showed autonomous and intrinsic motivation = students can see the value in the challenge and know why they need their skills. Ask "What is your motivation?" 
  • Strengths v difficulties - Do these change their efficacy? 
  • 2 sessions of HIIT was most effective 
  • HIIT = efficacy 
  • Short bursts of exercise more beneficial than duration exercise 
  • Challenge self v previous performance - can link to 2 words 1 minute
  • Initial response to exercise sessions is that it’s too hard - research shows encouraging participation will break down the barriers 
  • Students need to see value and we need to u/stand this and find what motivates them so that we increase motivation
  • Include Te Reo commands/vocab to strengthen cultural connections - exercise rotation can be linked to Maori legends.
  • Burn to learn study showed autonomous and intrinsic motivation occurred when students could see the value in the challenge and know why they need their skills -Need to ask what their motivation is. 
  • Use a variety of questions to gather student voice after each session: What did you like/not like? How would you rate your performance? What could you do differently next time? Did you achieve your target?Could you help someone who was struggling? What progress have you made?...
Throughout the session I saw many connections between this research and my current teaching inquiry. Increased efficacy and understanding the reasons students have these beliefs in both areas seems to be the key to unlocking the self imposed barriers.