Thursday, 22 October 2015

Revisiting Recounts!

This term has kicked off with our end of term assessments looming. To make sure my class are set up for success we have been revisiting our previous learning about recounts. I am both amazed and empowered by the level of content knowledge my learners have been able to recall. For many years I have been a fan of using acronyms to support structural knowledge. This year a colleague and friend, Aireen Ah Kui shared with me the 'new' acronym of TREE.

Title, Reveal, Events and Ending... four little words that my learners connected to quickly. We repurposed the prompt DLO that was shared with us so that our own academic and content language was embedded throughout. With this knowledge in place we have been able to spend time focusing on the language features that support this genre. I was stunned today when connections were made between TREE being seen as a dinner plate and the language features being seen as the food you add. A visual image everyone could connect to, after all we all know the difference between a bland dinner and a delicious one!

Over the last two weeks we have followed the mantra of 'repetition without boring'. I'm now quite skilled at saying the same thing in many different ways! We have spent time building our TREE plan (success criteria) both as a class, in groups, in pairs, and independently. Making sure my learners are able to recall and record this information using our words was vital to them being able to plan efficiently. Our Room 5 rubric has helped so many make visual connections here. I noticed a huge difference in the quality of the content this week after focusing on planning a recount rather than simply writing recount after recount. It is interesting to note here that more than half my class were not using their writing plans so learning how to write and use a plan became the tangent on which we travelled.

Our recent learning sessions once again highlight the fact that it is not only is it vital to ensure that the learning you provide allows for connections to be made but also vital to realise the impact that harnessing the power that comes with really knowing your learners can have on deepening those connections. My favourite part so far, when one of my learners said "Don't forget to remind us about the simple stuff!" Yet more evidence that in Room 5, we own our learning!

Friday, 9 October 2015


Empowering and affirming sums up the messages I have heard at uLearn15. Here are a few of my takeaways.

Grant Lichtman
Links to crowd sourced docs and keynote

'Technology has reimaged the transfer of knowledge and learning relationships between teachers, students and knowledge'
'fear and inertia get in the way of innovation and transfer of knowledge'
'We need to provide opportunities to evoke curiosity and problem solving skills'
'The stairway to success should be visible, inclusive and innovative'
'Students should ask own questions to generate passion'

What will I do:

  • Introduce an ideas wall
  • Ask my learners to describe something in 1 word then create a tagul to capture an image that represents the thinking.
  • Ensure every learner has contributed at least one question to explore during inquiry time.

Dr Anne Lieberman

'Teaching is something to share with others -  learning and teaching each other -  sharing stories and giving feedback. Teachers feeling released from keeping their ideas and questions to themselves'
'We should see each colleague as a valuable contributor'
'Learning is not done on your own, it's about making meaning by connecting to others'

What will I do:
  • Continue to embrace the Manaiakalani values of Learn - Create - Share

Reflecting on supporting and acknowledging Pasifika in the classroom
Annette Laban

'Teachers should be asking 'Who are my learners? Where do they come from? When did their ancestors come to NZ? Why did they come to NZ? What is their culture?'
'The culture of the child cannot enter the classroom until it has first entered the consciousness of the teacher – ‘Know me before you teach me!’

What will I do:

  • Create a crowd sourced inquiry (virtual atlas with facts) to establish collaboration and forge new friendships at start of year
  • Use technology to afford my learners the opportunities to 'hear' and 'say' the language

Things you should be teaching, but don't
Nikki Urlich

'Knowledge in your pocket need knowledge acquisition but needs explicit teaching!'
'Search it search it search it - question, words, clarify connect….skim scan and evaluate'

What will I do:

  • Run a Toolkit to share this learning
  • Use tuakana teina time to help develop searching skills in younger students
  • Introduce ‘Find out about Fridays’
  • Share the 'Google Off' idea
  • What should be in a model for searching? (What is it you want to find out? Use keywords to write your question. Skim scan is it working (Evaluate)? Change the words)

Lifting Our Game
Allanah King and Barbara Reid

'SAMR is not a ladder - Rather how we use technology in the classroom to benefit students compared with what we did in the past'
'Dr Ruben Puentedura looked at how different technology makes a difference in student achievement'
'Technology affords our learners... padlet from workshop'

What will I do:
  • Explore Link to Book Creator App
  • Follow @sylviaduckworth - illustrations to represent learning concepts
  • Ask: 'What is the task going to do for my students?'
  • Introduce the apps in this presentation to my class
  • Revisit the SAMR model when planning

ULearn15 Presentation

Today we presented our inquiries to our audience at uLearn15. Empowering to be a part of such a innovative cluster.

Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers 2015
Link to MIT15 presentation

'You can't help yourself unless you can see yourself' - Jason Borland

'Creating communities that learn how to improve student achievement' - Michelle George

'Don’t teach the same concept twice... our learners have one language tank' - Kyla Hansell

'Students re purposing docs for their own needs in the process gives an interesting insight and highlights gaps in the planning' - Karen Ferguson

'Plan lots of opportunities for our learners to collaborate' - Sheena Campell

Sharing the evolution of our Room 5 'learner speak' resource. 

'We speak two languages and it is important to remember that as teachers we do not speak ‘learner’ anywhere near as well as learners do!