Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Tapping into cluster expertise...

Today I visited Room 8 at Saint Patricks School to observe their in-school COL teacher, Adrienne Dines. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her students and talking with them about how talk has helped them with their learning journey this year. 

Adrienne uses a multimodal approach to help her learners make connections to their learning, and talk to strengthen these connections. What I saw when I stepped back and watched was a table of learners fully engaged in a dialogic discussion. Adrienne reminded them at the beginning to use their 'why' voices to question, explain and clarify their understandings. 


To help keep the talk flowing Adrienne uses prompt cards that she places on the table. She then checks in with them using these prompts as the connection or provocation. 

I roved around the room chatting to each group about what they were doing and how talk had helped their learning. What was really interesting was that her learners and my learners face the same obstacles when it comes to talking with others. I have followed Adrienne's inquiry this year as it aligns closely with mine. In talking to her I have found that it has taken us both a similar amount of time to build our cultures of talk. We have both used scaffolding strategies that are personal to our learners, and both realise the importance of using written, spoken and visual texts to aid comprehension.

One student said that talk helps if them engage. Another told me that it helps you clarify as you have to say why you think the way you do, and if don't understand something you can ask questions or listen to what others think. I asked them what they did if someone said something they didn't agree with. Almost everyone I spoke to said they ask questions to help them understand why they think that way.

I really enjoyed my time in Room 8. My takeaway from this visit will be to vary how I use my own scaffolded prompts, and has prompted me to revisit the reasons why talk can help strengthen our connections to the learning. 

Friday, 25 August 2017

Maniakalani Hui Poster Session

Today our CoL teachers took part in a poster session to showcase and talk about our inquiries at the Manaiakalani Hui. We have all been carrying out inquiries that fall under the umbrella of the Manaiakalani CoL achievement challenges. This was a great opportunity to share our journeys with a wider audience. There was a lot of rich discussion all around as new connections were made and existing ones strengthened. 

My inquiry falls under achievement challenge 4 which is to increase the achievement of Years 1-10 learners, with a focus on Years 7-10, in reading, writing and maths, as measured against National Standards and agreed targets. 

The presentation below is a copy of the written content on my poster board. It is a summary of what I have inquired into, why I chose this inquiry, the actions I have taken, the setbacks I experienced, and the changes that have been made by myself and my learners as a result. For a more detailed account of my inquiry please click here.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Connecting with The Education Hub

Last term Dr Nina Hood, founder of The Education Hub, came to meet with Kiri and I to talk about how the Summer learning Journey had benefitted our learners in LS2. The Education Hub is a 'not for profit fostering improvement and innovation in education by bringing together people, resources and ideas'. 

Today Kiri and I took part in a focus group run by Nina at Auckland University. This was a great opportunity to contribute our thinking to an initiative we see will become an extremely valuable resource. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Self Evaluation and Rewindable Learning

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about seizing an opportunity to film a learning conversation in action. Today I began by asking these learners to think about yesterday's reciprocal reading lesson. We talked about what they liked, what went well and what they might do differently next time; and then I shared the  footage I captured. I asked my learners to look closely at their own contributions. Initially their were a few giggles but as the footage progressed I listened to the conversation that was taking place. This was rich and authentic. Afterwards I sat down to have a debrief with them. One student chose to write his observations down so was quite detailed in his responses, one was eager to share that he noticed he was really good at working collaboratively, and the others were keen to tell me that they had all been active participants. 

I asked each person what they would do differently next time to make the most of the learning talk. Click here to read Daniel's blog post about his group's collaborative evaluation of their learning.

Today I repeated the process with another group. Our screen was in use and I wanted to harness the power of capturing today's footage as this group were keen to watch themselves, so I simply replayed their movie on my phone. Click here to read Jeremiah's blog post about his group's collaborative evaluation of their learning.

This is not a tool I would use all the time as the power of the novelty would wear off. However it is definitely a tool I will use to help my learner's see what their learning looks like when I need them to notice and evaluate their own learning.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Learning from each other

I am always looking for ways to continue to strengthen our learning conversations during Reading. As a teacher in an ILE I have observed the ongoing success Kiri is having with reciprocal reading in her reading sessions, so today invited Fridoon (from Ms Kirkpatrick's group), to share his expertise in reciprocal reading with one of my reading groups. He was an amazing 'teacher' and was able to show a group of my learners how to unpack a text using this process.


The clip above is a short snippet of their learning conversation. I saw their 'talk' evolving but was working with a different group at this time, so handed my phone to another student to film. I love the collaboration and support they give each other as they work towards making sense of a new text without any guidance from me. 

Having watched the whole clip myself I was able to see the true power of tapping into the strengths of my own students to grow the learning. Fraidoon's clear and explicit instruction and this group's willingness to share their thinking, made this a rich learning conversation that allowed my learners to use talk to strengthen their understanding of newly aquired knowledge.

My take away from this is that I will be definitely using reciprocal reading to provide further opportunities for purposeful learning conversations to take place when we unpack a text. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

GEGNZ Student Summit 2017

Last week I took a group of students to the GEGNZ Student Summit at Ormiston Junior School. The confidence and pride I saw from each of the presenters in each of the breakout sessions, highlighted how much talent our young people bring to their own learning. This was a great opportunity for my learners to see first hand that we learn best when we learn with and from each other. I was extremely proud of Team PBS not only for the presentation they created and shared, but also for the respect they showed as audience members throughout the day.

The day was closed by Suan Yeo, from Google who reminded us all that if you're not sure, ask questions; if you see a problem, try to solve it and most importantly try to be the best you that you can be. 

A huge thank you to the GEGNZ team for their organisation, Ormiston Junior School for hosting us and to everyone who took part in the day. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

CoL Sharing with the PBS Syndicate teams

We were asked at the last CoL meeting to meet with our staff and encourage each person to select one Achievement Challenge that aligns with their Teaching as Inquiry for 2017. We then explored the blogs of each CoL teacher who has focused on the same Achievement Challenge as we have.

At Panmure Bridge School we chose to do this in syndicate meetings. This afternoon I met with the senior syndicate, and will be meeting with the junior syndicate next week. What was really valuable was the rich discussion that evolved as people connected with ideas that resonated with their own inquiries. Having a designated time to explore the cluster inquiries was a great professional development opportunity. Thank you to my fellow CoL teachers for making such a rich resource available.

Here are our responses.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Winter Learning Journey... WOW!

Congratulations to all our Panmure Bridge Winter Learning Journey bloggers. We are so proud of you!

The images above reflect the participation in the Winter Learning Journey from Panmure Bridge's Learning Space 2. Congratulations to Daniel, Oh Hsen, AJ, Alex (LS1), Ofa and Eric our main prize winners; Nazella who got a special mention; and everyone who took part. Our top two bloggers, Oh Hsen and Daniel each commented 500 times on fellow blogger's posts!

A huge thank you to Rachel and her team for creating an exciting learning adventure that took our students on a virtual tour around New Zealand, and for the many, many comments made to everyone who took part. 

Making my learners accountable...

Today during Reading I asked my learners how I would know they were actively participating in the learning. The unified response was, "Make sure we are talking about our thinking!"  To make sure this actually happened, I challenged each person to write down one question they asked that contributed to the collaborative task. Our prompts were: 'What question could you ask? Will it tell you the information you want?' I knew this could be easily overlooked then hurriedly made up so I scaffolded the challenge by handing each person one brightly coloured post it note. My thinking was that if they could see a small space to record their question it wouldn't seem to onerous.

The image above reflects success! Everyone recorded a question and only two students felt too shy to share their question during our reflection time. This is a huge shift in confidence so I took a step back and asked myself why this might have happened, and thought about what I might have done/said differently. With my learners working in collaborative groups I was able to roam around the room having deep learning conversations. Upon reflection the most common message I shared was Did it tell you the information you want?

The questions below are our evidence of how each person participated actively in today's learning. The highlighted questions are from my target students.
  • What did you do for the summary?
  • Can you share your summary please?
  • Was Kate Sheppard part of the suffrage or did she make it?
  • What was the suffrage movement?
  • What is the meaning of suffrage?
  • What is a petition?
  • Does Women’s suffrage have capital letters?
  • How effective was the suffrage movement towards the men that wouldn’t allow women votes?
  • Why were some women against the women’s suffrage issues?
  • Why did they change their minds about women’s suffragettes?
  • Did Kate Sheppard’s personality influence the men’s decisions?
  • What were Kate Sheppard’s major achievements that convinced the law to allow women to vote?
  • Why was the law so specific with some people not allowed to vote?
  • At any point did Kate Sheppard feel like giving up on her main goal?
  • How was Kate Sheppard able to keep going knowing there was hate and conflict against her?
  • Were all cultures of women allowed to vote?
  • Did Kate Sheppard fear that she was going to lose the fight?
  • What made Kate Sheppard want to fight for women’s rights?
  • Did Kate Sheppard feel like giving up?
  • How did Kate Sheppard become the leader of the suffragettes?
  • Is the big circle building the NZ parliament building?
  • When did Kate Sheppard find out that women couldn’t vote?
  • Why did Kate Sheppard decide to start campaigning to get women the right to vote?
  • What convinced the men to let the women vote?
  • What made Kate Sheppard keep going even though people didn’t like what she had to say? 
  • Why did Kate Sheppard join the suffrage movement? 
  • What did Kate Sheppard do to become the leader of the women’s suffrage movement?

These questions reflect strong connections are continuing to be made. The difference is my learners have a purpose for asking their questions and today they were accountable for their learning. My next step is to actively plan ways to sustain this accountability.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How I am engaging my learners in talk...

This week has been all about front loading so that my learners are able to begin forging connections to the content of our new learning. The screenshot of the blog post below reflects one of the ways we have done this. I was particularly drawn to her last sentence where she states that talking to her group helped her make connections.

We have done a lot of think-pair-share to encourage the learning conversations. By taking time to move around the groups I have noticed that everyone is actively participating. I reminded my learners that we learn best when we learn together and talk about our thinking. The collaborative approach removes the scary as the sharing reflects the ideas of the group and eliminates the pressure to take risks alone. 

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the scaffold this group chose to use was a 'go to' rather than a 'you must use'. Clearly strong connections have been made to this as they see by identifying the key words they are able to rework the words into meaningful sentences that summarise their learning.

Since woman's rights with voting was a big issue in the olden days, our reading topic this term relates to this with the upcoming election in mind. We watched a youtube video about the suffragette movement and wrote a 25 word summary on "what the suffragette movement was". I found this quite hard because it isn't a skill that I have mastered (summary) but talking to my group helped me make my connection.


To help me scaffold my learners towards evaluating their own contributions to the learning conversations I asked each group to do this today via the comments tool. It was interesting to listen to the negotiations taking place before the final comment was devised. Some as you can see were very honest. What I celebrated was the fact my learners were able to recognise their own contributions to their learning conversations. I see too that I need to scaffold what it is I want my learner's to notice so that they have the tools to strengthen their evaluations and identify their own next steps.