Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Innovation, Creativity and Success...

This is a celebration post and one I am extremely proud of! The clips below show the end result of our pechaflickr style challenge. You will see that they vary in recording style but when you listen to the story that accompanies each clip you will hear sentences that make sense, links between paragraphs, risk taking with vocabulary and the voices of collaboration. To preserve the anonymity of my target students I have shared a selection of DLOs from my group.

When I reflect on this learning challenge from start to finish I know I began with a huge level of motivation as this was (my twist on) one of the ideas I brought back from ISTE, and I was excited to try something new. I think that captured my learner's interests initially, but it was the fun element and the chunked bites of success that kept it going. As I had not given my learners a specific topic they enjoyed the freedom of being able to explore and be creative. The oral language component set everyone up for success because the storylines had been trialled a few times before becoming scripted text. This meant that ideas that didn't fit could be explored and easily eliminated.

Throughout the lessons I made myself available for 'learning chats' that were specific to the content of each pair of learners. I made sure I approached the new in a gentle way as this year has shown me that is what works with these learners. We celebrated the positives, shared our own exemplars of great ideas and each lesson set a focus together for the next. 

The challenge for me as the teacher is to retain the level of interest shown in this challenge as we move on to the next. I learnt a lot about what I need to do to help the levels of self efficacy continue to grow. External factors like ongoing absence and withdrawal group support mean not all my learners have the same opportunities to complete the work, so my next challenge is to ensure everyone is able complete the task.


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Success comes with completing a task...

Our writing session today was the most focused and on task my group have been all year! A big statement to make but also one that is very true. Last session we created our own pechaflickr style slideshows and had created the simple storyline plan to accompany these images, so today it was all about fleshing out the details. 

Throughout the lesson I could hear a lot of negotiation taking place as each new paragraph was created. To clarify here my learners were creating a collaborative piece of writing. As I have mentioned earlier, I work with a large group of reluctant writers so for us collaboration is the way to go when we are unpacking new learning. 

Our initial drafts show great promise but what I was most proud of was the efficacy that is growing within this group. No one was 'too shy' to share and feed forward was well thought out and constructive. Developing links between paragraphs was the guided teaching component. I found the best way to do this was to work with three pairs at a time. In each guided session I began by asking for an exemplar to use and this time I was most definitely not at a loss for volunteers. 

With permission I made a copy of the exemplar text and shared it so we could all help make the links between the paragraphs. This style of editing our work was really well received because it was safe. I noticed smiles and elements of dialogic learning conversations emerging. This meant when I left the group they were able to continue the process and help each other to make connections and links between their paragraphs.

Self efficacy remains the focus and I have learnt that patience and gentle praise on my part have gone a long way towards growing this. The final part of this challenge is that each pair will present their narrative alongside their pechaflickr style slides to the class.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Innovate and Try #4...

This lesson gave me the chance to build on from our pechaflickr introduction from last week. We began with a revisit of how to participate in a pechaflickr challenge. This is always an important step with my target students as it allows connections to be made with information that may have been overlooked previously. Once again the room was a buzz of chatter with the creation of the narratives to match the randomised images.

Today we personalised our pechaflickr style challenge. Each pair made a copy of the google slide template I shared in my previous post and chose an idea to build a story around, then set about finding a series of images to tell that story. To add a written component I introduced a template so the sequence of ideas was clear and links between each image could be made. We will use these later to flesh out what will become the paragraphs needed for our narratives.

What I noticed when I stepped back to look and listen was that everyone was on-task. Why? Probably due to the 'fun' element of our challenge, but also because my learners could connect to their learning. Each pair chose a topic that linked to their own prior knowledge which meant the vocabulary was richer as the words and ideas flowed more easily. Interesting to note here is that despite knowing what they wanted to say, a number of students struggled to access the content words they were searching for. I could hear frustration in their voices as they found themselves settling for what they were able to recall, so I stepped in to give them the words they were searching for as I wanted to keep the momentum going. 

Student voice continues to play an important role in my quest to grow self efficacy so at the end of the lesson I asked my learners what they liked about our learning today. Here is a snapshot of the feedback: 'The slides we created helped us think about the emotions of the image.... People's faces made us think about how they were feeling.... It helped us check that the story made sense and linked with the photos.... It was fun and interesting because we had pictures to help us with the writing.... I learnt to link an idea in one picture with an idea in the next picture'. 

I am looking forward to seeing how this writing challenge unfolds. We have the foundations in place and now need to tap into my learner's awareness of linking ideas and exploring feelings in our guided sessions using the exemplars we have created.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

CoL Meeting #5

This afternoon we had our first CoL meeting of the term. These meetings are such a great opportunity to come together as a cluster and share our inquiry journeys so far, listen to guidance from experts and be reminded of the purpose behind our roles. My notes from today are below.

Russell’s Korero: Link

Resilience is therefore intended to capture the capacity of an individual to gain the set of skills and competencies that are essential to fully participate in society and have good chances to succeed in the labour market.

Guts of inquiry = evaluative capability
Inquiry is the ability to evaluate through the lens of a learner the effect of your T on their L
This is why is impt not to over scaffold - Pou te whanau - Building evaluative capability

CoL T are the lighthouse inquirers who become influencers who share core practise  
- analyse data and T performance
T is an intervention we are not guides on the side…. sage on stage
‘Great teachers make children learn” - Allan Peachy
What do we need most in T3?
If it is not visible...it failed - T can see it /sch management can see it/parents can see it
Expectations need to be high
We need to deliver the curriculum really well


Lift and create acceleration
Motivation is impt - theme must be really good to avoid boredom
Language experience builds connections
Language of success - cf street v academic - manipulating 2 languages often to make sense of one
T need to speak the language of success NOT slang to hook L in - eg: L do not use prepositions - we need to direct back to language of success. T cld model by saying the phrase back the right way to grow language - Do we allow informal words in L discussions (make chn speak to the known environment) - T loses chn if they constantly correct dialogue
What language do we speak matters
Remember the cultural origins - Language formality of cultural celebrations does not accept slang
Link the language of success to the known environment
Provide L with a formula or template - give the L the shape the words go in - confidence allows these formulas to be left behind (eg: formula on how to write a letter, give a pepeha - ask 3 questions it as will start a conversation - 1 it will fall away 2 = interchange 3 = conversation)
Write really interesting stuff with a real world purpose
Plan to how we grow, revisit and maintain the language and the concept that went with the language -
Biggest NZ successes who changed u/st and aspirations of M and P began the L by connecting the language of the learning to the known environment (place where you can begin to expand and grow the knowledge) = use realia and local community but gift them the words to be able to describe it or use real world problems (link to RB’s stop sign story)
Sing my song ‘its sounds like this’ call/response to teach L about the different registers = talking is lyrical
Kids who don’t finish work FAIL! FINISHED and FILED is the challenge and is visible… who is your audience???
Cycle rate: You need to see your groups 2x per week to make a difference
Check in - build on thru instructional conference. What are the high yield items
that we can capitalise on in these conversations as it increases acceleration

Vocab dvp and mileage

Mileage: listening, speaking, reading, writing:

frequency of high yield activities builds acceleration - follow up needs to build on, consolidate and improve on new learning
# iterations of high value activities
Real world content
Check points
PUBLISH work!!! To strengthen connections - Must have 2x blog posts per week - links to shifts in SLJ

Update from Rebecca Jesson (WFRC)

Studying dolphins is like studying cognition... you only see them when they pop out of the water…A good theory will help you predict where they will pop up
Inquiry formalises this process as it slows us down - what worked why did it work and how can i adjust my thinking so I can predict where they will pop up
T have a strong theory of what is going to grow the oral language in my class
My thinking - to raise word consciousness by encouraging the L to focus and notice - T needs to provide vocab building opportunities so connections can be made and success achieved - I am now more aware of the need to build into my planning the opps to introduce, explore, grow and use the words we need to strengthen our connections to a topic and allow us to take risks with confidence
Observe the L - why did some succeed - what happened for them - what did i do differently for them in a way that was more powerful and more strongly connected to
What worked for whom and under what circumstances - what was different in how each of these L engaged with me, the learning or
What causes shift?

Theory needs to be tried out - what works/why/why not
Theory tested - what did I think would cause learning vs what I di
KEY - you need to learn something from what you’ve implemented so far, in order to accelerate more.
Challengers’ questions - how do you know? What would it look like if you were wrong? Are there counter-examples of that? What evidence is there against that hypothesis? What alternative hypotheses might explain the same thing?
Theory tested - what did I think wld cause learning v what i did - link to T1/T2 data
Did I collect data on me?

Can I document the why’s between the planned and the delivered - reflect on what actually happened
Intersubjectivity space = what i intended and what the stdnt received….
What did the kids think I did? Need this info
What were the behaviour changes in my Tchg - how will I know what I did differently - Were intended changes in your teaching are the same as the actual changes?

What explains the differences between these outcomes and this will give you the causes and you will be able to make it happen faster.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

T1/T2 Comparison of what success in writing look like through the eyes of my learners...

This year I have been focusing on building student self efficacy in writing. Why? Because I have a large group of reluctant writers. I know that no-one finds something they have success in boring so I have tried hard to be creative in my task design.

This DLO reflects the comparison of responses to questions I asked my target students in both Term 1 and Term 2 - (6/8 students were questioned at both checkpoint times so only these responses have been compared in this DLO). Notable changes in responses have been highlighted in yellow. I can see more content specific information emerging in their answers overall, but the part that excited me the most was that half of these target students are now seeing members of their own writing group as 'good' writers. 

Changes I have noticed in class:

Target Students:

  • settling to work more quickly
  • increased levels of confidence
  • working with a buddy is no longer the 'go to'
  • positivity towards new learning
  • increased work completion levels
  • increased levels of risk taking
  • more willing to share work with class
  • ownership of praise
  • strengthened connections to the learning

  • finding more opportunities for praise
  • increased use of learner created exemplars from this group
  • paying closer attention to explicit instruction
  • calmer voice tone
  • increased awareness of when I need to repeat/reinforce my instruction
  • increased use of content specific language 

Monday, 23 July 2018

Innovate and Try #3

One of the sessions I attended at ISTE explored different ways of encouraging creativity in writing. The link to my previous post is here. With my inquiry focus of exploring ways I can build student self efficacy in mind I decided to start the term off creatively using the 'pechaflickr' idea. 

I knew most of my reluctant writers would not have done much written work over the term break so finding a fun way to get them to use the skills we have been developing over the year would be the hook I needed. As this was a completely new activity for us I wanted to maintain a level of control over which images were being used so I created my own versions using a google slide template sourced from here. You can make a copy of this template by clicking here. It's fantastic as all the settings have been done for you.

I thought carefully about the topics I chose as I knew my learners all needed to be able to make a connection to the images they were seeing. For our introductory session I used the subjects of 'dogs' and 'friends'.

The initial plan was that my students would work in pairs using the 'pechaflickr' slides on their Chromebooks to co-construct their narratives, however this wasn't to be. Just as we were about to begin we lost the internet so I had to use my phone to display the slides on the tv. This worked a treat and all I could hear around the room was the buzz of talk as stories were being created!

I noticed the usual ever present initial shyness but this was soon overcome as confidence levels grew and the risks being taken were paying off. Today was very much an oral language activity so my next step is to introduce the recording aspect to allow my learners to apply the skills they have been practising in context.

Afterwards I asked my learners for feedback and found that this task was well received by all my learners. One student said, 'l Ioved hearing people giggling about their stories to each other because it meant they were practising their learning.' One of my target students said he thought, 'Our lesson was really good today and everyone was focused because they were all communicating with their partners.' Another said, 'It was fun to take turns to come up with ideas and try and turn the ideas into a story that made sense'. 

On the flip side another targeted learner said, 'It was fun Miss, but it was a bit hard to make up a story that made sense when we both had different ideas. I had to listen really hard to my partner's idea then add something that made sense with that.' I see this feedback as positive and I am excited to see where our next writing lesson takes us as everyone found success in our learning today.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

ISTE 2018 - Expo Hall

The Expo Hall at ISTE is huge! There was a wide variety of stands where delegates could explore the new technologies available. Alongside these hands on opportunities was the option of joining in a learning session. 


I really enjoyed learning about the new direction Lucid Charts is going in. There are now lesson plans and chart templates ready for use in the classroom. One idea I am planning to implement is their idea for narrative writing where learners use the charts to choose their own outcome by creating a pick a path story. This is shown in the images below and I am hoping will be seen as a 'fun' way to continue to grow the efficacy of my target students.

ISTE 2018 - Keynote 3

This was the closing keynote of the conference. Richard Culatta gave us some great reminders about the importance of digital citizenship. Logan Smalley, Founding Director of TED-ED shared the new direction TED-ED is going in and gave us all the opportunity to sign up to be part of the trial for the new app TED- ED will be launching that takes teachers through modules that will guide them towards giving their own TED-ED talk. 

Christine Klynen
TED Talk

Run toward the learning - curious - fearless superhero when facing new learning ops... meant kids wanted to be a tchr - love of learning for kids who are inspired to be focused - high school often happens to us as learning is not sparking curiosity. A teacher changed my life... life long learners are fearless in own learning - engaged and connected
Nadia Lopez
Bridge to Brilliance creating possibilities author


Look at life thru diff lens
Children are naturally inquisitive and adventurous
t Spoke a language I cld appreciate and showed me possibilities using content specific language
Challenge the status quo - encourage exploration
T need to change the narrative to create the possibilities
If u create the space and allow the chn to be exposed to the learning they will rise to meet the t expectations

ISTE 2018 - Elevate Thinking, Writing and Creativity With Technology Resources

Presenters: Julie Jaeger

This was a creative writing session and with my COL inquiry focus this year, right up my alley. Below are the notes of my main takeaways from this session but the website link above details these in more detail.

Ian Byrd - use 2 topics and create analogies between the two - ref to pic 1
How expensive is it to fill your car with gas v other things eg: milk’ juice, coke... which is more expensive? Choose car model and insert image - link to measurement - research - smart searching - convert to same measurement using conversion apps

How long would it take to drink your swimming pool? Link to 8 glasses a day
XKCD.com - submit a ridiculous qu and the site accepts the challenge
Use ‘What if...’ Randall Monroe - deep thinking problems posed in text

Pechaflickr - 20 secs per slide tells your photo story - chains of conversation - each persons explanation of pic must carry on from last - not planned and creative - the fun is that the kids don’t know what’s coming - T pre finds the pics but kids don’t know this - after 1 pic per paragraph = instant created narrative
Type in a word eg: clown choose number of slides ... 2 people tell story in context linked to pics. Pechakucha is the research presentation where content must be known and timed

ISTE 2018 - Learn to create some pretty sweet graphics

Presenter: Manuel Harrera

This was another session that Kiri and I attended together. The most valuable part of choosing to do sessions together was the follow up conversations we had immediately after relating to how we can use the learning with our own students. We have many students this year who are highly skilled graphic artists and I am very much looking forward to sharing my learning from this session with them. Below are my notes.

  • Creativity is a process - not just choosing the go to app (ref to slide 2)
  • Sketch to visualise thinking - communicate without speaking to each other
  • Adobe capture in iPad saves your data
  • Canvas slide - saves colour pallet - has image sizes
  • Insert word art allows for automatic resize of text
  • Google search font pairings
  • Vector art can be scaled from any size - doesn’t blur or pixelate
  • Use Instagram template to create bio for historical leader etc
  • Use polyline in google draw to create shape for vector art
  • Remove outline - colour fill - send to back
  • Repeat process for each shape - layer
  • Innovation Exchange 
  • Change canvas using pixel measurements
  • Add graphics
  • File - download png
  • If wanting sticker cld send design to sticker mule
  • App design storyboard 
  • All drawings are done in slides too
  • Gif animation - draw peanut jar - find png arms on image search - upload each movement snapshot to google photos - assistant in google photos creates animation gif
  • Sound = shrink YouTube clip down to smallest size to hide but can hear

ISTE 2018 - Arts and Technology PLN Breakfast Walk

This was one of my favourite sessions and completely worth getting up at 5am for. Kiri and I met the rest of the group at Cloud Gate, otherwise known as 'The Bean'. The purpose of this session was to connect with other educators, learn a few photography tricks and we explore some of the iconic sites around Millennium Park. Below are some of the images I took during this session.

Group photo 

Photo taken by Kiri

My takeaways:
  • Use the panoramic setting to capture tall buildings - remember to scroll slowly until you get a square on the screen
  • App snapseed - use the 'drama' setting
  • Turn phone sideways so volume buttons are on top righthand side to use these as the camera shutter button
  • Tap the screen to focus on one area
  • Remember rule of thirds and use gridlines

ISTE 2018 - Visualise. Connect. Doodle. Repeat... Sketch noting to enhance learning with EE

Presenters: Baughcum and Dana Ladenburger

Visual note taking (also known as sketchnoting) is a note-taking strategy that connects visuals with words to help improve our ability to synthesize, retain, attend to comprehend and recall information while strengthening our metacognition. While current research is changing how educators view doodling, visual note taking and how they can be used in the classroom, it does shows us the use of graphic/ visual notes can improve retention, learning and so much more. Best practices within visual note-taking are evolving rapidly. This interactive session will have educators doodling to learn, taking their thinking visual and making notes digital. Participants will learn the parts of sketchnoting and the variety of ways each parts unique strengths can enhance the learning of all students, while also experiencing a variety of different ways you can use sketchnoting’s components combined with Explain Everything’s elements to make visual note taking and learning reflective, visual, shareable, collaborative and interactive.

Kiri and I attended this session together so that we could use the tools we have available in our learning space to help our learners create a sketchnote to help them summarise new ideas and make notes when researching. This was a fantastic hands on session and one we have already volunteered to take a toolkit on in term 3.

Sketchnote a journey through time or make notes to help students improve and recall
main ideas.
Typography - font used to identify main ideas or important places, dates, people
Icons -
T can create an icon library that stdnts can become confident using - when confident cld be collaboratively created by stdnts
New idea = new slide
Connectors - Arrows - lines - dashes = connect info and solidify relationships and u/st
Containers - Hold info - thought bubbles, speech bubble, shapes = organise similar ideas and thoughts linked to topic - quotes, contributions, ideas
Container library so that each shape holds specific info and can be transferred across subjects
Structure and colour - Way you format page - idea in one position and containers, fonts etc show progression - linear v abstract using colour coding and anchoring

Input a google doc and/or image so students can sketchnote over and in context
How to bring all together using EE - New slide - title sketchnoting - group using i icon - copy - paste on main note - export to drive and post

Kiri's example of using EE to create a sketchnote

ISTE 2018 - Keynote 2

Andy Weir
Science fiction author: The Martian and Artemis

Creativity in science can be explored in literacy - STEM Read
Boredom leads to disruption - problem solving by finding the how to can provide the level of challenge and the process of learning - research + find solutions - driven by curiosity to find many possibilties
Failure based learning is flipped to embrace failure by finding the solutions
In writing need to know how to structure and write in the genre - eg problem + solution cycle in writing helps hook the audience in
Create Ebook to grow global audience - can put on on AMAZON

Katie Martin

Build T pd from stdnt interest to evoke curiosity rather than just complying - transform learning thru design and creativity as this hooks the T in to and the passion is shared. Empower ones to embrace their passions not just what they are told to learn - know your learner. Digital citizenship prepares students for now not for tomorrow - the Internet is their now!

Luis Perez: TED X

Visual impairment means he lives between the sighted and non sighted world - mixed culture - Spanish in an English world
all values need to be incorporated into education so stdnts don’t have to live between worlds
Alex - synthesised voice (assistive technology) gave hope as the barriers were removed - seeing positivity (eg Luis choosing to learn photography despite visual impairment) ‘ The photos are for the viewer the event of photography is for me’ - photography makes me visible and helps others address their preconceived thoughts and ideas
Technology makes things possible - eg Ebook text can be enlarged etc and/or read to you - allows everyone to access the learning - humanity allows for those with different backgrounds can be empowered to be the best you can be
T should be the start - light the path and given he stdnts the tools they need to turn the lights in in their own paths

ISTE 2018 - Beyond the fourth wall - one school districts quest to make thinking visible

Lake Zurich Community Unit District 95 is following a pathway similar to our Manaiakalani ethos and COL practises. This panel of teachers spoke to a series of predetermined questions that told the story of their shared learning journey. Throughout the session they used menti.com to allow real time audience participation. I really enjoyed listening to these teachers as their passion was evident and their experiences real. Below are my notes from this session.

What is visible learning and why does visible learning matter?

  • What students know v don’t know - inquiry conceptions v misconceptions - ref to TED x Luis photographic process v actual pic we see. Students and T u/st what they need to learn and where the gaps are - current fb to engage and forge connections - often students tell us what we want to hear but T can use technology and instructional strategies to explore beyond this - need to remember to get students to explain their thinking... it matters because it allows for self reflection from students that is then developed by T fb - use eg of clapping to show u/st - T claps student's grade but T doesn’t know why or how she got these marks - Fb needs to remind how success can be achieved but need to give choice options - Children need to know how to learn and how to receive fb so that they accept it as a growth opportunity - visible means knowing where u r on your learning journey and T know how to keep this journey going

How have administrators and coaches helped teachers develop a common language and practices around visible learning?

  • Where am I now? 
  • Where am I going? 
  • How can I close the gap? - shared language of instruction so T have vocab to talk about their practise cluster wide - cornerstone of learning T tell students what they are learning and how they can achieve it LI/Sc - look for questioning and fb with students eg to corroborate - Hatties research of Teacher Efficacy 
How have visible learning strategies made a difference for students?

  • Students use the same shared language... Where am I now? .... Where am I going? ... How can I close the gap? to talk about their learning. Effective as all students understand what this means - Remind students about the power behind words
What are some examples of successfully paired visible learning and technology?

  • iPads - digital discussions eg: menti to ask qu - embrace failure - stdnt fb on app choice - keynote - president - slides - green screen - stop motion... look up torn paper version. SAMR - G suite - seesaw (annotate pics/selfie video) - flipgrid - talk ideas - canva - twitter type info bytes will see what main ideas are being internalised - Storify - post it plus - clips

How do we know our interventions have been successful?

  • Efficacy and ownership of learning and gaps in learning - be able to communicate this to others - create to show u/st
My takeaways:
  • Use menti.com as a way of encouraging student questioning as it removes the fear that often comes from our struggling learners when they are asked to ask questions
  • Introduce the app 'post it plus' to LS2
  • Build on the global connection I made so that LS2 have American blogging buddies and their Y7/8 class have NZ blogging buddies