Monday, 28 May 2018

Manaiakalani Staff Meeting: Create

Today the Pt England staff had an amazing time with Manaiakalani's Dorothy Burt focusing on the Create aspect of our Learn, Create, Share model.

The cognitive challenge we have with our students is to hook them creatively to do something with their learning.  Our children need to be better problem solvers and communicators and we believe that the hook to achieving this with our students is through Creativity. 

Create: is a doing word....students need to be doing things with all of their body utilising their senses.

Visual Representation of Create in Manaiakalani




Thursday, 17 May 2018

Language Acquisition: Just Roll With It!

This week, while reading aloud from our class novel, we came across the word 'cantilevered'.  As soon as I said it, I immediately thought of what Jannie told us during our last PD session.  I told the class to remember that word for later. 

Do we do we do more of the same and not make the difference or do we change what we are doing and make the difference?
-Dr. Jannie van Hees

 Once we had finished reading our selection for the day, I asked the class who remembered the word we didn't want to forget.  We then wrote the word on my whiteboard, and talked about where we could look to help us better understand the definition of the word. 

Students were then given the opportunity to spend some time exploring online to discover the definition of the word. There were quite a few that felt empowered and worked together to pull their resources to create their own definition.  These students were also led down a rabbit trail of exploration learning ever step of the way more about bridges and how they are made as a result. 

Near the end of the class period, I Chrome-casted this Google Drawing that was shared on the blogs of the students in this group.  They were able to share what they found with the whole class, and the confidence they had was amazing.  This is definitely something that I will be encouraging my classes to do in the future. 


Check out the students' blogs here: Jerry  Nature  Zoe

Monday, 14 May 2018

Encouraging Read to Learn Behaviours

Today, our staff had our second training session on Understanding Behaviour-Responding Safely.  Below are some of the take away points that I found interesting and notable. 


Dilemma: Managing Safety and Obtaining Teaching

We need to find the balance between managing safety with teaching.   

Creating Effective Environments

-Providing lots and lots of practice (modelling, praise, rewards/incentives, provide processing times, have different expectations for different kids)
-Explicitly teaching (and scaffolding) what our expectations are

Relationship Factors:
-Stronger relationships increase the likelihood of a positive outcome
-To help students maintain emotional regulation, we need them to feel safe and connected.
-We want students to feel valued and to believe that teachers want the best for them.
-If a student perceives that you do not care for them or that they will always be on the 'losing side' of things they will loose the ability to emotionally regulate. 
      -The student perceives the context as being unsafe, uncaring and creating a conflict.

Maintaining Calm-verbal
-avoids and minimises conflict
-highlights a win/win situation
-reflects an individual's autonomy and status
-supportive and shows you want to help
-separates you from the problem

We need to understand:
1. Managing safety and teaching
2. How to create effective learning environments
3. The importance of relationships
4. How to support emotional regulation
5. The importance of non-verbal strategies
6. The importance of verbal strategies
What is one factor from above that you can attempt to change in your classroom today?

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Reading or Oral Language

Do we do we do more of the same and not make the difference or do we change what we are doing and make the difference?
-Dr. Jannie van Hees

After hearing Dr. van Hees make this statement, I felt that I had been given "permission" to simply "roll with it" during our oral reading session. I am reading a novel to my class called "My New Zealand Story: Harbour Bridge" by Phillipa Werry.   I chose this read aloud because our school topic focus for the term is Physics: Force and Motion.  My hope was to engage my students (especially the boys) from a different angle using something that is part of their everyday life. 


We are having a great time reading this story, and having many discussions about New Zealand history along the way.  My class is beginning to feel empowered to further their own understanding about a topic they come across while reading.  We have learnt about Opo the dolphin and after hearing from Dr. van Hees, we spent some time exploring famous bridges of the world simply by looking at pictures. 

Students were asked to share what they saw with a partner and then report back to the class what their partner said. I took some time to record what they shared on poster paper so we could use them again at a later date. 


It was awesome seeing how engaged by students were and how they were making connections between the bridges by comparing and contrasting what they were seeing. 

We may not have done any actual "reading" sessions that day, but I believe the learning that took place in my classroom was far more valuable.  My students are now fascinated about bridges around the world and want to know more.  


I think I may have found a future reading assignment for later in the term. 

Language Acquisition: Using a Video Clip Day 1

This week, I decided to try out the video clip technique shared with us by Jannie during our CoL PD last week.  In planning for this exercise, I chose a video clip that provided a chance for my students to extend their knowledge on the four elements that are required for flight, which is our topic focus for Term 2.   I spent some time looking for a youtube video that would be in the "Goldilocks" zone for my students.  Hopefully, this will help provide an avenue for language acquisition to take place as Dr. van Hees suggested.

First, I spent some time watching the video and writing a transcript of the material presented.  I quickly realised that the video was too long to use for one session, and I decided to split it into two parts hoping that my students would be able to understand all four elements by the end of the second session.


As a class, we watched the video.  Then, after discussing what they learnt (or heard about) with a partner, we had a class discussion sharing what our partners learnt.  Students were asked to repeat or rephrase what they heard the student sharing with the class.  As students were sharing, I was creating a topic web on a large piece of poster paper for the students to refer to.




 Then, we popped the transcript up on the television screen, and I read it aloud paragraph by paragraph. We stopped after each and pair/shared before reporting back to the whole class.  Once again, I modelled creating a word web for my students on poster paper in front of the class.


Overall, I was extremely impressed with the level of vocabulary my students were able to pick up from this activity.  Students were then asked to create a Google Drawing illustrating what we learnt (using the notes I made on the poster).


 I am excited to do it once again next week with the remainder of the video.  For the first time going through this process, my students did relatively well.  We still need to go over turning my notes into their own sentences, but we will get there...together. 

Monday, 7 May 2018

A Formative Assessment


In response to the presentation by Dr. Aaron Wilson (WFRC) last week, I spent some time today reflecting on a few key areas that he included as important when formatively assessing our own Teaching Inquiry.  

CoL PD: Aaron Wilson Formative Assesessment



Aaron Wilson
Formative Assessment for our Inquiry


As part of our Week 1, Term 2 CoL Meeting we heard from Dr. Wilson from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre and he discussed with us how to formatively assess our own Teaching Inquiry. Below are the outcomes that he suggested we (as teachers) use to assess our inquiries at this time.

Outcomes for Today:

1. Restate your Inquiry Question and your theory of action/chain of events (keep your eyes on the prize!)
2. Describe how you will collect information about the implementation of your changed practices/intervention (so it is clear what you are doing effectively)
3. KEY POINT: Clearly show readers what you did differently so they can make a judgement on whether or not it is reasonable to think that changed learner outcomes are related to your teaching practices
-Be sure to use a repeated measure (same tool..over and over)
-Detailed description before, during and after the intervention
-Show exactly how the learning changed for the student
4. Identify informal and formal ways you are monitoring the effects of your changed practices/interventions on desired learner outcomes and explain the reflections and tweaks you are making along the way (so you don’t wait until the end of your inquiry cycle and find it didn’t works)
5. Be sure to plan some formal checkpoints
-Checkpoints provide a systematic way that shows how students are experiencing the intervention and whether or not the impact you are trying to achieve is occuring
-Use micro-formative assessments at set intervals (ARBS, mini asTTle reading tests, etc).
-Student voice is vital! Be sure to collect this regularly in a manageable way. Ex: Quick fire “exit” questions
6. Describe how you will keep a record of each of the above in a manageable way (cuz you won’t otherwise remember all your many micro-decisions and why you made them)