Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Language Acquisition: Using a Video Clip Round 2

In our learning space, we have decided to take our school-wide learning topic for the term and split it into 2-3 mini-learning foci.  Using literacy as the basis for most of our topic learning, I decided that this term, I wanted to launch each mini-focus with the language acquisition task that Dr. Jannie van Hees demonstrated during her CoL PD in May 2018.  This is something that I tried with my class last term during two different class sessions (Day 1, Day 2, Create Task).

During the middle three or four weeks of this term, we are focusing on physical activity, in the form on cooperative and competitive games. I decided to lay a foundation for my literacy students by finding a video that discussed the benefits of physical activity.  I had to make sure to find a video that was not only kid friendly, but also in the "Goldilocks Zone" for my students.  This meant that I needed to find a video that provided a high level of "meaty" vocabulary for my students to chew on while we discussed the benefits of physical activity.

The first thing we did was watch the video as a class. Students were very interested in paying attention and pulling what they could from the video since we have done this kind of activity a few times already this year.





Students then spent some time discussing what they could remember with a partner.  They were asked to figure out which member of their team was the oldest and have that person talk first. Students were only given 30 seconds to say as much as they could with their partner only listening.  After 30 seconds they swapped and the other partner was given 30 seconds to say whatever they could remember. 

As students reported back to the whole class what their partner said we created a Google Drawing to show the 6 different Benefits of Health. Although students were able to provide lots of details from the video, they had a hard time naming the 6 benefits.  So we used a transcript of the video shown on one screen to help us decide what the first benefit was and pull the important parts from the paragraph to include on our diagram. 

We were able to create labels of what we thought were the benefits in the red boxes and we spent some time filling in the first benefit using the transcript. 
We will be meeting again (due to the time schedule of our learning space) to complete the rest of our discussion next week on Tuesday. 

Monday, 6 August 2018

DMIC PD: Student Justification and Explaining

Today, our staff had Don and Mary come in to talk to use about our DMIC journey and what the future looks for us as a DMIC teacher.

The Journey so far...

  • No longer thinking about Numeracy Stages but Curriculum Levels
  • Letting go of items that were part of our old "tool kit"
  • "O le tele o sulu e maua ai figota" Through collaboration the most difficult challenges can be overcome.
    • Play with our groupings and think about how the children work well together and who they like working with
    • Thinking of different ways to gain perspective of the class that will help to formulate groups we may not have considered otherwise
  • When you are getting frustrated...stop, and have a reflection on how things have been going compared to the past 5 weeks, term or year?
Student Justification and Explaining

Using the Communication and Participating Framework:
Use this during our norms discussion...pick one for the class to focus on using. Once they have built up a bank of them, have students spend time in norm discussion going over them and what they look like just like we did with the norms.

  • Require that students indicate agreement or disagreement with part of an explanation or a whole explanation
  • Ask the students to provide mathematical reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with an explanation. Vary when this is required so that the students consider situations when the answer is either right or wrong.
  • Ask the students to be prepared to justify sections of their solutions in response to questions
  • Require that the students analyze their explanations and prepare collaborative responses.
  • Structure activity which strengthens student ability to respond to challenge
  • Expect that group members will support each other when explaining and justifying to a larger group
  • Explicitly use wait time or think time before requiring students to respond to questions or challenge
  • Require that the students prepare ways to re-explain in a different way an explanation justify it
What questions support generalising?
  • Does it always work?
  • How does this look compared to what we did last session?
  • How does what ____ said compared to what ____ said?
  • Where else could you use this?
  • Does the rule stay the same when using (whole numbers, decimals, fractions)?
  • Could you do this with _____?
  • Can you see any patterns?

Monday, 30 July 2018

The Casual Link...Accelerate: Conversation #3

During our beginning of Term 3 CoL meeting Dr. Rebecca Jesson challenged us once again by providing time for our team to engage in a number of conversations about the integrity of inquiry implementation. I felt that it was important to spend some more time reflecting on these guided questions in an effort to ensure that I am on the right path with my inquiry moving forward during this very important teaching term.


I believe the best place to refine my intervention is to provide more opportunities for students to see the vocabulary we are trying to build being recycled as often as possible. This happens by providing opportunities for discussions in literacy to build upon the vocabulary list when we read texts about the inquiry topic. This is done as best as I am able to with my students still on the Junior School end of the colour wheel.  However, with my students who are reading age 8 and above I am able to do this more in depth and with more consistency with the texts provided. I am also working to provide avenues for the vocabulary to be used by the students in the literacy create tasks and their writing tasks. By allowing students to hear, see and use the vocabulary we are focusing on in many ways will hopefully allow for the recycling of words to occur and become the new normal for my students. 

Integrity of Implementation Conversation #2

During our beginning of Term 3 CoL meeting Dr. Rebecca Jesson challenged us once again by providing time for our team to engage in a number of conversations about the integrity of inquiry implementation.  I felt that it was important to spend some more time reflecting on these guided questions in an effort to ensure that I am on the right path with my inquiry moving forward during this very important teaching term. 


The intended change in teaching was to integrate a more strategic approach to providing avenues for extended vocabulary development and usage. I have been trying to implement the new strategies that have been modelled at our COL PD sessions. My goal is to implement each strategy before we meet again and then find ways to recycle that strategy every 5 weeks or so.  However, timing is always a factor and change in scheduling as the school year becomes more and more busy. I have been trailing most of the activities with my own literacy groups and sometimes as a whole literacy class.  I have also used some strategies during our whole space (60 student) writing lessons.

I know I have been doing it differently because I try to capture digital evidence of my changes or student examples over time.  This information can be found in my various blog posts and whole inquiry reflections as the year draws to an end.

At times, there have been some intended changes that have worked out exactly as I had hoped, and other times I have had to modify things slightly to work with the students that I had in front on me for that timeframe.  However, for the most part, I have tried to do the language abundance activities as close to how they were modelled for us.

Integrity of Implementation Conversation #1

During our beginning of Term 3 CoL meeting Dr. Rebecca Jesson challenged us once again by providing time for our team to engage in a number of conversations about the integrity of inquiry implementation.  I felt that it was important to spend some more time reflecting on these guided questions in an effort to ensure that I am on the right path with my inquiry moving forward during this very important teaching term. 


We are very blessed the the majority of our research on Language Abundance is being provided for us during our Professional Development sessions with Dr. Jannie van Hees.  Jannie always models for us a number of proven activities to do with our students in an effort to introduce, recycle and maintain the rich level of vocabulary that we are hoping to move our students to using on a daily basis.

I have been trying my best to trail everything that Jannie has introduced to us and include my experience on my professional blog. However, I believe that I am finding it difficult to balance the time allotted for each activity as well as continuing with our general literacy program. I am hoping to spend some more time this term providing more opportunities for my students to experience Jannie's Language Abundance activities and becoming more confident with the delivery as well.

I have learnt that sometimes in order to make a difference you have to do things differently.  This can be a scary thing to do, especially after hearing our school (and CoL) beginning of term refocus talk, which discussed the importance of seeing all of our learning groups a minimum of two times per week in each subject area.  However, in order to deliver some of the language abundance activities some of those sessions would have to be combined group activities.

Language Abundance: Chain Linked Writing

Near the end of May, Dr. Janni van Hees came in and talked to the Manaiakalani COL teachers about Language Abundance within in our classrooms (see blog post here). One of the things that Janni spoke about was the idea of creating a dialogic chain (or paragraph) with our students to illustrate grouping details/ideas together in a physical chain.

This term, our school theme is "Move 'Ya Body" and as a focus the students in our learning space are exploring the Maori idea of hauora through their literacy tasks.  After introducing the concept of hauora to the students last week through their reading, we decided to have them write about how they have all four elements in their own lives.

This morning, I launched this concept with the students by providing time for them to Think-Pair-Share what they remembered about hauora.  We then discussed the elements of a paragraph (topic sentences, details, closing).  Students were randomly selected to read aloud sentence strips that were prepared ahead of time.
The class had to decide which statements linked together to form our introduction paragraph and which statements were random details that might fall into the body paragraph links later on in our writing. We also prepared a digital dictation of the paragraph for students to listen to and type into their assignment before writing their own body paragraphs. 

The girls enjoyed being our human paragraph chain. 

The chain was added to our wall as a visual reminder to apply to future learning. 

I look forward to later in the week, when we discuss student writing as a class to have students chain link the sentences they have written for their body paragraphs. Hopefully, this will provide a deeper understanding of paragraph development (and conversation skills) for the students in our class.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

CoL PD: Rebecca Jessen

Dr. Rebecca Jessen
Planning and Predicting: THEORY is everything

Studying cognition is like studying dolphins but only being able to see them when they pop out of the water.  How do I adjust what I do for when the dolphins pop out?

Image result for dolphins
Image Source
We should have a strong theory for what language abundance should look like for student acceleration to take place.  Providing opportunities for students to have meaningful conversations using rich vocabulary. Remembering to recycle vocabulary throughout the school day. 

Now is the time to take what we found 'worked' last term and make it happen more often this term. We need to start taking our results (looking at the kids 'it' worked for) and think about what worked for them and how it worked differently.  Also, reflecting on what I did differently.  Bearing in mind, how different students engaged, and how I engaged with different students.

Revisiting our Theory...what causes the shift? How was I able to obtain shift in the students so far this term? Theory is not quite everything. The only way to know if it works for a certain student is to try it out. 

Analysing implementation data
Moving from:
-What I wanted to happen (planned)?
To:
-What actually happened (delivered)?
To: THIS TERM
-How can I make sure this happens even better every time?

Opportunities for Teacher Learning
1. Figure out the students' strengths and needs
2. Use the existing research base to plan something different that is likely to use strengths to meet the need
3. DO the different thing
4. Which engages the students in a different way of learning?
5. Which results in learning...for all? for some? WHY??? What explains anomalies?