Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Jannie van Hees-Vocabulary Expansion

Vocabulary Knowledge

Points to ponder:  The more thematic and connected you are within your literacy lessons the more knowledge students are going to retain.

Major Sources of Vocabulary for Students:
  • Noticed by Students
anywhere/anytime/any texts
  • Oral Texts
face to face, television, radio, internet, lectures, presentations, classroom
conversation and dialogue
  • Written texts
teacher selected-academic-curricular text and incidental
student selected-school texts/outside of school texts

Points to ponder: The more you instill in your students the love for words, the more they are going to retain and grow their vocabulary.

-Context Ready (Can I use the word in sentences that are detailed and well-shaped?)
-explain/meaning ready (Can I explain the word’s meaning without using the word?)

Using a NewsCast to pick up Vocabulary
  1. Unpack the topic
  2. Share vocabulary heard (after 1st listening)
  3. Teacher has prepared Rich Vocabulary Caught list
  4. 2nd listening (NO VIDEO) but words are show on screen to read with commentary

***Students can do this exact process with any video and have them create the
steps themselves to share with others.

Points to ponder: In order to write well, you need to know the subject well.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Term 3 Inquiry Presentations

This term has ended just like the previous, and as a staff we have been sharing what we have learnt in our inquiries this term.  For me, this marks the end of the 2015 school year, and I have learnt so much about my personal teaching style and student engagement.  I look forward to the 2016 school year, and the pathway to deciding my focus for a new school year in the months to come.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Manaiakalani Digital Immersion Term 3

At today's Manaiakalani Digital Immersion we were tasked with exploring a CyberSmarts assignment that our kids could use focusing on the "create" element of our Learn, Create, Share model.  We decided to focus on the next Digital Learning Object (DLO) for the students in our team.  It was decided to use the Smart Values heading of CyberSmarts and focus on The Pt. England Way and the 3 P's (Partnership, Participation, Protection).

We have a very basic layout for our students at this point in time, but our main idea is to lead the students through the learning task of the Smart Values-Making Links assignment prior to beginning their DLO animation.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Term 3 Check In

Today, we were able to share our Inquiry updates with a Professional Learning Group here at Pt. England School.  This term, my students are continuing to focus on completing their assignments in a timely manner.   I have begun to scaffold my delivery of assignments differently, and students are given smaller tasks to focus on in a given time frame.  Hopefully, once the tasks are all compiled together, they will have a completed assignment.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Maths Progression: Problem Solving

In addition to having my literacy students begin to use a SOLO based rubric to monitor and self-reflect on their learning, I have begun to have my Maths class do the same.  We have been working on becoming confident problem solvers the past few weeks.  

My students are often able to tell you how to solve a simple problem using an algorithm, but many lack confidence when it comes to telling a group of their peers.  They also struggle to explain more than one method, and choose the best method possible.  

Over the past two weeks, I have watched the confidence in my students grow tremendously.  They are no longer afraid to make mistakes because they have discovered when it comes to Maths, a confident mistake often leads to correct understanding after our group presentations and discussions.  

Today, my students spent some time reflecting on themselves as a learner over the past week.  They reviewed the level they were at last week, and decided whether or not they have made enough progress to move to the next level.  As shown on the post below, Quasia entered today's date on the same level as she was at last week.  At first glance, one might think this meant that she did not make any progress during the week.  However, that is far from the truth.   Looking further in Quasia's post she discusses what she feels she has achieved this week and what her next step is in order to achieve 'purple.'  

Check out Quasia's post below, and feel free to click here to see her personal blog and leave her a message on her progress.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Reading Progression: Managing Time to Complete Assignments

Today, my literacy class had their first go with using a SOLO based rubric to help with their personal reflection on their assignments.  I decided to begin our SOLO rubric journey using a Key Competency that the students in my class really need to work on: Managing Self/Time to Complete Assignments.

Luckily, another teacher at Pt. England, Ben Baxendine, has already started a similar journey using SOLO based rubrics to enable his students to easily monitor and reflect on their progress.  This provided a pathway for my focus, and allowed me to start off at the point he has begun to feel the most successful.

I introduced the rubric to my students first thing this morning, and we spent some time going through each stage (or colour as referred to the levels as a class).  Students then spent some time looking at their most recent reading assignment and determining which level they felt they were on.

Once they decided which level they were, the students wrote today's date in the corresponding 'colour box' before posting the rubric on their individual blog.  Each student was also asked to write a paragraph or two under their rubric discussing why they were at that level and what they will have to do in order to achieve their level goal for our next assignment.

Here is one example of a student blog post:

This is my reading progress.

This is my reading Progress.Apparently I am in the orange zone,because I have't been managing my self ,and been doing my work properly .
 I have been talking too much and been getting too distracted,I understand why now.
And next time I will know what to do,and hopefully move to the Green or Blue zone.I hope u use this too.

PD: Dr. Jannie van Hees "Crafting Writing. Crafting Writers."

Today, we had our second session with Dr Jannie van Hees.  We spent the afternoon discussing our student writers and crafting effective paragraphs.

My notes from the session are below:

What is a paragraph?  How can we get kids more “crafted” in their paragraph writing?

Don’t forget to keep students in a “Goldilocks Zone” not too...fast, slow, hard, easy-especially with vocabulary choices.
This allows students to have powerful learning at all times.  This is highly powered by gifted words, and bringing definitions alive with a classroom discussion (not jumping to the dictionary).  

What is your ultimate goal with writing for your children? Dynamic, delicious writers, or able to pass an e-asttle format test.  Do not let go of frequent oral language and crafting “dynamic and delicious” sentences together.

It is so important that our student writers understand that editing is an ongoing job, and the writer must always be wearing the shoes of the reader.  

Do your students begin their writing with a sentence?  This is ok some of the time, but it is important that your students do not overuse this form of a writer’s hook.  It is very important to demonstrate varied ways to craft a hook.  

Make sure learners identify and write their topic, purpose(s) and audience prior to starting a piece of writing.  Purposes...move away from using “describe,” “explain,” “construct.”  Instead, use a reason:  “Your parents/aunties/uncles will be able to fully understand what happened during our assembly today.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Developing a Dialogic Year 7/8 Classroom

After hearing from Jannie last week, I have been reminded to embed techniques to create a "Dialogic Classroom."  I worked very hard to do this last year with my NE/Yr 1 class of five year olds, and even though we experienced some growing pains in the beginning, they were very successful after just a few short weeks.  Today, I was geared up to see how my Year 7/8 students fared!

We are currently studying the World War 1, the ANZAC troops, and the technologies used during the war.  Today, my Maths/Inquiry students spent the last hour of the day digging a little deeper into this Inquiry topic together.  We began by watching a short video clip, that discussed various aspects of WW1 and trench warfare.  At various times during the clip, I paused the movie and posed a few 'thoughts' for the students to consider.

For example, at one point the narrator made a comment about the war not only being "the first industrial war but also the first scientific war."  I paused the clip, and told the students I was going to make a statement that I wanted them to think about.  "I wonder what makes some industrial..." Students were asked to take a minute to think on their own about my statement, and then they were asked to discuss their thoughts on industrial with their neighbour.  After a brief time, students were able to share what they discussed.

The thing I found most interesting was that when another student was randomly asked to repeat what was said, they were unable to do so.  This is something that I will be looking to develop further with my learners as the year progresses.

After we also did a think/pair/share with a similar thought to consider regarding what was meant by a scientific war, we continued with the video clip.  I made sure that I was looking for moments that I could intentionally "feed in order to lift the language readiness" of my learners.  I randomly stopped the clip when a opportunity presented itself to discuss the definition of a potentially unknown word with students.

After completing this process with two different 4-5 minute video clips, the students were led to their Blogs and asked to work with their partner to create a two paragraph recap entitled 'Technology @ War."  Most students will have to complete this task tomorrow, but from the work I was able to see as I circulated this afternoon, I believe that their posts will be stronger because of the dialogic experience that was provided prior to simply writing about the video.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

PD: Dr. Jannie van Hees "Developing a Dialogic, Orally Expressive Classroom"

This term, the year 5-8 teachers are participating in Professional Development with Dr. Jannie van Hees. Below are my notes from our first session.

Conversational Teaching and Learning
How do you explicitly grow student expression in the classroom?
-Repeat Back what was said
-Backing Up View Point/Answer
-Individual Conferencing
After this discussion, I am very interested in finding out more about and implementing “Talk Moves” into my daily Maths lessons.  

Students need to be pushed to use the “output” more in order recognise more complex language features.  They need to have “gifted” words provided multiple times a day in order to effectively receive a high level model of appropriate language features. The need to be continuously fed in order to lift their language readiness.

When students are acquiring language knowledge there are three major gains that happen for them.  
  1. Deeper Knowledge: Structure and Grammatical Language
  2. Fullness of Expression: How to deeply engage and talk with others using rich vocabulary
  3. Extended Language Growth and Vocabulary  

Students need to use their brains at a higher level of complexity than they are currently.  This will only properly happen if students are able to practice.  Providing students an opportunity to participate in a Think-Aloud that has multiple steps, which potentially puts them on the spot provides an extremely important life skill.  Students need to have orally shaping conversations that will allow them to “hold on” to information.

Our day-to-day priority of conversation enhances the learning of our students, in addition to the actual curriculum covered.  Students are required to participate in a more enriching manner. Students have to contribute, be focused, have meaningful things to provide, etc.

On a daily basis, students should be provided with a chance to have conversation.  Topics could be anything that the teacher suggests or that is student prompted.  This provides a chance for formative assessment, both on the topic and a students language ability.  This allows the teacher a meaningful opportunity to provide gifted words (including definitions) to help expand the vocabulary of their class.

Point to ponder: How many questions do you ask your students on a daily basis? Questions do not provide opportunities for students to expand their thinking and language. They provide a way for students to dig deeper into their own resources instead of expanding their thinking and engaging their understanding.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Term 1 Inquiry Reflection

At Pt. England, we were fortunate to have a Teacher's Only Day the last day of Term 1.  As part of this day, our staff spent time presenting the progress and personal reflection of our professional Inquiries.  It was a great day of collaboration and learning.  I have included a copy of presentation below. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

SOLO: Sequencing & Character Description

As part of my Inquiry, I am working to develop High Level Thinking activities for my below and well-below students.  During a recent group PD, I was able to work with Andrea Tele'a (another PES teacher) to develop a follow up activity using the SOLO model.  Most likely, I will not be using this activity with my learners until sometime in Term 2, which will give me time to scaffold the ideas of this follow up with my students.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

My Professional Inquiry 2015

At Pt. England School, our staff is learning throughout the year while conducting our own personal Professional Inquiries.  Throughout the term, we will be meeting in a small group, to discuss our findings of similar interest.  I am so excited to be learning this way, and working with my students to develop a new way of learning for them.

Currently, many of my students are working 2-4 years below their grade level in Reading.  I am challenged with the task of helping them to achieve more than one grade level of achievement during this school year.  Many of these students have learning difficulties and/or come from ESOL families. I have always believed that every child has the capability to learn, but it's finding the key that unlocks that individuals ability that is often the challenge.

As part of my personal Inquiry, I am going to be looking into the best way(s) to scaffold higher order thinking for below and well-below students through reading activities. I will also be investigating the SOLO taxonomy and ways to incorporate and scaffold elements into the reading tasks set before my students.

I am so excited to begin this process, and I look forward to meeting with the others from my collaboration group as we work together to achieve our goals for the year!