Monday, 27 March 2017

Just Get Them Talking

I spent some time thinking that I needed to provide opportunities to get my literacy students talking and sharing their own opinions without worrying about giving a right or wrong answer.  I want them to be able to feel empowered to confidently share their own thoughts, opinions and feelings about a topic.

This term, as part of Cluster-wide Te Taiao o Tāmaki Inquiry, I had my students learning what it meant to be a kaitiaki of the environment. After a few weeks of reading about and discussing aspects of this topic, I asked the students what they would say to those viewing their blogs about being a kaitiaki of our local environment, including our Omaru Creek. They were asked to compile their thoughts, and record what they would say to their blog readers using an iPad.

I was pleasantly surprised to see their personalities soar when they were asked to complete a task that they were more familiar with after working with iPads in class for the past few years. I am going to be sure to provide more opportunities in the future for student opinion to be shared and heard on their blogs.

Here is one example of a student post from Norah Jade's Blog:

Monday, 20 March 2017

PD: Making Maths Count-Jo Knox

Today, we had our first staff Maths PD of 2017 with Jo Knox.  We spent the afternoon looking deeper into the different maths stages of the Number Framework.  During our discussions, we looked into the various strategies that a student would use while working at different stages to complete the same maths problem.

When looking at number knowledge and strategy Jo made a few points that I found to be the most important to remember.

  • Number and Strategy are equally important. 
  • All strategies are dependant on the knowledge needed to successfully complete the strategy.
  • When looking at a student's Maths stage, you need to remember that they are about how a student chooses to solve the problem using that stage.
These are all such great reminders as we prepare to begin assessing our students' using the GLOSS test for their reports at the beginning of Term 2.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Ubiquitous Learning is Rewindable

At today's staff meeting, the staff at PES was blessed to have Dorothy Burt come and share with us once again on the topic of "Rewindable Learning."  This was a great reminder for me about the importance of having learning rewindable for my students, especially since I am focusing on rewindable learning with my maths students this year.  Another great reminder was different ways to effectively blog with our students, on our class blogs, and more personally on our professional "inquiry to teaching" blogs.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Blogging for Reading Mileage

My small group of students have started to finish their first blog posts about their chapter books.

Oalii was very excited to write about what she read in Chapter 1.  She made me laugh when she eagerly asked if she was allowed to write, "To be continued..." at the end of her post.

As taken from Oalii's Blog...

It was a school day Emma was not at school. She was at spy school at that school she was learning to be a spy. Today was Emma last test once she is done with this test she'll be a real spy. The test was if she'll is a real spy she'd have to take her last test. So she went to put her jumping gear and climbed in the helicopter. They sat in their seats and when they went hay up to the sky she got butterfly in her poko. but she jumped anyways when she jumped she didn't have anymore butterfly she throght it was very fun and also when she jumped she was a real spy.

                                                                 TO BE Continued

So far, the students are still pumped to be reading 'special' books and the those who have begun to write their first blog post are nearly finished.  The biggest obstacle we are having right now is time.  Chromebooks are still very new to my group of learners and everything learning task takes longer than expected as they learn to navigate their machines, Google Apps and typing on a keyboard.  I am confident that the reading is happening.  However, the children are still struggling to complete their blog posts in a timely manner.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Making Reading Mileage Fun

This past week, I was gifted a reading library of age appropriate novels for my students.  Instead of simply adding them to my classroom library shelves, I decided to try something a little different with my students reading above National Standard.  

After labeling the books with shiny gold stickers, I brought the designated students up to my teaching table and spread the books out in front of them.  I explained that these were brand new books just for them to read as long as they agreed to write a blog post at the end of each chapter.  Immediately, their eyes lit up.

Everyday after lunch, the 60 students in my ILS come in and read silently a book of choice for 10-15 minutes.  The students in my 'red bin' reading group (simply named after the bin that the books are stored in) came racing in ready to read.

Surprisingly, this morning three girls came in (all at different times) before school and asked to complete their Chapter 1 blog post.  I was shocked that during their before school free time these students were choosing to blog instead of play with their friends.

Now, I just have to make sure the excitement remains!  I'm hoping to find some more books to add to my special collection.  Also, I am curious to see if reading and commenting on the blogs of the others in the group will spark dialogic conversations among the students and increase interest for reading other books in the collection as the year goes on.