Monday, 31 August 2020

Hapara Champion Educator

 Earlier this term, I decided to take part in the upcoming Hapara Champion Educator course in mid-August. Little did I know, at that time, that the six week course would begin the day after Auckland, New Zealand as placed back into Level 3 Covid-19 Lockdown. Once the course opened up, I began making my way through the first part of the course and decided very quickly that I wanted to use the time that I was given during lockdown to complete this course. I emailed my course facilitator and asked if I could please have the entire course workspace opened up for me to complete in my own time. 

Once the course was opened up, I began to make my way through the various levels and I was able to complete the majority of the lessons in a day or so. It was a great reminder of the amazing tools that we have at our fingertips everyday working with Hapara Teacher Dashboard. 

It was also wonderful to have the time while working from home, to investigate some of the elements that I haven't used as much while in school (many of which are updates that Hapara has added over the years).  It was amazing to know that while you were submitted the learning tasks, the facilitating team was working right alongside you providing you with feedback.

One of the things we had to do for the course was create a Hapara Workspace. I was excited to spend some time working with this space mostly because our cluster (where the Hapara Dashboard concept was birthed) has chosen to present our student work using Google Sites. Therefore, I decided that I wasn't going to create new content for my workspace task. I took some elements that my team of teachers created earlier this year as we studied Whare Tapa Whā before, during, and after the first NZ Lockdown. 

  If you would like to explore this further, please click here

A BIG THANKS goes to the teachers of Team 5 for the material I was able to easily use to create my workspace. It made me realise that in order to effectively plan out a workspace, it is very important to have your material all created and ready to go.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Hapara Dashboard more in depth and recommend the Champion Educators Course to anyone who is considering learning more about how to use this amazing classroom tool. I would also like to thank my course facilitator Scott Lewis for all of his support and amazing feedback during the course. I look forward to receiving my final comments and certificate in the next few weeks.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Level 3...Again

 About two weeks ago, the students and teachers in Auckland, New Zealand began distance learning once again as our city was put back on a Covid-19 Level 3 Lockdown. However, the feelings and anxieties felt around going back into lockdown this time around were vastly different when it came to how we were going to set up and administer Distance Learning for our students. We have done it before, and we, as individual, a teaching team and a school, learnt so much from our successes and failures the during the first lockdown.

One of the things that we were able to begin much faster this time around was having our students attend Google Meets with their high school technology teachers. The students did a fabulous job adapting to this especially since they missed their last rotation with their technology teachers, and started the new rotation learning online in their new courses. We love knowing that the high school technology teachers are working from a department page for our students to access across the grade levels. 

Student names have been covered up in compliance with our Manaiakalani Cybersmarts curriculum which teaches students that they should not share their last name publicly online. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Blogger Badges

 I am so blessed to work in a Manaiakalani school, where we often hold cluster-wide Toolkits (Professional Development opportunities) that allow us to learn about various tools and resources that others have found beneficial when teaching with our Learn, Create, Share pedagogy. Since our cluster has started supporting "outreach" clusters over the years, we now have Online Toolkits available throughout the school year. 

Since we are all teaching from home right now (Auckland is at Level 3), our team leader suggested that we all sign up for a different Toolkit this week to share the learnings with our team. The Toolkit I signed up for is Creating Digital Badges for Blogger. I have wanted to do this for some time now, and this toolkit was the push I needed to start creating badges for my students.

I recently noticed that I have a student in my home class who has exceeded 200 blog posts this year alone (nearly 100 more than the majority of her peers). As a way to continue to push her further, and get other students to rise to the challenge for the remainder of the school year, I created a 250 Blog Posts badge.

The process was very simple once I got going, and I am happy to share what I have learnt if you are interested! Just comment below and I will happily get in contact with you.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

What Evidence?

*Describe how you will collect information about the implementation of your changed practices/intervention. (WFRQ? #12)

*Identify informal/formal ways you are monitoring the effects of your changed practices/intervention on learner outcomes. Explain the reflections/tweaks you are making along the way. (WFRQ? #13)

*Describe how you will keep a record of each of the above in a manageable way. (WFRQ? #14). 

It is important to remember that during the Inquiry process that you are ultimately looking at the things that YOU the TEACHER can do to make YOUR teaching practice more effective. 

The focus of my 2020 Inquiry is "How can providing opportunities for mathematical vocabulary acquisition strengthen a student’s self-efficacy in maths?" 

Although my intended route has been altered some due to the Covid-19 Lockdowns, and changes made in our school timetable as a result, I have been able to implement the following interventions in my teaching. Due to the nature of the questions asked by the WFRC, I decided it was best to link my responses in one blog post.

1. Very specific purpose to our whole class problem solving and small group micro teaching sessions. In my lesson plans (DATs), I try to specifically think about what I want to do with/focus on with each maths group prior to our problem solving sessions. In doing this, I am able to clearly know (and remain on task) with the mathematical concepts and vocabulary that I am trying to work on with that group of students. In addition to my actual DAT plan, I also keep rather in depth reflection notes often indicating where certain students have successes and failures, in addition to thinking about my next steps as a teacher. 

2. I started out the year, providing students with "A Closer Look" learning tasks. Before beginning a new section of a unit, I decided to try front loading the students with the vocabulary that they should know
(at Level 4) in order to be successful working on that specific topic. This is an idea that I based on the work we had done as a team last year with Dr. Jannie van Hees around Genomics and our Literacy program. Once students have had a closer look at this vocabulary, I plan my problem solving questions using these specific vocabulary words in a way that will get students using them as they discuss their problem solving strategy and solution. 

3. I have been capturing student voice, and my own teacher voice, through video recording our lessons and monitoring the amount of times students use, are prompted to use and I, as the teacher, use proper mathematical vocabulary. An example of this can be found on my blog post entitled, "Formative Assessment and Baseline Data"

4. The last thing I plan to do differently is implement the use of some strategies that I read about earlier this term: the Four Square and Feature Analysis approaches (as discussed here).  Unfortunately, I don't feel confident implementing these new strategies while we are Distance Teaching. My hope it to be able to implement the use of these strategies once my class is back in the classroom as a regular Level 2 class.  Students will be able to keep a personal record of these tasks on their class blogs. 

In order to keep a record of everything, I will be using student blog posts, reflection and DAT spaces on my weekly lesson plans, and learning tasks monitored and filed appropriately in my Google Drive. Student voice will be collected through student blog posts and in class videos that I record during specified lessons. Once I find something worth sharing, I will be publishing regular updates on my blog, which  provides a quick and reliable place to share change in my teaching and student shift data. I also keep regularly updated spreadsheets that monitor student shift (PAT, eAsstle, etc) and my own anecdotal notes on student progress. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Bitmoji Virtual Bookshelf

 Today, as part of the Maniakalani Create Clusterwide Staff Meeting, I attended a session run by two teachers from Glenbrae School about Virtual Bookshelves. We had great fun learning how to create our own interactive virtual bookshelves and we even learned out to embed our own bitmoji. Check out what we were able to do in less than 30 minutes!

Expand the slide deck to see in a larger view to get the full effect. :-)

PD: Student Design for Learning

 Student Design for Learning

Dr. Naomi Rosedale (WFRC)

Today, teachers from across Manaiakalani met at Tamaki High School for our annual Create Staff Meeting. Before breaking out into our two create learning sessions, we heard from Dr. Naomi Rosedale (Wolf Fisher Research Centre) about Student Design for Learning. She gave us a bit of a teaser introduction for the MAPIC framework involving more student agency when creating Digital Learning Objects (DLO).

Students are creating overwhelming amounts of slideshows and most were originally teacher designs. Our challenge is to come up with ways for students to create using more modes of communication. Slideshows often show 2 modes: written and visual. Screencastify is often used for procedural demonstrations especially in maths. There is great opportunities for students doing podcasts, voice recording, etc.

We need to implement more Student Design for Learning DLOs to enhance the learning for other students. For example, creating more of a flow chart slide instead of a paragraph and a picture. The concepts can be bolded by the student to show their understanding. 

Our WFRC research based definition of student DLOs "a process wherein students learn as they design for others, and as a reusable digital entity (or object)....". Our aim is for high leverage thinking practices (video/voice recordings) to be used to compare. We will be unpacking the MAPIC framework in the future for our student design for learning.  

M: Multimodal mapping of ideas

A: Amplification key concepts

P: Personilization

I: Interactions

C: Coherence Structured organised and unified uderstanding

This made me think of the create tasks that I set up for my students. I think there is a sense of urgency sometimes to finish things off quickly with our students and many prefer slides over anything else. I have been encouraging my classes to use more Google Drawings lately in their create, but I am interested in making more interactive slideshow with embedded voice descriptions now that Google has added Audio/Voice Recording to the Slides platform. 

Monday, 10 August 2020

My Theory of Action

 Restate your inquiry question and your theory of action/chain of events (WFRC#11)

My inquiry question for 2020 is:

How can providing opportunities for mathematical vocabulary acquisition strengthen a student’s self-efficacy in maths?

My Theory of Action:

A Chain of Events – Gonzo Opera

As a year 7/8 teacher, I feel that there is often a struggle with our students who do not have the necessary mathematical vocabulary to back the skills that they are acquiring. As a result, students are often at a loss for what to say to describe their mathematical thinking and reluctant to openly share with their peers. We have also noticed that students do considerably better from year to year on easttle tests than they do when taking the PAT Maths test. I wonder if this is due to the open subject matter of the PAT so students know more directly what type of problems they are solving. 

The changes I am making to my teaching to improve their outcomes are still being implemented at this time, especially due to our change in teaching during the Covid-19 lockdown. However, prior to the lockdown, I was using a "Looking Closer" format embedded into my learning tasks that provided students with an opportunity to interact with new grade level appropriate mathematical vocabulary. In the past, students have been primarily taught at the level of curriculum that they were working at. This caused a larger gap to develop with student mathematical vocabulary because students were not using grade level appropriate terminology for mathematical concepts. For example, students often still come into Year 7/8 saying things like "I got the answer 13 from plussing 10 and 3" instead of "I got the answer 13 from adding 10 and 3." 

As we prepare to enter into a more "normal" phase of teaching and learning, I am interested in implementing some of the ideas and concepts discussed on the professional reading that I have recently done in the past few weeks. These include, the Four Square and Feature Analysis approaches (as discussed here).

The reasons why I think these changes in my teaching will be effective to my learners are that they will provide a more solidified understanding of the terms used to describe various mathematical processes and concepts. Students will be provided with a visual reminder of what those words and phrases mean. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to put their new vocabulary to use describing their problem solving process. 

Manaiakalani Create Staff Meeting

 Today we have a Manaiakalani Create Staff Meeting, which means that we will be meeting with teachers from across our cluster for our Share staff meeting. I am fortunate to present with today with Clarelle Carruthers a session based on our Class on Air episodes using out Codey Rocky robots. 

PD: The Reading Book

This term, the teachers at Pt England School are taking part in ongoing Reading PD to try to create a common language when teaching our students how to read. We have noticed that we have a large number of students in our school who get stuck at that 8-9 year old reading level. We have also realised over the years that a number of these students often struggle during the first few years of school to reach that 8 year old reading level. By creating a common teaching language and technique across our school, we hope that student success will be seen year to year. 

As a way to develop our common language, the Reading Committee is taking a look at "The Reading Book" by Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey (2019). Prior to the Covid-19, Auckland Level 3 Lockdown Round 2 (Term 3, 2020), the Reading Committee was taking a closer look at a few pages from this book as we developed the next phase of the on-going professional development. 

Some of the key ideas when looking at students who are learning to read are:

  • Getting Ready for Reading
    • Build phonic awareness and develop visual skills
      • Students need to hear, identify and make general letter sounds
      • Share rhymes, alliterations, action songs, poems
      • Break words into syllables with claps
  • Learning to Read
    • Hear and identify initial sounds
      • Learn letter names and sounds
      • Hear and identify initial letter sounds of a word
    • Hear and identify final word sounds
      • Hear and identify find sound in word
      • Identify letters that are part of the sound
  • Developing Independence
    • Hear and identify medial vowel sounds in CVC words
    • Break CVC words into 3-4 phonemes
    • Begin to recognise and identify digraph sounds (if present)
    • Hear and identify clusters of consonants
  • Becoming Proficient
    • Introduce common long vowel sounds
    • Introduce other long vowel sounds (ie-car, fast)
It is also important to know how to teach students about chunking (morphology) to support spelling, decoding and vocabulary development. 

Students need to be taught explicit self-monitoring strategies so that they are able to monitor their understanding and build awareness of comprehension. As readers become more proficient, they are able to activate their prior knowledge and unconsciously access four cuing systems. The four cuing systems are:
  1. Prior Knowledge: What do I already know?
  2. Structure/syntax: Does that sound right?
  3. Meaning/semantics: Does this make sense?
  4. Visual/ Graphophonic information: Does that look right?   
In an effort to ensure that students at Pt England are unconsciously using those four self-monitoring cues, we will be diving deeper into the shared language provided through using teaching prompts from a previous Gwenneth Phillips professional development based on the research conducted in "Picking Up the Pace." Our hope is that by using a common language when reading aloud with our "learning to read" students, they will have more success as they move up through the school without having to learn a new teaching style every year.