Thursday, 9 May 2019

Term 2 underway

 Raranga MatihikoExcitement in my class is growing as we anticipate our class participation in Raranga Matihiko. As part of the Ministry of Education Digital Technologies for All Equity fund, the programme delivers a range of innovative technologies, as well as allowing our class to access the  Waitangi Treaty grounds and Museum, as part of our students' learning about their local history and heritage. Click on the link , if you wish to read more about Raranga Matihiko

Our onsite learning will be linked to classroom learning about looking after God's creation and Sustainability. 
We have been learning about plants, and the growth of plants. Our science learning has included growing seeds and monitoring growth; observing water movement in plants; and investigating the properties of plant materials such as wood, paper and cotton.
This term we have been learning more about how different plants are used for different purposes. Our key inquiry questions are: 
Why are plants important to people? How do different groups of people use plants in different ways

Classroom learning site

The students are gaining confidence and competence, with their use of the Kea Class Site to direct their learning. In Literacy learning most students are using the site to guide their independent learning and sensible choices about this each day. They are completing a range of reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary tasks and activities linked to shared and group instructional reading. I have just begun to introduce external links to video clips and other learning sites. This seems to be working well. The Make a Robot  site worked well. The students were able to save their work as a png which could then be inserted as an image on a google doc. Some we will be able to share on our class blog.
Because of this confidence and competence, I have now set up the Maths page with four areas of learning for students to choose from during independent Maths learning, when I am working with groups. I have included a Maths Eyes section, a Weekly Maths Challenge, a section linked to book work for practice and a direct link to e-Ako Maths. 

Change to classroom learning groups

This term I have changed the structure of my instructional groups for literacy. In Term One I had a target group that I met with every day and four other larger mixed ability groups that included the target students. This term I have two lower level mixed ability groups - one with five boys, and the other with five girls. I work with these two groups each day. I have three other mixed ability instructional groups that I work with twice a week. 
Because there is a boy's target group and a girl's target group, I have been able to make different choices of texts and tasks to engage the different students. The boys enjoy vocab games to support reading, that have pace and challenge. They enjoy having an element of competition to some activities. The girls group enjoy writing more, and are keen to take their time with tasks. I am noticing that the levels of engagement of individual students in both groups is higher than last term. Their verbal feedback on the change has been positive. The inclusion of some fringe lower level learners has provided better scope for discussion, and they are enjoying their "expert" roles. 

Thursday, 28 March 2019

MIT - The Journey Has Begun

Two days of retreat at Kuaotunu and a follow up day of continued design thinking has ensured that my Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher journey has a strong starting point. We gathered together as a cohort in the Coromandel, to get to know one another and start building relationships as an inquiry team. Ten of us from far and wide, with diverse backgrounds and teaching situations. A great bunch of teachers with a strong commitment to improve learning outcomes for students.
I enjoyed meeting my colleagues, and getting to know them. I am excited about the year ahead of us. I am grateful for this opportunity, and the support of the Manaiakalani team, in particular Dorothy, Anne and Jenny - also to Justine from KPMG in Auckland.

Design Thinking Pathway
Dorothy and Anne used a design thinking process to kick start and strengthen the foundations of our inquiry. We used our colleagues  "How might we..." sticky notes to prompt deeper level thinking about our inquiry story or problem. Their prompts helped to identify what works for the target students; what might be the causal factors to the problem; what strategies and supports might work with these students?

Ideas and thoughts included: finding teaching styles that suit the students; research proven deliberate acts of teaching to address the cause of the problem; how to involve other students; thinking about what resources would have a positive impact on learning for the target students;  and how to celebrate and share success.

The  purpose of the "Ideate - Crazy 8s" activity was to encourage thinking "outside of the box". In the first instance we were to think laterally from our initial two prototype ideas, and generate more, wide ranging alternatives to what might have a positive impact on learning for these students.

After putting our thinking sheets up, others were able to vote for ideas using sticky dots and special stickers. Interestingly, the others liked my more "out of the box" ideas... including using lego with learning; and identifying and using David Walliams type thinking to engage students.

Back at school, I jumped upon the Lego Enthusiast train, and conjured up all sorts of ideas on how I could link learning to use of Lego. I brainstormed ideas, talked to colleagues at school, and started to look at the availability of resources. As time passed, my thinking changed... and in the end I realised that Lego may provide one exciting context for some of the learning that takes place in the classroom, I needed a more robust model of what would actually make THE difference for the students.

Our hui at KPMG provided opportunity to work in a small group. Thanks to some great discussion with Santi and Hannah, I was able to rationalise my thinking about the challenge and the possible prototype to address this.

MY TEACHING AND LEARNING CHALLENGE - underachievement in Literacy learning for a group of Year 3 and 4 students. MY PROTOTYPE builds on my teaching strengths, and the deliberate acts of teaching that are proven to accelerate learning. It involves enabling these students, by using working with them at the beginning of each week (Monday/ Tuesday) to set them up as the experts for our STEM learning on Wednesday. We already have the STEM programme in place with whanau joining us when they can, so this might is a great opportunity. Then Thursday and Friday can be used to consolidate, share and celebrate our learning.
MY PURPOSE is to improve engagement in learning; enhance the students confidence in themselves as learners; and provide a rich and authentic context for learning and using improved vocabulary, talk and language structures.
MY HOPE is that this will accelerate reading and writing progress for the students.
MY GAPS to consider, include thinking more about student driven contexts related to the STEM learning - including Science and Maths contexts, as well as Engineering and Technology. I also need to record current student voice about their learning. AND I need to develop a tool to map progress in thinking and learning using student talk, student reflections, the class reflection book and our class blog later in the term.
MY POINT OF DIFFERENCE - there are two. A strong focus on Science and STEM is not prevalent in primary school settings. But with my Science background, and the work we have done in Science in our school already, this is a logical context. The second point of difference with my Inquiry, is my desire to develop a tool to monitor and track the quality of student talk, as learning progresses. My hunch here, is that the quality of talk will improve. My current thinking involves the use of SOLO taxonomy to assist with this. That is my next challenge...

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Manaiakalani Hui with Woolf Fisher Feb 21st - Selena and Cynthia

Possibilities for 2019 - 3 Tools to inspire improved practice:

2017 Case Studies

Includes a range of examples of good teaching practice - texts, tasks and time.

WF Observations

More examples of good teaching practice to learn from.

T-Shaped Literacy Skills - going wide and then deeper with a narrow focus

Task design is specifically focused on development of thinking at a deeper level. Take students wide by using a range of texts, rather than a single text. Then delve deeper into a text/texts using a range of tasks. 
I have begun to trial a simple version of this as part of my Literacy programme on my class site. This is set up as a reading challenge for the week. Group reading, with mixed ability groups, is used to support vocabulary and text understanding, as well as with tasks. Close reading of a group selected text, is used to scaffold learning for some students. Target students have alternative texts to support their learning. I am also using Shared Reading to support the topic, and the development of skills needed to complete tasks independently. Check it out on our fairly new class site :)

It has worked well for most students. The students that are just learning to use chrome books are well supported by others in their learning groups. I have a couple of students that are slightly overwhelmed by the site. I need to think how to cater better for their learning style and needs, in a way that is simpler in presentation, and easier for them to follow, one step at a time.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Manaiakalani Staff Meeting 15/10/18 with Venessa

Today we are reflecting on how we are using the LEARN, CREATE, SHARE pedagogy in our classroom. We each created a slide to share this with each other as part of a staff set of slides.
In my slide I shared Kea's work from Social Justice Week completed at the end of Term 3. The students were really proud of their learning, and what they had created. We laminated our work as posters to take home, and to display in our school office.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Digital Fluency Week 9

How the Digital Fluency Intensive has impacted on me

Involvement in the DFI means I now have a much clearer understanding of Manaiakalani kaupapa and
pedagogy, as well as how this fits into our school kaupapa and practice. I have learnt new digital skills,
especially with different Google apps, and had opportunity to connect the use of these tools to planned
learning opportunities for the students in my class. Having just inherited chromebooks for students
enabled me to immediately be able to put some of this learning into practice. This has been particularly
successful towards the end of the DFI as both the students and I have become more familiar with the
Chromebooks, and more fluent and confident in the use of some of the apps.
I did find the pace over the first couple of days quite fast. At that stage I felt I was developing
familiarity, rather than fluency. We then had a couple of days that moved at a much slower pace, and
I gained more confidence with apps. This was consolidated via use of some of these in my classroom
with my students.
The Learn, Create, Share pedagogy is now becoming a strong part of our school kaupapa, as we have
four teachers that have had professional learning input via DFI or the Pilot Teacher programme in
classrooms. Having that network of support at school is excellent. I have been able to share learning
and ideas with others back at school.
In addition, the network of teachers I have been working with as part of the DFI has had an impact
on my ongoing learning. The collaborative activities have been great, as has the blog sharing.

Particular impacts on my life, my practice, and my workflow

Google Keep is amazing! A must for every school leader! I use it for all sorts of things - professionally
and personally. I have shared it with a number of other people. I love the reminder/ notification part of
this app.
Setting up folders within Google Drive for my students to use right from the beginning was also helpful.
To start this properly at the beginning of the year, connected to Hapara and the Manaiakalani
Cyber-Smart Curriculum will be even better next year.

I feel like I still have so much to learn, so finding some way to keep the learning and network of
support going will be important. Any possibility of extra courses, or DFI Stage 2, would be great.
There is much benefit of getting together as a cohort to learn together and discuss what is working,
not working, problem solve, share ideas...

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Digital Fluency Week 8

I was disappointed to not be able to be a part of the Digital Fluency Week 8 experience at Waitangi. Reading people’s blogposts, and looking at all the online resources posted by Kerry, and others re-iterated the fact that you all had an awesome day, with lots of learning and inspiration. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. Not quite as good as being there… but you have all contributed to my ongoing DFI learning with what you have shared. Many, many thanks for your honest and in-depth reflections. Ongoing dialogue with colleagues, in any form, is a vital part of our professional growth. I loved the creativity you all shared. I must confess, my personal favourite was Robyn "in flight" - every school leader needs super powers! 😉

What I learnt that increased my understanding of Manaiakalani kaupapa and pedagogy?

Manaiakalani pedagogy related to empowerment fits well with the vision, principles and values of our New Zealand Curriculum. “The New Zealand Curriculum is a clear statement of what we deem important in education. It takes as its starting point a vision of our young people as lifelong learners who are confident and creative, connected, and actively involved. It includes a clear set of principles on which to base curriculum decision making. It sets out values that are to be encouraged, modelled, and explored. It defines five key competencies that are critical to sustained learning and effective participation in society and that underline the emphasis on lifelong learning” – NZC Foreword, 2010.

Manaiakalani are talking about student agency when they talk about empowerment. Manaiakali chose to use the word empowered instead of agency, or student agency, because it was a word that people outside of education, especially families and whanau, could relate to.
I need to find ways to further empower my students with their learning. Being aware of the disadvantages some students have is important, but it is more important for us to see the potential in all of our students and ensure that diversity within our classroom teaching and learning experiences provides authentic opportunities for students to excel. We do need to value what our students bring – often this is not recognised or understood. Valuing what our students bring, and then enabling them to access and be part of a vibrant and authentic curriculum is all about empowerment while they are at school, and then as they transition into being active participants in their local, and global communities.

How has my understanding of Manaiakalani kaupapa and pedagogy:

·        Empowered me professionally with my teaching practice?

With the creation and development of my blog, I have an ongoing dialogue that reflects on my growth in my professional development, with a particular emphasis on links to the digital world and the change in my teaching practice within a digital classroom. Having my blog accessible to others provides me with scope for an audience whose comments can contribute to my ongoing learning and development.
The skills I have been learning, or enhancing, over the last 8 weeks have strengthened aspects of my classroom teaching and learning programme. My own familiarity and fluency with different Google apps is growing, and will continue to grow. The level of professional dialogue with colleagues from other schools, has also supported my professional growth.

·        Empowered me with new skills to use with my learners?

I have been trying lots of new things with my students. Inheriting some Chromebooks from other classrooms in our school has enabled increased scope to do this. Most of my students have access to a device which functions well enough to meet our beginning needs. Students have been able to share their learning with whanau, as well as with our school community at assembly. They are very proud of their new skills, and the work they have produced. Their written response work to Malala’s Magic Pencil, which was our shared text during Social Justice Week, was completed in Google Draw. Students used a range of graphic skills, as well as the Explore tool to access images and borders, to enhance their poster presentations. Printed copies will be displayed in our school foyer, and will be shared via our school face book page. I am hoping to have a class blog operational next term to share our work with a wider audience.

·        Empowered me personally?

I have been able to share apps and skills with others in my school. This always has a “feel good” factor. To be an “expert” explaining something to a professional colleague is always empowering – especially when one is not of the “digital native” generation!
I am inspired to learn more, and to continue my learning journey – I just need more days and time to do this!