Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Inquiry Collaborative Meeting

On Tuesday afternoon we met as a staff to talk about our inquiry focus. We split into small discussion groups and had the opportunity to reflect on our inquiries and share some gems.

I shared a few key ideas:

1) Using snippets of interesting footage (e.g. Olympics) was good for engagement and motivation of writing. Keeping it short and to the point is the key.

2) Consider using a short movie with no dialogue. Students have to write a script/story based on the movie alone. Use visual cues to describe/explain/narrate what is happening in the story.

3) Teaching how to use punctuation e.g. speech marks: Peer assessment is always helpful. Create a doc with a couple of paragraphs of writing. Exclude any form of punctuation and allow the students to make a copy of the doc before editing. Peer assess.

I also brought up an issue that I had been thinking about. There was no clear link/connection between my planning and the class planning for writing lessons in Extension class. Basically I was free to plan my own lessons based on the needs of my group. I wondered whether I needed to collaborate more with the teachers in Teams 4 and 5. This issue was put to the group/panel of teachers.

Here's what they came up with:

- Awesome that they can work together as a group (Extension) to do something different.
- Might become too boring if they have to do the same thing in class in extension.
- (Me) Easier to plan to suit my programme and timeframes available for classes.

Friday, 7 October 2016

ULearn 2016 Day 3

Enhancing Thought-Full Classroom Dialogue - Karen Boyes

For children they feel both the fear of failure and success.
Tri-Une Brain

Turning fear into fun - students who laugh more learn more! Its ok not to know or to fail
Frontal lobe is part of brain we are trying to influence.
Higher order thinking to emotional to lower order
If children are hungry they can not learn - can’t do higher order thinking if they are under stress

Turning fear into fun - students who laugh more learn more! I

When asking kids questions don’t just stop at the right answer, keep encouraging them to answer.
Say thank you and encourage participation.
Be non-judgemental and build a safe classroom environment so that they give their ideas

Manage impulsivity - encourage students to take time to think
Give students enough time to think - at least 7 to 10 seconds (pause time)
Think, pair, share - helps to clarify ideas

Need to teach children how to listen.
Listening and understanding with empathy.

Listening sequence: Pause, paraphrase, Probe (inquire and clarify).

How to hang on to an idea - repeat a key word or idea in head, connect with what is being said to a similar experience, visualise what is being said. In a noisy environment - need to lean in more, focus on face, maybe lip read. Speaker can slow down speech.

When you really listen there are values e.g. respect, curiosity, etc

Teaching oral language is extremely important. When teachers use great language in context, children will learn it. Use language of thinking e.g. compare, predict, analyse.

Metacognition: Think aloud problem solving (TAPS). Strategy is important for students for efficiency of answers - but it's not a reflection of intelligence.

I enjoyed this workshop as the presentation was engaging, interesting and I walked away with some useful strategies to try out.

Building thinking and mathematic capabilities through coding in the primary school

Leamington School

General skills being developed when engaging in coding activities.
Coding presented an authentic learning opportunity to learn about positional language, instructions and shape (geometry)

Apps: Scratch Jr, Daisy the Dinosaur, Pyonkee (All three available on ipads)

Lightbot used to cover basic introductory elements of coding.

Core school values and SAMR model underpinned focus on coding strategy pathway. Juniors spent time outside focusing on positional language and direction before looking at coding language.

App called Tickle used to control robots. Use knowledge of Pyonkee to code robots to make shapes. Used Ollie/Sphero. Activities involved problem solving, thinking and communicating.

Daisy the Dinosaur and Scratch Jr - used by Junior school children. Over time, completed basic challenges with a partner. Used whiteboards to model drawing the shape/letter. Success Criteria used. Taught how to provide effective peer feedback.

Discovered that there was a huge shift in knowledge after children experienced coding activities.

App was created to record children using ipad. Then they analysed thinking skills data. Studio code programme. 

Learning to code was the vehicle, but they were interested in evaluating which thinking skills were being developed. Weighting against higher order thinking was significant. Coding activity was an excellent environment for teaching and allowing children to think. Great to work in pairs or in threes (for communication, reinforcing skills and knowledge, and thinking)

Next step - Robotics, Java scripting etc

Great workshop with some interesting ideas of how to use it in the classroom and evidence to back it up.

Karen Spencer - Final Keynote Speaker
'Beyond the echo chamber: The extraordinary possibilities of a networked profession'

Praxis makes perfect - weaving and intertwining of ideas. 

Methods that we adopt for our craft is important for teaching. Professional learning today is driven by teachers.

'A Key Note' - is the one that sets the tone for a song
Teachers make the biggest difference
Conversations with our students are important to check that if we are adding value to their understanding and learning.

Hold the line - trial something first to see if your student or community needs it. Before trialling anything do 3 things: find the most urgent area that students need most, see the story behind the data, embrace discomfort. 'Hold our ideas lightly'.

Teachers are constantly designing solutions to educational problems.
NZ curriculum document is great starting point to identify areas of need.
A future focused vision: inclusion of disabled
Pause before you leap into the next innovation - look for the need.

Maori students voices - gathered on the marae though safety net of tikanga and protocol.
Treat student voices like art.

We only see things through our own biases. Teachers have different perceptions, perspectives and experiences. We need to embrace discomfort. Teachers make a lot of assumptions about what constitutes good teaching. We can't assume what people need.

How to include diverse views in school. Role is to keep the fear off the set (John Cusack Rule). Celebrate diversity. We need to acknowledge differences.

What is research likely to say? Look for evidence/proof that new idea is working before trialling something new. 

ULearn 2016 Day 2

Prof Michael Fullan - Keynote Speaker
New Pedagogies for Deep Learning
System transformation
They build knowledge and practices that foster deep learning and whole system change
Humans are innately wired to connect, create and help humanity

Children are highly creative, but school cuts some of this creativity.
Millennials tend to gravitate towards organisations who do good things

New learning partnership between students, teachers and parents
6Cs - creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaborating, character, citizenship
Deep learning and equity - students that were underserved benefitted the most

Whole system change strategies:
  • Accountability
  • Standards
  • System culture
Breakthrough leadership:
  • Respect and reject the status quo
  • Be an expert and an apprentice
The 7th sense
  • Social media is ubiquitous
  • Weakens hierarchies
  • Distribution and concentrated connection is the new power
  • The young are the most connected and the least committed to the status quo
  • Humans, especially the young, find ‘helping humanity’ to be an extrinsic value

The job of education is to produce better citizens for tomorrow, today
Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator

Big Idea:
Students as change agents
Professional capital of teachers

Deep learning unleashes bottom up learning

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

It can only be the profession that leads the profession. Not interested in targets and asserts that she is interested in kids learning and having choices for the future. Wants every child to get the best education possible. How will funding closely align with what the size of the educational challenge is? Strong sense of urgency that our students are successful, confident, connected global citizens.

NZ has an amazing educational system but we don't make use of full functionality that it provides. PLD - a lot of money has been spent, but not enough evidence of success. What are professionals (teachers etc) in our community of learning going to do? Building better learning environments? Build better pathways for students?

Learning how to Code - Apple workshop

Everyone should have the opportunity to create something that can change the world.

Swift Icon. My Playground - Learn to Code 1. We had the opportunity to play with this simple coding programme.

Video showing ordinary people solving real problems with code. Understanding coding concepts is a new literacy. Creativity is important and code allows development of this as well as skills like problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration.

Swift enables the ability for people to practice code. Developed by Apple and the community. It's easy to use, interactive, powerful, and open - source. Playgrounds allow code to be written and tested as its being written.

Swift Playgrounds and App Development with Swift. It introduces young learners to coding principles. Used on ipads, coding lessons built in, real coding in Swift, built for touch. Glossary of terms available. Ability to take photo/recording of code to record/capture evidence of learning. Special keyboard feature available to use.

Branch Out lesson - for loop in coding (In computer science a for-loop (or simply for loop) is a control flow statement for specifying iteration, which allows code to be executed repeatedly.) Can zoom in and out of worlds. A skill is to be able to write code effectively that can be used over and over again.

ibook app - resources can be downloaded - content for teachers, how to teach coding.
Learning to Code 1 & 2 - suitable for ages 10 -15
App Development for Swift - suitable for secondary students

OMGTech! Rangers Workshop — an introduction to robotics, coding, and 3D printing

3 different areas in the room were organised to cater for hands on practice on robotics, coding and 3D printing. Really cool! We were able to rotate around 4 different stations for 20mins each.

Robotics: We had to create code which would direct a small robotic car/tank? to navigate its way around a track on the floor. 
Coding: We had the chance to create a very simple game using a programme called Scratch. 
3D Printing: Basically we were given a presentation about 3D printing and how the design process was more important at this stage then using the actual 3D printer as its time consuming to print and printers tend to have technical issues. 

There was also another activity set up where we could take apart an old CD player to look at all the different parts inside it. Interesting to find out that the physical structure of modern hard drives are similar to old record players e.g. disc with something that is able to read the information off the disc. Difference is that modern discs hold much more info. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Ulearn 2016 Day 1

On Tuesday a group of us arrived in Rotorua for ULearn 2016. The first presentation we attended was to support Matt, Karen and Nic who presented their experiences as 3rd year teachers in open air classes.

Wednesday was the official Ulearn opening/welcome at the Energy Events Centre. We were treated to a Kapa Haka performance from local students.

Larry Rosenstock - was the first guest speaker from the USA. He had an interesting background in carpentry, law and education. He talked about disproving the idea that certain children are only good for certain things. The following movie is called 'The Lie' which he shared with the audience.

He made another interesting comment about art. He said not to just look at the art created by a child, but to look at the background of the child who created it. He also talked about learning through collaboration. This is another movie that he shared which I enjoyed watching. 

He said that the purpose of knowledge is to transform it - not to regurgitate information or do rote learning. He questioned why we do not integrate different subjects, and solve real problems with an authentic audience. He talked about the invention and reinvention of knowledge.

Hour of Code:

This workshop was run by the team from OMG Tech. Some of their goals includes lifting participation by girls and Maori and Pacific students in computer science. Basically they gave advice on how to set up the 'Hour of Code' event in our schools. Then we were given an opportunity to practice coding on this site

Keynote speaker - John Couch

This speaker talked about Apple's leadership model and their mission to have one computer per person. Their model is based on relationships. He talked about Education vs Learning and how the two are different. Technology should be used to do something in a classroom that you can’t do without tech. Kids see tech as an environment not a tool. He asserted that the curriculum should be delivered via apps

Their vision is that every student is uniquely gifted and their needs should be catered for. Their mission is to create a personal learning environment for all students.

He said that kids should be creators of content - not simply consumers of knowledge.