Saturday, 21 September 2013

Writing via Twitter

On Wednesdays we join in the Kidsedchat Twitter sessions with kids from all over New Zealand.  This week we tweeted about what makes a good teacher.  We made lots of great tweets and shared our KidsAKO workshops.  Check out who won 'Tweet of the Week'!

This is a way to get the children writing for a purpose, with a real audience and accountability to get it right.  We tend to prepare a tweet on a form, giving 140 character spaces, which can be edited before the session.  Any subsequent response tweets need to be written at the time and quickly checked by the teacher.  While we used #kidsedchatnz hashtag at the start, this keeps trending due to the number of children responding and was hit by spammers.  We now have a list and only the tweets from people on the list can be seen.  To join that list of #kidsedchatnz then visit this website and the co-ordinator will add you. 

Slow Writing - Keep it short!

Here is another round of Slow Writing.  We are beginning to recognise what each section is - adverb, adjectives, connectives etc.  It helps when the motivation is really exciting - like Morris Lessmore, the augmented reality book where things come to life.  We had written about the storm of last week but now was the chance of using our prior learning and apply it to this story.

Our next step in this is to create anchor charts - explaining what each part of speech is and give a range of examples.

Tor:  (scribed by teacher)
I was siting down reading my book when all of a sudden the wind, which had started as a light breeze,  started blowing violently.  I pretended that nothing  was happening  but as quick as a boulder falling,  pages were blowing past me.  I wondered if I was heavy enough then suddenly I was hovering and then-blown away.  It felt like a dream and I was clinging onto a street post in the middle of a tornado.  Bicycles flew past.  Would I ever survive to see if I could rescue my books?

Morris was sitting on his veranda all of a sudden it started blowing.
Loudly the wind horribly threw Morris accross the veranda as he anxiously gets scared.
Howling, the wind sucked up Morris' books high into the sky.
Before long even the house was gone.
MORRIS was sad.
Will he survive this drama?

Morris Lessmore sat amongst piles of books like crooked towers getting lost in a story when the sky suddnenly turned black.  An angry howling wind whipped up the colourful books like they were a flock of flapping birds.

Dangerously caught by the wind, Morris’ hat danced merrily on his head.  While he was clutching his chair, the wind skidded him accross the deck making his eyes widen in fear.  Sucked right up!
Swirling around amongst books and houses, Morris wondered when or if the winds would ever let him go.

Friday, 6 September 2013

KidsAKO - amazing student led learning!

Wow - after hours of students determining their workshops, writing detailed plans, testing and adjusting their plans, the day of KidsAKO arrived.  A day of workshops where students taught students - AKO = teaching and learning.  Sadly it came with a freezing gale and torrential rain, which resulted in many of the outdoor workshops being cancelled.  On the positive side, it gave the students an opportunity to be A+ adaptable and live with disappointment, so being A+ accepting.

KidsAKO Smackdown Presentation:  all the workshops available, run mostly by students.
Movie of the day - as prepared by Jennie from Weedons School.

What impressed both Jennie (Teacher of Weedons Kowhai Conversation) and myself, was the adaptability of the students in dealing with both the terrible weather and over or under subscribed workshops.

Students stepped into a very different role.  I saw one of my usually very distracted boys check that all of his workshop members were settled into their Minecraft games and help them with issues before thinking of signing on himself.  The sense of responsibility and creative problem solving was evident when he turned the 'monsters' off on the server so the workshop members didn't keep getting killed!
People came prepared with all the materials and equipment they needed.  One even had a horse and helper ready and organised to come, but is happy to reschedule for better weather.

What blew me away was the reflection at the end of the day.  One of Jennie's girls identified the joy of running a workshop and the need to give the learners choice and an opportunity to follow their interests.  This is a lesson to all teachers - from the lips of a child!
Students who participated in the workshops identified the strengths of their leaders and thanked them for clear instructions, lots of help and exciting activities.
Another thrill was seeing our principal Liz attend a workshop for Minecraft Beginners run by a student.

KidsAKO has been a reminder to never forget how much these students have to teach both us and each other.  We need to let them lead their learning and use their interests as a platform.
I am really getting a clear picture that my job as a teacher is to support students as they make amazing things happen!