Saturday, 15 November 2014

Independence in Term 4

Student Independence:
We are taking the next steps in our journey to independence.  While we are sure of what is expected of an independent learner in the classroom, we needed to identify expected behaviour in different places such as the library, outside and the cloak bay.  These agreed expectations can be seen on our ‘mini’ poster.

(Image still to add.)

Student Accountability:
During work times students are gainfully employed and on-task, but the checklist if often left unmarked and some must-do activities are not being completed.  We had a need to develop accountability for completing tasks and then to focus on the quality of work completed.  We did this together on Friday afternoon after clearly seeing from the check list that things were not being completed.

Agreed new expectations: 
  1. Tick check list daily not weekly.
  2. Teacher can make random checks on completed tasks.
  3. The checklist will be set out in clear must-do and can-do sections.
  4. Must-do activities need to be focussed on first.
  5. Realistic allowances for additional activities such as Pet Day will be made.
What’s our next focus?
  • Make some more videos for strategies etc and ICT tools to scaffold learning.
  • Make a list of ICT base resources that would help our learning - use for new Google site.
  • Ask students what they want to have access to from home - weekly plan, links to resources, calendar, maths and literacy ICT links... 
  • Collaboratively agree on expected weekly tasks.

Teacher next focus:
1. Create comprehensive display on strategy steps within maths areas, both online and in class - see  Hobsonville Point Primary School.
2. Experiment with a range of student panning formats.
          Daily - move face to activity
          Daily - write on plan
          Weekly - make daily decisions at the start of each day

These are the planning formats being used by Amy McCauley at HPPS LC2.

3. Begin to plan out ideas for the Google Site, gathering resources and link ideas. Resources to help.
     Example of HPPS LC2 Site.

4. QR codes to access areas of the Google Site.

5. Comic life student comments on learning and learning journey.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

He ao ki tua… future opportunities. Leadership within Māori & Pasifica:

Connected Educator Month:  He whatunga tangata, he whatunga mātanga.
I came in a bit late and these are my random notes of the session…

We can all have a role of leadership with Māori students.  
They might get the best support from the caretaker or the librarian.  It is all about building relationships, make connections and then collaborate.

Build relationships:
Know who you work with and their strengths., your students and your communities.
How do we build these relationships:
Have heaps of respect and care.
·      energize, inspire, excel, triumph, passion, integrity and fun
Check the effectiveness of things, not just hope for the best.

Challenges within leadership:
Share the role:
Don’t think you are the only person who can do it.  Assign the tasks to other people to do the mahi with you. Be ready to change yourself both professionally and personally.

Check in with elders:
Check the advice from peers and elders to check you are on the right track.

Develop shared understanding:
Sometimes you need to develop a shared understanding, recognizing the perspectives are different.  What is the common kaupapa?  Need to negotiate, discuss and debate the focus. Do the mahi to your best ability then build a bridge and get over it. 
The kaupapa is bigger than all of us.  We need to serve the kaupapa.

Develop the trust in the leadership:
Establish a shared understanding.  Develop a shared kaupapa.
Dialogue open for people to share with the leadership team to develop these shared understandings and trust.
Manage conflict:
Not always see them as a challenge but an opportunity.  Look at the positive and take the step up over the obstacle as an opportunity.  Important to unpack conflict rather than let it fester.  Give time and planning to be pro-active not re-active.

Use a ‘blank’ unbiased facilitator to pull out the important points and treasures from people or go with a blank piece of paper rather than having everything set in stone before the discussion.
Feel and watch the reactions of people to see how it has landed.  This will let you know where to go next.

Benefits for the community if our leadership is connected with Māori and Pasifica:
·      It exposes our young people to a wider world – Video conferences, Skype etc.  If we can’t take our kids to the world then we will bring the world to our kids.  Share stories from local area
·      If you are not connected, then as an educator you can’t do your job.  We need to maintain visibility and viability as Māori to our tamariki and then to the wider world.
·      Shares the success of our students with the wider world.
·      Sharing teaching expertise with other schools – e.g. Auckland Samoan learning with Chch school to support and expose a need.
·      Connectedness starts with building a relationship and developing trust between partners.
·      Declaring to the community that we want to connect – listen to understand, ask what they want, promise to meet their needs and follow though.  This builds relationships.  Know the needs of your community.  When will we review and how will we review to check that this connection is working – newsletters, e-mails, text etc.
·      Address the issue quickly then spend the time looking at how to improve and build relationships.

Random notes:
Establish the point of the hui at the start of the session – to inform or to consult.

If there is an issue: acknowledge and apologise then give assurance – deal with things quickly.

Twitter - from Daily 5 to 'Self Directed Learners'

How much has your classroom changed in the last two years?
If it is not obvious to you, your learners and your colleagues that things are changing then you need to get out there and grab yourself some PD. To be specific, some Self-Directed Professional Development.

Get going with Twitter:
Three years ago I found Twitter and a whole new world of PD opened up. This was not what 'Management' decided I needed to learn but was driven by my interests and the needs of our classroom.
I noticed that educators globally kept talking about the same things and one of them was Daily 5 and Reader's Cafe.

Investigating Daily 5:
Always nosy and keen to improve my teaching, I began the investigation.  The books arrived and I was raring to go but ….. two student teachers and 12 weeks later… I began in Term 4 of 2012. We started the process of developing reading muscles, stamina and independence within our own learning.  The class loved it.

All those 'Internet Based' tools come into play when beginning something like this. Pinterest has already gathered up all the resources you would ever need and tweeting or catching up at F2F meetings like educamps and coffee is the way to see things in action.  Make those connections and visit other  classes.

In the first year it all began to click into place and I could see the connections we could make with the work of The Book Whisperer @donalynbooks.  We unpacked genre, tracked our reading with 'Piggy Pyramids', wrote shopping lists of books we wanted to share and did 'Book Speed-Dating'.  Most importantly we have heaps of books around our class and I activelly helped kids find 'Good-fit books' because I knew what they like to read and have read most of the books in our class library!  Daily 5 was our favourite time of the day but that was not the end.  It was only the beginning.

Growing Daily 5 into independence:
To start 2014, my neighbouring teacher, @KeelingAlice, and I were questioning how we could grow the independence of Daily 5 to help develop Independent Learners with aspects of a student led timetable.  We had already successfully applied the approach to our maths programme and the language of independence was being used confidently… start straight away, move away from distractions and know my target.

Independent Learners:
Our class identified the success criteria for an Independent Learner, designed a licence and decided what choices the licence would give them. We started at the beginning of Term 3 with 13 Independent Learners and now at the end of Term 3, the whole class of 27 have their licence.

Does it make a difference?
I am in the process of getting the class to complete a Google Survey to establish their views on the difference 'Choice' makes but a couple of anecdotal observations really showed me how powerful giving students agency and autonomy really is.

I have two boys in my class who in their own way have been a huge challenge.  They were defiant and angry, unco-operative and not willing to be part of our class.  I took the risk of allowing them a Learner Licence earlier than I would have liked.  Their success criteria were much more limited than what was expected of the class.  I didn't make the connection but after a couple of amazing weeks with these boys, I asked what had changed to make learning with them so much more positive and self managing.  They both said it was getting their Learner Licence and having control over their day.

It was Daily 5 that began this journey and allowed us to get to this point where the students know their targets, select the most appropriate learning activity and suggest even more appropriate ones to meet their interests and needs.

Positive Mindset:
My final challenge for this last term was to help improve the attitude of the class. This links closely to the work of Carol Dwek, as sourced via Twitter, and is linked to my focus on Te Reo.

We begin every day with this as a karakia then move into a loud chant.

Hard work brings success.
Success makes me feel good.
I can get better.
I will be adventurous.
I can solve it!

This is a great vocal way to claim the day and has made the class aware of the importance of having a positive mindset.  They identify it as a personal need, include it in their daily targets and then we celebrate evidence of a positive mindset throughout the day. My most negaitve student at the beginning of Term 3 is now constantly referring to and exhibiting a positive mindset, as well as idenifying it in others.

Where to now?
The journey never ends if you are making use of the available contacts and links via Twitter. There is always a next step as the teacher and these are mine:

Begin to use gaming elements to reinforce the success criteria of independence.  Gaming 4 Community

Collaborativelly build a Google Site 'HUB' for our two classes, in which we can embed our 'Flipped' resources, learning links, weekly programme and follow-up tasks for student access from anywhere and anytime.  Google Sites - Amy McCauley

Join Twitter and get some PD:
My best ideas as a teacher over the past three years have all come from amazing teachers on Twitter. I can't imagine what my class might look like if I hadn't had all this brilliant and free PD.

Sign up and start following some of these great teachers. Christchurch Teachers
Don't forget to check in with groups from your local area like because that's your own personal resource and support team!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

It's working - we are scaffolding independence in the WHOLE CLASS!

Time to celebrate the success in the form of two separate and challenging boys.

Student 1 had started the school well part way through the year but rapidly declined into rude confrontational and violent behaviour.  We worked very hard on behaviour plans and things have made a huge turn around.  On discussion with the student he says the difference was his getting an Indenendent Learner Licence.

Student 2 had the problem of demanding attention accross the classroom in a range of challenging ways.  He was defiant and often violent towards those around him.  The RTLB has been on the job for three weeks and there has been a huge change.  On asking the student he said the difference was this…. pointing to his Independent Learner Licence.

It is clear to me with both these students and the initial resoponse of much of the class, the choice and trust went a long way to motivating them to independence and self management.

My Holiday and Term 4 Challenge:
1.  Complete the Google Survey Alice has designed to establish student voice on what difference having an Independent Licence has on learning then unpack the data to use within class.

2. Establish agreed sets of behaviour in different learning spaces.

3.  Set up our learning hub where planning and resource links can be attached for access from home.

4.  Investigate a format for sharing our 'Flipped Classroom' instructional movies.

5. Give students the opportunity for a 'Genius Hour' type AKOKids session, possibly within the Junior School Choice and Challenge Friday hour.

Most of all, I need to continue to enjoy the independence and excitement of my learners!

How's the independence going?

Here were my last targets:

Scaffolding steps to set up for Term 3:
  • Continue with the class tracking sheet or trial the one from the neighbouring room. (Alice K)
We have set up a class master timetable and independent ones with gaps to fill in, supported by a checklist.  There is also a class checkist that the teacher monitors. Struggling students complete their plan with the teacher before school.

A checklist for the 'Not-yet' independent learners was developed but is no longer needed as most the class have their licence and any lapses are only for a day or two.
One of my 'challenging' kids wanted to use this planning sheet as it was easier than his daily whiteborad planner. He has managed to plan and follow it effectivelly.

  • Set up clear guidelines about numbers and expected behaviour in the library, cloakbay or outside.
This is the start of Term 4 task.  We need to co-construct class expectations and consequences.  It will develop out of our 'safe place' aspect of the Term 3 health unit we are completing.

  • Incorporate aspects of the Independent Learner Licence in the student Daily Planner.
This is an essential part of our daily planners as it looks at a personal target and how to unpack it.  Many of the success criteria of an independent learner are used as daily targets.  Daily discussions focus on evidence of independence and class points are awarded in response to these success criteria.

  • Purchase more lanyards and make 5-10 more licences. 
There needs to be a class set and children are bringing in their own lanyards.  They don't always feel the need to wear their licence as most of the class have earned one.  

  • Begin to incorporate more SOLO visual organisers.
We have developed a SOLO chart looking at where we are on the levels of independence.  We have discussed the next steps in our journey and highlighted where we are at present.

  • Develop more 'How to' sheets for ICT based activities.
We can now make one for Glogster and I need to get the class to identify what other applications they could be AKOKids for and write the instructions.  We are also making more 'Explain Everything' movies for our Flipped Classroom resource.

Alice and I were talking today about how we will start with our classes in 2015 and how to get to this stage of independence more quickly.  We are planning to go right back the the basice and establish the Daily5 approach in both reading and Maths while focussing on the success criteria of independence.  We would hope to be introducing independent timetables in the last few weeks of Term 1.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

#edchatnz conference - so what!

So what - what is it going to mean in my classroom and teaching practice in the next few weeks and months? That is going to take a bit of thinking as there are so many ideas I can run with. The question I have to ask is.... Is this change going to help my learners to...

1. Ask the important questions - it it real and important?
2. Clearly articulate their learning not focus on the e-tool they are using?
3. Make links across subjects as they follow their own passions and interests?
4. Access the class programme, allowing them to plan their learning and access resource links from home and school.
5. Have a sense of belonging to our learning community and show reciprocity by developing resources and workshops for others.

So how will I begin doing this? What are my first steps?
1.  Begin finding a way to collate and access 'flipped' videos, while getting students to make more.
2.  Develop the 'Waka Endeavour Learning Hub' with the daily programme, detailed planning and access to resources.
3.  Get the kids to help develop a 'game' that promotes and tracks the development of themselves as Independent Learners.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Purpose ready learners

Edchatnz Keynote: Karen Melhuish Spencer from Core Education

The longer you work with the tools  - the less interested you are in them. The more interested you become in the learning you can do with them.

There are apps for everything but there is no moral compass app. Kids are finding it harder to recognise what is real and what has been manipulated.

Twitter pie:
Kinds of accounts -
Stephen Hawking 225,000,
Miley Cyrus 18.3 million,
Greenpeace 1.12 million,
Kim Kardashian 22.6 million,
Amnesty 1.12 million.

Lots of people follow the 'pop culture'.
Things that are popular may not lead us to the most rewarding life.
What is popular?  What is worthy?

Just because you see a photo on the 'Web' it might not be real.  The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus!

What is real?
What is important?
We need to ask these questions in regard to news, the internet, life and social media. It is in the social media that people are making decisions about life so they need to become critical and learn how to make informed choices.

When students are part of a community group, participating and belonging - they have a sense of well being.  School is the place we need to invest in because it is the only place where students learn to be critical and participate in society.

Two ways to take action:
1. Take a deep dive... into the curriculum. Map concepts in the curriculum so you can design a motivating curriculum.  Make learning purposeful - like enviroschools.

2. If we want kids to make a difference in society then we need to begin to build a community in the classroom.  Give people a space and help them find their purpose.

Planning idea: 
Design learning by starting with the kids we struggle to 'catch' and design it around them.  The rest of the class will be caught up too but it will meet their needs.

The future is here, it's not evenly distributed yet.   - Gibson

New technologies will not make the change - it is how we are learning them.
What makes the change?  How do we know ther has been change? If teachers and kids talk about the learning not the technology.
The answer to helping grow 'Purpose ready learners' is the teachers.

Take away something, one thing, innovative and begin to use it on Monday morning.

Getting started with Google Sites

Presenter: Amy McCauley
Organisation: Hobsonville Point Primary School
Twitter: @AmyMMcCauley

Google Doc:

Google Sites are a collaborative wiki.
First think about:

Could have a team teaching planning/learning site:
  • gives parents and kids access
  • create initial template with blank boxes to add planning to
  • planning adds links to all online resources so kids can access
  • blog embedded
  • detailed planning is there but only admin can access it
  • Google Drawings area automatically updated
  • team meeting minutes are added or updated from Google Docs 
  • can open the Google Docs from the site

Student online spaces:
  • Digital citizenship agreement
  • Templates

Staff resource site:
  • Create resource place for staff to access rather than leave lost in drive
  • Add staff proceedures - creative commons, new students, digital footprint of all classes
  • Techie sessions with links
  • Teacher Tech toolbox
  • Teaching portfolio - RTC evidence, leaders can subscribe to changes

Getting started:

Get the kids to ceate the header image and have 'Artwork done by ......' pop up.  A great way to focus on acknowledging the artist. 

Google Sites work really well with all of the Google Tools but there can be a few problems with non-Google products.  

Photo of class - click on their face and go directly to their blog.  Draw around the face and insert link but remove line and fill.

Sharing and permissions:  Manage site - can have part of it private like your detailed planning but allow people to access other things.

Subscribe to changes: Send student changes to a folder rather than fill up in-box, you can check them later.

So what?
Unpack why - could this improve learning and student access?  
This is the way students access and plan their day at HPPS rather than making lots of paper copies and enables access to the class programme from home. 

Follow-up activities are included in the workshop and the programme can be easily adapted as they change. This will support independence in learning and give parents information about learning.

All the learning resources can be collated and accessed from home e.g. maths resources in stages with images and a summary. Flipped classroom resources can be accessed from here or links to iTunes-U. They can be made on another site an linked as an option.

Sudent sites - access to their site but limit access to their assessments / conferences to staff and parents.

Unleashing Curiosity and Creativity in the Classroom

Presenter: Steve Mouldey
Organisation: HPSS
Twitter: @GeoMouldey

Google Doc

Having a negative attitude to creativity creates a fixed mindset.

Three books that have been influencial: 
Can computers keep secrets?
Creative confidence.
A more beautiful question.

Kids are naturally curious - how can we encourage and protect this curiousity? They look at everything and notice the strangest things. How do we keep noticing and asking questions alive?

Kids questions and experimentations can result in the best learning opportunities. 

What do you value?  Why?  Why?  Why?
Creativity enables you to create change in the world around you.
Curiosity enables students find their own learning paths.
 - we all have different paths and understandings according to our life experience and interests.
 - give opportunity for choice in pathway, recording, approach  - as long as the learning is happening.

Design ideas: (try not - do it - Yoda's advice)
Find a design project for our local community:
Find a problem - go for a walk and find the biggest problem first rather than giving them the problem or having the 'right' answer in your mind.  Give them opportunity for finding space, different ways of approach - window markers, post-it notes, devices etc. This builds confidence to take risks.
Design - build in Minecraft or build a prototype to then pitch to the class.
Next step - sell at the community markets.

The blank page is the scary bit!
Give them lots of opportunities to get started.  Use this as an 'in' into learning.

Brainstorm to begin inquiry.
Generate 'so what' questions or as many problems, questions or ideas.  If we have been working on throwing ideas down then we can get over the initial trouble of getting started. It does not matter if 20 of your questions are very ordinary, there might be 1-2 questions of value.  You need to get to 20-30 questions in to uncover the valuable ones.

e.g. Woman sitting in a dumpster as the people were going into the World Cup games.
 - Why is she there?
 - Why has Brazil been awarded the World cup when they can't look after their poor?

Questions are the key to unlocking curoisity and creativity:
Using the cross curricular lense is awesome - making links between codes of knowledge.
Learning about open and closed questions.
Assess a list of questions against open and closed.  Re-word the questions to change them to open or closed to investigate the difference.
Use the WWWHW approach.
Try grids with WWWHW and if, did to deepen the question:
e.g. With who did...

Favourite questions:
Why - purpose
What if - generating possibilities
How might we - look for alternatives
How might - it might not work but we'll experiment

How can we twist our learning intentions to cater for student passions?
Horse passion
Looking at animal rights.
Oral language focus - debates, persuasion focus.
Getting outside agencies involved.

Design thinking:
Not a set process - more of a mindset:
Human centred - impact on people, showing empathy to establish the issue for that person.
Bias towards action - we need to do somethng to help.
Radical collaboration - people working with 'whoever' can help their progress. Groups are fluid and experts are drawn in - both teachers, students and outside help.
Culture of prototying - make a version now, get started, adapt
Show don't tell - pictures tell a 1000 words, modelling and annotated diagrams are valuable - avoid paragraphs and essays.
Being mindful of the process - not following rigidly but keeping it in mind and moving accross the process.

Have a learning design model in the school.

Creativity is a team sport - for both children and teachers.  For sharing the idea you get a whole range of different perspectives. Twitter's a great option, Skype..... make those on-line connections.

Reverse mentoring: (Creates confidence)
Pair up younger people with older ones to give them a fresh perspective. Get the students set up as a critical friend but also within the staff. Purpose to support and challenge for change.

1. Form to fill out about professional goals and interests then matched.
2. Meet every 2-3 weeks to discuss challenges, chat, bring ideas regarding/issue, onsite, over coffee, question things, share articles, share apprasial document.
3. Each term do an observation and give feedback.

Is it shutting own ideas or opening up new opportunities.
No  - is banned
Yes - and  - this agrees and then extends the plan.
Focus on the positive side then looks for the next step in developing the idea.

As a teacher  - share your passions and get excited.  Show that it is OK to be you and have interests.

Using gaming to build community

Bronwyn StuckeyCultivating Identity and Community Through Gamification 
Organisation: Innovative Educational Ideas
Twitter: @bronst

Star the day increasing endorphin levels - look at puppies, kids photos and giving people hugs.

See the link to the presentation: Collaborative notes
Community and 'game inspired' learning rather than gamification.
Video game play is valuable to children.
Educators need to engage in 'Games' to identify and interact with their kids.

What is 'game inspired' learning?
Learning should not all be a game but learn from games to better inspire, motivate and support learning.
- add basketball hoops over rubbish bins - adding a game element to things.
- you got grounded - to get ungrounded you need to gain points from these activities....
- taking a game element or 'atom' and inserting it into learning.
- try adding this approach into teacher PD as well.

Jim G:
Literacy expert that explored the effect of games.
g - is the game or media you download to plan (World of Warfare or Candycrush)
G - the conversation people have to modify or change the game. This space around the game where people talk is the powerful place for learning. The community 'Metagame'. Talk in the game, videos made from the game, dicsussions they have, connections they make through the game. This is the spacce we want to use for learning.

Use games to improve a practice:
Add elements of a game to aid learning and teaching - fractions, oral language etc. 

(Image from notes to go here)

Plane Austalian Teacher Community:
Programme environment set up with training, resources and community area - an alternative to POND? The Hero Journey must be undertaken which introduces teachers to all the elements and gives them the skills. Then they can work in the areas that are most relevant for their teaching. 
Purpose - make connections, share resources, make use of shared knowledge. This develops a sense of belonging between teachers.
See the video link: 

Just press play: (Professor Liz Lawley)
Gamified the University programme but not the learning.  Focussing on getting students connected, resulting in lower drop-out levels.
They examined the elements of what 'Highly Successful' students do and made these the focus.
This type of learning can only happen if people have choice to participate or not - establishing elements of community.

Four player types:  
They gave students tasks to stregthen the community and used their QR code to allocate reward points. This was not a replacement for assessment but a way to stregthen the qualities of 'Highly Successful' students. It then enabled students to run coaching sessions to support the success of others.  

Highschool example: 1:1 ipad school within a non-tech-savvy school.
1.  Needed to enable the teachers to master the skills.
2.  Two levels completed in Goggle Docs before getting their school iPad.
3.  Begin to investigate things like Twitter etc.  Missions around these tools.
4.  Next step is to develop your own missions for colleagues.
5.  Earning level 10 by presenting at a conference or writing a paper etc about the school focus - iPads.

This identifies teachers or students with expertise that can be the support from within the school or classroom.

Watch out:
You have it wrong when the badge or title you achieve becomes more important than the learning. Points might give you currency to trade for further support in their own learning e.g. a master class.

Develop a sense of belonging to a community.
Show reciprocity by them beginning to design and further develop the programme or suppport AKO Kids teaching.
Develop reputation of yourself, your class or school for effective learning.

So What:

Develop a programme to develop the skills of independent learners: 
 Look for gaining points from the teacher and peers for aspects of being an independent learner. 
  - run a KidsAKO session
  - always ready for learning with stationery

Look at how those points can be utilized to further their learning or get the kids to develop an poster where the badges can be attached. Achievement allows them to gain responsibility in the commnity, which then stregthens the community itself.

Resource links: