Monday, 18 September 2017

Term 3: Maths Inquiry Update

I have recently taken some time to reflect on what I have been doing differently in maths this term.  I have quickly realised that it doesn't seem like a massive change in practice, it is making a difference in the way that my students are thinking about solving their problems.  By providing my students with opportunities to image (mainly using 10 Frames and using Bonds of 10s) when problem solving, they are gaining confidence in their abilities.  I have also been providing a weekly "mystery number" each week that students use to think deeper about what they know about that number. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Empowering Student Selected Texts

The one common question that I am asked about my Inquiry this year is "How have you gone about providing students with opportunities to select their own texts keeping to the overall topic?"   In all honesty, this was something that I have struggled with for a few months especially considering that my students are so young and new to learning on a Chromebook.  Did I really want to release my control over what they were doing online?   I have come to realise that by scaffolding across my reading levels, they are all definitely able to do some self exploration, especially at this point in the school year.

This week, I had a group of students reading a book about the solar system. After reading, students were asked to think of something they would like to know more about from the book.  I gave the a graphic organiser on a Google Slide to fill out and asked that they hyperlink each website they used to learn something new about their chosen topic.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Presenting at the Manaiakalani Boards' Forum

This past Thursday night, I was one of six CoL teachers asked to present my Inquiry representing the six different Community of Learning Achievement Challenges.

It was a great night to simply be reminded of the BIG picture that we are a part of in many ways, not only as CoL teachers but as Manaiakalani classroom teachers.

As the night began, participants were given the opportunity to take a look at our poster presentations for the Manaiakalani Hui  Then, after hearing about all of the various Manaiakalani is supporting teachers, and student learning, across the nation, it was our turn to share each of the Achievement Challenges and what our individual focus has been for the 2017 school year.

Here are some pictures of the night (taken by +Fiona Grant) and the slide deck that I presented, which was comprised of a mixture of slides from presentations that I have made over the past few weeks.

Monday, 28 August 2017

2017 Manaiakalani Annual Hui-Kahui Ako

This past Friday, the Manaiakalani Cluster held it's annual Hui at the Panmure Yacht & Boating Club.  During the day, I had two different chances to share my Inquiry with my colleagues and those in attendance.

During the morning session, the Spark-MIT teachers gave our first Ignite Talk to those in attendance.  It was a great opportunity to share and present a short (6 minute) presentation about what I have been doing with my literacy students this year. I was able to realise a few things about what I had prepared in order to help better prepare myself for our upcoming session at the New Zealand ULearn conference in October.

My Presentation Board
Our CoL teachers were also able to share our inquiries in a "science fair style" poster presentation that enabled participants to move around and view what we have been doing.

Participants were given a bingo style card for us to sign when our booth was visited and interacted with.  Many participants took some time to leave extremely positive and helpful comments on our blogs. During this time, many stopped by my booth and talked about how they had been following my professional blog this year and using some of the things I've talked about in their own classrooms.

Perhaps the most rewarding conversation I was able to have was with Rebecca Jesson from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, whose findings and suggestions I have based most of my implementations on.  It was so reassuring to hear what she had to say and to answer the questions that she had after hearing my speech in the earlier session of the day.

Speaking with Manaiakalani's Dave Winters at the Hui.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Pasifika Power Up PLUS

For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being part of this amazing program at Tamaki College working primarily with our primary students.  This year we have had a record number of primary students attend (along with their parents!) to work on homework, receive help as needed, and gain a deeper understanding of high school NCEA requirements.

It is such a fun night and all of our students from ECE to Year 13 mix together for the sole purpose of raising their own educational level.  One of my favourite things is watching our parents interact with their children and their friends to help them study or understand a concept they are working on with one of the tutors.  If you're around GI on a Tuesday night, you definitely should come check out PowerUP.  We'd love to have you!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Pt. England COL Inquiry Presentation

This week, the PES COL teachers were asked to do a five minute presentation for the rest of our staff sharing how our Inquiries are going up to this point.  I found it so beneficial taking the time to go through where I am in my Inquiry now and the path that I have taken to come to this point with my class and in particular my focus group.

As I prepare my presentation for our upcoming Manaiakalani Hui next week, I am so thankful that I was able to share a portion of what will become part of that presentation ahead of time.  I compiled a video with a voice over recording of the presentation that I gave to include on my blog primarily for those who have asked to have a copy of certain parts for their own reference or further inquiry, but also as a great reminder of where I am at to this point.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Maths PD: Jo Knox

Today the teachers of Team 3 were given an opportunity to meet with Jo Knox and spend some time together going over some the areas of maths that we are seeing our students struggle with continuously.

First, Jo spent some time talking to us about strategies to use with our students to learn solidify place value understanding.

ex: Going from 29 to 30 without saying 20/10…It is very important to use physical materials with students like packets of 10 (beans/sticks) and place value charts (houses). Jo said that by using discrete objects that have to be physically connected to make 10 students will gain a more concrete understanding. Jo also suggested using the 1000 book to could by 10s, or by 100s from any number. However, you must be sure to use the materials to reinforce the concept.

Develop Place Value Understanding
ex: writing 54 in words We need to be sure that we are providing multiple ways to use a number when we are doing this. For example, add 10, now subtract 20 and go up 5. Then, write the number in words, and the expanded form. However, when doing this, be sure to provide the students with a chart (or Google Draw/Slide) with the words on it. I was thinking that this is something we could easily have set up as a Slide/Drawing that is scaffolded into our daily routine until students grasp the concept. Once students are secure in this process, add it as a weekly assignment and then scaffold in a new version with different concepts on it to do as a group/class.

Using a Daily Maths Wall-Very similar to the "calendar wall" that is done in the year 1 classes by adopting this technique to use with students at their level to repetitively learn over and over the same concepts that need daily revisiting.

Jo then worked with a small group of our students to model some of the ideas she shared. It was during this time that the power of imagery became quickly apparent.  By having the students image after they got a concept with the materials, and then go back to the materials to check it reinforced student understanding.  When adding using double digits it is important to move to stick packets of 10 and do it with the sticks and then imaging again.

It was also very evident that providing the students with the time to describe what a number looks like was so powerful, and as always remembering that dialogic conversations in maths, as well as reading, are so valuable to increasing student understanding.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Student Selected Texts

Sometimes opening up the wonderful world of the Internet can be a scary thing to do when we are assigning texts for our students to read.  Many teachers often provide students with a list of online texts for them to "choose" from as their 'student selected text.'  I decided to try something new this term, and I had my students use an online bulletin board called Padlet to record the articles the choose to read.

As part of this particular assignment, the students were asked to choose an animal that migrates that they would like to know more about.   They were then shown the padlet (that was set up ahead of time) and asked to copy and paste the hyperlink to any website they used to locate the information needed to complete their assignment. 

By doing this, I was able to keep track of the articles that my students were using, and they were able to easily share with others in their group who were reading about a similar topic.  They really enjoyed knowing that they had the freedom to explore the internet for their own information to aid in completing the create task of their assignment. 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Teaching as an Inquiry Framework

We have now reached the halfway mark of the school year, and as part of our first CoL meeting of Term 3 we were asked to spend some time reflecting on where we are with our on Teaching as Inquiry Framework.  The graphic below was provided for us to fill out as we collected our thoughts before meeting with our CoL Achievement Challenge groups.

By sharing our hunches, successes and failures with our colleagues from across the CoL we are given an unique opportunity to learn from and be encouraged by others who are striving to achieve a common goal within their own classrooms. 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Learning from Previous Spark MIT Inquiries

As part of our Term 2 Spark MIT Inquiry, we were tasked with spending some time reviewing and making connections to the Inquiries of previous Spark MIT Teacher Inquiries.

After reviewing the Spark-MIT website and looking at various participant's focus questions, I spent some time watching the final presentations of a few prior participants.  It is so interesting to look back at these presentations and see how teaching has changed (and student achievement has increased) across Manaiakalani over the years, sometimes as a result of the findings of these inquiries.

One Inquiry in particular had me directly thinking of my personal inquiry and the things I have implemented in my classroom this year.  I spent some time looking into this inquiry when I was formulating my own plan of attack for working with the Year 4 students this year.  It has been so beneficial to look back once again and reflect on some aspects of Kent's inquiry and how I have been able to implement some of those same ideas with a much younger cohort of students.

Kent Somerville: How do you hook and cognitively engage students to read a range of texts?

  • Increasing student mileage: using daily silent reading to hook students into reading books they have selected.  This is student driven and students are provided with a time to talk to their friends about key elements of the story to "sell" the book to their friends.  Interesting to find that most kids shared what books they did not like and clearly explain why using passionate language. I have been trying to do this with my class, but we are often working against the clock with our literacy time frame.  Unfortunately, I tried implementing it as a whole space activity earlier this year, but it was not something that was easily implemented on a daily basis across the space. 
  • School was missing book sets that were targeting to the group of kids he was working with.  This is definitely that I have noticed this year as well while trying to find new and fun ways to engage the group of students that I have been working with.  I have been building up my own collection of books to use as a self-selected text library, but I would love to have a larger variety of longer texts (chapter books) to use with students reading at this level.  The most important aspect here is to find texts that they can relate to or find interesting to read. 
  • Students were motivated to write to their blog readers about the "special" books they have read My students have really enjoyed doing this throughout the year as well.  They are very excited to blog something that is not directly related to a scaffolded assignment.  This has allowed some of the students to realise that their blog belongs to them and many have begun blogging outside of the classroom about other things happening in their lives.
  • Kent also began using Extended Texts with his students to build upon the knowledge they had on a topic, which allowed them to dive deeper into a topic.  This allowed for higher levels of comprehension, and understanding of a topic. Definitely something that we have moved to as a Cluster based on the WF Research gathered over the years.  I am so excited to see the development of the database and how effectively it will be able to help provide support for teachers in years to come.
  • Used their blogs to share animations and movies based on the content they were learning about in class, but it was realised they weren't sharing the richer portions of their learning.  In an effort to fix this, students began to store their knowledge by writing full paragraphs about their understanding of a topic.  This allowed them to go back and reread, which provided rewindable learning for the students, and extended voice as the blog author for their readers to gain a deeper understanding.  Definitely a barrier to crack with Year 4 students who are not used to having the freedom to type directly onto their blogs and add their own summary of their learning using their student voice. 

Term 2 Focus Group Achievements

At the end of Term 2, I spent some time reflecting on the achievement levels of my inquiry focus group and I am very pleased with the continued progress that these students are making.  These results are based on Running Records done using the Blue PM testing kit.  However, it is important to note that I did not test the students already reading at L29 at this time for various reasons.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Maths Term 2: What's working?

After further reflecting on my end of Term 1 goals with Rewindable Learning and Create Tasks and then all the PD we received from Jo Knox in regards to accurate OTJ, I placed more of an emphasis this term on practical things that we know work to boost maths confidence and tried to provide different group settings for my students to fully understand the concept of addition.

At the beginning of this year, the majority of my maths class were working at or below Stage 4, and many of those at Stage 4 had gaps in their understanding, which hindered their personal confidence. So, I decided that I was going to begin each day with X-tra Maths set only on the basic Addition facts setting.  For the most part (once the initial fun of a new program on their Chromebook wore off), the class was not overly excited about having to go through their addition facts each day.  However, I spent some time with each micro group early this term reviewing ways to add numbers together without using out fingers or holding the bigger number in our head.  We used counters and 10-frames, number lines, doubles and tidy tens...over and over and over.

One thing I did differently this term, was that I broke my micro groups up even smaller 1-2 times a week and met with fluid groups of 3 from across the class based primarily on their previous levels of understanding still focusing only on addition.  We began with adding 2-digit numbers using our whiteboards at the bean teaching table.  As we added, we reviewed place value and continually discussed the number of 10s in a number as we broke numbers up to add them together using 10s and 1s.  As students were able to add 2 digits, I mixed groups up again and moved some onto over the 10, followed by adding 3-digit numbers using HTO's and then some over the 10 as well.

It is important to note, that X-tra Maths was still happening, but something was changing.  The complaining stopped, and they were simply walking in from Morning Tea, sitting down and getting on with it.  Some were even going through the program twice, without being asked, in an effort to increase their score.

I also wanted to be sure to place an empahsis on Strand more directly than in the past, so I began having a whole class lesson each Monday to set up the topic, which generally consisted of an online game or interactive site for the class to use prior to completing their learning tasks.  This was great because it provided something different and fun for the class to work on while they waited to meet with their learning group during the week.  It was also interesting to see that since our strand this term was primarily Geometry based, my students took to it very easily and have been having a lot of fun working through the given tasks.

Students also continued using MathsWhizz this term, which allowed guided instruction with immediate feedback for both the students and for me.  I often use the Topic Focus setting once a week in an attempt to further student understanding on specific topics of need or to reinforce topics that we are directly working on in class.

Is it working?  Definitely! Slowly at times, but we are getting there.  After testing for my Term 2 reports, I realised that I only have 4 students still working below Stage 4.  One student who was in that Stage 1-3 group at the beginning of the year answered his basic addition GLOSS question with quick ease and his reason was simply, "I just knew it because of xtra maths!"  That same boy was new to our school at the beginning of the year, and out of curiousity I asked him if he was nervous when I tested him in February.  He looked at me kind of weird, and I explained further that I was wondering if he made silly mistakes back then because he has improved so much.  He slowly smiled before confidently saying, "Naw...I've just learnt heaps this year!"

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Evolving My Site Presentations as the Year Progresses

Now that we are half way through the school year, I was spending some time looking at the learning pathway that I have provided for my students during this school year.  I was personally challenged (once again) after creating the Multi-Text Database to be even more focused and purposeful with the range of texts I was selecting for my students to read.  I realised that I was not always providing challenging or scaffolded texts for my groups on a weekly basis.

In an effort to do this more effectively, I spent some time thinking about how I had my weekly assignments posted for my learners.  While I was providing them with multiple texts each week, most were complementary and I was not sharing them in a way that allowed easy differentiation for me when I looked at them.

Nearly halfway through Term 2, I decided to be more diligent with how I displayed texts to my students.  This was also made easier by thinking about and then filling out our cluster wide Multi-Text Database each week after I completed my lesson plan.

By using 4 coloured boxes to display the reading texts instead of only two, I am now able to clearly see what I am lacking in my planning.  The students work on reading the assignments from left to right and while their follow up tasks might be directly in response to the main text, often the follow up task created by using aspects of information found across all the texts. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Graeme Aitken: Collaborative Inquiry

Graeme Aitken, the Dean of Social Work at Auckland University, presented to the Manaiakalani leaders a few weeks ago, and a video of his presentation on Collaborative Inquiry was shared with our Community of Learning cohort to further our understanding of Inquiry, espeically when it comes to the fundamental portion of our Inquiry under Learn: Scan.

Here are a few snapshots that I found interesting while listening to Dr. Aitken's presentation.

-You will only be an effective teacher if you know what you are trying to achieve.  It is important to figure out what you are going to do to teach your students in a way that enbles them to acheive the goals you have for them.  Also, an effective teacher needs to spend time reflecting on the process and doing what they need to do to make it better and more effective for future lessons, while remembering that it is often the teacher that needs readjusting, not necessarily what the students are doing.

-Inquiry is an ongoing, continuing process.  It is not an individual activity around one big idea.  This makes me so happy to be part of the Manaiakalani CoL team, and to be part of the discussions that we are able to take part in during our CoL meetings.

-Teachers are only trying to acheive three things: more interest/enjoyment, more confidence, more achievement scores.

-Part of your SCAN should be all about your data, and what it is telling us about who is doing well and who is not doing well (this also has to be about what the teacher is achieving or not achieving).  Part of the 'Data Story' is also about how well the teacher is doing.

-Engagement SCAN involves questions similar to the following: 
  • Can our learners answer the question, “where are you going with your learning?”
  • Can they describe what they are learning and why? 
  • How can they demonstrate what they are learning? 
-A SCAN survey should not take more than 3 minutes to complete or you will loose student interest.

-Collaborative Inquiry does not mean finding a problem and immediately offering a solution.  It means sitting down with a group from staff (or the staff as a whole) and try to come up with various ways to fix the problem that can be tested out to find correlations.   

-When finding a 'solution' it really is just a hunch that reveals a different way to achieve the goal, which may actually end up being something that the teaching staff needs to learn to do in order to raise student understanding.  

-Medicine works because doctors and researchers share what they have learnt and discovered.  Educators have not always worked this way.  We need to stop critiquing and create a culture where we learn from each other, through our successes and our failures. 


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Taking a Look at My Literacy Learners in Term 2

Taking a look into my literacy students have revealed so many interesting things about my students that I would never have known otherwise.

First of all, I was surprised to see how many of my students enjoy reading "Chapter" books (novels) more than other forms of literature as demonstrated in the response graph below.  After completing this survey, I have also decided to locate some comics/graphic novels for my students to read at different points during the year.

When the students were asked if they enjoyed reading the selected texts for their literacy class, I was happily surprised to learn that the majority of the class enjoys reading the texts I have selected for them.

One of the things that I have come to realise that I do not openly do enough is provide my students with opportunities to select their own texts (with the exception of our silent reading novels).   However, I understand that there are times that they may be Googling a topic to find out more information while reading or completing a learning task.  Therefore, I am going to looking at  implementing a way for students to log any additional articles/websites they may look at on their own while completing a learning task.

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Multi-Text Database is Underway!

The main page of the database with detailed instructions showing what each submission should include.
I had an opportunity to share the work that has been done on the Manaiakalani Multi-Text Database with the Pt. England staff during our weekly staff meeting.  Although it was a quick presentation, it was well received and I am so excited to see the database being populated by Pt. England teachers in the weeks and months to come!

 I have also enjoyed seeing the database being shared in our Google+ Communities and populated by teachers across the country from our Manaiakalani Outreach Clusters.  I am spending time every day looking over what has been submitted, and it is really fun to see all the amazing work we are all doing in response to the findings of the Wolfe Fisher Research from the past few years.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Anne's A-Team!

Today, we had our second CoL Meeting of the term, and we were split into groups to share what we would do differently in our own practice as a teacher, based on the evidence that we have gathered.  I was put into an amazing group of women, facilitated by Anne Sinclair.

As we shared, we were asked to discuss the following points using our Inquiry blogs a reference to highlight how our evidence was organised to be visible and accessible to our colleagues.

  • What information, strategies, tools did you use to determine what your students have already learned and what they need to learn next?
  • Based on this evidence what are you planning to do differently as a teacher? What might you need help with?

It was amazing to realise that as we discussed, we all had different Inquiry focuses and topics, but we were all able to relate in some way to each other when thinking of what we are going to do differently.  Amazingly enough, as a team we were able to come up with "A" words to describe our teaching role in our next step, such as Auditory, Analyse, Actor and Amalgamate.

My next step was described by Anne as "Allowing" for student voice.  Anne shared that she once wrote telling students that they are "allowed to be aloud."  Hopefully, I will be able to borrow a copy of Anne's paper and share some key ideas from it that I will be able to apply to my classroom.


Create: Making a Plan for Inquiry

Who are my learners and what are their goals?
I have been having an amazing year working with a group of year 4 students who began the year reading from Levels 23-28 to raise their roof on their personal reading achievement.

What have I been doing?
I have been working with a selected group of students from my literacy class (those with a reading age of 8 and above) to provide opportunities to read multimodal texts that support a learning topic (generally the school wide student Inquiry/Topic focus).  Students have really enjoyed reading on their Chromebooks different text types provided at various learning levels to further their understanding of the designated topic.  I have been trying to provide texts for my students as described to us by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre (in the diagram below) in order to increase reading knowledge and foster dialogic conversations in our learning groups.

What I need help with?
I am continuing to find opportunities to engage students in dialogic conversations before, during and after reading, especially those who tend to shy away from sharing in a group setting.  I need to remember to record my group lessons more often in an effort to share (and learn from) my successes, and failures.

How do I document if a strategy is working?
The easiest way to do this is simply by teacher observations.  Listening to my students while they are interacting in their teaching group discussions, and when they are off working independently will give immediate feedback.  However, utilising student blogs and Hapara Dashboard to monitor their learning tasks during the week will also provide evidence of understanding.  The main thing for me to remember is to provide my students with learning tasks that require them to think outside the box and utilise what they have learnt from all modes of the text.  

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Spark-MIT Innovation

As one of the MIT-Spark Innovative Teachers, I decided to have a go at creating a multimodal text database for the Manaiakalani and the Outreach clusters.  I have spent the past few months trying to formulate a plan for what this would/could look like, and what type(s) of information it would need to include.

This morning, I  was very fortunate to work with the Manaiakalani Outreach Facilitators to synthesize our collective understanding of the research provided by the Woolf Fisher Research Team, including Dr. Rebecca Jesson and Dr. Stuart McNaughton, from the University of Auckland.  We have been assured that if we provide our students with reading material that is both wide and deep, they will make accelerated progress.  To take it a step further, the modes of texts (journal, internet article, picture, graphic, video, song, etc) that we should be allowing our students to experience should vary as shown in the graphic provided by Dr. Jesson in a Professional Development session she did with the Pt England staff during the past year.

Time was then spent constructing a Google Spreadsheet system to be used as a collective database for teachers across our own cluster, and the outreach clusters to input information about their reading choices based on an original text/theme and supported by texts from each of the other text types in various modes.  

My Next Steps: During the upcoming weeks, I will be working to compile various examples multimodal texts to build the database.  I will also engage the participation of colleagues within my own school to help populate, use and offer feedback, while overseeing the database as it is populated by teachers across Manaiakalani and our Outreach clusters.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Creativity Empowers Learning

Today, we had Dorothy Burt back at our Staff Meeting for our Manaiakalani Professional Development.  It was awesome to take a deeper look into Creativity, which is an essential part of our school's Learn, Create, Share pedagogy.

It was decided many years ago that children of Pt. England (and Manaiakalani) will be "creators of content, not merely consumers."

It was fun to spend some time going back into the archives and take a look at what Create has looked like through the years.  There were so many good reminders of some of the things that can easily be embedded into our classroom lesson plans to provide opportunities for our students to be creative to display their learning.

When movie making, you are ultimately providing an avenue to use and build an understanding of Key Competencies.  Your rubric will provide student guidance to achieve ultimate results.

Create is NOT a head knowledge thing.  It is an action using multiple senses and the whole body. Consumers are enticed by three senses: Sight, Sound and Motion (Saatchi and Saatchi). SISIMO should be applied to anything concept worth teaching the students.

The key to Create is planning.  All students have the opportunity to create.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Dialogic Conversations: An Imaginative Approach

After reading the article, "Dialogic Eventful Teaching Through Dialogic Conversations and Dramatic Inquiry" by Brian Edmiston, The Ohio State University and Richard Beach, University of Minnesota,  I decided to choose one idea to try to implement with my students from the collection of thoughts I compiled together while reading.  The article stated that dialogic imagination (imagining and trying to understand the actions and thoughts of literary characters) is key to being able to have a dialogic conversation.  While reading a Māori myth, "A Battle of the Mountain," I had the students become one of the warriors from the story and create a conversation about the events that were occurring.  I reminded them to talk about how those specific events were making their character feel and respond.  They instantly become animated and the depth of the inferences they were independently making about the circumstances of the story dramatically increased.

This is definitely something that I will continue to do in the future with all of my reading groups, especially since inferencing is a difficult concept for the majority of the students we work across grade levels.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Jo Knox: Accurate and Reliable Maths OTJ

Today after school, the teachers of Teams 2 and 3 had a block of time to spend with Jo discussing the process of making accurate and reliable Maths OTJs.  This is great timing as we prepare to complete our testing for the beginning of the year and prepare mid-year reports.  Jo offered some great pieces of advice to keep in mind when developing an OTJ.

When making a teacher judgement, one must look at the whole picture and consider all of the evidence. In maths, this includes: test outcomes, observations, and learning conversations.  It is important to look closer at the NZ Curriculum Maths Standards.  When making an OTJ, you need to remember to look at the WHOLE standard, even though the number expectations are critical. Number Knowledge is for facilitating problem solving, and it should not hold a student back on the standard. It is important for students to be working at that standard independently and most of the time.

Don't forget to 'clean the dirty data.'  It is important to know why students are given the OTJ that you have chosen.  It is also important to be consistent in the reasons you have chosen to give a certain OTJ.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Next Steps...Introducing Innovation

Today, we had our second Spark MIT day at the amazing Spark NZ Auckland offices.  It was so nice to have a day working with our Spark MIT cohort.  We spent most of the morning discussing our inquiries and brainstorming possible innovation plans and avenues to explore in order to meet the initial challenges we are facing with our Inquiry Innovation.

We were blessed to meet our Spark Buddy's today just before lunch, and we spent some time as a group sharing our Inquiry with them.  It was a nice relaxed time for us to get to know each other a little bit more while we had lunch and discussed our schools and inquiry plans further.

Our Spark MIT cohort working hard around the board table

From our meeting today, I have decided to begin brainstorming a possible "flowchart" plan that will someday eventuate into a database collating our multimodal reading texts (journals, website articles, videos, etc) across the curriculum and content levels.  Although this is a very daunting task, I was reminded not to see it as a completed task, but rather as small steps that will eventuate into a valuable tool.  I am excited to see where the next few weeks lead me as I begin to work on this Innovation.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Create- Term 2 2017

As part of my Community of Learning Inquiry and Spark-MIT Inquiry this past term, I have been focusing on the Learn portion of the Manaiakalani Inquiry Framework. The "Create Focus" answers the question: 

What strategies (evidence-based) are most likely to help my students learn ? 

 Below is a summary of the various Inquiry Items and links to specific blog posts that I have put together as evidence of each item.

As Term 3 begins, I will continue to learn about my students and create and explore various methods of learning for my students to be successful.  However, I will also be presented with and find opportunities to share the that amazing things that I have found to work (and not work) with my students this year.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Dialogic Eventful Teaching Through Dialogic Conversations and Dramatic Inquiry

In preparation of the new term, and looking into the next steps for my Inquiry, I spent some time reading through a research article by Brian Edmiston, The Ohio State University and Richard Beach, University of Minnesota.  This article is looking into the research of Arthur Applebee and the future of Inquiry based education.  

This post is a collection of thoughts that I had while reading.

  • Taking on board the use of Applebee's dialogic conversation is important but the author's suggest the conversations should be centred around topics that are considered immediate issues in a student's life using multiple perspectives from literary sources.
  • According to Bakhtin,  “dialogic” conversations are not just interactive talk but rather meaning-making that changes how a person understands something in dialogue that is both internal and external in response to other people’s ideas. 
  • Dialogic conversations should be extended to provide creative roles for the students to play (this is where the Manaiakalani Learn, Create, Share model fits!) 
  • A dialogic conversation relies heavily on conflict and tension of opposing viewpoints (how can I work with year 4 students to make it a safe environment to share their own opinions and not what they believe is the 'correct' answer) There needs to be a shift in understanding (which can strengthen your original viewpoint) for is to be a true dialogic conversation.
  • Students will feel that they are allowed to change their viewpoints on a topic that they otherwise believed to have closed parameters. 
  • "all participants are invited to take up embodied multiple perspectives often in non-naturalistic ways (e.g. with everyone speaking as if they are the thoughts of one character) for short period of time"
    • When talking students may vary between talking as themselves and speaking as one of the characters from the text
    • Students and Teacher collectively dialogue as if they are all fictional characters within the event
    • As conversations evolve, students are able to make the switch between fictional characters and their true self when proposing viewpoints 
  • While discussion is simple verbal communication,  meaning-making is embodied, multimodal, and collaborative.
  • Dialogic imagination is key to being able to have a dialogic conversation.
    • All readers use dialogic imagination when they imagine and try to understand the actions and thoughts of literary characters.
  • Dialogic Conversations need to exist in two ways to be successful: with the teacher/learning group, and imaginatively in fictional events
  • Chronotopes- can be inferred from how each character acts, speaks, thinks, and responds across narrative events-need to alter in order to extend the understanding of a imaginative dialogue.
  • students may dialogue about how characters might have felt about what they did, or did not do, and may evaluate characters’ action or inaction     
Next step: How can I involve the dialogic imagination in group sessions to deepen student understanding during our dialogic conversations?