Sunday, 25 June 2017

Observing Ms Coulter and her use of Kahoot

Over the past few weeks a workmate of mine has been using an app with huge success with her learners. The learners love it,they run to the mat with their iPads ready and are eager to get into learning whenever this app is involved.

The app?

Simply put, Kahoot is a quiz tool. Learners are posed a question and given 4 possible answers to choose from. They select the appropriate shape that matches the answer, and then once all learners have answered, the answer appears on the screen.

What I like about this app

Competition as motivation
After each question the answer appears on the screen followed by  a scoreboard. This scoreboard shows learners the score and where they are sitting in relation to other members of that Kahoot. Learners get more points for getting answers correct and in quick time, so there is a motivation involved to compete with other members.

Fun reinforcement 
While this app is tricky to use for teaching deep strategies, it is fantastic for helping learners build their knowledge of things like basic facts and correct punctuation. Learners are deeply motivated and engaged on topics that could otherwise be fairly dull.

Looking forward to using this learning game in my teaching going forward.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Ms Primrose coming into observe me on my Teaching Practice

Focus for the observation: To see how I use digital tools in writing to enhance learning experiences

It was really valuable to have Ms Primrose stay for one of my literacy sessions today. She came in to observe me on how I am using digital tools to enhance writing experiences for my learners. Today, she happened to catch me using Padlet, and Explain Everything.

I love using this app for sharing ideas in an open format. It is so effective at allowing learners to publish their thinking on a digital device, it allows them to see other's ideas as they contribute their own, and if learners are stuck in their learning and find the idea / provocation difficult, then they can simply read the posts of others and pick up some of the concepts this way.

Padlet is highly accessible to learners. You can push out the link through a modelling book, and email, a class site or something similar. Or, you can simply write the full link (it's quite small) up on the whiteboard for them to write into their web browser.

They can access the website on their iPad or computer, they do not need an account or anything like that, and can start typing in their thoughts straight away. It's a live, open forum where they post "sticky note ideas" onto a board, for all to see. Very effective for sharing ideas.

Today I was using Padlet as a way of doing a few things

  • Gathering students prior knowledge
  • Allowing learners to share ideas about what they knew about narratives
  • Co-constructing a success criteria for a narrative piece of writing.
Explain Everything
This is the big one!

Explain Everything is the go to app for 90% of my follow ups and other activities. Due to the way you can manipulate images, writing, video and voice recording all in one app similar to Google Slides, it's a hugely versatile app. 

The way I used it today was to create a writing template to use with my Gold and Silver Writers. 

I will upload this in my next blog post. 

Reflection from the observer 

Padlets: Awesome way for learners to 'bring what I know' and make connections, I could use this for writing as well.

EE plan: great way to hook the learners into their writing: all of Troy’s learners have been fully engaged the whole time. Great way of setting the learners up for success with their writing and for hooking them in!.

When finished, making it into imovie, possibly go back and observe Troy again when he gets to this bit?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Focusing my Inquiry

How do I understand the needs of my learners

At Stonefields School we are users of an app called SchoolTalk. SchoolTalk helps teachers to plan and design learning by breaking own learning into bite sized learning intentions, and having these updated for each learners in a format called progressions. you can see an example of these progressions being used with my golden readers below.

It's fantastic when starting an inquiry because you can decide on the appropriate learning intentions for your learners, select them for all the learners you believe will need them, and then conduct a gap analysis. This year most of my readers were situated at the Gold Level, or just start moved into Silver. Because of this I wanted to know what gaps the learners had at these levels. You can see my gap analysis below.

All my learners are fluent readers with good pace and expression. They practice at home a lot with their parents, have rich vocabularies and some decent life experience. Because of this, I have tended to focus more on what we call the 'Making Meaning' strategies. These are focused on thinking critically about texts and all about comprehension.

Gold Readers

Gold readers were struggling with their inferencing strategies. This was consistent with their silver PROBE tests where my gold readers were not able to answer the comprehension questions. 

Silver Readers

It was noticed that for stretching my silver level readers they would need follow ups mostly focusing around looking for keywords and summarising main ideas in a text. This is consistent with their PROBE testing where learners were struggling to find key words to help them justify their answers to the comprehension questions. 

SchoolTalk is great allows me to track their learning, highlight it as a focus (coloured in yellow) and start to design learning activities that address it. When learners complete their learning the learners can log into their own SchoolTalk accounts and attach evidence to each intention to prove they are making progress towards achieving it (coloured in green). 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Professional Learning - Sharing how Mr Millar uses digital tools

Had a really beneficial session with Mr Millar during our professional learning last week. Stonefields school had some quick 10 minute sharing sessions where teachers were encouraged to share what they had been doing in their classroom to accelerate learner achievement.

Mr Millar is a digital enthusiast like myself and really keen on using a range of digital tools in his class. He shared this Coggle with us to show us what kind of tools can be useful in what curriculum areas. I am already using some of these in my classroom, and would highly recommend them.

  • Prodigy, IXL,  for maths
  • Google Suite for Education 
  • Khan Academy

I found it really interesting how many apps he had found that he could use in his teaching practice. Over the next few weeks, I am going to endeavour to use one per fortnight. Maybe not in my own teaching but I want to at least try them and see what "they are all about".

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

CoL Presentation 2017 - Sharing our inquiry so far after one term

Here is a link to a presentation which explains in detail the first two steps of my inquiry. It gives detail on the profiling and the initial setup for my inquiry .

Friday, 24 February 2017

Mr Lunn's Literacy Inquiry for 2017

2017 Inquiry Goal: My inquiry is going to be accelerating progress for year 2-3 readers who are achieving below, at or above national standard.

I will be examining how the SAMR model can be used to redefine learning tasks in reading, and how a 1:1 iPad learning environment can empower and extend year 2-3 readers, especially boys.

This year I will be using the Learning Schools Model. This is a design based research approach for solving problems at a cluster, school and classroom level.

The first step of this model is the profiling of learners - which is my current priority with it being the start of the year. So far, this is the profiling I have undergone for literacy.

Reading: By week 5 all learners have been reassessed to examine the following in reading- reading level, patterns of decoding, skills in retelling and summarising, and ability to comprehend texts through inferring and finding evidence. This has been assessed through a combination of the standardised Running Records, and teacher conferencing and observations.

Writing: By week 5 all learners have been reassessed using a combination of a formal writing e-asTTle, structured writing observations evidence from learner's free writing. 

Monday, 6 February 2017

PD 2017 - Effective communication, designing real learning and humming hubs

This year is going to be a ripper!

Starting our year with a 2 day professional development and team bonding retreat, Stonefields School is ready to go. With a focus on getting to know the members of the team and key focus areas for 2017, it was a great way to get our brains active and working after a long break. I had two big takeaways from the days up there which I detail below.

Effective Communication - How are we communicating with our learners, parents, community?
Communication is key. When we communicate with our parents and community about learner progress and achievement, it is important that we are clear and concise in the ways we do this. At our PD we discussed what conversations should be a quick email, and which conversations were more personal and required a phone call or a face to face. Establishing School-Whanau relationships that feature trust and respect at their core are hugely important for accelerating student progress.

We have a no-surprises policy here at Stonefields, and keeping parents informed about how learners are going at school in a timely manner is crucial. Using frequent connects and conferences with parents, and having an open door keeps the child at the heart of the matter.

Designing Real Learning - What is 'real' learning? How can we ensure learners are truly engaged in worthwhile learning?
If the learning is not interesting, engaging or 'real' to the learner, then why would they bother trying? Our focus as teachers for the first few weeks will be about getting to know thy learner, learning what makes them tick and what learning they will find enjoyable and engaging. It is important for the hook of learning to be rich and powerful, so that learners feel that that this learning is of use, or relevance to them. To do this, gathering student voice from learners is hugely important. It is easy to jump straight into the day to day teaching, and do the lessons you had planned over the holidays - but is that being responsive to the needs and passions of our learners?