Friday, 27 May 2016

PLG - StopMotion

Today I was carrying on with my side career of becoming a movie maestro with the MDTA cohort learning the basics about Stop Motion Animation.  If you are like me and do not know what this was, here is the general idea:

"Stop motion is an animation technique that physically manipulates an object so that it appears to move on its own.  The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence."

We were tasked with creating a movie for a concept that would be beneficial for our learners so I chose to create something to help discuss the importance of collaboration when stuck with something in regards to their learning.  At Stonefields School, we are encouraged to celebrate being in the "learning pit" so used this as imagery for part of the film.

This was a great "create" task today and I got to relive some of my childhood and play with Lego for the majority of the day!  A lot of my learners already demonstrate the skill to create animations so I was grateful for the opportunity to have some time to explore this.  It speaks to the pedagogy of our cluster so it was empowering to develop these skills further in preparation for both designing future learning and getting in preparation for the upcoming Manaiakalani Film Festival.

My learners, especially the boys, enjoy using animation in literacy however I have noticed it can be quite time consuming so having a plan or goal in mind is key for undertaking this.  This was my workstation for the majority of the day:

As you could imagine, there is a lot of patience and determination required for this task but I think these are valuable skills to pass onto learners as they move through their school careers.  A break down on this one minute video meant that I spent the following time on elements of the video:

Preparation of materials - 30 minutes
Storyboarding and concept development - 45 minutes
Photography - 1 hour (I took 589 photos)
Editing - 2.5 hours

Factors to consider for next time:
  1. I would spend more time storyboarding, including the design element at the end with my editing - I am not 100% happy with the colour schemes and messages.
  2. I would pay attention to shots - I had to spend a bit of time trying to cut out my thumb in some frames.
  3. I would like to experiment more with using voice overs - I think I am still a bit shy about using my own voice in filming however I do feel that I would make more of a connection with my learners if they could hear my or their own voice in any future videos.  Upon reflection of this video, I used music to help explain the themes so learners could concentrate on watching the video and coming up with their own message (I have done two videos, one without the text to show some of my learners to get their feedback and ideas on the video.)
Here is the finished result, keen to hear your feedback and thoughts:

Friday, 20 May 2016

PLG - iMovie Rookie

Today we got to spend more time learning about iMovie.  Last week the cohort were set with a task to gather raw footage in relation to learning with the goal to create a video from today's session.

I have surprised myself with how quickly I picked up some of the skills required to edit and create films.  I have a lot more to learn but think I have made a great start into my budding side career of becoming a film maker!  Here is the video that I created from today:

I can not wait to use this tool for the design of future learning!

Friday, 13 May 2016

PLG - Explainer Videos

It was back into Friday PLG's for Term Two today and we were fortunate enough to join other teachers in the cluster for a digital immersion day at Panmure Bridge Primary School.

The focus around this day was building our understanding of the create element of our pedagogy in order to help develop this skill for our learners with their learning.

We were challenged with the following:

"How often are you including opportunities for learners to CREATE to learn?"
"Where and how could you include increased opportunities to CREATE to learn?"

For me, I want to learn more about what my learners think about what it means to them to create something and how they could learn from this.  I feel getting this insight first would really help we as a hub team think about our design of learning and how we could look to promote this more within our planning.

The remainder of the day was spent on learning to create an explainer video around our inquiries.  Please note, I am a complete rookie to movie making so the below is a great benchmark for me to explore this area of learning more and it is very timely that we are having a iMovie 101 session next week!

On reflection, here are some notes for development:

  • I need to lift my game from stick figures!
  • I should look into building my recording skills - both presenting and the audio management!
Apart from that, I am stoked to have given this a go and am looking forward to building my skills!  Great connections with how my learners may feel at times when they are challenged in their learnings.  Bring on next week!

Friday, 6 May 2016


Today I graduated and it was great to stop and reflect about the whole experience as well as celebrate the milestone itself!  I have not yet told my story about how I came to change careers to come back into teaching - I often forget that I taught English for three years and it was that experience which sparked the passion to make the decision to become a teacher again.

I enjoyed this graduation more than my previous one as I felt more connected with my cohort and it was awesome to see members of both my school and MDTA community graduate at the same ceremony.

I was fortunate enough to share the occasion with both my colleagues and my learners - I received a cake from the staff congratulating me on the achievement but what was more humbling was to have the recognition noticed by my learners who decided to make me a card and share it with me.  Very cool Hub One, you guys rock!  This gesture made me think about how I have built relationships with my learners and it made me think about how these words from Rita Pierson resonate within my personal teaching practice.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Term 2 - Looking Ahead!

"Change is inevitable, progress is optional" - Tony Robbins.

As I sit here, doing my final checks for next week, I made a note of some of the things that I am looking forward to coming this term:

Team-Teaching: my mentor and I have decided to move into a teaching partnership where we will be responsible for the design of learning and implementation together.  We are both very motivated by this change and are willing to give the unknown a go to see what we can make of it.

Term 2 Goal: I am looking to build my confidence in teaching numeracy in order to pass that confidence onto my learners.  One thing I noticed last term was that I was quite hesitant when teaching numeracy and I was not able to get into the learning pit with my learners as often as I wanted to.  Hopefully by concentrating and pushing myself to enjoy maths more, it will have the flow on effect.

Being comfortable, being uncomfortable: I laughed to myself when I heard my principal say this for the first time as this was something one of my previous leaders would say to me numerous times that I needed to find comfort in being uncomfortable.  I tend to be very task orientated and this can often be perceived as being rigid and inflexible.  What I am learning about my current teaching role is that collaboration does need to be fluid and this lends itself to having more of a growth mindset.

I have seen this video being presented a couple of times now and think it sums up how I should be approaching next term.