Friday, 29 July 2016

PLG - Sketchnoting

Today's PLG had us looking at sketchnoting.  For anyone like myself who is hearing this term for the first time, sketchnoting is a process when you create a personal visual story as you either listen to a speaker or read a text.

There are a number of apps that can help you with this process such as flipink (free), Paper by 53 (free) or if you feel like an expert, you can try Procreate  ($8.99 for the purchase of the app).  The cohort spent time looking into this after Dorothy shared her own experience with the process.

The implications for using this process in the design of learning are many - to begin with, this may be a great strategy for learners who process information visually to make meaning of the learning they are engaging with.  Sketchnoting also has a great connection with literacy and how learners can use visualising strategies to help them build confidence in that skill.

As always, the cohort were charged with giving sketchnoting a go with a lot of us downloading the apps and quickly getting into the process.  I have kept it old school with drawing it in a notebook but I will see if I can replicate some of my learning over onto one of the apps.  I chose to articulate my current professional goal for Term 3 so would be keen to see if people who follow this blog are able to decipher this - please feel free to comment below!

I am the first who would not call myself an artist so am keen to try this process further to help build my confidence in my art skills and I feel that it will help me with my university readings.

For those who are keen to try this out, I feel Georgia has summed it up perfectly with her sketchnote below!

Friday, 8 July 2016

PLG - Reflection and Looking Ahead

Today we were given the opportunity to look back at our first six months and reflect on the time. The task was to look at where had I come from, where am I currently sitting and where am I looking ahead for the remainder of the year.

To begin with, I thought about where I was at the end of last year:

  • I was very aware of my pedagogical content knowledge (or self-perceived lack of) and was conscious to ask questions whenever possible.
  • I had little exposure to a MLE/ILE - I spent some time in Term 4 observing at Stonefields but still did not understand the principles of how the hub actually worked.
  • What worked in my favour was that I did understand the principles of collaboration (from work experience) and felt confident enough to discuss and adopt into my teaching practice.
  • The use of the technology - I was amazed by how adept the learners were with their progressions and how they used the tools to support their learning - a lot of my questions were about how we as teachers were able to create and nurture this awareness.
  • An assumption that teaching is more on the learning in a high decile school rather than behaviour management.

Where am I currently?

I am reminding myself that this is my first year and that the management of my energy is key to maintaining elements such as passion and resilience in my teaching practice.  I am consistently being mindful of this.

I need to stop myself sometimes and reassess - I am my own worst critic so I was saying things like “I don’t feel that I have done much” however when I stopped to take stock - I have actually achieved a lot.  Another thing that I have stopped doing is comparing my experience to that of other beginning teachers.  The jumps I have made with both the use of the school systems and learning process has really helped me to develop strong relationships with both my learners and colleagues and I feel more confident coming into the back half of the year to take risks with the design of learning.

I have developed a strong relationship with my mentor teacher especially with the team teaching now and feel more confident discussing my practice with her as she can see it in action more when we are teaching.

We were asked to share a highlight of the term with our cohort - for me, I shared a couple of different areas which I had worked hard on developing. The work I am doing with my top reading group in evaluating texts with the use of Google Forms is really helping me map progress and shift in their critical thinking skills and giving more insight into other aspects of their literacy abilities. I also shared some of my own creative aspects in teaching numeracy through art.

What are the next steps for me?

  • Energy management - it is going to be a busy term with everything so making sure I am looking after myself first.
  • To get out into the other parts of the school to observe - majority of my observations have been in our cross hub team.
  • Continue to work on the consistent firm but fair mantra - the kids have such keen senses of justice and this often can be the tipping point in relationships.
  • There are relationships with some families that need to be built up for the last half of the year - again the constant and consistent messaging needs to be applied here.
  • Dial up the active reflection while in practice - I am doing this however not documenting as much and am conscious that this are key nuggets that I need to take into my future practice. Is there a way I can adopt some of the digital affordances in my own practice?
  • Continue to challenge and find the “why” in everything I design and engage with my learners.

Friday, 1 July 2016

PLG - Visit to Point England School

Today Juliana and I went to Pt England School as part of our PLG focus.  As we both teach Years 2/3, we went with the focuses on seeing the following:
  • Year 1s - seeing the level of ability our learners are coming from and how the design of learning is set at that level.
  • Year 4s - we wanted to see how the design of learning was set at this level and how we can prepare our Year 3 learners for the transition.
We were greeted by one of the most impressive assemblies that I have attended - the air of celebration was present as we watched learners get their sport awards.  We also saw a new house captain being elected which was announced with such mana!

Shortly after, we went into two Year 1 classes - these learners are adept in using Explain Everything (the app that we use in our hub) and were very keen to show us their learning.  The learners that I spent time with showed me how they use the sound bytes which their teachers record with their explanations or instructions to assist them.

After morning tea, we moved into the pavilion where we visited a Year 4 learning space - this was two classes that were merged into one with two teachers.  The learners were working through a list of activities from the week in the block called "Finishing Friday" - I helped some learners with an activity that they were working through with geometry and I got a fair few "presents" with them all keen to show me their proficiency with symmetry.  I got this awesome example from a learner who understood the concept and explained it to me very efficiently.

Both experiences have made me consider the following with my own practice:
  • How can I use digital affordances (such as the sound bytes in Explain Everything) to allow my learners more opportunities for rewindable learning?
  • Am I generating enough choice for my learners in regard to their learning?
  • How can we incorporate more opportunities to celebrate our successes in our learning?  I was blown away by the attitude of the learners at their assembly!
Such a humbling experience being welcomed into other schools in our area - I am grateful to part of a community of learning!  Thank you to all the teachers that let us come into their spaces and observe!