Friday, 28 October 2016

PLG - Preparation for Initial Google Class on Air

Today's session was a follow up from a Term Two PLG where we were introduced to the concept of the Manaiakalani Google Class on Air.

Today Matt Goodwin returned to give us more insight and guidance into how he had progressed throughout the year.  It was inspiring to see how he had moved from filming lessons that he was undertaking with particular reading groups to showing us how he is teaching whole class lessons.

Some of the advice shared were the following:

  • Think about how you can use screen-casting to demonstrate what the learners are accessing on their devices or through their portals.  This can also help pan out any technical issues you may receive from the filming.
  • Think about your environment - look at where you are filming.  Unfortunately windows are not your friend in regards to light.  You will also need to consider lighting if your video is showing you present off screens.
  • Feedback from viewers is that they are really interested in hearing what the learners are saying about the lessons so investing in or finding a quality way to record audio is key.  Matt suggested recording in two formats (ie, through the recording device and having a second unit close to you) may be beneficial.
  • With most lessons plans, you could be doing this over multiple days.  When you are selecting content, it may be more beneficial for viewers to pull this from either your first or second day when the concepts are fresher in the learners minds.

We have been set with the challenge creating one of these lessons for this term so the remainder of the day was spent creating the framework for how a site page looks like and then starting to plan the concept/lesson that we will teach.

I have decided to work with some of my learning with one of my reading groups, hence the exciting name above!  Stay tuned for an update in a few weeks - for those who read this regularly, try to keep me honest so I can share this :)

Friday, 21 October 2016

PLG - Visible Teaching and Learning

Today's PLG was an insightful one as it challenged my thinking as a teacher.  When designing learning, am I creating experiences that will inspire and empower my learners or am I tailoring these lessons for a style of learning which mirrors my own?  Interesting to stop and ponder on this as I feel that I am defaulting to the latter subconsciously.

The focus of today's session was to help us understand further on how visible teaching and learning could help accelerate shift.

We were fortunate to watch a short video from Chrissie Butler from Core Education where she spoke about the Universal Design for Learning and this stuck home with me.  Was I limiting my learners ability to learn by only offering them a choice of two to three resources and if I were to create more multimodal learning opportunities, how would this impact on my learners?

I particular enjoyed this next slide as it helped give me more awareness and confidence to use more resources when designing learning.

By recognising the use of texts in these different formats, I could then support learners better by offering them a choice of how they would prefer to engage with the topics.  Please note, where you see the word "text", this does not mean an actual book - it may mean a video, an audio file or an article online.

The remainder of the day was left to us to use some of this knowledge to help develop some tools that we could use for the remainder of the year or next year in some cases (check out Georgia's post about her plans for next year!).

I chose to look at some elements to my literacy programme that could open up links to other curriculum areas which again is something to aspire to.  We are focusing on reading picture books to our learners at the moment to develop their discussion skills and I was very keen to read them some stories that I read when I was their age.  I did stop here for a moment and thought about whether I was defaulting to a learning style that I enjoyed however thought that this could be the springboard to some different elements.  Here is the initial brainstorm:

Next steps is to discuss this brainstorm with my mentor and look at creating some different resources based on the feedback from that conversation.  Stay tuned for an update on how this may look - I'm pretty excited!

Friday, 14 October 2016

PLG - Coding To Game

In today's session, we got the opportunity to code.  I am a complete novice to coding - I have heard a lot about coding and the opportunities to bring those skills into the classroom.

We got an Hour of Code where we were able to code in order to create a simple game.  There were two options - a beginners version which allows users to link games similar to Lego blocks and a version that uses Javascript (similar to HTML).  Choosing to stick with the first option, I was able to create a simple game similar to Flappy Birds.  Check it out here:

The discussions that supported this week's PLG is how the skills involved in coding may be valuable for our future-focused learners.  

I have made links with coding with both numeracy and literacy skills.  Using coding to make links with planning for writing is a standout for me - I have learners who struggle with this part of the process so for them to walk through steps in order to create a game would really be insightful so watch this space!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Ten Weeks...

As I sit here, going through my plans for next week, I had to stop and think that I only have ten weeks remaining my first year as a teacher.  I remember people telling me at the beginning of the year that it was going go quick and man, it has flown!

This upcoming term is again promising to be a busy one with reporting, end of year preparations and ensuring that the kids are feeling empowered and confident for the upcoming year.  It is also a time of trepidation as I begin to think about what next year may bring.

However I need to focus on the term ahead.  Stopping this afternoon, I realised that I had gotten caught up in the routines of the school day and I was feeling a bit flat and some of the fun that I wanted to bring to my lessons everyday had been missing.  That is a challenge that I have set myself for Term 4 - to have fun with my teaching and take risks.  I had done this in the last two weeks of Term 3 when my mentor was sick - I did things that I may have been somewhat apprehensive to have tried earlier.  Where did this apprehension come from?  Was it a lack of confidence in my own practice?  Was it me having a better understanding of my learners and their capabilities?  Or was it the perception of my lessons by my colleagues?  All good points to ponder on but not dwell on.

This term's goal is about growing the assessment capability of the kids by sharing assessment data, collaborating with them on success criteria and plotting out next steps and using the appropriate tools to help stretch their learning.  This goal makes sense to me given the focus on reporting and making OTJs for end of year.  It also feels right for the kids to start looking at our tools in more detail now that they have had two terms to learn how to operate the systems.

As a cohort, we have been challenged with making more links between curriculum areas and this is something that I feel will be a constant goal as I progress in my practice.  However if I am to take risks this term, what better way to experiment with these connections and see what impacts this may have on both my practice and my learners!

Stay tuned - I have made it another mini challenge to try and blog more regularly.  I admire people like Ashley and Georgia who do this so deftly!