Friday, 25 November 2016

SPARK MIT's final hui

I cannot believe this is the final SPARK MIT16 hui. Wow time flies when you are riding the learning wave (cheesy I know).

This year has been amazing thanks to the support from SPARK and Manaiakalani. As a result of their funding I have grown as a professional, developed an inquiry that I can see building into a whole school focus and built some fantastic learning networks. I still remember feeling star-struck at our first hui because I was sitting amongst so many phenomenal educators and I could say that I knew teachers from Pt England School (had only seen their amazing work but never met any of the staff in person, until SPARK MIT16).

Today I created a ‘Thinglink’ to give you access to the different dimensions of my inquiry.
I would like to thank Lynne LeGros and the SPARK Foundation for their ongoing support this year. They are amazing people who have students at the heart of their intentions and are always willing to fund innovation and creativity to support our students. Their initiatives are based on the here and now to serve all communities...watch this space.

I would like to extend another thank you to Dorothy, Juanita and the Manaiakalani Education Trust for the opportunity to create a focussed inquiry with funded supports. As part of this programme I was funded to attend ULearn 16 and present my ignite talk which allowed me to gain recognition for my efforts and extend my personal learning networks. Thank you again.

So is SPARK MIT for you?
If you are innovative, committed to raising student achievement, open to feedback, willing to take risks and delve into the unknown… then yes this is for you. SPARK and Manaiakalani funded twelve release days so I could inquire into raising student achievement in reading. The allocation of these twelve days was flexible and allowed me to continue my inquiry whilst teaching full time. They gave me the opportunity to research the importance of oral language and gather data to drive my inquiry. Along with these funded release days I was lucky enough to meet once a term with the SPARK MIT16 group at SPARK HQ. Having the opportunity to meet with like-minded educators and bounce ideas off each other was fabulous. The feedback I received from Dorothy and Juanita was clear, constructive and well informed. I highly recommend applying for SPARK MIT17. If next year isn’t your year to inquire then keep this in mind for 2018!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Multi-modal site

Hey team

So I decided to have a crack at making a multi-modal site using the new google sites. It saves having to use HMTL code (like the original google sites) however the design is limited to one row in each partition. I used larger font sizes to make up for the blank spaces that were left under small text.

Feel free to explore this site: https://sites.google.com/haypark.school.nz/christinaf-inquiry  Any feedback would be awesome!

p.s you may need to have access to the new 'google sites' in order to view the site.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Student agency

Without fail my innovative mind kicks into gear during the last six hours of the weekend. Maybe inquisitive would be a better word to summarise the little sparks flying around in my head.

This time I have...

  • decided to revamp my class site by making the modelling books front and centre of the reading and maths pages
  • created a new weekly overview document that my students will use to plan their maths and reading lessons. They will do this by making a copy of this template each week and filling in the gaps
  • created a google slide to collect these overviews and make them accessible. Students have their own copy of this slide (SmartShare) and will link the document above to the corresponding week.  They will also note their curriculum achievement levels twice throughout the term

I hope this will help my learners understand that they can continue learning with or without the teacher around, develop a sense of ownership over the curriculum and be able to explain where they are at and their next learning steps.  

Spark MIT IGNITE presentations at uLearn16

uLearn16 provided an opportunity the Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers to present their inquiries through an IGNITE style talk. Through these talks the audience heard our key ideas, data, reflections and where to next from each of the inquiries.

I highly recommend following the other amazing Spark MIT inquiries by following this link

Here is my IGNITE presentation from uLearn.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Technology isn’t just a tool

Karen Spencer delivered an inspiring and thought provoking keynote at uLearn16. It has definitely served as a springboard for my future wonderings and was a clever ‘key note’ to start my symphony.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." - Abraham H Maslow

Karen spoke about Maslow’s Hammer and the implications it had for us as educators. That we need to understand that their is no quick fix to engaging, inspiring and motivating our learners. Viewing technology as ‘just a tool’ inhibits our ability to innovate or create opportunities for our students to succeed. Technology in this case is ‘Maslow’s Hammer’.

Viewing technology as a tool essentially leads to ‘quick fixes’. Let’s look at issues with inappropriate images. A quick fix would be to add a filtering system that removes inappropriate content. That would be great until the tags on the images change and they let a few slip through the filters. If that happens we can carefully select images for intended use and link them to a shared document. Except now the links have been updated and redirect us to the wrong sites.. and the cycle of ‘quick fixes’ continues.

John Couch referred to technology as an environment, not a tool. This is true for most of our learners who grew up with technology, it’s second nature to them. If we view technology as an environment we can do away with the quick fixes. Instead we can create ways to support and inform our learners. For example the Cybersmart curriculum empowers our learners to navigate through their environment with the smarts to keep safe.

Couch also mentioned that we should make sure classrooms are relevant, creative and challenging with an element of collaboration. We need to create creators not consumers. With this in mind we need to empower them with the skills to navigate, manipulate, innovate and create things that couldn’t be done without their natural environment. If we don’t, we may as well be teaching our learners to share their learning through morse code.




McRaney, D. (2012, March 27). Maslow's Hammer. Retrieved October 08, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-are-not-so-smart/201203/maslows-hammer

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

uLearn 16 wondering

I have just heard this...
Mindcraft is going to be one of the most powerful educational tools over the next year. 

My wondering is... is it the the game (Minecraft) that we should be using as part of learning?  I say this because I feel the game could be used incorrectly, out of context and end up with some learners purely playing a 'game'.

Should we be digging deeper and helping our learners understand how this game enables learning? Or should we be getting them to think about how they can create content on a similar platform to share their learning, teach and inspire others?

What are your thoughts?

Friday, 9 September 2016

Thank you for your generosity

Malo e lelei

I just wanted to share these DLO's made by my class to say thank you to The Cat Door Company and SureFlap. They are both amazing sponsors who helped us sort a microchip cat door for our school cat.




Friday, 2 September 2016

Spark MIT Ignite Talk for ULearn

Whooo.. I did my practice run today. Was awesome to share in front of the Ako Hiko Leaders.

What's interesting is that I practiced this talk many times and it came in under five minutes, yet during my presentation I went just over five minutes... all whilst trying to catch my breath! Even though I am a teacher, public speaking is not my forte lol!

I had some constructive feedback from the team to improve my presentation - shorten a few slides and make sure the 'oral language' stepping stone information is made clear, cull a bit here and there to allow breathing space for myself, share the link to my site.

All in all a timely experience that I can share with my class (esp as they have speeches coming up in the next couple weeks). Bring on ULearn 2016!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

LCS - how do your students use their 'share' skills?

I was lucky enough to attend the first EdChatNZ conference back in 2014. Thinking back.. I remember sitting with the secondary school students as they completed their work and hearing them talk about their learning. It was a day I will never forget because when I saw those students talking so freely about their learning, I realised they were doing something I wasn't practicing. I knew I had to put this into practice myself and really wanted to get my students to do the same. This became one of my long term goals.

Adding a little context...
Wednesday
Two of my students emailed the CatDoor Company to see if they could sponsor us to get a microchip cat door for our school cat (as it is so cold at night). On Wednesday they got a response from The CatDoor Company who have graciously given Dusky a microchip cat door, new glass window for installation and installation all for free.  

Friday
During second block one of my students had just finished presenting his learning conversation to his mum and myself (yes he was brave enough to discuss his goals etc while the rest of the class worked independently), when Grant (from The CatDoor Company) came into class to talk with him and another student. These two students beautifully handled the business proposal which they explained through learn, create, share. While this conversation was happening I had two other students sit down and join in while a few onlookers listened as they completed their work. Once the business proposal had been wrapped up, the students decided to share some of their learning.  More students lined up to share tasks they had completed, discuss the different learning tools they use and explain how they help them learn.  They had Grant's full attention for a solid fifty minutes.

This is when I stood back and realised that my students were sharing their work independently... no support from me... without me... wait, without me?  Did someone say student agency!?!

YAY! I had achieved my goal.  My learners were sharing their learning by choice.  They had their own motivations, tools and ability to share. My reflection: it was a transformation over time, not a change that happened.  Change is a quick switch that can be CTRL-Z'd just like that, whereas transformation is a process where skills and learning is built upon. That is how I achieved my goal. After seeing my students respond so well to having Grant in the class my new goal is to invite in more experts into the classroom.  Either through social media or in person.  I really need to give them more authentic learning experiences where they can utilise their 'share' skills and reflect on them for improvement.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Effective Feedback

As always I make sure my learners understand what feedback is, how it helps them with their learning, how to act on it and model how they can provide effective feedback to their peers.  On Tuesday I was trying to locate a 'jump jam' presentation in 'my drive'.  As I was struggling to find it and nearing 'throwing the towel in', one of my students came up from behind me and kindly whispered 'Miss Fortes, it's on our Daily Dig.  Remember you told us we can always find things on there.  Now you have to do it too'. I praised this student as it was timely feedback because while I was trying to find the presentation, most of my class were talking, moving around and restless (who can blame them... their teacher was not prepared).

Then I addressed the class about my expectations around them waiting patiently, showing the Hay Park Way and being respectful learners. I also let them know that I was not impressed with the noise level and number of people walking about. After bringing everything to a halt I then started the first jump jam video.  As the class actively participated in the jump jam I had two of the boys approach me.

Student 1: (nudges student 2) Go on, say it..
Students 2: Oh, Miss Fortes?  Ummm...
Me:  Yes?
Student 2: Oh, you weren't explicitly clear about the instructions.
Me: What do you mean?
Student 2:  You didn't tell us explicitly what you wanted us to do
Me: Are you sure?  I told everyone to find a spot?
Student 1: Uh yes but you didn't be explicit and tell us to sit down or be quiet as well.
Me: (lightbulb moment) Ohhhhh I see.  Yes you are absolutely correct.  I will apologise to everyone and let them know that I was running off the assumption that you could all read my mind
All: (giggles)

This has to be one of my proudest moments to date... getting feedback from my Year 4 students and knowing that they feel comfortable enough to take the risk and correct their teacher.  O for Owsum!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Another time to reflect...

I mean, Another time opportunity to reflect..

My class responded well to using screencastify as a reflection tool. In this context I have defined 'reflection tool' as a tool that is used to record active refection as well as a tool to capture learning, which is then listened to and reflected upon. I have found that using screencastify seemed to reignite the enthusiasm around active reflection.  With this in mind I decided to enhance the opportunities to reflect by creating a QR Code Challenge.

This challenge included the use of GAFE tools such as google presentations, google spreadsheets, google drawing, screencastify and QR Codes.  There was also a slight hint of gamification as students had the opportunity to earn a digital badge upon completion of the challenge.

Where does reflection tie into this challenge?
The challenges were based on reflection.  Each challenge had a few bullet points or key ideas to reflect on.  These reflections were recorded using screencastify which was access via a QR code (also created by students).

Instead of reading about me babbling on about this task, have a look through the QR Code challenge I created.  Feel free to post any feedback or questions below.

Update
Here are two student blogs with their 'QR Code Master' badges displayed at the top
Raymond: hpsraymondt.blogspot.co.nz
Gargee: hpsgargeej.blogspot.co.nz 



Saturday, 4 June 2016

SparkMIT Mind Map

As part of my inquiry I wanted to create a Samoan Language resource that would help my target students progress at a normal rate towards the National Standard in reading.  I havebeen thinking about my innovation and am trying to find a starting point, but I can't.  So I have brainstormed a quick pro's and con's mindmap for two things I have in mind.



I really want to create a Google Site but I'm not sure about the formatting and time needed to create it.  Although I do want to use the 'voice-over' approach that I tested on my class site earlier this year. It would be nice to have a welcome on each page that automatically plays.  That is something I can't do that on a blog. I would really like it to be fun and entertaining with a slight hint of gamification but I have no idea about how to do that.  I suspect there would a lot of coding involved??  Eeeek!

At the moment I am leaning towards a google site. . . watch this space!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

SAMR

I am currently sitting in a room of likeminded educators listening to Dr Reuben Puentedura (the creator of the SAMR model.



Watch this space...

Monday, 23 May 2016

Helping parents comment on blogs

Hi everyone. I've found that a few families have had issues commenting on my class blog. I've updated my settings and made a quick screencastify that shows them how to comment on a blog. I have posted this to my class blog for all to access.

In this screencastify you will also see a 'robot' prompt pop up prior to publishing the comment. This could be a little tricky for parents to navigate. So I modelled what to do by running through the commenting process with my class (I did this by browsing 'incognito') Now they can help anyone who may come across this at home (this can be seen at the end of my screencastify).
Setoga Class: Week 4: How to comment on a blog: Hi everyone.  Welcome back to another exciting week of learning in Setoga class.  This is a brief screencastify that shows you how to commen...

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A time to refect...

Throughout term one I encouraged student reflection using a range of approaches.  Some examples are reflection dice, socrative quick questions and the exit ticktets, learning conferences with my students, posing reflective questions during group work, think alouds etc.

However I felt that is was starting to become slightly monotonous.  More of a chore than an active state of critical thinking to improve learning outcomes. So what did I do?  I switched it up and turned to my new buddy Screencastify (sometimes pronounced Screencastifly - so cute!).  However, I didn't come up with this idea by myself.  It was one of my students who had decided to record himself reflecting on the self-assessment of his writing.  He said it 'helped him to feel good and that it would be evidence for Miss Fortes if she doesn't think that he has self-asssessed because some people just make it colourful and pretty but don't know why'

Cue in Screencastify.  We have started using screencastify to assist us as a reflective tool where they would record themselves reflecting on a particular task and paste it into their document.  This allowed them to revisit their reflections, gave me an insight to what they understood and still found tricky as well as helping others who weren't sure what to do.

Prior to recording their ideas the student's were asked to write their reflections.  The differentiated aspect to this task was that my students who struggled to type their ideas were only required to record them orally.  Yes to some 'typing and recording orally' may seem pointless, a double up and a waste of time. However writing their reflections helped them keep track of what they were saying.  As some students read out their reflections their auto response was to explain some vague points they had identified only from reading it aloud.  Boom!  Reflecting on learning whilst reflecting in the moment.

Here is a snippet of how it looked in a document.



Sunday, 15 May 2016

SparkMIT Reflection on my inquiry

Firstly my apologies for neglecting to post regularly about my inquiry journey.  I will add a few screenshots of the innovations I have tried so far (I have given myself until the end of Wednesday to do this).  I'm super excited about sharing these snippets of my journey so we can see the progress in real time and I can get some feedback or tips from everyone else.  Why I didn't think of this earlier is a mystery!  Actually I did think about it, I just haven't done it.  Second time lucky.

Another successful day with the SparkMIT crew.  We discussed the SAMR model and how it relates to our inquiries as well as sharing the progress we have made so far.

Quick recap
My innovation is a resource site that students could go to, to develop their vocabulary skills thus improving comprehension and fluency in reading.  My target group is Year 4 and 5 Samoan students but the innovation is purposed to serve all learners far and wide.


Purpose
To acclerate learning in reading.  It will have student and teacher made resources purposed to develop vocabulary and evaluation of a text.  Data from reading assessments (probe) has highlighted these are areas of need.   Students will be creating resources as research shows the learning experience is enhanced when it occurs between students ie students learn more effectively from each other.  What better way to engage our aiga [family] than to have their own child's voice, pictures and learning in video form?  I would love to hear if you have any other suggestions for aiga engagement.


Challenges
Three key students have transferred away from my school. They were students who had entered into a digital classroom directly from Samoa.  Even though they have left, it has been a great reminder that my innovation will be a resource for all students to access.'

I added a new page to my class site focussing on the digital literacy aspect of 'metaliteracy' . This was a trial where I was going to add screencastifies created by students and myself.  They would be serve as 'go to' video that help students and parents understand how to use their chromebooks and apps, hopefully building vocabulary around our devices.  This was a challenge because of time.  I also became preoccupied with adding a voice over to my class site.

Time.. time..... time!


Successes... Challenging Successes
Power of conversation.  Discussing my innovation with colleagues and getting feedback from them has been fantastic.  With my digital literacy page a colleague reminded me about the importance of the 'why'.  Making sure that the videos explained why we use such apps or chromebooks.  How they help us on our learn, create, share journey.   At present the videos are basic step by step instructions.
I am a Term 2 flyer.  This time last year is I was panicked, believed students shouldn't blog until Year 5 and running substitution tasks day in and day out.  By the end of the year I had been accepted to participate as part of the SparkMIT group, had a fully fledged class site that was being used as a model, presented my own toolkit and had a class of Year 3/4 students with their own individual blogs. So with this in mind, I have a really positive outlook on Term 2.


Where to next?
I really want my innovation to be easily adapted into everyday planning.  There are so many innovative ideas I came across at the GAFE summit but finding the time to impliment them has been diffiuclt.  With this in mind, I want to streamline my innovation to work alongside the teacher.  I hope to do this by making it responsive to reading texts.  For example finding a way to enable my innovation to develop vocabulary, comprehension and fluency based on articles sourced from Kiwi Kids News.  These articles are free to access and have a generally wide range of engaging topics.



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Measuring for Success - Springboard Trust

Yesterday I had the privilege of listening to Dr Cathy Wylie (NZCER's Chief Researcher) and Mike Bazett (KPMG). Two question they addressed were
  • How do you know you are achieveing?
  • Are you collecting the right information?
Here are my top takeaways
The importance of using objective and subjective data. Subjective data alongside objective data can provide indicators of success and provide a warning when needed. Cathy Wylie likened this to the formative student data (student voice, student engagement data) and school culture data. These need to be valued and monitored closely as they will effectively be our indicators that will serve as evidence of our success or alert us to the ‘cliff’ if need be. By cliff, I am alluding to a downward spiral or decrease in effectiveness of strategies etc.

Mike made it explicitly clear that our measures need to be fit for purpose. We need to make sure we measure what counts. Don’t focus on the HOW. Unpack the WHAT and used this develop a shared clarity and language to get everyone on board.  This reminded me of my first Spark MIT meeting where Dorothy and Juanita really helped me unpack my inquiry allowing me to pinpoint the data I need to collect and utilise.

When dealing with external stakeholders it is vital to engage others and getting a common language. This is something that needs to be strengthened between the board, and parents. I say these two groups because us teachers are in between and have the liberty of decoding and unpacking what each party is thinking. However our parents can often become disconnected to the board, with their only means of communication being through newsletters etc which often come from the Principal.  This is something to keep in mind when developing my shared innovation.  It needs to embrace a shared language between the school and whanau whilst strengthening this language between our learners and their whanau.

With any strategies in school, keep them simple and understand what you need to change. This will keep measure simple and effective.


Monday, 28 March 2016

SparkMIT Focus group and data

Focus group:
Year 4 and 5 students identified as Samoan.

Control group:  
This year's Year 5 students (who initially went 1:1 chromebooks with me last year).  I have chosen to have a control group as it will increase the validity of my data by minimising the opportunity for people to question any successes and link them to my teaching style and not my innovation. For instance if the data shows evidence of progress within my focus group, I could use my control group as comparative data to support the effectiveness of my innovation.

Priority learners are groups of students who have been identified as historically not experiencing success in the New Zealand schooling system. These include many
Māori and Pacific learners, those from low socio-economic backgrounds, and
students with special education needs.             ERO (August 2012)


We have Ka Hikitia as effective strategies to enable and assist our Maori learners, which we have seen has an impact on all learners.  The Pasifika Education Plan (PEP) works to address achievement, participation and engagement of our Pasifika learners.  I want to peel back the layers and focus on our Samoan learners. I've tried to capture these layers in a simple mindmap made via bubbl.us  


Data:
Data collected 2015 Term 1 and Term 4.  Endpoint data collected 2016 from Term 1 and Term 4. Supporting OTJ’s used to identify movement across the entire cohort.

Baseline Data:2015 Reading and Writing Achievement levels (Year 3-4 Samoan Students)
Baseline Data

Student
names
Year 3 2015

Student
names


CONTROL GROUP
Year 4 2015
Term 1
Term 4
EOY
Writing
Term 1
Term 4
EOY
Writing
Reading
OTJ
Writing
Sub-level
Reading
OTJ
Writing
Sub-level
Sub level
Movement
Reading
OTJ
Writing
Sub-level
Reading
OTJ
Writing
Sub-level
Sub level
Movement
HPS A
AT
1A
ABOVE
3B
4
HPS G
BELOW
1A
AT
2P
2
HPS B
BELOW
1P
ABOVE
1A
1
HPS H
BELOW
1P
AT
2P
3
HPS C
BELOW
1A
AT
2A
3
HPS I
BELOW
2B
AT
2P
1
HPS D
BELOW
1P
AT
2B
2
HPS J
BELOW
2B
AT
2A
2
HPS E
BELOW
1P
AT
2B
2
HPS K
BELOW
1P
AT
2B
2
HPS F
BELOW
1A
ABOVE
2B
1
HPS L*
n/a
n/a
WB
1B
n/a






HPS M*
WB
1B
AT
2P
4






HPS N
BELOW
1A
AT
2A
3






HPS O
BELOW
1P
AT
2P
3
*  students entered NZ directly from Samoa

This is baseline data I have collected for reading and writing. However my innovation will be centered around reading. It would be a bonus to see if there is any correlation between accelerated progress in reading and their writing (for this particular group). I am still refining the data and analysing the specifics. For example, this baseline data doesn't highlight vocabulary as needing improvement. I'll post about this again at a later date.

References
Ka Hikitia Documents
http://www.education.govt.nz/ministry-of-education/overall-strategies-and-policies/the-maori-
education-strategy-ka-hikitia-accelerating-success-20132017/
Education Review Office, 2012
http://www.ero.govt.nz/publications/evaluation-at-a-glance-priority-learners-in-new-zealand-
schools/background/