Thursday, 1 February 2018

Effective Mentoring with Phil Spriggs

I sat down to write a quick reflection on our workshop today but for some reason, my fingers had a mind of their own. They ended up writing an opening blog post for 2018 on oral language. Crazy.

So I've quickly recorded a couple take-aways from today's session, including my goal. Yes, if you listen to this you will see that I forgot my goal. However, I put that down to me not referring to my notes.

Opening Post 2018

Wow, we are 18 years into the 21st Century. The demand for innovation, creative thinking and student agency is at an all-time high. I believe opportunities for rich discussions underpin the ability to develop higher order thinking skills that enable the effective use of such a skill set.

The way we use oral language in the classroom is more than shared news or a timetabled block to answer questions from the teacher. In its early stages, it involves planned discussions where students have the opportunity to speak their mind, have their views respected, built upon and challenged. It's important to step back and let those silent moments shine in all their awkward glory, breaking the stigma 'silence' meaning you are dumb. Those 'brain fart' moments need to be embraced and seen as opportunities to connect and flesh out ideas.

Facilitating such discussions can be difficult. We need to let go of the reigns and allow the students to direct the discussion. How can we plan for something so broad? We can generate a big idea to be discussed or better still, co-construct it with our students. Provide a variety of resources (multi-modal) that can be easily accessed, be prepared to challenge views through effective questions and openly accept that we won't know all the answers.

I must acknowledge that my understanding of oral language continues to be disrupted and reshaped alongside Jacinta Oldehaver and her research into Effective Dialogic Practices in the classroom. So watch this space!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Connect Four - STOP.... sharing time!

Kia Orana. I am currently sitting amongst an amazing group of educators here at Waikowhai Primary School for our Ako Hiko Cluster meeting. Our task today is to connect four... yes, as in the game connect four but better!

Below you will see my 'Connect Four' game board. It's a simple, straightforward and easy way to collect evidence and build your presence online as a connected learning educator.

How to play
After participating in one of the tasks, you add a link to evidence of the task then shade in the box. Once you have 'connected four' you win, start your winning streak. By winning streak I mean that you 'connect four' and win. Then the OCD teacher in you makes you want to connect five, six... nine until you just want to complete the board.. or is that just me?

The world of 'sharing' 
Sharing online is like going for a swim at the beach. It's a place where you can easily sit back and admire the ocean of knowledge. Sometimes we get really comfortable and just sit there without getting in. Yet we are more than happy to help ourselves to the abundance of resources.

Personally, I walk into the ocean and go through stages of breathlessness and fear as the water rises. Prior to completely submerging I usually go through a split second of anger when people think splashing me will help me get in faster. In all honesty, the splashing works. Whether you're just the 'dip your toes in' kind of person or the 'fast walk and plunge' type, this game board is the splash you need to get yourself out there sharing your work.

It is a fantastic way share your learning online without that daunting feeling. Before you know it, sharing becomes second nature.

Thank you to Gerhard for sharing this with us today and thank you to Mark and the team for creating this board and giving me the splash I needed to get back into it.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Reflection sheet

Hello everyone. Haven't shared in a while.

This is a reflection sheet I have created to help students record evidence of any learning done using online learning tools eg Reading Eggspress, Prototec or Mathletics.

Feel free to use, ignore or give feedback

Have a happy week nine!

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 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!

Sunday, 30 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:  Any feedback would be awesome!

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

Sunday, 9 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.