Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Understanding STAR and PAT data PLD

One of our school goals is to raise student reading and writing literacy levels in our junior school by the time they get to the end of year 10.  As a department, we have developed some good strategies to engage students in their learning but on reflection, we identified the need to find more effective ways to support our junior students better.  

One of the aspects that we use to know our learners is data.  Students are tested at the start of the year and again at the end and between both tests, we try our best to shift student achievement.  But just knowing the results of their tests is not enough as it limits the depth of the support that we could offer to each student who have different learning needs.  To understand how to interpret the data better and use if more effectively, I asked Mele Suipi-Latu if she could take my department through some PLD to share her learnings and research with us in order to better understand what data is important to know, what it means and how to create some actionable steps.

Below is the recording of our PLD and the powerpoint used for the presentation.

As a department we will sit down with the data and brainstorm ways we can utilise it better in our planning for teaching.  Our goal is to ensure we design differentiated tasks to suit the learners but also challenge them to shift in their achievement.  Watch this space!

Friday, 28 August 2020

"I would like to thank my laptop"

At 10.46am today, my laptop was lagging.  Here's why:

This laptop helped me connect with my students and keep my job alive as a teacher.

This laptop helped me help a colleague understand how to do something better while we waited for our students to come to online class.

This laptop helped me entertain 3 grandkids whilst my daughter was working.

Today this laptop was my best friend. Thanks buddy. You rock.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Making the learning rewindable for my year 9's

This lockdown has given me the chance to really look at how I am presenting my teaching and learning to an global online audience.  During lockdown, there are students who will come to class religiously, there are others who will pop in from time to time and then there are others that I would not see until we are physically back at school.  The importance of providing rewindable lessons for both those on and offline is imperative.

For my year 9's, I decided to first work on my teaching site. We are studying the Pacific at the moment and I created a simple front page with each lesson provided on the right. 
I decided that I wanted to have a really basic template which had LEARN, CREATE, SHARE and NEXT STEPS as a format for each lesson.  This would be a generic teaching site for all year 9's.

Next I needed to create a more specific rewindable learning site for my class with recorded lessons taken during online lessons.  Here, I would have short edited video's that students can review and reflect on related to my teaching site as well as examples of student work.  I would hope that kids who can't come to class would use these links in their own time to catch up on their learning. 
I like to press the record button when I have a hangout or an online lesson.  Not because I enjoy the sound of my own voice but because I know that many of my students will miss out some important learning and it would take the hassle out of having to repeat myself again in class.  I like the fact that usually in an online class there is an audience and they can tell me if they don't understand something or need help with any of the learning.  I will try to continue to create my lessons this way even when we are out of lockdown 3 and will check with my year 9 class online whether any of them have utilised my sites.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Connecting with Whanau in an online google hangout

One of our challenges from lockdown one was that we didn’t get a chance to connect with whanau as much as we wanted to.  This time round, we were more prepared for what to expect and wanted to connect with our whanau and families as soon as we could to see how they were doing and to share how their child's learning would continue online.  We choose the Akomanga Kaihanga class to enable this to happen and invited whanau to a google hangout earlier this week.  

We called our hui the 'Whanau Talanoa' with the main purpose to connect and hear from our kids, staff and families how lockdown learning has been for them.  Our facilitator was our DP Russell Dunn and our support staff were Whaea Kata, Karen Ferguson, Karl Bailey, Jannie Van Hees, Jay Malholtra and myself.  We had different areas to cover all linked to keeping our students and families informed about online teaching and learning.  

After Russell welcomed our attendees, one of our students Saia, led us in a karakia.  I then thanked families for their participation and feedback from our Showcase evening held recently.  I shared some of the blogposts from the students that talked about their learnings.

Russell then shared how important it was to for our students to make connections with their learning, review what they had learnt and to keep in touch through email all whilst taking care of their wellbeing.  Whaea Kata then shared that in her Health class, students were learning about gratitude.

Danielle, Siaosi and Cherry-Anne from the class then shared what they had learnt.

The classes graphics teacher Karen, then shared what the class had been up to with regard to creating a graphic novel.  She shared how students can access their learning site and where to find the resources they needed to complete their tasks set.

To give whanau a heads up as to what to expect for the rest of the year, I shared a simplified version of the year plan.  This then led into a short talanoa where parents had the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings before our closing karakia.
It was really lovely to engage with our whanau and parents.  It felt we were invited into their homes for a cup of tea and there was no stress or expectation to engage.  As a staff team, it was exciting to be connected with our students and their families online and to be able to share how learning happened in an online classroom.  During the talanoa, families shared their challenges and rewards and were thankful for the opportunity to connect.  This hui has definitely been a highlight of my lockdown to date and I look forward to connecting with our whanau more in the future.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Using MIRO to connect my year 9's to each other

We are learning about our community and as part of this, I wanted to try a mapping activity where students could point out where they lived and create a short blurb about their household.

I tried to figure out if we could insert an interactive map into MIRO that could be zoomed in and out but I couldn’t figure it out.  So I took multiple screen shots of our local area around school, and put them together in a MIRO like a jigsaw.  I then locked it in so it couldn’t be moved.  Although it took awhile to put together, I enjoyed the challenge.  

While we were on the MIRO, I encouraged the students to try and use the video chat but they didn’t appear to want which was fine.  I found zooming in and out of the MIRO awesome because zooming in allowed the students to find their street, even their house and zooming out let us see how far kids lived away from school and how near and far they were away from each other. I enjoyed seeing the kids working in MIRO in real time as their names were the cursor so I could direct them to go to the school grounds etc which was cool.  I will definitely be sharing this activity with my department and my other classes (below is a short video of me showing them what to do in the MIRO).

The completed MIRO

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Year 13's collaborating on a MIRO using the video conference tool

Our year 13's have been working in groups to collaborate over their assessment which requires them to work in groups.  We held a google hangout to connect with the class and to let them have time to work on their MIRO boards in a separate google hangout.  I asked one group to get into to their MIRO boards and start using the chat function to connect whilst I tried to create a separate google hangout for them on my calendar.  

After I created the hangout, I went into their MIRO board and noticed that one of the group had invited me to join the chat.  I accepted the invite and low and behold, I was in a video call with the team as part of the MIRO!  I did not even know there was a video chat feature available!
Me in the chat in the middle of the MIRO
The students didn't know that I had joined the video chat at first and I funnily heard one of them say to the other 'why is Ms here?' to which I laughed out loud.  When I turned my mike on, I said 'hellloooo' and there were a few gasps.  Then I told them 'someone said why is Ms on here' to which they started to blame each other for who said it.  One finally owned up saying 'I said it Ms caused we weren't prepared and only want you to see our work when finished'. 

What I noticed was that video was a lot clearer then a google hangout and we were able to work on the MIRO whilst we live chatted. It made sense to have a live video feed going whilst we were collaborating right on the document!  The students who did not come to the hangout actually turned up to the MIRO which I was surprised at.  I wondered if they did not feel comfortable or confident so I will check in with them before our next class.  So I've decided, instead of getting the students to join a google hangout first, they will go directly to their MIRO's and work collaboratively on their projects using the awesome video tool on the MIRO.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Back to lockdown learning with 9KMe Akomanga Kaihanga class

This morning I had my first online lesson with my year 9KMe class and I had 10 students join me.  I was worried that not many kids would connect and I was pleasantly surprised when they did.

I did not want to create any new learning for my kids as I know from the first lockdown, many kids weren't able to get online.  Our main focus was to connect, check-in and tidy up any work we started last week.  We agreed that we only needed to catch-up for the first half of a double period.

We started with a karakia and for our do now, we moved into a fun socrative quiz where I played the 'Eye of the Tiger' to hype up the kids and expose them to some classic old school music (check out the short clip below).  Then we went into our lesson (I have purposefully recorded the lesson this way for those who didn't make it to class).

After the socrative, I sent out a check-in survey to my kids inviting to share their thoughts about the lockdown.  Here are the results.

From the results, there are a answers that I'd expected and others which surprised me.  In our next class, we may discuss the answers further.

Understanding STAR and PAT data PLD

One of our school goals is to raise student reading and writing literacy levels in our junior school by the time they get to the end of year...