Friday, 25 October 2019

Intervention #3: Talking the Learning vs Writing the Learning

How do 'Bills become laws in New Zealand: Banning Plastic Bags'.  

The objective of this lesson was to reinforce some new terminology using our ‘slowing down the learning technique’ and to deep dive into unfamiliar text.  I hoped that students would be used to this technique and would respond to instructions faster.
Lesson structure:
1.  Introduce the concepts through think, pair, share.
2.  Watch video on the P.M's decision to ban plastic bags.
3.  Read article together through deep diving on the N.Z parliament site.
4.  Discuss blogpost assessment to show their understanding.

Actual lesson 
I feel that students responded well to our first part of the lesson that focused on knowing key concepts as they've come to expect that when I say we are talking our learning today, they engage and energise their brains.

In depth 'Albert Einstein' Reflections
(As I write this, I am listening to John Lennon, Imagine...😳😂)
When it comes to my teaching, the more I do slow down the learning and deep dive into text, the easier it gets.  I am sharing with kids the process of thinking about their thinking and in turn I am thinking about my teaching.  The pace and timing of my lesson is more intentional which I am becoming more comfortable with - I am not expecting much writing to show their learning, but we are talking and listening to our learning which is pretty awesome.  In saying that, my levels of tolerance for 'learning talk' has increased - I'm not really asking for quiet if I know kids want to talk more about a topic.  I feel like I'm giving them a bit more permission to inquiry into why things are they way they are rather then scooting over an issue.  The offset of this is that we aren't spending much (or enough) time on writing.  I wonder, no actually I know that this might effect their writing in Social Studies because when would I have time to teach them how to write when they are deep diving?  I think about the original intention of my inquiry, which was to enhance their writing, was one that needed more deliberate planning and scaffolding related to the specifics of the 'teaching of writing', something that I know I'm not an expert at.  I've found that to get kids to write well, they need to understand what they are writing.  Kids are showing their understanding better, but are not necessarily 'writing' better...hmm, back to the drawing board!

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Presenting at the New Zealand Social Sciences Conference 2019

This week, I was invited to present at our annual Social Sciences Conference (SOCCON) which was held this year at the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre.  The theme of my presentation was 'Teaching as Inquiry in a Junior Social Science classroom' and it was a 30 minute brilliant burst.  I choose this theme because at conferences in the past, I have not seen or heard much about inquiry and this has been focus for me.  I wanted to share my journey in understanding the impact of my practice on my learners.
I was nervous because it is hard to gage why people are there so I first asked them to share in groups their understanding of inquiry and what it looked like to them.  I then defined my understanding so they could see where I was at, then proceeded to share some of my findings and reflections.

I explained the Manaiakalani kaupapa and how it had guided my inquiry to where I felt confident to describe my learnings as a teacher in the kahui ako.  I also explored the idea of being open and transparent as it supported others who may have the same challenges.  As the workshop progressed, I grew more and more at ease with the flow of the presentation and choose to have time at the end of the session for people to talk and ask questions.

At the end of the session, a number of people came up to thank me and one particular teacher, Sarah from Naenae College in Wellington said I was doing exactly what she was doing except her focus was on reading rather then writing!  She said she was so happy to find someone else who was doing something similar and we exchanged email addresses and said we would share resources.  Another colleague of mine from Mangere College tagged me in a facebook post which was really encouraging.  I enjoyed the chance to share my journey and look forward to doing it again.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

"Teaching as Inquiry" in a Junior Social Science classroom: SOCCON 2019

Talofa Lava everyone,
Here is my presentation for my talk today.  Please feel free to like, comment or email me at:!
Malo Soifua,

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