Sunday, 29 March 2020

Online Teaching and Learning #1: First few days in Lockdown

Getting ready for lockdown 

When we went into lockdown, there was like a short amount of time to get ourselves sorted, both staff and students.  On the Monday of the lockdown week , I spoke to my seniors about the fact that we will be learning online and not to freak out.  For my year 13's, I spent a whole double period just answering any questions or worries that were top of their minds.  For both my year 12's and 13's, we tried out a hangout meet in our classroom.  They found it strange and were quite shy at first but a test run was a good way to gage how it look and feel.

Trying the hangout in class

Getting our teaching sites ready

The main platform our Social Science department chose to use to connect with our learners were calendars and sites.  I had oversight of our department and took on the job of checking for consistency and accessibility.  In our department we don't have individual teachers sites as such, but a one stop shop website that functions as a centralised hub.  On the landing page, each of the senior subject branches off into it's own specific site.  From those sites, each teacher is in charge of the functionality of that site.    Each landing page has an introduction to the course, calendar, assessment information and a year planner.  

Social Science landing page

For the juniors, I designed a landing page for each tutor class for ease of finding their work.  The aim was to have a centralised place where kids could see a tracking sheet of their work and blogs.

1st days of teaching online:

For the seniors, I had on average 7 students which was great.  Most of them just used the chat function to communicate which I found strange as I felt like I was talking to myself.

For my year 9 class, we had 14 students in the hangout with our project leader Karl and our student support Mr Dunn.  The challenge for this class was to figure out how to continue to work on our projects and in their groups in lockdown.  This is something I want to think about over the next few weeks.  I enjoyed teaching this class and the highlights were discussing what Covid-19 meant to them, Nevaeh asking to use the bathroom and Mathew multi-tasking feeding his baby brother.  I’m really looking forward to ‘hanging’ out with my kids online!

Mr Dunn showing us how flash the internet is
Mathew feeding his little brother

Monday, 16 March 2020

9AK #5: Staff supporting student projects

There are five project groups collaborating on various project based issues in our 9AK class.  They are making steady progress towards completing the planning for actions, although the challenge has been spending enough time with each group to support them better.

Today, we were blessed with 5 staff in the room who stayed to support a group.  They were Ms Lote-Fepuleai their English teacher, Karl their Project leader, Mr Dunn our DP/Project supporter, Dr Jannie Van Hees and myself.

After an introduction, each group got on with their projects.  Each staff member aligned themselves with a group and the project leaders shared with the staff their projects.

The one on one interactions between the staff and project groups helped the students feel connected to the bigger picture of how important their projects are.  I hope that we can get this opportunity again.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

TAI2020 WFRC Inquiry question and task #2: Collaborate

Inquiry question and task #2: 

Will my inquiry make a contribution to the wider school and cluster goals?

My task was to collaborate with my school's leadership team and colleagues to identify areas where my inquiry will make a powerful contribution to the wider school and cluster goals.

My Inquiry focus for 2020:
Does project based collaborative ways of learning in a Talanoa environment make the difference in the learning journey of our kids?  

At this stage, ‘Making a difference’ relates to:
  • Raising achievement in PAT reading or asttle writing
  • Wondering if kids can learn in an environment where Talanoa is prevalent and at the forefront of the teaching and learning?  Compared to other year 9 classes, will it help raise achievement in reading and writing?  How can I support the lower ability students whilst engaging and enriching the learning for others?
Specific Outcomes:
  • A ‘framework’ for collaboration between teachers
  • A ‘framework’ for success in collaboration between students
  • A positive shift in achievement data related to PAT or asttle writing
Wider school goals: 
  • School goal:  Focus on school goal #2, raising the literacy levels of our junior students (see specifics here).
Cluster wide goals: 
  • Manaiakalani Achievement Challenges
  • Challenges identified by Woolf Fisher at our cluster wide meeting specifically reading (please see blogpost #)

Through formal and informal discussions, I have talked to the following people:

My school’s leadership team: 
  • The SLT (Senior Leadership team).  
    • Vision is to see the collaboration as supporting our schools goals.  
    • ‘What kind of support is needed to ensure this succeeds?’.  
    • Connecting with the families from the beginning is key
  • Heads of Department (related to curriculum).
    • What does this look like in our subject area?
    • How would we support our teachers who are part of the class
    • Share your learnings - good and bad
  • Teachers in my department
    • How much more work is required?
    • Can it work in my classroom? Strategies and tasks that you can see works.
    • We would like support in how to scaffold collaborative groups because we don’t do it enough.
  • Teachers from other curriculum areas
    • I can see the value in working across curriculum areas.  How would assessments and reporting on the class look?
    • Sharing ‘knowing the learner’ in a consistent centralised place important
    • There seems to be a lot of time and planning going into this but we haven’t really heard much about the class, please share more about who they are and what they are doing.
  • Literacy experts: Dr Jannie Van Hees
    • This is an ‘Action Research’.  As the participant, you are essentially inquiring as you go (refer to blogposts # and #)
    • Narrow your focus to think about it in two parts: A community of learning and a community of learners.  A group of teachers who are trying to cohese and a group of learners.  You would make a bigger impact.
    • Manageability is important.
  • MIT teacher from the cluster
    • How are the year 9’s managing the changes in teaching and learning?
    • From your findings, I’d like information on how we can work together better to support our year 8’s going to T.C
  • Colleagues who are supporting the learning of the project based class.
    • Community Activist 
      • How will you sustain and maintain engagement within the groups without losing them?
      • What limitations are there with regards to timetable for example, if we want kids to really utilise their time around projects?
      • Kath Murdoch’s ‘The Power of Inquiry’ inquiry learning cycle may be good to scaffold students in their groups.
      • Co-design is important to enable students and stakeholders to work together.
    • MOE Principal Advisor Secondary 
      • Keep making the main thing the main thing
      • How do we make sure the learners do not miss out on key learnings required in the curriculum?
    • MOE Lead Adviser - CoL
      • How will you measure the success of the programme?
      • Think about using the ‘Key Competencies’ and how different capabilities come across different areas of the curriculum.
I have found discussing my inquiry has helped me shape it better and think about the pros and cons of where I am going.  

Saturday, 14 March 2020

9AK #4: Studio ONE: A day to reconnect with student projects

On the 11th of March, our 9AK class spent the day working on the first of their planning and presenting days for the term.  We called this day 'Studio #ONE'.  The purpose of the day was as follows:
  • Reconnect as a whole to the purpose, direction and emergence of Akomanga Kaihanga 
  • Provide space for and support for teams to help them work well together
  • Review data and progress prototypes
  • Receive feedback and take prototypes to next stage from guests and community
  • Plan and set up the next sprint success
  • Teams leaved excited, resourced, motivated, and clear 
The space provided a good opportunity for students to work on their projects and to prepare to present to an audience after lunch.  Karl started the day with a reminder on where they were at and what they needed to do get to.  For an hour students had to plan for their presentations, figure out who was doing what job and practice standing at the front sharing their projects.

After morning tea, the boys had the chance to bond with each other by waking to the top of Mt Wellington whilst the girls visited a number of places around Panmure.  Although I really wanted to run to the top of Mt Wellington with the boys, I reluctantly stayed with the girls and the first place we visited was the Peace Experiment Montessori Education School across the road from the library.  We met with the principal Steven Arnold who kindly showed us around the school.  The girls were amazed with the freedom the students had, who could choose what they wanted to learn and when they wanted to learn it.

The next place we visited was the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board office.  Here were we treated to a tour by the lovely receptionists and the girls enjoyed being in the boardroom and having a chance to debate Covid-19 (please see the video below for part of the debate).  

The boys rejoined the girls to meet at the Panmure Community Hall, where we were greeted by the Hall Manager Boaz Moala, who gave us an opportunity to explore the Hall and imagine redesigning the space.  We were lucky to have the chance to see the hall in it's entirety, even the small rooms that had been locked away for years. 
This is the just-before-lunch-I'm-hungry look.
After being treated to a delicious lunch supplied by Josie and her team, students went straight into the presentation part of the day.  Students had to present to invited guests who ranged from Mr Dunn our DP and staff (their P.E and Health teachers) to community activists and business people.  The guests went from group to group to hear their pitch and to provide constructive feedback.  Students who were not presenting were also given the chance to ask questions to each presenter, which meant the presenters needed to be thinking on their feet and ready to provide answers.  Overall the day was really good in providing students an insight into what the end of the project presentations would look like.  The skills and capabilities that students learnt on this day will definitely allow them to grow and enhance those skills moving forward. 

Thursday, 5 March 2020

9AK #3: Planning and Scrums video

To help students understand their project groups, they took part in agile project based learning.  This model was introduced by Karl during the 2 day marae noho at the beginning of the year and I was interested in how it would support the groups in  getting their actions completed in their project groups.

Each group has a 'scrum' and they needed to take part in a 'sprint' which was like an intense, high pressure , where they complete any tasks on their backlog list to do.

On the video it shows the following:
  • Students listening to the instructions.  
  • They led some of the discussions.  
  • They modelled to each other what to do. 
Here is a video showing students at work.  In my observations, I am able to see which groups found the teacher instructions useful and followed the tasks set and whether the modelling the students did also supported their learning.

TAI2020: Thinking about PAT reading across the cluster

During one of our staff meetings, our DP Russell shared the highlights from our recent PAT tests. held in the junior school.

One of the highlights was that the juniors were extremely well behaved and took the tests seriously.  Getting them to that point took lots of organising and preparation because in the past, their poor results were a reflection of the students' negative attitudes towards the testing.

A key message that was shared from Woolf Fisher was that  support was needed in reading for year 8 students heading into year 9.   What would that support look like?  And how can we at the college better collaborate with teachers or educators at year 8 to enable this support.  (I also wondered if I could use this as a reason to justify the need for my inquiry)
A new term that I've learnt is 'High Level Practice'.  I want to look at how I can incorporate the 5 HLP's into my inquiry so I can explore whether they would work within my project based class.

After reading through the powerpoint, I also decided to have a look back at the 'Manaiakalani Data Sense making shared document' to see what strategies and suggestions were discussed when Woolf Fisher had shared their data findings earlier in the year. 

One of the suggestions was to 'Identify teachers who had high shift, find out what made the shift'. This will be on my 'to do' list.  I liked reading about what worked at our different primary schools and I wondered if there was one that they (or most of them) used that worked.  I'm also interested in how to have regular interrogations of the data.  I think my next steps would be to figure out what's on top with regards to managing my inquiry.

(I made the cut on Russell's ppt)

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