Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Things to celebrate during lockdown learning

During this lockdown period, my planning has had to get a little creative to stay interesting and interactive for students. After nearly 8 weeks of video-call and email contact only with my kids, I'm glad to say the relationship I have with students is doing well. Some of them I see and talk to for at least 3 hours everyday, and some I haven't spoken to at all. That's just the way it is.. 

There has been a lot to celebrate. 
My students have blogged more than ever before. 
This is partly due to the fact things I would have preferred to do in a book (especially maths), are now being done online. Time that would have been spent doing more tactile or physical things (such as art, PE, programmes running within the school etc), are now being filled with digital-based learning. Another reason is because I have broken my planning up into more bite-sized pieces (so less of a mental load for students), so these can be blogged bit by bit rather than one big thing at the end of the project. 

They have made some really cool CREATE tasks. 
For various lessons, students have had to make things. Not all the kids make it every time, some never make anything. But the things I am getting back, are really awesome. 

One student's pancake tutorial (was related to an instructional writing task)

Same task - different child.

Same task, different child again.

For their technology project, they were asked to make something 'steampunk' inspired. 
One kid made a rocket-pack out of stuff she found at home.

For reading, we have been looking at various texts related to WW1 (prompted by ANZAC day of course). After learning about trenches/tunnels/no man's land/aerial attacks/ceasefires etc, one child, completely unprompted, made his own version of the Western Front in a game he likes to play. He built trenches, put up blockades in no man's land, put in tanks etc. He even tried to build tunnels underneath no man's land, but was limited by the games formatting so couldn't finish this. 
I was blown away, and as a class we spent ages playing Combat in his Western Front arena. 

Some students, via online-learning, have 100% attendance and 100% work completion. 
Which is crazy, considering there is no way for me to make them to any of it. If they choose not to come online that day, I can't do anything about it. I can't magically turn their computer on and make them talk to me. I can't make them complete the task, blog it and share their blog in the submission form. They are just doing that on their own. It's been awesome.

We have found ways to help each other out and make it work.
Where normally, I would have drawn a picture on the whiteboard or sat down next to a student and written something on their maths book, we have had to get creative. 
A lot of the time, it looked like me working out the problem on a piece of paper, then holding up that piece up paper to my laptop camera for the kid to see how to solve it.. not ideal but it worked. Just took a long time.. 
Later I figured out how to share an online-whiteboard with the kids so they could work together to draw/whatever to solve a hard problem. This evolved further into having individual whiteboards for certain kids, because kid A wouldn't stop drawing on kids B's work, or maybe kid C was 5 questions ahead of kids A and B and couldn't concentrate with the others talking. 
Having individual whiteboards worked really well for the kids - gave them space and time to work things out, but was really hard for me to manage (trying to be on 10 whiteboards at the same time, all the kids at different points solving different questions). 
But, it was better than nothing. 

Friday, 6 September 2019

DMIC Lessons Week 8

This week we had two lessons - one on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday, where both groups (each group is half the class) solved  the same problem on each day.

I mixed up the groupings so they were very mixed and students were grouped with people they aren't normally with. While the first group solved the problem, the first group worked independently on skills-based basic facts drills/practising, and then they swapped. Not following the DMIC protocol, I didn't get the first group to share back before inviting the second group down. So the first group solved it (didn't share back), then the second group solved the problem, then ALL the children sat together and we took turns to present together.
I was really pleased with how this maths went this week, as it got more complex each day and most of the class was able to grasp the big ideas that were being presented to them.

My personal goal was to facilitate more discussion/practise with the small group before they got up to present, so that their presentation went better and I didn't have to intervene while they presented.
On Tuesday, only one group presented and then I facilitated the second headphones price with the whole class (this was due to time constraints).

On Wednesday, a different group shared each of the four 'shops' price solutions then I lead a discussion about how percentages/fractions are the same (half is 50%, quarter 25%, etc) and students could understand what I was talking about.

Overall I was really pleased with how changing the groups, and only sharing back once at the end (when both halves of the class solved the same problem). I found the discussion was a lot easier because we weren't limited by the number of kids, kids confidence levels, spoken English ability (or lack of), etc. It ran much smoother.

This was Tuesday's question -
"Miss Ashley is buying a fathers day present for her dad. She looks at two headphones at different shops. The first headphones are $19.99 with 15% off, and the second are $24.99 with 25% off. Which will be cheaper?"

 This was Wednesdays question
Miss Ashley is looking to buy a new TV for her house. She went to different stores, but needs help to figure out which is the best deal. 
The Warehouse has a TV for $199.99 and has ¼  off the price. Noel Leeming has a TV for $199.99 with 20% off. Harvey Norman has one for $229.99 with half off. An online store has a TV for $249.99 with 30% off. 

Which one will be the cheapest and by how much?

Our solving/sharing together..

Finding 10% first, then halving it to get 5%. Then subtracting to get the sale price.

Rounding to the nearest whole number to make it easier for themselves.

Students were able to use place value knowledge to find quarter - they knew quarter of 20 was 5, so they knew that quarter of 200 was 50.

Three lots of 10% makes 30%. Then subtracting to get sale price.

two lots of 10% makes 20%. Then subtracting to get the sale price of $160.

Using place value to find half. 

Difference between most expensive TV and cheapest TV.

Monday, 2 September 2019

PB4L Conference - Takeaways

For teachers/readers of this blog, I understand that reading notes from a conference when you weren't there, usually makes absolutely no sense at all. So here are a few things you can take away and use straight away, without any context..
  1. Read this article about anxiety in children. It is a real, on-going issue with serious consequences for children that affect them daily. We should all be conscious of childhood anxiety and depression. See my notes about it here. 
  2. Sparklers  - pre-made activities to help facilitate social and emotional development of children "Sparklers is a free wellbeing toolkit full of fun and simple activities to help tamariki learn about their own mental health and wellbeing. Sparklers actively teaches tamariki how to manage big emotions, draw upon their strengths, connect with others and be ready for learning."
  3. I didn't get this link from this conference, but I still have the tab open and its awesome, so will share it anyway. Really cool digital art activities.
  4. This image and its explanation are probably the most fundamental mind-shift from this conference. Read more here.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

PB4L Conference - Workshop - "Using PB4L SW to support students who are chronically anxious"

High levels of chronic anxiety among children and young people have been shown to have a detrimental effect on both learning and social behaviour. This workshop looks at the effects of anxiety on students’ neurophysiology, and the role anxiety plays in maintaining challenging behaviour. It will also examine the practical challenges of supporting anxious children in schools and suggest ways in which PB4L School-Wide systems and practices can be used to improve outcomes for these students; to facilitate learning, reduce challenging behaviour and build resilience. FACILITATORS: John Ford and Leah Vennell, PB4L School-Wide Practitioners

What does anxiety look like for students?
- crying
- anger
- sore tummy
- defiance/non-compliance
- work avoidance
- don't want to come to school
- isolating themselves
- self harm

What sets them off? (What are the triggers)
- public speaking
- change of routines
- family expectations and personal expectations
- own self-efficacy
- home life/trauma
These can be historically or contextually driven.

Kids have differing levels of resilience as well...

3 key contentions..
1. NZ has high levels of chronic anxiety
2. Anxiety have impacts on learning and behaviour-  Rewards can be punishments, and punishments can be rewards when you are anxious.
3. Good implementation of PB4L Tier 1 can help reduce anxiety as it is routine driven.

What must the world look like for this to be a rewarding option? (from the anxious child's point of view).

Make things predictable. 
- use visual timetable on whiteboard
- explain to kids if something might change and why
- restate PB4L expectations
- set and follow routines (PE on Monday, assembly every Friday, eat morning tea sitting here etc).

Give kids control (or at least a sense of it)
- give them the opportunity to take a break (hand up if you need a 1 minute break etc).

The dentist example

PB4L Conference - Keynote/Workshop - Nathan Wallis

Introducing the Structure of your Brain
You will learn about the structure of your brain and how this impacts on everything you say and do. To understand how this structure comes about means re-examining your early life and the first 1000 days.

Working with the Adolescent Brain/ Learning in the Brain
During adolescence part of your teenage brain “shuts for renovations”. This is the part of the brain responsible for controlling the teenager’s moods, for understanding consequences and for thinking about the well-being of others. So whilst you can’t expect lots of those behaviours during adolescence, there are ways that you can enhance and maximise the times when they can. We will also look at what learning looks like in the brain and how your practice can work with or against it.

During the teenage years, children's amygdala doesn't work as an adults does, so they would see these 6 faces differently than an adult would. They would see the first one as neutral, and the other 5 as angry. Clearly to an adult that is not true, but that's how the adolescent brain sees it. This is the cause of most teenager/parent conflict. The teenager perceives anger where it might not be a reality, they respond with anger or defiance, the parent blames the grumpy teenager, etc.

Interesting to learn about the affects of alcohol and marijuana on the teenage brain. 
Marijuana has no permanent affect on the adult brain if taken as an adult - if taken as a teenager, it can cause their IQ to drop by 8 points. That is the only long-term impact. The other thing about weed is that it has NO causal relationships in research (meaning there is no research that proves smoking weed causes depression, causes anxiety, causes whatever. no research whatsoever). There are correlations, such as between depression and smoking weed. However studies have found that in fact, the opposite is true. People who are already depressed are more likely to smoke weed because they want to soothe their depression. But again, weed didn't cause that depression. 

Nathan said that 100% of all money spent on alcohol is caused by teenage drinking. For example police call outs, prison sentences, domestic abuse etc, is not caused by the permanent affects of alcohol on the adult brain. In fact, it is caused by damage done to the teenage brain by alcohol. He also said that the modern adult male brain can take up to 8 units of alcohol per hour without doing any permanent damage to the brain. Women have a lower tolerance, presumably because men have been drinking larger amounts of alcohol for a far longer period of time (thousands of years), so have developed the receptors for it that women have not. 

NZs binge drinking culture is largely to blame. In France, the number of drinks a person can have in one night before considered by their peers to have gone to far, is 3. In NZ, its 13. Thats crazy! 

Watch this for a short version of this talk - 

Nathan Wallis - The Development of the Teenage Brain from Hagley College on Vimeo.

PB4L Conference - Keynote - Sonja MacFarlane

Dr Sonja Lee Macfarlane Associate Professor, University of Canterbury Positive education for learning: Te pikinga ake o te mātauranga
The phrase ‘positive behaviour for learning’ conjures up notions of happiness, success, fun, and wellbeing – all of which are the types of educational experiences and outcomes that families want for their children. As the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, many Māori would argue that education settings must create learning cultures that foster these positive notions, and not be bereft of the cultural values that resonate for Māori. Māori children come into this world adorned with gifts and potential; qualities that are handed down to them by their ancestors. It is incumbent upon adults who are responsible for their care to provide contexts for engagement and learning that enable a strong sense of self-worth, belonging and identity to flourish. It is argued that education settings must reflect the notion that everyone belongs, everyone has a place, everyone has a voice, everyone has aspirations, and everyone can contribute. This requires educators to minimise and/or remove any potential and actual barriers that might obstruct this vision so that positive behaviour, and a positive sense of self are able to flourish. This presentation will explore notions of ‘positive education for learning’ from a kaupapa Māori position.

Masons 3 goals

  • to live as Maori
  • to actively participate as citizens of the world
  • To enjoy good health and a high standard a living
Pastoral care is so important. 

Look up - 
Ministry of Education Wellbeing guidelines - green book - need to review as a school. 
 - te huia grid by Sonja

Think about how are we implementing ToW principles (partnership etc) in everyday school culture?

Sonja shared her new frameworks..


find later 
 - te huia grid
poutama #1 (He poutama tino rangatiratanga) - what it might look like
poutama #2 - what it might feel like
poutama #3 - 

PB4L Conference 2019 - Keynote - George Sugai

School Climate, Culture, & Local Context: Catch ‘em at the Door
Interest in the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of students, educators, and family members has grown internationally. As a result, attention on understanding and improving school and classroom climate and student and educator relationships has increased. The purpose of this presentation is to highlight the importance of tiered systems of support, like PB4L, in contributing to teaching and learning environments that are respectful, responsible, and safe and develop positive supportive relationships and academic and social behavior success for all students.

Why PB4L in 2019?

When we have all this...
Sometimes it looks a bit like this..

And it needs to be decluttered. PB4L is a framework to simplify all these.

Message 1) 
Kids need to feel safe in order to live.. but this is not an accident, it is purposeful school actions that make kids feel safe.

Can every single kid in our school identify an adult or another student who they can talk to and feel safe with? 

Message 2)
Kids are more likely to be in schools with lower rates of bullying, if they have a adult to talk to. 

PB4l teaches positive relationships building. That, reduces bullying. 

Message 3) 
Kids come to school with risk factors. We can't take them away, but we can encourage 'protective factors'. PB4L encourages all of these.

What is PB4L?

If adults are not doing the systems, students can not do the practises. 

You can't have practises without the continuum, and you can't have the continuum without the framework. If you implement practises into a continuum, and that continuum sits within a framework, it will work. 

1) Outcomes are the starting point for the implementation of the framework. 
2) next is data. is this needed? where/how/how often/what are they trying to achieve? what would you have them do instead?
3) practises.  align practises with desired outcomes.
4) what can adults do to deliver the intervention?


If you are doing PB4L well, you will have...


If you want 5) to happen, you have to deliver 4) correctly. However, 4) won't be effective if 3) is not happening. Kids need to respect and respond to you. You can't do 3) if you don't do 2). you have to engage them and get to know them. Your school systems (1) need to be set up in a way that 2, 3, 4 and 5 can happen. If 1) is not happening, the rest won't be effective. 
Essentially, all of this is about developing positive school climate. 

School climate is perception based. 
Note: always need to check that what you want people to see/feel is what they are feeling/seeing. Check you are all aligned. 

In order to improve outcomes for students, time needs to be spent with adults. The teachers and adults within the school, the systems adults do need to be effective.

The work the adults need to do...
Integration of initiatives such as restorative practise under the PB4l umbrella. Any initiative that you are doing needs to be under the PB4L umbrella (E.g. bullying programmes, mana enhancement etc).

"Local content expertise" refers to someone in the school that knows how to implement PB4L. 

As you move "up" the triangle (into tier 2/3), you need more data, more time spent teaching kids, more adults on board to implement systems, etc. MORE, not less. 

Tier 3 is not a solid triangle. It is many, individualised plans for individual students based on their needs. 

There are NO Tier 2 or Tier 3 students. There are students with tier 2 NEEDS> 

We all need tier 3 support in certain areas. 
Activity - write what you need minimal support with, medium support and high need. 

Example of the tier 2 intervention as intensified Tier 1 - alarm clock in the morning is tier 1. two or three alarms is tier 2, asking your partner to wake you up after you sleep through all 3 alarms is tier 3.