Saturday, 15 September 2018

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 8)

As a class we have been really focusing on writing and what good writers do, explaining and modelling the planning stage, how to write good introductions for recounts, and how to check your work after you have written as well.

Here are some samples of the students writing that I AM SO PROUD OF! 

Paul - Remember that Paul is an ESOL student who has been in New Zealand for little over 1 calendar year. These stories he writes by himself either by typing, or using voice typing. He learnt how to voice type from Kian who uses it 100% of the time.

Paul's recount about the museum - 
On Wednesday 12th of September 2018 room 5, 6, 7 and 8 from Tamaki Primary School went to the museum. We went to the museum because we learn about natural disasters.

First we did the roll and Miss Ashley say to us “choose your own groups”. Then we went to the hall and Mrs Fepuleai told us if there's something inside you're not allowed to touch and keep your feet mouth and hands to yourself .

Then we went to the bus. When we were at the museum we have morning tea then we went inside then we put our bag away back away. The man come and told us the rules.

Then we went to the volcano room and we saw some volcano rocks. Then we went to a room and we watch a video. The room was shaking then the light was going off. It was noisy because the children was in there screaming and we just stay at the volcano room. Then we went back in the elevator and we had lunch and played games and we went to the bus and we came back to Tamaki Primary at 1.30. We arrived at 2pm.

Paul's recount about Tongan language week- 
“Yay! It’s wednesday 5th of september 2018, it’s tongan language week I think it’s gonna be the best day ever because this my first time in my life playing, Tongan games.

Tolo pato
The game that i played was the Tolo pato the goal that i have to do is to dodge the ball, if you get hit from the ball im out if i'm out  i have to until the game finish. When i played this game i was playing with my friend Havea and Leon
“I asked Havea what game is this”
“Havea said it’s dodgeball”
When i was playing i was so confused because their were to side were the three taggers.

Fusi Maea
It is just like tiger war The game works you get to team the other team is going to be your rivals.We had a countdown from 3 2 1 they started pulling it was Dyzon, George and me in one team and lopi, sonny and saia.It was almost a draw and the rope was so stretching that it felt like we were pulling someone body apart.

Kian - for context, Kian uses voice typing to record his ideas. He is incredibly slow at typing and hand writing so he gets frustrated and/or takes so long to record one idea he has forgotten the rest of his story by then. Using voice typing has afforded him to write ALL his ideas down. Instead of writing 1 sentence of his own ideas, he can write 1 page. I highly recommend voice typing, particularly for building confidence in writing.
Voice typing is amazing, however we are still working on editing the writing after he has voice typed it. Sometimes it has recorded a wrong word and sometimes he talks so fast it misses words out.

Kian's recount about making a tent at school -
I told Paula to push the metal pole into the hole and he did it and then I did the next one and then we put up the tent. We were almost done and then we put that cover over and we pigs on it and then put the blue pollen and then we finished that one. When you finish putting up the tent we then the tent with only box and Mr rusty right about what we did and how we put it up. I did most of the tent because everyone else was playing inside the tent and me Paula and Isaiah were doing the tent as I help me put the poles in and Paula we put over the second half of the tent. I like putting up the tent because it's a really good thing cuz you are learning how to put up a tent and other people are showing you how to put up a tent. I break into because it's fun and it's really good cuz other people can learn how to make a tent. I did the most stuff on the team because everyone else was playing in the tent and me and Isaia we're doing the most work.

Kian's Tongan language week recount -

On Wednesday the 5th of September we did Tongan gamesAnd this is at Tamaki Primary School I was in the tug of war and I lost but in the next round I won and then I went to the next game which is called the sack race and I came second and then I didn't play anymore games and I just went on the Park.

Ryan - Ryan doesn't usually write about what everybody else is writing about, even if it is a recount about something we all just experienced together. I am happy for him to write about whatever he wants, as long as he writes something. When he writes, he usually listens to music as he claims this helps him concentrate. I have tried many times to get him to write without the music, and it just does not happen. So, music it is. I would rather he listened to music and did some work, then didn't listen to music and did nothing.

Ryan's story - The true heart

On 4 april on a tuesday 2007 i slowly walked to the bakery for a tea when suddenly saw a bright light across my table, a beautiful women with a hat, a book and a star shaped phone, i was shy to go over and talk to her but i was in barasat to do it.
I was just rubbing my eyes then she disappeared in the distance away. When i stood up i ran over to that table and she literally left her book there.
I lift up the book and there was her phone, i was wondering where she has went.
I pressed a button and a alarm went off so iv checked what itis.
She was going to the subway to catch a train, i ran and ran and ran and saw that bright light again so i looked around but there she is,
Just walked to her and gave her book and and phone then she looked up and said
“Your the guy that was across my table at the bakery”
“yes it's me” i replied to her
“so you have chased me this whole time, that's sweet, thanks.”
I had to say something to you, when i first saw your blue eyes you felt special to me, you shine like a thousand sapphires in the sky. Your like a diamond on my hand and there's one thing missing,
(i love you)
She hugs me and gives me a fast kiss before she hopped on the train.

...The end...

Overall comments
Can we just appreciate how good all 3 of their introductions are? I taught them that a good introduction should have what, who, when, where, why and how. If you go back and look at each story, you can see them trying to include these things. I am also so impressed that they are attempting to use dialogue, attempting (sometimes successfully) to use paragraphs. For Paul he still needs a lot of support to construct his story and sort of 'get the words' into his head before he can write them down but that is part of his participation and contribution, that he shares his ideas with others and makes an orally planned story before getting to the writing part. Kian uses voice typing which is amazing and has grown his confidence so much!. As I said earlier, we still need to work on the editing part but that's okay. He is using digital affordances to help him manage himself and his own learning, so its a win from me. Ryan doing any writing at all is a huge win, because in order to do so he needs to be in a good place and be able to manage himself. In his writing you can see dialogue (used correctly when there are 2+ speakers) and even some language features. Very impressed with all three boys!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Cynthia Greenleaf PD - Argumentation vs. persuasion

Link to evidence/reasoning about slides 11 and 12.

Link to group norms about discussions, and refining those norms.

Thinks to think about...
- layering - there was a picture on slide 11 and a text on slide 12. Did using both of these allow people to feel they had enough to go from?
- there is a difference between argumentation and persuasion
- if you are trying argumentation and students don't have anything to share, consider the resources that were given and if they were enough for students to access the situation.
- before starting the activity, Cynthia told us to "pay attention to something somebody else said that made you think" - that was there is no pressure to say something you thought of, but you still have a voice.
- consider how you are asking students to discuss (i.e. padlet is anonymous, this is both a good and bad thing).
- give students sentence starters (where is your evidence for that, did you consider, did anyone notice that)

Friday, 7 September 2018

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 7)

CoL Update
This week has been crazy as it was Tongan language week, however a couple key things I can talk about are 1) my first social story and 2) moving up reading levels.

Social stories are something I learnt about from Donna Ryan  at a PD session a while ago. The PD session was about visual aids in the classroom, but she mentioned social stories because they are visual aids to help children understand what to do in a social situation. They can be made about ANYTHING. The one I felt was necessary to make was 'how to sit on the mat', as Ryan often struggles to do this in what could be called the 'expected' way. 

I explained to my class that I wanted them to pose for pictures and not to worry about why, so they were happy to do so. (Thank you 10 year old photographer!)

Then I made the social story.

It was simple and easy to make, and I kept the 'instruction-ey' part simple. The pictures show what the words describe. 
My plan is to give this to Ryan during mat time to help him remember what he should be doing and manage himself. I find that I am almost constantly asking him to turn around, sit down, face the front etc. 
Don't get me wrong - I understand and acknowledge that sometimes he isn't able and ready to do these things and that is okay. But sometimes he is ready and able, so needs a gentle reminder. 

Also because I am aware of the social precariousness of 10 year old boys, I have made 5 copies of this social story and will give them to anybody who needs a reminder. That way Ryan doesn't feel targeted or picked on in any way. I will only give it to students when they need a reminder - not giving it to them straight away and assuming they won't/can't do it. Only when they need it.

Another highlight of this week was that I rejigged my reading boxes. I have these tubs to store colour-wheel level books for Paul and Kian (and another ESOL student who I have mentioned a couple times). Previously, these started at Level 9-10 (blue) and went through to Level 21-22 (Gold). I finally decided that if Kian is going to move I kinda have to force him. Due to his learning differences, he has been sitting around levels 10-15 for the past few years. He moves up, slides backwards over the holidays, moves up again, slides backwards, etc etc. He is currently reading Orange books (Level 15-16) with me at 'guided' level, and was reading level 9-14 for independent reading. However, he wasn't really doing any independent reading. The books that go home come back unread and he refuses (due to confidence) to read to anybody but me or Paul in class. Hence, I got rid of the level 9-14 tubs and he is now going to only be reading orange or higher. There are a mixture of types of books to give variety (and level of complexity, as PM books and sunshine books are different even though they are graded at the same level). I really want to challenge him and build his confidence so he can and will read these books. He is capable of it and I want him to see that. When I explained that I was going to get rid of the blue/green books and he was only going to read orange, he didn't really care. So no opposition! 

I put in Level 23-26 books with the spare 2 containers I know have. Even though I only moved Paul a few weeks ago onto Level 21, he can pretty much read them first time, independently, so hence I am not challenging him enough. 
Paul (and the other ESOL student) read with me both together and separately, and they will read to and with other students as well. They get a lot of mileage because of this. 
For Paul, this participation and contribution, and be willing to work with others in different ways and in different contexts has really accelerated his learning. 

Friday, 31 August 2018

Response to reading: "Digital Text is Changing How Kids Read—Just Not in the Way That You Think"

Key parts for me - 

Key points. 
  1. Students reading online is more taxing and is different. Not better or worse, but a different set of skills, or rather, a more fast-paced set of skills is required. Readers are bombarded with ads, links, pictures, text that they are trying to read and text that is distracting, all at the same time. No wonder they can get distracted. 
  2. Children need to be taught how to read online as well as in books. If this reading and decision making process is faster and different, we can't expect them to read the same way. We need to explicitly teach how to make these decisions, how to know if i am reading the right thing, should move on, should skip a paragraph, should click that link over there... 
  3. Attention spans are shorter. I can definitely see that,  in adults around me more so than my 10 year olds. We grew up with screens as new and exciting, so always want the digital stimulation it brings. Not many 20 somethings I know can sit and read a paperback for more than about 10 minutes. And yet... those same people I am thinking about who can't deal with life without technology, also get bored of it because they churn through so much content there's nothing new anymore. 
  4. Reading as decoding and making meaning occurs in both worlds, what is difference is the depth of that meaning. Reading is reading. Do you know what these words are saying? Then you are reading. But reading online, so it seems, demands less in-depth thought and analysis of what is being read. 

Response to reading: "Why kids should keep using their fingers to do math"

Link to article

This is SOOOO true. I have seen and heard teachers growl students for using their fingers in maths (yes, even in recent times) and felt horrified.
I am a 23 year old, grown adult... and I count on my fingers. I use them all the time. And personally, actively encourage my students to do so as well.

With the numeracy project came this structure -

Which says that when teaching new concepts, you should start using materials, and when students are ready move to imaging (no materials, or using materials but only looking at them and not moving them around), then once they got that, move onto no materials at all.
With this, came this idea that if you had to use your fingers to count, you were imaging (using materials to help you). Which sure, fingers do kinda count as a material as you aren't doing the math in your head). Hence, using your fingers in maths was actively discouraged and became almost taboo to some teachers.
For me, it depends how you are using your fingers.
If you are using them to count to 10, you are COUNTING.
If you are using them to help you keep track while you skip count in 5's to figure out 9x5, you are TRACKING. 
To me these are completely different things. 

Without using their fingers some students can't keep track of the maths they are doing in their heads.
For example with my current students, those who haven't memorised their times tables use their fingers to track how many skip counts they have done. 
E.g. 9x5 would sound like 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and one finger would go up for each number they said. If they didn't have the 9 fingers up, they would have already forgotten how many times they skip counted, or not known to stop at 9 and kept counting till 100.

Using their fingers helps them keep track of mental maths.
And we should let them do it!

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 6).

This week has been really interesting, and again another week where I haven't been in class for a full 5 days (CRT on Friday). 

Ryan has had awesome days and terrible days. Last week I gave all my students 'spots' or desks to sit in instead of letting them sit wherever they wanted, as they weren't being responsible and looking after classroom equipment (including Netbooks). Ryan took his spot and really made it his own. He bought over the labelled container he keeps all his stuff in, started putting things in his desk, set up three walls around him and decorated them with his own work/books (including moving the teaching station to make his third wall). This has worked really well for him, and I am so impressed that he has taken his 'spot' in a positive way and made it his own. I took this photo of him one day when I randomly noticed he was wearing the ear muffs (something we have tried/failed at many times) and was quietly working away. 

Paul really surprised me again one day when during a DMIC session, he said to his group "I know it, I'll do it", and took the piece of paper and solved the problem. For context, the boy sitting next to him is the top maths student in the class, and yet Paul is the one who solved it. I love that because his friend is giving him the chance to succeed and lead, even though he could have solved it himself. This boy (the friend) understands what I have been trying to do with him, and is trying to do the same. I also LOVE IT because he is leading and participating and contributing in a maths lesson, without ANY teacher input. 
Side note - he also got it right (adding fractions with different denominators - BOOYAH!)
He then later tried to help other groups explain their maths thinking because he understood it and others didn't.. He wanted to get up in front of the class and explain where somebody else had gone wrong in their maths thinking. AMAZING.

Another time, I was working with a group of about 10 boys on an inquiry task. The task was a group task to sort (compare and contrast) different natural disasters - there was no reading and writing involved, only sorting and explaining/justifying. In the video (although you can't see their faces so you might not notice), both Paul and Kian ask for a picture in the beginning, then discuss with their friends where it should go and why. 

I find that with Kian and Paul, they are more involved with group/whole class tasks when they don't involve reading and writing. This makes sense, as they are both lower (ability wise) than the rest of the class and know it, so are scared to make mistakes or say something silly. To try and get them to participate, I think reading the text with them before hand or giving them a different text (in groups), so then they could access the information without feeling awkward, shy or scared.

Response to reading: What kinds of activities are common among teenagers who work well with others

Link to article

Statement 1: This makes a lot of sense to me, because when students are doing physical activity, they are usually doing it together. The very act of playing a game of rugby or soccer (or whatever else) demands children to negotiate, collaboration, make decisions, play against a agreed set of rules, often being their own referees and captains. They are building social skills while doing the physical activity.. so is this causation or coalition?

Statement 2: The article talks about students who played games at home scored less on the collaboration part of the test. I don't know if my own experience agrees with that, as when students are playing games at home, they are often either
1) playing alongside a family member who they take turns and give/receive guidance from
2) playing alone, but on an online platform in a team where they must collaborate with people from across the world.
Yes, maybe they score worse on the PISA test, but surely they are still developing some collaborative skill, possibly in a way that the test didn't detect?
I think that there are different kinds of collaboration and each can't be measured using the same ruler.

This makes total sense to me. Even if it was not directly what they were measuring, a positive impact still occurs. Feelings are hard to measure with a standardised test. 

Statement 3: They are talking about feelings in this statement, not directly ability to collaborate. However, having positive feelings towards those you are collaborating with is hugely important. 

Learning Difference Workshop - The University of Auckland - Part 3

Developmental dyspraxia & sensory processing
by Emma Ratcliff from Kidz Therapy.

Developmental coordination disorder = dyspraxia.
It’s about organisation and coordination, not just letters/numbers.

Dyspraxis is about - Idea of what it is I need to do, planning to do something, and execution of that plan.

Children with dyspraxia can hop, skip, and jump separately when asked. But if you ask them to hop, skip and jump one after the other straight away, they might not get it right or do it in the right order. Things they could do yesterday, they can’t do today. They can struggle to transfer skills or knowledge to new areas or join them together.

In the brain, the neurons don’t stay connected as they would in a non-dyzbraxic brain. That’s why kids can do something one day, and not the next. The best way to make the connection stick and grow is to be happy – the chemicals behind being happy anyway.
It’s like having to learn how to drive the car, EVERY TIME THEY GET IN. The brain doesn’t remember what to do.
Therefore, everything is hard, no matter how many times they have done that task.

 This shows as...

How can we give these children a positive learning experience, without being too soft on them?­­

Learning Difference Workshop - The University of Auckland - Part 2

“I thought I was dumb Miss” – Marie Kelly from Kidz Therapy.

DSM5 – “specific learning disorder”

Dys/dis words – disorganised, disliked, disabled as well as dyslexic, dyspraxia, dyscalulia etc.
It has a negative connotation no matter what your intention.

Dyslexia is not the same as dyspraxia (etc) but usually parts of all ‘dys’s are present.

Wechsler scale of intelligence of children (hard to read so here's a better one).

Cognitive ability
1. Working memory is important.
say it forward – 56398 – rote learning.
Now saw it backward… who could do it? Who could do it if you were looking at the numbers written?
Now put these numbers in order –

2. Processing speed –
Even routine things like copying from the board, they get it wrong.

How to help?
Text to speech
Voice typing
Google read and write

Pictures from slideshow.

how does it feel to be dyslexic?  

Kids can’t win--- they can’t follow 10 instructions at once so they ask their friends for help, then get told off for talking.

Research later.
CALL SCOTLAND apps for Dyslexia

Reading assessments recommended for students with Dyslexia
Joy Alcot’ spelling??
Lucid screening test.
Writing sample.
South Australian spelling test or Peters.

Books recommended by Marie

The following 2 pictures I took because they resonated strongly with a student of mine who I suspect has dyslexia.

And another 2 books she recommended. The '100 ideas' one was REALLY good and has lots of beginners tips.