Friday 27 May 2016

Digital Immersion - Day #14

Today we focused on making stop motion movies. 

A stop motion movie, is where you put together HEAPS of still photos and it creates a movie.
You take a photo, move the props ever so slightly, then take another photo.. again and again and again and again.

Stages of progress
1. Create a plan - what is going to happen?
2. Create your movie set
3. Set up camera on tripod
4. Start taking photos! (Keeping in mind that each photo will show for 0.1 seconds, so take it slow and take a lot of photos!)
5. Get photos off camera, onto laptop
6. Import files into iMovie
7. Edit, add sound effects, etc.
8. Remove photos with your hand in them... (whoops!)

I had a lot of photos where my fingertips stuck into the photo, so I had to go through my movie frame by frame and delete them, like these ones... 

That took a looong time haha. And unfortunately there was a 20 seconds (ish) section where I just couldn't edit it to get my hand out, nothing worked.

The movie I chose to make was made with trains I borrowed from my nephew. It is to show students how making a simple mistake, and doing nothing about it, can make it into a HUGE mistake and sometimes, a disaster, so we should always try to fix our little mistakes before they turn into big ones.

Details of my process..
Taking photos - 30 minutes
Getting photos onto laptop - 1 hour (there was alot of photos..)
Editing - 2 hours
Total number of photos used - 708

Here it is - hope you enjoy!

Thursday 26 May 2016

Culturally responsive pedagogies (pt 3)

Another aspect of our targeted cultural teaching was in writing. Everyday, the students would 'record a bit of their life'. In this book, they could free write, sometimes about a given topic or often they were just asked to write about themselves in whatever way they chose. Sometimes students wrote poems, sometimes they just narratives but mostly recounts (e.g. on the weekend I...).

Although this might seem pointless to some of them, it was our way of trying to empower the students to see that whatever they experience in their own lives matters and has valued - and that they can be an author too!

Kordell - my birthday
It was Kordell's birthday.
How old are you going to be? 9! and I can't wait.
My nan made a cake for me and everyone and cookies for all of us. I like the cake the most.
I played tag and hide and go seek and I had fun.
I have heaps of dogs and their names are Luce and Louis and Russell and Carol and Lola and Poppet. We had a pinata. I whacked a pinata and out came chocolate.

Hope T - At my aunts house
At my auntys house i went to the movies we watched was stuart little 2 with the mum Dub the little boy and the mouse when my aunty watched it she  side that movie was funny because  when the mouse turns into a cat and the cat turns into a mouse and the food that they ate was yum because! Then we went to eat and we ate mcDonalds then we went to the zoo. It was cool we saw a boy with a super hero costume.  We took for long  and my papa was waiting for me to go home.
I got tired and it was fun.

Hiria - At morning tea
At morning tea me and my best friend hope.t we were playing tag it was great we were having fun playing tag it was amazing then she tag me then  i had   to run after her around the big play ground i go very tired then we had a long break to rest after we got back to our favourite game it was got super good. Then the bell rang after me and hope.t rushed to class fast!

When we asked the students to write about something specific, for example, an item that is important in their culture, they produced insightful work that showed they were making connections between their own lives and what we were reading/writing/discussing.

This was another way we tried to incorporate the students cultures and personal experiences into our learning everyday. We tried to make sure students understood that their culture mattered, was important, and was relevant to their everyday learning. Connections!


This week my syndicate leader talked us through PROBE assessments as we have to do them for the mid-year reports. I have never done a PROBE assessment before, and have only seen it done a couple of times before. PROBE is an assessment for reading comprehension in students. You give them a passage to read, and they have to answer questions about it to show they understand what they have read. It is scaled by reading ages, from 7-15(ish) years old. The passages get harder as the reading level increases. The questions students are asked are to test a combination of inference, vocabulary, reaction and evaluation skills. Once the test has been marked, teachers either decide students are 'at' that level of comprehension, or they need to be moved up or down a reading age level, and hence re-tested.

Talking through the assessment booklet was very beneficial, as I found there are multiple ways to do the test, (picture 1) and hence different ways to mark depending on how you administered it (picture 2). If it wasn't for the PD session, I wouldn't have known that.
In my head as I was reading through each option, I was thinking of particular students in my class who would be best suited to each type - e.g. I might try listening comprehension for my student who struggles to read because of a lack of decoding skill, but when he listens to audio versions of our school journal texts, he can answer questions about what happened and hence shows some comprehension; or I might use silent reading comprehension for my very competent readers, to test if they still have the same level of comprehension as they do when they read aloud. 

Reflecting on the PD afterwards, I found that one of the times I had seen PROBE testing done, it was not done in the right way, hence all the data collected from it was incorrect, and reflected negatively on students. It stuck me the ripple effect such a small thing can have. Even if you do the assessment, but you don't do it correctly, your data is skew, hence all reflections on student achievement are skew. So, what was the point in doing it in the first place?

The other thing that struck me was the last page in the booklet...

Teachers, even when they are assessing in the right way, going 'by the book', doing their best, can negatively impact the way the students are assessed. 
There are so many little things that can go wrong. We just need to minimise the initial drop in the water as much as possible, so we can minimise the ripple effect it has.

I will do my PROBE assessments of my class this week, and I hopefully will remember to do a reflection on how I think I went. 

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Teaching the teacher!

This week I started helping my mentor Archana build her dream site. 
We sat down together and discussed what she wanted, she made her plan and I started to guide her through making her site from scratch. 

It was very helpful for me to do this, as it consolidated knowledge that I had learnt back in Term 1 at the Manaiakalani Digital Immersion days. It is also a challenge as she has big ideas and knows what she wants, but some of those things I don't know how to do.

So to teach her, I have to first go and learn how to do it.
Which is great! It pushes me to learn beyond what I am taught, and expand my own knowledge. 

On Monday we took this screen recording and audio recording of our discussions. 

On Tuesday, Archana bought her designs and then I had to figure out how to do a photo slideshow. 
I used these instructions to guide me, and figured it out!

(Part 2 coming soon!)

Taking observation into practice

On Monday I observed our Maths PLD lady, Sue Pine, taking a group of students for instructional maths. 
She focused on teaching the group decimals - only the tenths and hundredths place values.

It was a great lesson, and I learnt a lot, particularly how to use decimats to reinforce the conversion of part-whole thinking when discussing decimal numbers. 

During our discussions afterwards, Sue reminded myself and the other teacher observing about the importance of teaching students how to be good mathematicians. The fastest person to get an answer is not the best mathematician, nor is the person who does the problem in their head. Good mathematicians share their thinking, take their time and think deeply about their problem. 

She posed the problem 7x8 to us - 
I said I would solve it by going 7x9=63 then taking away one group of 7. 
The other teacher said she would have gone 7x6 then added one. 
Sue said she would have solved it drawing an array. 
Her point was, that we need to SHOW students how to be good mathematicians. We need to remind them all the time about what that looks like.

I felt inspired! I thought to myself - my kids do this!

When I went back to my own class, I put this problem on the board. 4x6. 
Then I asked students, not "what is the answer?", but, "what are different ways we could solve this problem?"

Here is what we came up with - 

One student used repeated addition, one skip counted in 4's, another skip counted in 2's (which was actually doubling and halving), another used 4 groups of 6 as an array, another did 2x6 twice, and then I showed them how to split the array to use multiplication facts they might actually know at this age (2x3=6). 

I reminded the class what good mathematicians do 
-take their time
-think deeply about the problem
-share their ideas
-ask for help

Monday 23 May 2016

Observation today!

Today myself and Archana were observed by Anne Sinclair, one of the Manaiakalani mentors. 
It went great! It was the first observation I had where I wasn't nervous.. so yay! Slowly getting used to it I guess.

And it went great!

Here is Anne's feedback notes.

Ashley it is great to see how you and Archana are co-teaching in such a positive and affirmative way. You really do enrich each other’s practice and it is obvious in the way you share ideas and the workload and support each other. In  your reflection of the highlights of working together, you are able to articulate exactly what you give to the partnership.  Ashley you have appreciated having a sounding board for your ideas/questions and someone who is confident with PCK and someone you trust to talk to about your decisions.  Archana has recognised the expertise you bring with your digital skills to enhance the learning for your learners. You both acknowledge the relationship you have has benefitted the learner’s growth over the year.   

After you had introduced the lesson you elicited some great responses  from the learners, who had obviously read the story so could answer  your question fully. I loved the way you did not keep them on the mat for too long but got them involved in the learning quickly. They all moved off and got onto the task as you and Archana moved amongst them. It was great to see how the class worked in groups and got into the activity with lots of energy and enthusiasm. When they came back to the mat you were both sitting waiting for them and ready to proceed. I can see from my last visit how much more you are working together and having empathy for each other and the learners. The Batman and Robin routine is really evident in your practice and this only comes about through trust, respect and empathy.

By encouraging the learners to ‘talk aloud’ and share their thinking, is giving the learners more confidence and permission to participate. Reading the story to the learners and then pausing to get them to identify verbs also gave them a chance to be heard. Archana was able to clarify parts of the task as it continued and then recorded the words on the whiteboard. I can see how much easier it is to manage the class and not waste time with 2 of you. You read the story Ashley and Archana recorded the verbs, rather than you doing everything and taking much longer.  This ‘mixing it up’ also gives variety to the lesson and changes of voice for interest. The learners were so well behaved and engaged and I could see everyone involved and interested and learning! You acknowledge the learner’s contributions - ie. the learner who came in late, but immediately contributed and was acknowledged.

The learners are constantly making connections - fia fia - who stole the show? It was exciting seeing the looks on their faces when you introduced the idea of a visual dictionary. Using the verbs they learnt and having them actually act out the words while you filmed them for the digital visual dictionary. Good on you for taking a risk and trying something, which could have been potentially problematic, but it worked so well. They will never forget those verbs. The class all listened to the instructions and really participated with high excitement. I loved the way you generated such excitement without once losing control of the learning. You are going to compile the movies and put them up on the class site.
After completing the filming you then explained what they would do next. The learners went off to their groups and logged in to the site for their follow up activities. This routine is established, so they know what they do each day and they helped each other.

  • Independant follow up slides on the powerpoint, which you went through with students. Explain each slide and get one or two students to offer example answers.
  • T to send students off to work on their netbooks on follow up task.
  • T to work with students who need support.   

Good on you both for working so hard to provide such a wonderful rich learning environment in your class, which is showing how you are developing the skills of adaptive expertise. I really enjoyed my morning with you and the gorgeous learners, so well done for providing a model of co-teaching and true partnership. I should have filmed this morning so I could use it as an example for others to see. It was also great to see the next steps actioned from the feedback form last observation.  Thank you both!!!

Friday 20 May 2016

Digital Immersion - Day #13

Today at Digital Immersion we focused on using iMovie. This is a tool I have used before, and used similar programmes to it such as Movie Maker on PC, so I knew generally how to use it.
We were asked to bring in some raw footage that we could play around with, so I used footage and photos I had on my laptop from last term when my class was doing a water campaign around the school. 

I tried to do things with iMovie that I hadn't previously - using sound effects, adding music, adding transitions, adding text while the movie plays, editing such as fast forwarding and changing the volume of particular clips. 
I did learn how to use these aspects of iMovie and am more confident in using them, especially in preparation for the Manaiakalani Film Festival next term!

Enjoy my movie!

R6/T1/2016 Inquiry - Water! from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

Update on Bob!

This week I really tried to change my mindset around Bob.
Due to the success on Monday, I felt so encouraged and motivated that he could change and make huge progress.

As Bob is always saying "I don't know" to everything you ask him, I thought I needed to change my attitude from inwardly rolling my eyes and writing him off as he wasn't listening etc, to maybe he actually doesn't know... Maybe he didn't understand the language I used to explain, maybe he isn't familiar enough with the task he is supposed to do, or the tool he is supposed to use, to understand the verbal instruction given, maybe, he actually doesn't know. 

I decided to change my mindset around this particular student, and the ones who are always with him and whom show similar behaviour patterns. I was going to be more supportive, more involved, show them physically/digitally instead of just explaining with words, guide them onto the right task/tool and explain how to use it, show where to click etc, and work more closely alongside them for longer periods of time than I have previously. I also talked more with them - explained in more detail what/how to do, walked through the steps with them, talked more about the thinking we are doing and why we need to do it, how we can support each other, etc. I made deals with the students, for example if you finish two pages of writing (which I wasn't expecting) you can draw a picture of your story. 

And guess what,
it worked. 

Yes, he was not perfect. I'll be the first person to admit that. He still punched someone (only one person though, which is a decrease on his average), and he and his buddy broke a pair of school headphones in our class. He still got distracted sometimes, he still played around during mat times.
But lets keep positive - it was soooo much better than his norm.

I got him to read aloud with some degree of fluency, to write independently and of his own ideas, to collaborate and share his ideas with friends, to take turns to talk, to listen and answer questions, but most importantly for me - he finished a piece of work. More than one actually.. I don't think that happened the whole of term 1 - him actually finishing something on his own, to a standard acceptable for his age. (i.e. one sentence doesn't count as a story).

He wrote two stories - one about his birthday (a follow up from the story we read together) and one about a girl escaping a giant (a writing task using a picture prompt). He was so engaged in these tasks, knew what to do, wanted to finish the work, wanted to add his own picture to support what he had written, came up with words like 'whacked' instead of 'hit' to make his story better, helped me fix the mistakes in his story (e.g. capital letters after full stops). It was so encouraging. He definitely felt that I was making more of an effort for him, and I could feel he was more open to me and more open his learning as well. Our relationship changed for the better.

I also noticed a change in his attitude towards learning as the week progressed as well. On Tuesday, he played up during reading because he wanted to do his writing already.. By Wednesday and Thursday, he was bursting to read the story, then write about it, then draw his picture about what he wrote. He wanted to learn. He wanted to work, and he knew he could! 
He began to increase his self-efficacy, which is really what I wanted. 

This kid can work. He can read. He can write. He can listen. He can make good choices.
Now I just need to make sure he knows that, everyday. 

Thursday 19 May 2016

Culturally responsive pedagogies (pt 2)

Continuing with our cultural theme, we read other books as a class such as Selafina, and Tane steals the show, Papa's jandals and Saia and his turtle (among others). We focused for one week on each of these, dissecting them, getting fluent reading them and learning new words and about new cultures.

For guided reading, we also used stories that were based around the students cultures - Samoan, Tongan, New Zealand Maori, Niuean, etc. These can be seen in our planning here. For all of these stories, we used an audio-file as a follow up activity. This was so the students could hear the words being pronounced correctly, as well as reading them, so they got twice as much exposure to the other language.

These are some of the stories/poems we read
The Sons of Ma'afu story - Audio File
Kuri - Audio File
Poi story - Audio File
Awarua the Taniwha - Audio File
Mara (poem) - Audio File 
Te marama

In all of these, students were asked to make a personal connection to the story.  I remember one student, whilst reading the story Poi, told the group how she had made poi's with her aunty for Kapa Haka at her cousins school last year. What a rich connection! That student was then able to relate to the break-down of how to make the poi, the idea and experience of Kapa Haka and the family ties that associate with it.

We tried our best to record our discussions on our modelling books.

Finding meanings for new words in the story (This is from Kuri)

Recording questions we talked about from the story Poi.

Recording our predictions for the story Poi, based on the title and the picture on the first page.

Reading texts and discussing them in-depth provided rich conversation and allowed students to share their experiences in a safe and comfortable way. 

Monday 16 May 2016

Don't give up!

Today I had a small win with one of my students, and I'm sure I had nothing to do with it..

This particular student, let's call him Bob, is the class 'trouble' child,
(keep in mind my class is the best in the school..) 
His typical day involves not learning anything, distracting his friends, going on the wrong things on his netbook, saying 'I don't know' ten million times, picking fights at break times etc etc. 

Today though, he surprised me, nearly every minute of the day.

First block
Bob shared his thinking during shared reading by adding an adjective to a discussion about how to describe eyes. He typically does not share anything during class discussions. 
During guided reading, although he took some time to engage in a book I chose almost specifically for him, he did then engage in the discussion about the story afterwards. Which actually proves, that even though he wasn't reading along with the group, he was listening. 

Second block
Bob was with me and other students of his approximate level for writing and maths instruction. He was on task, went and showed another student how/where to get their follow up task on their netbook (a decision of his own accord, I might add).

While walking around on duty, one of my students ran up to me and told me that Bob was playing with a dead bird. I instantly thought, 'Oh Lord, here we go' and made my way over.... to find Bob, stroking an injured bird,  with the crook in his index finger, in the most gentle manner I have ever seen of a child or an adult. I picked up my jaw from the ground and just watched. He was so nurturing, so gentle. When the bird hopped away because too many were standing around, he followed it slowly and sat down and patted it once again. His friends went back to playing soccer, and he sat. Ten minutes later, it turns out he got angry at another student and almost had a fight.. Over what? the bird. The other kid wouldn't leave the little bird alone, and he was just trying to protect it. Were his actions reasonable? No, maybe no. But in principle? I couldn't be prouder.

After lunch
Bob wrote a story about the little bird (note: he has written probably five sentences with direct teacher instruction all year) and was eager to engage in the Cybersmart lesson that followed it. He managed himself on his netbook and was on task, eager to listen and learn.

Reflection time...
All I could thing all day was, how can I repeat this? What is happening, and how can I make it happen again? Was it because Bob spent the weekend with his dad, who he is never allowed to see?  Was it because he had more time directly with a teacher? Was it because his best friend was back at school after two weeks of absence? Was it because he just had a lot of sleep the night before? 

The thing is, there is no way to know. All I can do is celebrate this day, and remember what Bob CAN be like, and not give up on him when he isn't. 

Friday 13 May 2016

Digital Immersion - day 12 - Create! (post #2)

As part of our CREATE focus today, we had to create a movie of some kind explaining our teaching as inquiry, 

To create mine, I used the inspiration of RSA Animation on Youtube. I have seen these before but never thought I was good enough at drawing to make one, but I went for it anyway.

Hope you enjoy. 

The 4 minutes you got to experience, was actually half an hour of planning, 7 minutes of filming, 2 hours of trying to get the footage off my cell phone onto my laptop (what a nightmare!), ten minutes of editing and a song stolen off Youtube.
Could you tell? Hahaha. Never...

Whilst waiting for my video to upload from my phone, I had the opportunity to help some of my colleagues and friends with their movies. Turns out, I do know stuff about digital tools for teaching and learning haha.. 

Creating this video showed the process, Create-Share-Learn,  again, non-linear
 (see previous blog for more detail about this comment.)
And I actually had a lot of fun making it! Yay for trying new things..

Digital Immersion Day 12 - Create!

Today we had another Manaiakalani day, but today we shared it with all the new teachers to Manaiakalani as well. I found that awesome, as I got to work with some of my colleagues from Tamaki Primary who I normally don't. 

One of the things we discussed was the 


pedagogy that Manaiakalani holds, and in particular the CREATE part. 

We shared with our table groups our thoughts on it, and a few people seemed struck by what I had to share. I told my new friends about how during some of my planning, I realised that the lessons I wanted to do fitted better when I changed the learn-create-share pedagogy around. Some lessons started with create, some started with sharing, and finished with learning, some went back and forth and around and around. 

The point being, it is neither linear, nor cyclic. 
You don't have to do one then the other, nor do you have go 1-2-3-1-2-3 either.

It's more like a playground.. 

A playground has different types of things to do..

Things to slide, things to jump, things to climb, things to hang off of
(Things to learn, things to create, things to share)
But every time you enter that playground, you take a different path than the time before.
The experience is never the same. You don't often take the same path twice.
And when it becomes the same experience everyday, you're not really maximising your opportunity anymore and you might just need to change up your playground..

So, how will this affect my day as a teacher?

I need to loosen up a bit.. 
It is not learn-create-share. 
Learning is a playground, and I need to make the experience different for my learners every time, 

otherwise, why get on the playground in the first place?

Culturally Responsive Pedagogies (pt1 )

One major focus for my class this term has been a cultural focus.
We have read a lot of culture based books, with a learning focus on making connection with what we read, and making predictions based on titles and cover pages. 

The first story we read together was the story Watercress Tuna and the children of Champion Street, written by Patricia Grace, a very famous New Zealand author. We read the story with the students, and one of the follow ups was to listen to the Youtube clip.

Then, we used the Maori, Samoan (etc) words from the audio file, and changed them as we read the English-only physical book. This cemented our knowledge and understanding of the words from other cultures. As we read the English-only version, I would leave blank spaces while reading and the students would say the Maori/Samoan word aloud to fill in the gap e.g. I would leave out 'dance' and they would say 'kanikani'. 

Then, each student wrote their own 'page' from the book - using a cultural item from their own culture. Here is one students' writing - 

Then we made our 'pages' into real pages, and hung them up around the classroom.

Some of the students even bought in their culture item, the one the magical tuna 'gave' them, and I was able to take some photos of them so their 'page' in our class book became even more realistic!

This was a great way to kick off Term 2, and get the kids hooked into reading and writing about their own cultures!

Growth Mindsets

Today one of my students really surprised me, in both a good and a bad way.
My students were using the TOPS model to plan for their narrative writing. 
This is this particular students planning - 

Maui and the goddess of fire

Who? Maui , Mauiś grandmother , servants and Maui´s mother.
When`? Night
Where? Mahuika and Bali Mauiś Village
What happens?Maui goes to get some fire
Why ? Because they ran out of fire.
Mauiś mum told to him don't play tricks on your grandmother or she will get very fiery.
Each time when maui got a finger nail of fire he kept and flicking it into the water.
Because he flicked them the village had no fire.

Maui escaped  from his Grandmother's house.

I commented digitally on his Google Doc, and his reply made me speechless. 

He replied "Miss that's not supporting my [growth] mindset."

Some background story - towards the end of Term 1, I talked to my class about growth mindsets and asked them to point out to myself and my co-teacher if we give them feedback that doesn't support their growth mindset, to make it a joint venture and share the accountability. Feedback that supports a growth mindset focuses on the learning process and what the outcome shows the child has done or can do, rather than valuing the outcome itself. This student was right; my comment 'awesome use of keywords' was not supporting a growth mindset, as it didn't discuss the learning process itself. 

I didn't think they would actually do it.. but this student did. 

I was slightly embarrassed to be called out like that by one of my students, but in his defence, I did ask him to..

So, another example of successful building of class culture. What will be next...

Friday 6 May 2016

Digital Immersion - day 11 (not really!)

Today I skipped Digital Immersion.. for the best possible reason!
I graduated with my Bachelor of Education from the University of Auckland. 
And what a great day it was!

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Seeing results!

One of our main focuses in maths is trying to get our students to talk about their thinking and use mathematical language. 
At first Room 6 was very shy to talk about our thinking, but we practice every single day so we can get better and more confident to share our ideas.
As part of the first week of school for Term 2, we used the Youcubed week of inspirational maths programme. This was Wednesday's task. 

I showed this picture for 5 seconds only, then took it away. Then I asked the students what they saw.. most students said "dots", but Miss Ashley asked us what shape we saw the dots in.

I was trying to get us to think about how we saw the dots, how it looked in our head.

Milan was the first person to share his thinking, and he said he saw the dots in the shape of a hexagon, with one dot left in the middle. Once one person started to share their thinking, EVERYBODY started to share their thinking.

Here is how we thought about and saw the dots.


I was so proud of my class, and celebrated their teamwork and collaboration aloud over and over.
Myself and Archana have worked so hard to build up our class culture, take away the fear of making mistakes and being humiliated by the class by saying the wrong thing, supporting each other, giving each other feedback, encouraging each other to share our ideas etc.

This was such a great lesson to see in a concrete way the abstract concepts we have been trying to teach!

Yay us!