Monday, 20 June 2016

Integration success!

Today Anne Sinclair from Manaiakalani came to observe Archana and I. 
We chose to do an integrated literacy and numeracy lesson around fruit kebabs.

First students watched a video about how to make a fruit kebab. 
Then they had to tell us (the teachers) how to make the fruit kebab - the aim was to speak in full sentences, use text connectives like 'next, first, then, after', and use specific verbs. 
It was hilarious! The kids loved having the control over us and telling us what to do. They started off with things like 'pick it up', 'put it on', etc. So we played along and were silly with them, doing the wrong things, in the wrong order etc. Then Archana and I role played being on the phone to each other, and explaining the process to each other. We used the phone example because students would understand that we can't see each other and can't physically help each other, you can only use words, so you have to be careful and specific about what you say. We followed on with a sequencing activity, then introduced our maths focus, where students had to find out how many pieces of each type of fruit we would need, for the whole class to make a kebab each. 
After Anne left, we also then made real kebabs!

Here is Anne's feedback - 

The class are really responsive to both of you as co-teachers and you have set a really inclusive atmosphere. It is a happy and comfortable classroom, where there is evidence of respect and wanting to learn. After the roll the learners went quickly to their tables and listened/viewed the video through headphones and their chromebooks (as data projector broken). You are very relaxed Ashley and it shows in the way you interact with the learners. You know them well and you and Archana are working as a pair, so they are getting two sets of ideas, two sets of instructions, two sets of explanations, two sets of directions and two sets of feedback and support. I like the way you made the create real and then did a role play with the learners, pretending you did not know how to make a fruit kebab. The pretend conversation on the phone was such a good motivation to make them think more deeply on giving instructions. They were so excited to give you the directions.

Getting them to talk to each other and run through the steps with a partner also consolidated the learning for them and when they explained to you it was fun making the connections with real descriptive words - stab the fruit, grab a stick, what kind of stick, stick on the pointy top, poke it on the pointy top. After the class tried giving the instructions you then gave the class a role play by you and Archana giving an example of using clear instructions. You used a recipe and followed the steps. The children were interested in your role play and they took notice of the process.  

The follow up of the instructions were clear and easy to understand. By asking the class to repeat the steps and adding to their knowledge base in a way that they could both hear and see what it would look like, was helpful to their learning. It was great to see you using drama to reinforce and interest the learners in so many skills and to integrate literacy and maths in such a creative way. I could see how engaged the learners were, but there was one small boy who looked lost so wondered what was going on with him.

Introducing the next task was quickly achieved and you were very well organised and planned so the children could get started.  Setting up the task to involve them immediately in understanding the steps was novel and engaging. They all became involved and really enjoyed the competitive nature of the task.  Ashley by moving around the class and checking in with them you were able to evaluate where the learners were in their understanding and those who were struggling. The learners work well together and by setting time limits you are getting through lot more teaching and learning. It is important to keep the pace and energy of the lesson up, as I noticed a lot of post weekend tired learners (who may also have been hungry, as they were looking at the food longingly).  Mixing the lesson up constantly and trying different approaches also helps with the management of the learning and behaviour and gives urgency in the learning.

When they came back to the mat for the next instruction they were very excited, so be clear as to what you wanted them to do and how to respond. If you give a general instruction you will get a general response so be very explicit in your instructions. Taking the lesson into maths was a great extension and it was real and authentic in the context. Some of the learners had trouble visualising what the numbers were and it took a while to elicit the answer from the whole class.  Good to split the class into smaller groups to do the discussion and this worked well. By getting them to calculate the quantities by drawing or using words or numbers of how many of the ingredients the whole class will need to make the kebabs for each person gave them permission to try different strategies. I liked the way you gave them choice as to the strategies the learners would use to work this out.  It was interesting to watch the thinking and to see the prompts you and Archana used to trigger ideas.

The learners then explained their strategy and it was great to see such in-depth thinking happening, where they had to justify their thinking. I liked the way they were struggling, but keeping on as they came up with new ideas from new information. Giving them the locus of control was an important part of your teaching and the learners responded really well to having the ‘power’. With 2 of you in the class you were able to get through so much more and connect with all the learners, so they experienced success. The different approaches also gave rise to discussion after and the chance for the learners to see more than one way of solving a problem. I like the way you and Archana do reflection-in-action and decide on teaching strategies on the ‘fly’ . So  - perhaps, maybe, shall we, is common language between the 2 of you as you co-teach. Talking aloud helps the students to see it is ok to talk about their learning.

Thank you both for giving me such an interesting morning with authentic use of integration, motivation, ‘create’, role play, instruction, direction, reflection, problem solving, teaching and learning! Kite pai!

Anne Sinclair (Professional Supervisor MDTA)
June 20th, 2016

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