Thursday, 31 May 2018

CoL Meeting - 31st May 2018

Our goals haven't changed since 1999, because we still have students coming into and through our schools that have the same problems as back then.

Slide 5 is awesome. The educational version of Te Whare Tapa Wha. 

This means for teachers..

If our kids don't want to improve, we have a problem. 
Teachers and students need to built evaluative capacity.

"We have to get them hungry to get pushed to the edge" - Jannie.

For students who put in 30% effort and aren't intrinsically motivated, teachers tend to do the other 70% with or without realising it. Rather, they should be examining their own teaching - "am I setting up optimal conditions for learning, to encourage instrinsic motivation?"

Don't blame the kids for their achievement. Teachers "who evaluate their learning in the light of the success of their students learning". 

Jannie's presentation

Knowledge carries language, language is carried by knowledge.

It isn't enough to have 'language' going on, its about increasing the levels of complexity for the learners. 

Elaborative responses - 

Somebody comments about what a 2nd person is wearing, saying they are wearing something that doesn't 'match'. 
You could reply by 

but... is that adding to the complexity of thinking?
It could have been talking about textures/fabrics/patterns and the purposeful decision to be different with design.

You should have...
Structural lift
Vocabulary lift
Concept knowledge
Thinking and meaning

These responses should
- pick up message and meaning AND
- add new words, new ideas or develop the first idea that was said. (this is the GIFTING of language).

Student awareness

Do students know why we do think pair share? Do they understand the pedagogical intent about it? 
Students need to be able to have elaborate responses.
Need to understand that they are co-contributors.

Don't hurry to reply to kids, and don't just ask them questions. Think, and reply with an elaborative response. Try to add value, not just repeat or say 'good job'.

Adults always reply about themselves. 
E.g. Person 1: "I love my dog he's so cute"
Person 2 "I'm allergic to dogs"
But... that isn't valuing what person 1 said..

Friday, 25 May 2018

CoL update (Term 2, Week 4)

Ryan - managing self

This week Ryan has a few incidents where something negative happened between himself and some classmates. The first time it happened, I wasn't quite sure wether to believe it or not. The second time, I did. Him and I talked about it, and as much as I can understand where he was coming from, the behaviour he did is not tolerable. I explicitly told him he is not allowed to do that, and after that he stopped. I hope not to see it again in the future. 
We are having an IEP meeting and getting more involved with RTLB support so I am optimistic for Ryan's near future. He has another strategy about to be implemented which I think will make a HUGE difference for his learning. 

Kian  - managing self
At first Kian didn't want to sign up for rugby, as he understands that is a big commitment. He has been in school teams before. However he lost that privilege when his behaviour was not up to scratch. He has mentioned to me a few times throughout the term that he wants to be in sports again and he even wants a job (so he can go to Rainbows End at the end of the year). I have explained to him that when he shows he is ready, I would give him the chance. He understands this. I look forward to seeing how long he can stay focused on this goal he has set for himself. 

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.
 Paul has been actively participating in group work throughout the week. Sometimes he doesn't have enough deep understanding about the topic to be able to share something meaty and insightful, but he shares what he can and that is accepted by his friends. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

CoL update (Term 2, Week 3)

This week we had a trip to Stardome observatory in One Tree Hill. It was for our inquiry topic, which is about space. I was very impressed with how Ryan and Kian were able to manage themselves in a new and exciting environment. 

Ryan - managing self

Ryan experienced some sensory issues at Stardome, particularly with the Planetarium part where we had to recline on chairs and watch a movie clip on a Domed ceiling, where the noise was projected loudly for all to hear. This was a bit much for Ryan, but he managed himself really well by staying close to a trusted adult and having a comfort blanket (i.e. the adults cardigan used as a blanket). When watching the clip became too much, he would roll onto his side and close his eyes until he felt better, then try watching a little bit again. This was awesome because I can't imagine how he would have perceived the movie/noise, but that he knew what to do to help him feel better and just did this by himself, was awesome. He was trying really hard to stay focused on the learning and at the end of the day could say something he had learnt which was awesome.

Kian  - managing self
For the most part, Kian managed himself well. He remembered who was in his group and stayed with them most of the time. There was a small hiccup where he spoke inappropriately to a parent helper, but he did apologise and after that was okay again. He was able to stay focused on whatever the task was for long periods of time, and was always physically where he needed to be. He is loving our inquiry topic and can explain things he understands in his own words which is awesome. He can make connections to other things he knows (something he has done, a word he knows) which is deepening his understanding. His learning is going really well.

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.
Paul was so excited to be somewhere new that he had never been before - he loves trips. He was so engaged in the learning and was absorbing everything he could. I think something I want to work on with him is asking questions when he doesn't understand something. As he is learning English, he sometimes doesn't have enough English to understand 100% of what is going on. For his own learning, it would be beneficial is he could ask someone to explain it to him in different words or simply to admit that he doesn't know so he can get help. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Trying to better my writing practice - a reflection

I have always felt that I am best at teaching maths, then maybe reading, followed lastly by writing. I get more shift in maths than I do in other learning areas, so I must be doing something right. I have never felt confident teaching writing, and I think this shows through my teaching and students lack of shift. 

I realised towards the end of last year and confirmed it (in my own head) last term, that the 'bit' I am missing is the middle bit. 

Thinking of the 'Gradual Release of Responsibility'...

I found that I was going from 'demonstration' straight to 'independent practice', and missing the bits in the middle. Therefore students often did not have in-depth understandings of what I was asking them to do, couldn't explain, would make mistakes etc. 

This week, as a new term (we didn't do writing last week) I have really tried to focus on those middle bits to 1) see what difference could be made for students, and 2) prove to myself I can be good at teaching writing.

This was my plan for the week.

WALT identify features of a report
SC I can identify the features of a report  
  • T introduce new writing topic - report writing. Clarify this is similar, but different than reports the kids get.
  • Give each group an example - they have 5 minutes with it to see it, read it etc and take notes about it. PRINT EXAMPLES FROM HERE.
  • Class discussion - what do they all have in common? What are the proper words for those things? (E.g. headings and subheadings, technical vocab, pictures, diagrams, sometimes have questions, lists, facts NOT opinions)
WALT navigate an information report by using its features
SC I can find information in a report without reading it
  • Give students copies of reports they have not seen before.
  • Ask them to find one feature - headings/subheadings. WITHOUT reading the actual text, what is this story going to be about? (possibly block out the actual text so they can’t read it). Make a prediction about 3 different things that will be talked about.
  • What information can we add from only looking at the pictures, diagrams or illustrations?
  • What have we learnt so far? Write FACTS. Finally, read the text. Find the technical vocab and any questions. What else have we learnt?
  • To sum up - where can we look for information? NOT JUST THE TEXT. But also, there is not one sentence that doesn’t tell you something new. Read sentence by sentence and check this. No random silly sentences.
  • Students annotate a digital copy of the text with a buddy to find the different features of the text.
WALT to identify and use the SEE structure
SC I can write an explanation and an example for a statement
SEE structure example - here.
  • T show 3 different examples of reports. Get students to focus on one paragraph at a time. What do you notice? Hope they say SEE.
  • If not, explicitly show. Highlight in different colours so they can see.
  • Model writing paragraphs using think alouds.
  • Share back to class. Display these on writing wall with SEE parts labeled.  
WALT to identify and use the SEE structure
SC I can organise sentences into the SEE structure
  • Class discussion - review SEE structure
  • Students organise given sentences into what they think is an appropriate SEE structure that makes sense.
  • Groups go and read each others, then feed back to class.
WALT create and use a check-list to mark information reports
SC I can identify features of a
  • T hands out all information reports that we have looked at this week and all resources.
Have blank template of checklist open, get students to help fill it in to create an agreed checklist.
WALT write an information report
SC I can use a plan to help guide my writing
  • As a class, plan together (teacher lead) what we will include.
  • Students write a information report about the sun using plan created together.

Evidence of our learning this week

The kids came up with all of these features of information reports. Even the idea that pictures/illustrations and diagrams are similar, but diagrams must have labels. Woo!

Examples of student labelling digitally.

Examples of the added 'explain and example' sentences -

Written by Timote and Isaia.
Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world.Because you can do like anything with it and it cheap for example you can make a
  1. milkshake
  2. A cake
  3. Ice cream
  4. Bread
If You wanted to measure time you could use a watch , clock , hourglass or even a sundial.
This is a clock you can find it in your house and if you look at it you can tell the time  because there is two of sicks on the clock a short and a long the short one tells the HR and the long on tells the minute that is one strategy but in the world there are a loads. You might say why because it is eazy and you must have one of them.

  1. in your house
  2. In a community hall
  3. In your family house
 On Thursday we did the sorting activity. All the groups could organise the sentences into the correct SEE structure. Some needed reminding what an introduction and conclusion were, but got there in the end.
What I loved was walking around listening to the groups trying to figure it out. They were using words like 'explaining' and 'example' to justify why a particular sentence went there. This showed me that they really understood the structure and could use it independently.
Link to co-created checklist.

Link to the modelling I did and paragraphs co-created.

Overall reflection
I have really enjoyed only doing 'shared writing', instead of just doing 'writing'. The kids have developed such deep understanding of this type of text, and they haven't even written one yet. I loved hearing them discuss the texts and be able to identify and define a particular feature of this writing, and justify why they were making the choices they did. 
Throughout the week (everyday) I reminded the kids we are doing 'shared writing', which means we are learning about writing rather than just doing writing. The kids who struggle to write slowly understood the difference and the stress/fear/pressure slowly lifted. There was 100% participation in all the activities, even the kids who can't actually write independently. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

CoL update (Term 1, Week 2)

This week I met with Donna at the CoL meeting and we reviewed a Google Drawing I had made to try and get my head around what I'm doing..

What I was trying to do...

After Donna's advice, what I am now trying to do...

The focus has shifted from learning AND key comptenecy, to using the key competency to improve learning outcomes. Which of course, is what the CoL statement says, but I obviously didn't understand it fully. That's okay.. we live and learn.

Ryan - managing self

This week I introduced a visual timetable for Ryan, hoping it would help him be able to manage his own learning better if he didn't want to do what the class was doing, when the class was doing it. He could manipulate the timetable. I don't know how effective it was, because after he made it up in the morning, he didn't look at it all day. I will keep it handy if he wants to use it, or I feel he might need it again, but I don't want to force him to use it if he doesn't want to or doesn't need it.
Ryan's visual timetable and teepee

Kian  - managing self / Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing
Kian and Paul are both loving their reading learning at the moment. With the word identification game, I am quite impressed at how they are able to connect back to where they know the word from (E.g. oh from Koro and Nanny, oh from space, oh after Monday). Paul is getting more and more confident participating in DMIC maths groups, which are mixed ability. At the moment he is mostly with his friends (which to be fair, is a mixed ability group) but I am noticing he relies on them to answer for him, rather than being an active group member and sharing his own ideas. I think next week I will make him be in a group with people who aren't his good friends and see if it helps him come out of his shell any.

Visual Strategies for learning - Donna (CoL)

Donna's blog.

Why use visual aids?

improves understandings
encourages independence
helps with generalisation
reduces anxiety
minimises problem behaviour
provide support for communication
provide structure or predictability to help with thinking
act as a motivator to reinforce social meaning
lets the child know what is going to happen
shows the sequence of events
provides predicability
Visuals can be
symbols - board making, writing with symbols
indicates what needs to be done and in what otder
provide information about what is going to happen
this helps to provide predictability and to help students understand routines which is an extremely important part of reducing stress
Social stories
examples of social stories

Great website to use.

Rules and routines
using a visual to SHOW students what they should look like when they should be 'listening'
timers - "in 5 minutes"
Break Cards
a card that can be handed to an adult when they feel stressed
or the adult can hand it too the student when they feel a break is needed, especially to pre-empt an outburst
these are individualised, depending on the student
Visual aids for learning
Visual aids are the devices that help the teacher to clarify, establish, and correlate and co-ordinate precise conceptions understandings and appreciations and support him to make learning more actual, active, motivating, encouraging, significant and glowing. 
Proper use of visual aids helps to retain more concept permanently.
Students can study well when they are inspired properly through different visual aids.
Visual aids grow the accurate image when the students see and hear properly. 
Visual aids provide complete example for conceptual thinking.
Visual aids create the environment of interest for the students. 
Visual aids helps to increase the vocabulary of the students. 
Visual aids helps the teacher to get sometime and make learning permanent. 
Visual aids provide direct experience to the students. 

smiley face marking
Story planners

Building vocabulary
use pictures to support the vocabulary students are learning because they might know the meaning, but might have forgotten the word. It gives them access back into the word.

Time tables and labels

Regular activities in the classroom

Language starters
E.g. talk moves, reciprocal reading, sentence frames

Directions and learning goals

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

SIGNS - Child Abuse in Aotearoa

Paul Joans - SWIS
Signs for....

Physical abuse

  •  hand marks
  •  oblong shaped bruises
  • bruises in weird places where they wouldn't naturally get bruises
  • clothing
  • food
  • lice treatment
  • medical
  • abandonment
Sexual Abuse 
  • usually not talked about
  • comes out with long term trust and discussion, not overnight
  • age of consent is 16 years
Burn = fire
scald = steam or water

It always comes back to the intention behind the action.

Other things to look out for (keep in mind the context!!)
  • bed wetting with no medical cause
  • continual sickness (vomiting, diarrhoea)
  • has not attained significance milestones
  • differing living conditions to the rest of the family
  • lack of personal attachment - goes to anyone without issue
  • children in the adults role (cooking, cleaning, child-minding etc).
  • violence towards animals and other children
  • dressing inappropriately to hide bruises or cover their bodies
  • may be extremely aggressive or extremely withdrawn
  • change in personality

What to do
  • be transparent
  • record in students own words
  • pass info to SMT
  • don't confront parents without discussing with school management

Quote by Dame Whina Cooper

Friday, 4 May 2018

CoL Update (Term 2, Week 1)

Ryan - managing self

The days that Ryan has been at school, he has made an effort to participate actively in classroom activities. A highlight was when he came over to show me his work while I was working with two students. I asked him to wait two minutes while I finished working with them then I could look at it. He actually waited next to me and didn’t try to interrupt again. Previously, he may not have waited so patiently so he could have my full attention. This is a huge step for him as he is recognising how and when to communicate effectively with different people in different contexts. He was very motivated to work this week, and although didn't follow the class schedule (I.e. he did maths during reading, writing during maths etc), I was impressed with the work he did do. The order doesn't really matter at all, and he was working independently and managing his own learning which was awesome.

Kian  - managing self
Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.

To help Paul and Kian improve their reading, we made flash cards of any 'hard' or new words from the new books he chose for the next few weeks. Both boys and a third student, play a speed challenge to see who can sound out or identify the word the fastest. When they can't, we sound it out together. These words are all from books they are reading/will read very soon, or are inquiry words I want them be able to use indepeprnadntly.