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. 

Learning Difference Workshop - The University of Auckland - Part 1

Workshop about
-       Dyslexia
-       Dysbraxia
-       Dyscultia
-       Dysgraphia
-       ADD
-       Audio processing disorder

Don’t focus on WHY they can’t do it, just focus on WHAT they can do.

Learning DIFFERENCES, not learning DIFFICULTIES. Because they CAN learn, just in a different way.

Communication for Learning Success – by Kate de Groot from 'Growing Minds'.
-       - parents can be a wonderful resource to help teachers.
-       - It’s about changing what we do as practitioners, rather than waiting for the child to change. Their brain is wired differently.

What are the needs of the …
-       Teacher?
-       Parent?
-       Child?
What is the shared need?
How does our communication meet the shared need?

Below the line – he, they, them – usually stuff happened in the past
Above the line – I, we – future focused.
We should be aiming (as teachers and educators) for 'Above the Line' thinking, acting and communicating.

Students with learning differences are often misunderstood - for example a student with auditory processing challenges not responding when the teacher asks them to do something, so you growl them and pull them to where you wanted them to go.
He’s not being bad, but you dragging him by the arm makes him feel as if he is bad.

NO SURPRISES POLICY. Communication between parents and teachers should be often and free, small things can be communicated at before/after school pick ups, big things should be a meeting, phone call or email.

Student voice: “Help me see myself as a contributor not a problem.”

At the end of the day – ARE THEY HAPPY AND FULFILLED?

Building positives relationships about proactive things (e.g. sending parents a photo of child being happy at school, successful work completed, video of child in class etc) then builds trust for when Reactive conversations need to happen.

What do we talk about? What do we avoid talking about? (and why?)

Frame negative things in a positive way
I’ve noticed
I’ve tried
I wonder what is next
Or saying to parents – what are you noticing? What are you trying? What do you think is the next step?

Kids with learning differences need concrete beginnings to lessons (paper, pictures, materials). They are in a comfort zone.
When they are expected to do do complex thinking with only auditory instructions… how can we expect them to succeed?