Sunday, 26 May 2019

Inquiry Post: Week 5; Term 2

                           Wonderful Whacky Writing

Writing has been challenging this year in our shared space. Mrs Carruthers and I had to split the group into two to allow for the proper scaffolding to take place. We have had to be inventive and come up with exciting ideas to get our students interested in writing. 

It is not always feasible to plan an activity or experience for the students to do on a Monday morning that they can then go off and write a recount on. For many of our students who are not independent writers we had to devise a way they could become independent. Sound bites saved us. We decided to create EE's and dictate sentences. Along with the dictation they had to form the words in front of them to make a complete sentence. Once the sentence is correctly formed they write this up in their book. 

The next step we did for these students was to get them to do their own dictation. Record themselves saying one simple sentence they wanted to write. We encouraged them to use the yellow writing card words so they would have help with their spelling. 

This worked well with most of them. Of course there were the students who thought it would be funny to be silly and say inappropriate things. But once their i-pad was removed and they had to go back to using pencil and paper their attitude soon changed and the next time they were asked to dictate they did so willingly. 

Below is an example from a pick-a-path story the students are doing for Creative Space and their Hyperstudio animation. As you can see every child had the choice of what they played on at the playground and the teacher helped them insert this. 

Knowing our students love to watch movies on their i-pads we researched and found some great short videos without orations. The students were asked to watch the movie and write a dialogue to go with the movie. The top writers were able to independently go off with their headphones and step by step write their own story line. They were encouraged to pause the video many times and write what they had seen and then restart video. This way they did not miss out any important features. 

Once they were finished their story and it was on their blog they then got the opportunity to animate their story using their i-pad. I downloaded scenes from old junk yards and car wreckers and they could chose their own backdrops. Their job was to draw their characters and input them into the correct slides and tell their story. 

The students really enjoyed this activity. The students who needed more support were given a simple dictation of 4 slides. 

Mrs Carruthers and I swap the writing groups over every 2-3 weeks. This gives us both the opportunity to work with all students and all levels. One thing I have noticed working with such a diverse range of learners. You have to mix things up. You have to make the writing experience new, fun and most of all challenging. Everyone needs to be challenged as it makes you step up and become the best version of yourself. This is the same when writing. Scaffolding each group correctly is really important to draw the best out of our students. Kids love to experiment and try new words and phrases and giving them the opportunity to do so will surely have positive results. 

Sunday, 3 March 2019

2019 Inquiry Focus. Wonderful Whacky Writing

Inquiry Focus: 

Could I use the same DMIC prompts to help shift my target group to become independent writers. 

Step 1. Learning levels of children and what their next steps are.

Step 2. Create target group

Step 3. Scaffolds

Step 4. Hypothesis strategy that I will use.

Step 5. Interesting writing activities for students to do when they are not with me.

Step 6. Teach students what to do when they get stuck so they are not roaming the classroom. 

After 11 years of teaching the one subject that always brings about the most groans is Writing. Kids just seem to hate writing. 

I believe for many kids who I teach they are not having enough personal experiences to write about. As the old saying goes, when your stuck write about something you know, have experienced, or a place you have travelled to. When these experiences don't happen and you stay home every weekend, its super hard to get revved up when the teacher says, "Lets all write a recount on our weekend" 

So every Monday morning I will be giving my students an experience to write about. 

Last week we went to the playground and just had some fun climbing the ladder, swinging on the ropes and playing on the monkey bars. 

We came back to class and had a great discussion about what we had just experienced. Using our writing cards we all managed to form some simple sentences together. I gifted them a few words which were written up on the white board. 

Below is a sample of a student who is capable but so far in the last 4 weeks has not produced one full sentence. 

I have a long way to go but I hoping by providing these kids with some fun and interesting activities I will get them wanting to write.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Digital Fluency Intensive: Exam day

Most of the colleagues I have been doing the DFI course with over the last 9 weeks sat their 3 hour exam today. I decided early on in the week I would wait and study some more before taking the exam.

Over the 3 hours whilst the exam was taking place I went next door and went through parts of the course that I had been having difficulty with. This was really useful as I had 2 other colleagues with me who were doing the same thing and we managed to bounce a few things around supporting each other.

I decided to test myself and went on to the Apple Teacher Learning Centre where you have the option of testing yourself on your i-pad skills or your i-mac skills. I decided to test myself on my i-mac skills. I had time to complete 4 of the 8 mini tests and passed all 4.

Deep down while I was next door I felt like I had let myself down in way for not taking the plunge and sitting the exam. Especially when I went back in after the others had finished and the air was electric with nervous excitement. Everyone was discussing parts of the exam they found difficult/ easy/ confusing and I wasn't part of the discussion.

So I suppose what I am trying to say to anyone who is lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend the DFI course, do it and definitely do the exam at the end. It doesn't matter if you pass or fail the first time, its all about the learning journey you take on the way.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Digital Fluency Intensive: Class Sites

In this lesson we went online and looked at different schools sites.

From a visual appeal we all tended to like the sites that were bright and colourful and grabbed our attention straight away. The size of the larger labels and buttons  really stood against those that were smaller and off to one side. Having an accessible Home button somewhere clear was also a big winner on the day.

Once we started to go into and explore the sites the ones that stood out were the sites where the students did not have to click too many buttons to get where they were going. The easier the site is to navigate for students, is obviously better, as this enables them to be independent learners.

Many sites we were unable to access as the privacy settings were not turned on to the correct links. This is no good for parents trying to access these sites to see what their children are up to at school. Something that is easily overlooked when creating a site but so important.

Opening up folders and sharing these folders to anyone with the link as soon as you start the school year is an easy and simple way to ensure your privacy settings are always right.

I got some great new ideas for my class site next year and look forward to playing around over the holidays and trying to implement what I have learnt during these lessons.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Reflection So Far

My time at Digital Fluency Intensive has been just that.....intensive.

I have been shown many new tools, Apps, programmes. Some of them I have found incredibly useful and others I will never use in my classroom. It is a fast paced learning environment and at times I have struggled with this. My way of learning is quite visual as I am an artistic airy fairy type person who would rather work at a more slow pace where I can go over everything 2, 3 or 4 times so I have the hang of it. But in saying that Dorothy, Gerhard and Fiona who are running the course are more than happy to help you any time.

I really enjoyed the site making lessons. I have always felt quite intimidated by this and as I have a colleague who I work with in a shared space who loves creating sites and is quite happy to do this, I have left it up to her, while I do other creative things in our class. This will probably not change but I have helped my son create a site for his school project which made me feel confident about what I have learnt. 

We had an opportunity to look at other teachers sites and this was also useful. I saw some great ideas that I will talk to my colleague about implementing on to our site for next year. 
The teachers I am doing the course with are great to bounce ideas around with and I have enjoyed meeting new teachers from other schools.

We have talked a lot about Learn, Create, Share. This is the ethos of our cluster. This has helped me in my teaching as it makes me think about the lessons I am planning. Are they interesting? Are they going to engage my students? Are my students going to feel empowered, excited, and connected. As I am a creative person I usually like to start with the create side of things. I find this to be a great way to get my students hooked in to their their learning. It allows for great class discussions where new language can be introduced, new concepts taught, and great peer interaction where they get the chance to share their ideas and learn off each other. 

Apps like Toby have helped me to organise my groups so easily and made my planning for each group a breeze. This has been my favourite App so far. 

Looking forward to the last session this week where I hope to consolidate anything I am having problems with.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Movement Art

During Term 3 Room 19 looked at our bodies and how they move when we dance, run, play sport, stretch, leap, bounce etc.  I was thrilled with the language the students were using in their writing and even in our small group discussions. I have been trying so hard all year to get them to open up and have the confidence to share their ideas with their peers. After each class discussion and before their writing I would write up some great descriptive language the students had come up with. I found if I repeated 3 to 4 words a day and used them all the time the students would remember and use the same words. So after many months of sitting in small groups and trying to get them to talk about their art and use sophisticated language its really as simple as choosing 1- 4 words and using these words as many times as possible in the next couple of days. I noticed these words were popping up in their writing, I would hear the students using these words when talking to their friends. It made me smile a lot. As always we start each activity by doing something creative and below are some examples of the students art for their Inquiry "Move Your Body".

First they had to get a friend to take their photo on their i-pad doing some sort of movement. After tracing out their image they sent it through to their drive where I could then print it out. Then they cut out just their body. Next they chose 3 different coloured pieces of paper and traced out their bodies. Then they cut these out. Finally they designed their background of abstract art and stuck down all their images. I was thrilled with the result.