Tuesday, 17 April 2018

GAFE-Ignite Session

The Auckland Summit finished with four wonderful people they each shared a five minute presentation to inspire and provoke.

Dorothy Burt-Creativity Empowers Learning
We are entering an interesting time in education in New Zealand. Our government is throwing some things in the bin with nation standards and charter schools being the big ones. Once again we are reviewing education and exploring equity with the focus again being on access to learning for all.

Before you get to excited we should look back at the education of our past by Educators such as Elwyn Richardson. We can't just plan for our learners mind....Our young people learn through creating and doing. It can get noisy and messy but that is learning. Being creative pushes you beyond your comfort zone. So plan for creativity.

You can be part of the conversation about what tomorrows school will look like in our country, bring your voice to to the table for our kids.

Anthony Speranza-Hope, anthsperanza.com/disruptedu
Anthony has sought to give hope to others that positive change in education is happening. When we talk about what a good learner is teacher think one way but perhaps their actions say something different. You have heard it before our kids think they need to "listen, sit, behaviour'. Are we practicing and are the children learning what we believe and value.

Why do children in our schools want to "check out" and do youtube. We need to start unpacking the why, do they want to check out.

What is the learning we want for our learners:

  • Motivation
  • Content 
  • Skills

Here it goes again the theme of this GAFE. We Need To Take Risks!
This book is a adult picture book on leadership. I think I will be checking it out.

When will the extraordinary become ordinary? 

Dorothy Apelu-Supporting students to become better with writing using blogs.
Dorothy shared how in our cluster we have one uniting factor across our cluster. As her year nines arrived they talked about their learning journey and how they had be writing. Students were worried about housing. They all took on projects around the house and and share these on their blogs and at a cluster wide presentation.

Dorothy talked about connecting what had happened in year 8 and built on these strategies. They used quadblogging  to build their writing and connected this to Solo and the Tamaki way of learning. By connecting with a local MP students saw their voices creating change.

So CONNECT, with where your students are coming from, connect with their blogs and their past to help accelerate learning for their future!

Stuart Kelly-In the classroom, I am...

  • Aptitude
  • Attitude 
  • Altitude
Stuart asked us to consider who we are in the classroom. We are a teacher, student, a learner. I the classroom I am me. I the classroom I am We. 

Session 6: Digital Storytelling but How?

Adobe spark is a great way of making videos. We started the session by exploring it. It does have apps for Ipads.

Lindsay Wesner Blog

What makes a good story? What do you think?
This is what we came up with:
-Characters you connect with

Structure is one of the thing that is kind of challenging. Have you heard of the Story Spine:

Have you ever heard of a six word story. Six words can break you hard, make you laugh, make you cry or put a smile on your face. But six words can tell a story. This could be a great idea for kids who struggle to write long stories.

Here is my six word story. Note this is a story I made about my life. Not for the kids. 

Session 5: infographics for visualization and data

Infographics for visualization and data-Patrick Green

Data is powerful and provides use with lot of information that we can draw knowledge from. This wonderful video explains some powerful ways for kids to find the story in the data. 
By creating visual students are learning to be more critical of the visuals they are exposed to through advertising. 

Data visualisation is different from an infographic because it does not have a story. We often give students tasks but don't put them into the role of the designer. I know that sometimes I don't give enough choice in the design process. 

One of the great things about google draw is that you can put resources in the margins and these will not show in the finished product. 
  • Zoom -  highlight the area specific area that you want to zoom to.  
  • Fronts mean something-They point our brains in a directions, culture also plays into how we see fonts. The design rule, Two fonts. Heading font and script font.  
  • Colour-If you don't know what colours go together don't guess. Use the experts who put colour groups online. You might also want to try this colour picker. 

GAFE Keynote Day 2: Once upon our time Part 2

Lindsey said when she first heard about computational thinking and coding, she thought you do that I will do my thing until she saw this.

I think you should see it too.

This is why coding is important. It is helping people to solve problems in their way. They hold power and can make real difference in their lives and the lives of others. It starts with just one step.

It is not about the language of coding it is about solve a problem, about changing their world. 

What if I ask my learners to solve a problem that really bugged them. Work towards solving it or even solving it.

What Lindsey did was she got some colleagues together and did some cross-curriculum learning. Being at the point of change, at conflict and thinking, What will this look like? There are barriers like in any conflicts.

Some of these barriers are:

  • Time
You will never regret investing time in things that really matter. When you see that lightbulb moment for that learner who has not had a lightbulb moment in years. We also need to think about what teacher are doing that the learners should be doing. 
  • Curriculum
We often think "I have covered that" but did your learners engage with it. 

  • Fear
The other barriers can all be brought back to fear. Fear of what others think, Fear of change. But you can strap on your shark fin and move towards the fear.

The cross curriculum unit was based on the book the hunger games. They had one big question in four learning areas:

How can we stop South Africa from becoming like Panam or Nazi Germany?

Lindsey ended with this statement and it stood out to me. Berlin does not choose to hid their history, their pain, their war. They know it is part of their process. 

If we take our: 
Vision for the education we want to achieve. What does it look like when we give out learners storie and the space to solve these problem. 
You are not alone. We have EACH OTHER.  You are not learning alone. So connect, make friends and learn from them. 
We have our stories. My story can add value to who we are as educators and who our learners are. 

Every Story Matters! Your Story Matters!

GAFE Keynote Day 2: Once upon our time Part 1

Once upon our time by Lindsey Wesner

Lindsey began by telling us her story. She talked about how she wanted to travel and be a teacher. She talked about how she loved school and all was going really well until they (the school) decided to introduce computers. This clever girl was then faced with a problem that she didn't know much about computers. She used her smarts and sat next to some who did for the test. 

She became a teacher in a world where chalkboards and worksheets were the norm. Then she became faced with the same problem she had faced as a child technology and this time she was the teacher and there was no other child to sit next to.  

One day she faced a problem, the biggest problem, while not really. Her dogs ears would get wet in it's water bowl, until she gave the dog a different bowl. 

This taught her to Question! Just because we have alway done it one way doesn't mean it is right. She said to herself BE BRAVE! and set a goal to try one new thing each day. She said "if I am honest about this bravery, most day I was just pretending". 

This lead to Magic:
  • Students tackling real world problems.
  • Students not wanting to leave the class
  • Students being passionate
To do this she had to be outside her comfort zone and yes this is uncomfortable. But we have to put ourselves there to be at the intersection between, Education, Technology and Passion. 

Innovation is change that unlocks new value- Jamie Notter

If she stand at this point of conflict and we don't change we miss out on value. 

So what is your story:
  • What are your battle? 
  • How will our continue story?
  • How are you unlocking new value? 
In this age of technology and specifically social media we document our lives on a daily basis. So what would happen if we give our students meaning experience and document these. How can we leverage this culture of digital documentation? 

Lindsey had a task for her learners to the task to create a viral video to show relationships. These teenage boys created  movie that almost brought me to tears. She said that these kids definitely had a story to tell.

Listening to Lindsey talking made me think how am I pushing the big positive stories of my classroom. 

We all have stories and these are worth telling!

GAFE Demo Slam

What is a Demo Slam? 

This is when a range of presenter have 3mins to share their ideas and we vote of who our favourite is.

Today's Demo Slam highlights: 

YouTube Live:
You can now live stream using youtube. I won't be doing this but I know we have used it for large school events including our school Fiafia. You use the camera icon.

Fiddling with Google Doc URLs:

  • If you change the word edit to copy. 
  • You can change to the word edit to preview to see the doc. 
  • To make a Template you go-template/preview. 
  • To make a PDF-Format=pdf. 
  • Link to copy with comments- Copy/?copyComments
You can build an app in Bitbox. You can use simple script the create simple games in Bitbox using the stamps. He made a sheep  that said brrrrr and we all played it on our phones.  

Making a Map to show country Data:
You data about countries you can insert a chart that shows the data on a map. 

Digital assessment to save time. Chrome extension called check mark. This allows you to add common comments easily. You can also have a list of comments in Keep and import them into the doc. You can also save images in Google keep and use these for feedback. 

Monday, 16 April 2018

Session 4: We Cracked the Code

We Cracked the Code-Baruk Jacob and Angela Gattung

This presentation is about collaboration and connecting community program and schools.
They worked together to figure out what the schools wanted and how this would work.

The MAKER-Y program
is a portable range of kits that come into schools these are around Robics and 3D printing. The coaches help to start of the teachers. The Libraries put in time to money and time to build the kits and lessons plans.

This started with students engaging with the Robot using a remote. They quickly learnt the their was limitation to what they could do with the remote and this prompted them to learn code.

They used drawing software to create their names and and print these using 3D printer. The pilot lead of data that suggested that students self-efficacy and confidence had raisen as a result of this program.

When the coaching start they partnered with the AUT program and Masters students took on the coaching they had a lot of technical skills.

This has changed this year with the the drop out of these Masters students. Baruk has taken on this role.

After talking about it we had a turn. This is my Tinkercad creation.

This innovation is continually evolving. 

GAFE Session 3: iExplore at Ormiston

iExplore-Is a 20% time where students are focusing on their on passion lead iExplore projects. It is meant to be the thing that keeps them coming to school EVERY day.

The idea is when students are engaged in their own progress they will be building their 21st Century skills.

Design thinking
I have been doing design thinking myself in my teacher inquiry and this is what Ormiston is doing for their iExplore time.

The process involves:

  • Identifying a need or opportunity to solve a problem
  • Learning about the problem and people affected
  • Brainstorming lots of potential solutions
  • Making a prototype
  • Getting feedback
  • Modifying the prototype
  • Repeating this process several times.

Students who were here talked about their passion project being how to teach others Empathy. They created video and other content to help others. 


How to get the children tidying up the classroom faster. 
Why is it a problem:
So that we don’t waste as much time at the end of the day.

The Five Whys.. 
I have talked about the five whys in my own Inquiry. This is where as a buddy you as five why questions about the problem. 
 For this they used a clear grid and worked in pairs. A why question might be why does it take so long to tidy up? this might lead to the answer students are talking. Why are they talking etc. 

I find it interesting they are using this design thinking process with kids. I know it has been successful for me as a adult. I would like to try this with my kids. 

Half of the time is spent on thinking about the problem and the thinking behind it. It is a long game and the thing they create is not as important as the process. 

Empathy profile-Empathy is at the heart of the design thinking process. The learners have to put themselves in the shoes of the person/people whose actions you are trying to change. 

This is the template they use: 
The children would go in the middle of this template. Then around the outside I would be identifying why the children mess around instead of tidying up and what motivates them to do this. 

Student then act as the person in their profile this helps them to connect and understand the problem. 

We use HOW MIGHT WE..... Question in inquiry. You can have a whole lesson on questions. Writing good questions is an important part of the learning for our kids. It is so important that the question is specific and answerable. Big question don't help our learners. 

How might we speed up the process of tidying so we can save time in our day?

They then publish their problems with a picture of themself and print them to put in the wall. 
 Remember: Fall in Love with the Problem NOT the solution. 
It is about always bring the focus back to the problem. Having the problem visible helps to the kids to keep coming back to your problems. 

In this activity, is like the crazy 8s you can see in this blog post. They say that they give them 40 sec for each square. You can give them ideas if they get really stuck. 

Once they focus on one or some idea form a plan and get feedback on your storyboard. 

They then list every single step they are going to take on a post it note. Then they put it in order of what they are going to do. They students who do this well had a much more successful process. 

They begin prototyping. Revising their prototype and considering how this will look in its finished form. They get feedback from others to help them develop their prototype. 

They then think how will be share our project? 

Feedback-They have their feedback grid which they use to get feedback on their project. 

One of the great things I have noticed about this process is the huge amount of feedback. 

GAFE Session 2: Leading Learning Through Google Site

This Morning Danni and I shared with a wonderful group at the GAFESummit our experiences of using Google sites to lead teaching and learning. It was great fun sharing and we had loads of great question and have reflected on our presentation read to make changes for next time. 

GAFE Session 1: Digital Tools For Student Voice

Digital Tools for Student Voice- Jan Marie Kellow

Jan Marie-Is a primary school teacher who is passionate about students inquiry and supporting student voice in the classroom allowing them to have agency in their learning. 

Why Students Voice:
  • Student voice helps use to find out about our learners. 
  • For Formative assessment 
  • To provide choice
  • Engaging students 
  • Finding out what students allow ready know. 

Some ways of collecting student voice 
  • Padlet-This is like digital post it notes and allows for a range of ideas to be collected in one place. 
  • Answer Garden-put together the most common answers to show patterns.
  • Google Forms-Great for collecting any information as it can be changed and targeted to whatever you want to collect. Did you know you can collect fills in forms this may include picture by making the option answer as a fill. 
  • Google Slides in Grid view. Getting each learner to add their ideas to one slide. You could pre label each slide with the kids names so that students don't get confused and overwrite each other. 
  • Google Draw template to collect student voice. You could have one per student or a shared one for a group of kids or even the whole class. It is just a case of creating boxes with questions, prompts or images. 
  • You can use commenting in Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawing to collect feedback
  • You can use speech to text to collect feedback. I do warn that once students start voice typing they want to do it all the time which can be an issue in writing. 
  • Jan Marie talked a lot about Google Classroom, While I can see why people would use it. I don't as it goes against the visible teaching and learning value of my school. 
  • My Maps- You can use my Maps to find out where students are from. You can even do a Map of their Mihi or Important places in their lives like Church etc. You have to be careful with this as blogging specific locations is not ideal. This can be funky when you edit it and change icons etc. I have also used My Maps in the past to locate areas in a story and add information about the text and the area as discovery for my learners. One of the cool thing you can do is import a list of places. This means you can use a form to collect places names and then add this form the Google Sheet. 
  • Flipgrid is a tool I have never used before but it looks really interesting. Students can record short video clips to a grid which others can view and provide feedback on you choose the response time which is up to 1 min 30 secs. A lovely lady at the workshop also suggested Recap again I have not used it and would need to do more research. 
  • Google Groups these allow different types of forum that students can engage in and and interact with each other. 

One great thing about this Session was we collected a lot our ideas and could see the similarities of what people used and why they used them. This also meant that Jan Marie could adapt the session to the needs of the group. 

GAFE Summit Keynote Patrick Green

Today is the first day of the two day Google Apps for Education Summit at the wonderful Aorere College in the not so sunny Auckland.

The Relevant Teacher-Patrick Green
We all have a past in which we have made many choices some bad or foolish, in our personal lives these are easy to recognise and learn from. As teacher the choices  we make in our classroom effect not just us but many many learners.  To put it briefly the risks we take as teachers affect way more than just us. 

Patrick talked about how lucky he is to have colleagues who push them to make positive change.  
Some practices that he saw were: 

Da Vinci Innovation Lab-Which had a family based program student went to school two days then learnt alongside their parents the other three days. 

Sequoyah- They have mixed level classes and whole back every child twice. Making failure positive. 

Looking at what others do is amazing. But Change is difficult!

Daily interaction and relationships are what shapes students-The Relevant teacher

What is the relevant teacher doing?

  • They are flipping the classroom and putting the students in the role of the teacher. 
  • Looking at teaching with a whole new lens. 
  • They are thinking about what is is transferable beyond the classroom and into the real world.
  • They are not afraid of access to information- They don't ask teachers Googlable questions.
  • They allow students to use device in exam. 
  • Not making students do what adults don't do. 
  • Recognise that there is no perfect average, they are meeting students where they are at. 
  • They are helping students craft a positive digital footprint. 
  • They put ownership of learning back on the students in a number of ways. 
  • They are taking their detailed guides are exemplars and getting rid of them
  • They value not following instruction and they know doing what Mr Green says is not a 21st century skill. 
  • They provide endless options for modelling, creating and learning. 
  • No long accept rubbish because they know about design. 
  • Can take anything and use it for learning. 
  • Embracing opportunities outside the classroom. 
We know that our kids love games. So can we bring gamification into the classroom and give students side quests. Allow their learning to have it's own paths well skill getting them from A-B. 

iTime-By giving students time to follow passion they are still engaging in the same skills and teachers are tracking each kids. 

What is something I am doing that I can set aside and give students passion time?

There is a lot in this modern age: You don't have to know everything. You do need to teach children to ask questions and find answers themselves. 

How do you stay relevant: Be a Learner!!

Learning requires struggle and it will be hard and uncomfortable but you will never be as uncomfortable as the student in a classroom with an irrelevant teacher. 

You might as I might consider reading:
The end of average-Todd Rose. 

You might visit as might I: 
iTime Alison White @aliwh_white Shaun Kirkwood @shaunyk

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Designing learning with language in mind.

Often when I am planning maths for the week I am focused primarily on the mathematical concepts or strategies that I want the children to learner. However as a result of my inquiry I have been thinking a lot more about the language that is embedded in both my teaching and my tasks.

This term talked to my learners about their mathematical understandings and discovered some of the vocabulary and understanding around that vocabulary that was missing. One significant gap I identified was that most of the learners in my target group struggled to identify left and right.

As a result of this I made sure this was a focus on their coding activity this week. I have also planned a hand on physical activity for later in the week which will get learners moving and turning left and right.

My hope is that by exposing them to this language in these contexts and continuing to embed it in future tasks that learners will connect with the vocabulary and it will become a part of the way they talk in mathematics.

Below is a video of how I embedded the vocabulary in the coding task.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Manaiakalani Teacher-2017 Case Studies

We are privileged to have the wonderful researchers sharing back with us today about some of the amazing teacher in Manaiakalani doing incredible things that are accelerating shift.

They looked at the way in which teacher were Creativity, Innovation, Making learning connections, Critical thinking. 

They shared Examples of Generating and Using Tasks:
  • Teacher are deliberately looking thinking in their task-This was done in a number of ways including, multimodal text, using thinking structures and scaffolds. 
  • Teacher offered students choice-This was occurring digitally. 
  • Wide and deep task design -Templates developed to this idea. This includes using templates which allow students to engage with the language of wide and deep. They also continued to develop these tasks as they classes changed and their needs changed.  
  •  Reflection, plenary, learning evidence-Students reflecting on their own learning and their achievement. 
  •  Opportunities for collaboration in both Learning and Create-Students using and creating tools collaboratively which they later shared. 
  • Conferencing and differentiation-Teacher were deliberately using digital tools to guide and enable conferencing and differentiation. 
  •  Teacher were making DLO to learners to support learner-Creating DLO to support their learning. 
  • Activities that were revent to and supported students reading-Using a range of text to support students reading ability. 
Next steps: 

One thing the research of found was that these teacher were using a lot of wonderful scaffolds however there was not a lot of with drawing of the scaffold. This meant that students were not have as much control over. It is about perhaps as teacher providing the opportunity for student to select and create their own scaffolds.

We need to keep thing more, can we do more critical thinking, can we do more creativity, make the links between learning more connected. 

The biggest challenge they gave us was can we move student away from just persenting what they found but not it into a context. 

Examples of Generating and Using Text
  • Making links and connections beyond the learning this day/week/year etc-Using multiple language and connecting with real problem in the classroom. 

  • Creating and sharing multimodal texts set-teachers have used a range of ways in connecting students with multiple texts. 

  • Materials tailored to a range of learning needs-This could be paired DLO creation, Teacher having a google hangout with his class, this created a recorded so it became rewindable. 

Next Step:
What are the important things for student and should the teachers deciding on these before hand with their comprehension questions. We have to consider what challenge looks like at different year levels. 

Generating and Using Extra Time
The original research look at the affordances so this study aimed to add to what we already knew. 

One example I particularly was talking about students booking in to see the teacher for a 5 min slot. Students had to manage themselves to choose. 

  • A digital modelling book for writing students write into one doc and this doc is then used for feedback and sharing. 

  • Making reading and writing links evident. 

  • Making sure the buttons stay the same through the year and perhaps considering how we make the sites context from year to year. 

Next Step:
How are we making the most of that time. Can we use blogs to demonstrate the learning process and (metacognition). 

It was wonderful hearing from the researchers about some of the creative and amazing teachers. I can't wait to connect with the amazing teachers who have done this work. 

MIT Day Term 1

Today we spent the day at KPMG for another day of design thinking, questioning, challenging each other and coming up with some great ideas to push our inquiries even further.

We started the day by sharing how our thinking has changed since we last met at our Hui in February. It was wonderful to see how everyone's ideas had changed and developed as a result of their research.

Through the process of evaluating my inquiry I have greatly changed my thinking and developed my Moonshot (outline of my problem and plan for addressing it). While I still have much thinking to do, as all teacher out their know we are always adapting and developing our ideas. I thought it was time to share my slides with you all as hopefully get some feedback.

I am extremely grateful for the MIT program and the wonderful people at KPMG for providing me with this opportunity to extend my thinking and have it challenged by MIT friends and the wonderful Anne and Dorothy.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Developing a bigger picture using data

As I continue to develop the picture of my learners I have drawn on a number of data sources to form a wider picture of mathematics achievement and vocabulary in mathematics.

First I looked at the gloss results as discussed in my previous blog post. Then I explored the PAT results and looked at these by section of the test. This painted an interesting picture. I noticed that learners tended to have more knowledge than strategy and that within my target group a number of students struggled with the Strand aspects of mathematics.

I also collected student voice discussing with them their thought on mathematics. I also talked to learners and made note of the vocabulary which they understood.

From this data I now have a clearer picture of what my next steps in my inquire and the areas within mathematics that I need to focus on as I continue my inquiry.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Focus Group Data

As we wrap up testing for term one I wanted to take a closer look at the  Gloss Data for my inquiry focus group.

This is a Gloss results by section compared with the end of the year Jam results. The red shows areas where the students score has gone down and the green where it has gone up. This illustrates that an area of need is in fractions. Some students also need support in multiplication and division.

Language and Gloss

During Gloss testing I noticed that the learners often said "I counted",  "I thought it", "I just knew it" or "I added it" They often needed prompting to explain what they added, counted or thought. They also required prompting to explain how they added or counted.

For this learners it often took two to three prompts before I had a full picture of how they solved the problem and even then they often reversed to a picture or objects when explaining. "I did this one, then this one" Rather than using words to explain what they had done.

This supports my hunches and teacher judgements that vocabulary is a need for these learners.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Ideation-crazy 8s

One of my favourite activities from our MIT Hui was the crazy eights. In this activity we were encouraged to think big and explore many different approaches to solve our identified problem. We were encourage to put aside the possible barriers and think big while focussing on our problems and ways in which we might effectively address this problems of the learners who face it.

I found this activity challenging as we often become stuck in our thinking as educators particularly when we have spent a lot of time developing one approach. It is however the ideas that come from thinking outside the box that are often the most innovative and effective. So give crazy eights a try for your inquiry and see what wonderful ideas you come up with to solve your problem.

This were my crazy eight ideas. I then reserved feedback from the group I was with in the way of stickers. You can see from the photo below that the feedback was mixed leaving me perhaps with more question than answers but this made is necessary for me to go back to the problem and consider which of these approaches will be best for my learners in my context and of course with the resources I have.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Who are my team?

As part of our MIT Hui we talked about inquiry and how as with any innovation that it is impossible to achieve great things on our own.

As a starting points for our inquiries it was important to consider the WHO.
WHO- is the problem for?
WHO-has a say in how it is address?
WHO-are experts in the field, who can support me in my inquiry?
WHO-are my sounding boards?
WHO-is on the same journey I am?

One thing that I learnt from this experience was not to be to general. Writing things like Someone who codes does not help you, but writing down specific names of people you know or even people you would like to know allows you to have a real clear picture of who to ask when you need help.

This is my startings of WHO I will ask for help as I continue on my inquiry journey.

After we had thought about who would help us we did the BAR Activity. 

In this activity you had to think. 
B-Bigger, if you had unlimited money and could be connected to anyone what would you do? 
A-Add someone who will help you. 
R-Remove someone. 

This was a big challenge for me but also helped me to open up my thinking and consider the wider world as resources for solving my challenge. 

My Bigger
I would extend my inquiry to include a larger number of kids and teachers in the junior school. 
If I had unlimited money I would connect with Google, Apple swift creator, Rocket Lab and Space X. I would also connect with big thinker in mathematics including Jo Boaler and Bobbie Hunter perhaps even more people I just haven't come across yet.

This would allow for a program that looks at how maths connects to the real world and create internships where students could engage with people and google and rocket lab and learn about maths in connect.

Through the BAR process I had to think wider and not confine my thinking to myself, my hunches and my context.

Why MIT, The Escalator Metaphor

Over the weekend I was privileged to be part of the first Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher Hui. During the weekend to talk a lot about our inquiries, the problems our learners face and the people who may help us on our journey to finding new innovative ways to tackle these problems.

As we started our journey we talked a lot about the WHY.

Our first why was the why Manaiakalani and the why MIT (Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher).

I am extremely lucky to have had the wonderful Dorothy Burt as a mentor throughout my teacher Journey so far and this is how she explain the importance of innovative practices that support learners from years 0-13.

She describe education as an escalator or rather a set of escalators. The first is the the one on the left. It is going up. Learners on this escalator normally have a settle home life, support, parents who value education and assist them. The right hand escalator is the down one. Learner on this escalator have a number of circumstances beyond their control that mean they are constantly running up and escalator that is going down and if they stop learning for any reason they slide back down and have a longer distance to climb.

As teachers we are the cheer team support these learners running up the down escalator. Providing them with a helping hand and support as they face challenge after challenge. Innovative thinking and targeting problems is one way we help these learners climb that escalator.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Vocabulary in Mathematics

Every teacher who teaches mathematics wants their learner to understand and connect with mathematical concepts and big ideas. 

As I think about this for my inquiry I am reflecting on the challenges that learners faces when it comes to engaging in mathematics and what I as a teacher can do to help them. 

This week I read a wonderful article called: The Language of Mathematics: The Importance of
Teaching and Learning Mathematical Vocabulary

It was by Paul J. Riccomini, Gregory W. Smith, Elizabeth M. Hughes & Karen M. Fries. 

The article discussed the significant role that vocabulary plays in supporting learners mathematical understanding and some of the challenges faced by students and teachers as we look at mathematical language in the classroom. 

-A stand out point for me was that mathematical language often has multiple meanings. If we take the word product for example in mathematics in mean the solution of a problem while in other contexts it can mean an item that is created and can be purchased. 

-We also must consider the many specific terms in mathematics and how we as teachers develop students understanding of these word. 

The article suggested a number of ways to support learners in developing Mathematics vocabulary and I have created an image to show this way. 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

DMIC-Our Journey So Far

Starting any new journey is hard. You often feel unsure especially when you are unsure of the distantation is. 

As we look at the how we have started I noticed that across the school we have many of the same questions, experiences and concerns.

Things we are thinking about?
-Where to pitch the problem so that it works for all learners and extends all learners.
-How to get talking happening.
-How do we build routines for DMIC when we are developing new spaces.
-Listening to each other.
-Setting up norms of talking and setting up values of family has worked really well in years 7/8.
-They are not use to searching their thinking.

This goes against everything they are use to so there is a lot of norms changing that needs to occur.

Bobby suggest that student who are confident in mathematics may push back as they felt success in doing their work and this is a different and they may not feel as successful in this approach. While students who were less confident may feel a lot of success as they feel a part of a group.

Bobby suggest that snappy maths, launch a problem send them away bring them back share and re-launch and send them away to do another similar problem.

Social groups are who is going to work well with each other and support each other these are not always friends.

Year 4 up Setting up a lesson

-Social and strengths grouping that does not mean friends. You want to make sure learners are in group where discussion and arguments are happening. 
-Class slit in half or near half, seen on alternate days, students can be pulled in because they need more support, they have a great idea to share with a class or maybe for management reasons. 
-Grouping should be thought about really carefully. You can group all the quite kids together or group based on cultural strengths. We need to keep thinking about the groups all the time. Put the kids together who take over all together. 
-Groups of four at this level. 
-One challenging task, if a student can solve it on their own it is not challenging enough. We want children to learn that their a multiple steps in solving a problem and that at each level you are learning something new. 
-Multiple representations and recordings.  

If we take the example
There are 9 people at church and 23 more arrive. How many are there all together. 
Most children will flip that around 23+9. Some will make it 22+10. Some will then count on others will use base ten. 
By thinking carefully about this we can pull out a number of big ideas and all learners will learn. 

Lesson pattern
Years 4-8

Years 1-3

We need to talk about the norms every day. Talk about working as a family and provide examples of who family work together. Everybody sharing in the making of something together that no one persons owns it. 

In the sharing you have select someone who can extend the learners and support the big idea. 

The explicit teaching occurs during the sharing back. This happens through taking the learners ideas and lifting them up. 

When learners are doing independent work. Make it purposeful by making sure it is tired to the big ideas or pervious learning. 
-This could use a rewinding of student learning. Provide tasks that are similar to student previous problems and use videos of the first problem to support revision learning. 

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Seeing Behind the Code

I have been thinking a lot about how to make to connections to coding in mathematics in a meaningful way for my learners that builds Vocabulary and supports collaborations. 

As a result of this question that has been sitting on my mind I did what I have become so good at doing... I researched. Often when I go out looking for inspiration from literature I struggled to find something that really makes me think and gives me ideas, but today I was in luck. 

I can across some research conducted in Dutch primary school that focused on an event called "the Big Mathematics Day." In 2016 this day had a theme of "Let's have a look behind code". 

It talked about how they used CS plugged activities to help learners develop computational thinking, through understanding patterns, algorithms and use and compression of data. They found that this day inspired learners and gave them an opportunity to inquire collaboratively to develop their understanding of the concepts behind coding. 

One activity they describe was using code to create images by showing which pixels are turn on and off. Then building to create more detailed images. 

Can you see the squares I have missed?
Understanding patterns and identifying errors are a big part of coding and these are also skills central to mathematical thinking. 

My takeaways from this article:
  • This article has some great activities that are designed to get kids thinking mathematically while creating and following process. 
  • The collaborative nature of coding, we often think of computer program as something that someone does, but this article looking at the way "the Big Mathematics Day" was run and the social skills required would may anyone rethink that. The task required learners to support each other by checking their programs and discussing in meaningful ways the big ideas behind the code. 
  • "Realistic Mathematic Education" this was a pedagogy discussed in the article that talked about the importance of human activity, student being the centre of mathematical thinking inquiring and  testing concepts that are meaningful to them. 
This article re-enforced my thinking around my Inquiry. I believe that starting with these hands on tasks and developing and understanding of concepts in a way that links mathematical thinking and development of social skills is an important starting place for my inquiry.  

Thanks Mieke Abels, Vincent Jonker, Ronald Keijzer & Monica Wijers for this wonderful article. You can read it here

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Inquiry focus:Vocabulary, Mathematic and Coding

As we all begin to settle into the 2018 school year it is time to get serious about our teacher inquiry and focus on tackling some big problems that we noticed in with in our learning communities. 

In the Manaiakalani Cluster of school we have noticed that language acquisition and vocabulary are holding back our learners across all learning areas and at all year levels. As a result our teacher inquiries are focusing on this with an area that is most problematic for our learners. 

I have chosen to focus on mathematics and how I can develop computational thinking and vocabulary through coding. 

Check out my ideas for first steps as I embark on this journey. I hope that you will join me and welcome any ideas that will support both my learners and my own learning. 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Language in Abundance

What language offers a person's Learning? How learning offer language capability.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

When language is in abundance it provides opportunities for students to develop, learn and grow. What does it do for us when we are given language. Knowledge is not a word we use a lot in education at the moment, we tend of focuses learners find out things for themselves. But knowledge does matter and it comes primarily from language both oral and written.

Exposure to language can affect the amount we learn. Imagine you are watching this and you have no knowledge of kites, the materials or the words to express what they are.

Learning Condition One-Demo Only 

What would you learn from this: When students don't have to words for what the materials are or what is going know how can they access the learning, describe the experience. 
Students might name the material thing this still does not allow them to access the learning. 

Learning Condition Two-Demo, Spoken and Written Language. 

Students are given a context for what they are doing. They can access words about the material. They can see written words. There is also the ability to slow the language down.

The Point:

  • Language availability means that we can take it further, tease it  out, clarification meaning and develop understanding.  
  • A mixture of spoken, written and body language offers people more opportunity to learn. 
  • Often in classrooms we watch a movie as a way to connect to big ideas, but we don't slow down to focus on the language and notice and understand it in a meaningful way. 

So how can we give children language in abundance?

  • If we want quantity of talk we need to gift them language and scaffold it. 
  • We as teachers can elaborate on learners responses.
  • We need to develop and culture that honours language and thinking from everyone in the classroom.  This allows students to feel safe. 
  • Talk accompanied action, this is when we talk as you play, do. 
  • We should away believe "Unless you have definitive proof that they can't, assume that they can"-Donna Ryan. 
  • Making sure that talk is allowed and encouraged in the classroom. 
  • Talk needs to accompany action, we need to create a dialogue that accompanies learning. 
  • We need to make it normal from a young age to explain their actions, feelings and ideas. 
  • It is also about being able to explain your understanding of the word. 

We need to think about what other sources of language we are providing for learners. When people including adults are exposed to a range of sources of language voices their vocabulary grows. 

We can not just hope the children will come across words we need to provide the, and notice them!

We need to think of ways to not just surround children with language but involve them with language. 

Our Place is the perfect place to start this language journey. 
Some way:
-Our beach
-Seashore ecology 
-Marine reserves

I am excited to read this book "What every primary school teacher should know about vocabulary." by  Dr Jannie van Hees and Prof Paul Nation 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Research building a full picture of teacher thought

Teachers knowledge is so powerful, it helps teachers build knowledge and provides opportunities to identify problems for learners and address them. 


...But we  don't often get the opportunity to learn together from inquiries and draw that knowledge together. We as a CoL can access each others knowledge and learn but it is harder to draw trends and understand what key way work for all diverse learners. This is because each inquiry focuses on the needs of one class or group of learners.

This is why we need researchers who can take the inquiries and develop an understanding of the big ideas, these can then be scaled and support all teachers. It is also about developing and understanding of how research is put in to practice. 

We need now to identify what approaches have worked in relation to the achievement challenges and make generalisations. This is what the wonderful researchers will do to support us and others. 

We as teachers need to support them by: 
  • Address an important, persistent learning challenge (from the Manaiakalani six)
  • Build your own knowledge around this challenge
  • Identify clear, research informed changes to practice likely to address the challenge
  • Collect detailed evidence about changes to the teaching
  • Collect detailed evidence about how students engaged with the changed teaching
  • Gather data about effects on student learning

We need to connect the student voice with the data. 

CoL the journey begins together

Why are we here?


“Recognising and spreading sophisticated pedagogical practice across our community so that students learn in better and more powerful ways...”

What we noticed is that within all the CoL inquires was that there is a really need for development of language for our learners. This was NOT just in year 1 but across all levels and in all curriculum areas. Without language, connecting with the curriculum becomes extremely challenging for our learners. We also realised that learners are struggling to transfer this learning across subjects.

Language in abundance environments ‘drip’ with language availability

and attention, where noticing and relevant use of words allow for
deeper, wider, more specific and precise, context appropriate
language expression…leading to knowing at deeper and broader
Dr. Jannie Van Hees

So what can we do?

We must:
Conduct a mean as inquiry at your level/s in your subject/s
Language in Abundance is the lens
Share it really well
Help each other

Visit online/offline, debate, discuss, challenge, suggest

As we launch into this inquiry the most important thing that stands out for me is working together to tackle a current problem.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Mathematics is a real world skill!

This year my inquiry will focus on mathematics. I want to support learners to have dialogic discussion and apply computational thinking as they develop real world maths skills within a real connect.

It will Focus on the Manaiakalani Achievement Challenge 6: Lifting the achievement in maths for all students years 1-13. 


I am extremely lucky that this year our school is working with Bobby Hunter and the DMIC team to help our learners develop their mathematical understanding and become problem solves who use big mathematical ideas, work together and use mathematics in a real world context.

Bobby came to talk to us on ur teacher only day about the history of mathematics teaching and learning in New Zealand and the history of deficit thinking that is ingrained into teaching practice.

There are a few main points that I gained from this learning that I want to share as I think about how DMIC researcher and pedagogy can link in with and support my inquiry focus in 2018.

1. What works for diverse learners therefore it works for all learners.

Bobby talked a lot about a need for maths to be culturally responsive and grounded in a context that is meaningful to learners. She stated that if maths is not in the meaningful context students become disconnected and their fore develop the dislike for maths that leads to disengagement.

This discussion reminded me of my own experience of maths, which I have to state was the opposite of what Bobby was talking about, I love maths at school, It had an answer and I could work backwards and forward to check it. However often my friends would say when will we ever use algebra (this could be any mathematical concept) once we leave school. I think this disconnection between the maths and its purpose was what Bobby was talking about. If we teach maths in a real context when learners will know how the maths can be used to once they leave school.

2. Values
There are a number of different values in the class:
-Those of the students cultures that they bring to school.
-The teachers values
Just to name a few.

We have to consider these values and draw upon the cultural values of our learners in mathematics.

One Bobby said that I really relate to is:

You want to affirm the cultural capital of children in front of you. What they come with are strengths and we need to build on these strengths.

We often forget the everyday maths that comes from the family values that the children are exposed to at home. This might be thin like spatial knowledge and knowledge of patterns drawn from sewing or weaving or simple everyday task like hang the washing or making beds.

Interweaving culture and maths allows children to connect with each other and see inside each others worlds. Finding something that really matters to a student allows them to open up and be the centre of their learning.

One value that Bobby talked about a lot was service.

One of the teacher said that for pasifika children, the pathway to leadership is through your service. It is not about yourself, you have to serve others before yourself. Pasifika children are drawn to service and this can often have a cultural disconnect in the classroom

As teacher we need to think:

What are the core pasifika value? How do they play out in the classroom?

What are your core Values? How do they play out in the classroom?

3.High Expectations!!!!!!!
This to me is the most important thing. We have teacher must have high expectation if we want our learners to raise to meet them. Struggling is not a bad thing, we learn the most when we find learning challenging and we have to be resilient and push yourself and others to find answer.

We must tell learners This is going to be hard you will struggle but it will be great when you get through it. You must tell them. Mathematics is not just one day. It can happen over time as they struggle with the thinking.

Inclusion, Inclusion, Inclusion!!! Everyone needs to be involved.

Working together doesn’t just happen you have to structure it.

This is only the beginning of what Bobby talk to us about if you would like to see my other notes please visit this Doc.

Give all this learning I have a lot of thinking and learning to do but I am excited to link this in with my inquiry as I grow as a teacher and think about how I can make maths cultural responsive and engaging for my learners.