Thursday, 9 February 2017

Inquiry focus 2017

As I have discussed in previous posts the beginning to my year has be fueled by the idea that we are voyagers setting out to explore the unknown but always knowing where we are and where we have been.

After listening to the research feedback I had to think very carefully about my inquiry focus. As a school we are aware that the feedback suggest accelerate shift in reading but not as much shift in maths. This is why our inquiry focus this year is mathematics.

There are many factors that have influenced my think about my inquiry including, what Stuart McNaughton had said about interpersonal skills, key competencies and critical thinking and my dissertation in which I plan to focus on fluency video self modelling and peer feedback. This lead to think that feedback was a link between my dissertation and Stuarts ideas and that this could perhaps support critical thinking and discussion in mathematics.

This lead to my inquiry question: How does peer feedback affect progress in mathematics with my target group?

Peer feedback occurring in a maths group helping learners to form their picture of numbers and strategies. 

To start my inquiry I need to think about what this feedback looks like. I believe that it may be best in a discussion form in which student given feedback to each other including questions which opens up discussion about numbers and strategies.

I believe that the best way of achieving this discussion is to have open problems in which student work with different numbers (number that they choose from options given in context) using the same strategy. This allows them to given feedback around how they strategy worked and what they noticed about the numbers.

I still feel I have a lot of clarify to do and part of that process will be observing others to see how maths discussion happen around our school. This I hope will help me to develop my teaching to better support student voices in the feedback and discussion process.

It is also important that student share their maths on their blogs and that this is done creatively.
Some ideas I have around this at this stage are:

-Sketchnoting using google draw and/or pixlr
 -Video descriptions of what they did and why
 -using mini whiteboards and ipads to record problem solving.
- Audio/movie
- EE/educreations - Used to record thinking as group is working and solving.

I am excited to see how peer feedback can support discussion and build understanding in mathematics. I will keep you updated on my progress as I continue to inquire into my practice.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

I am a voyagers and research helps me on my journey!

Today we gathered as a cluster in the Tamaki College hall to listen to the findings and future focused ideas presented by the researchers.

Before starting the presentation Russell Burt announced that Manaiakalani is now a COL (Community of learning) however while this official COL recognition is great it made me think that since I arrived last year I have already been part of an amazing community of learning and that while this would change in some ways the role people have it will not change my feeling of being part of something bigger than myself.

It is together that we innovate, learn and do more for the future.

Sitting in the hall I was reminded of something that has come up a lot for me in the weeks leading up to this presentation. A simple statement with a real and lasting meaning that is backed by the story and Movie Moana. The ideas is that We are voyagers, who need to know where we have been and where we are chart and plan where they are going.

Today's discussion started with Aaron Wilson talking about where we have been.
He took us through the data. My big take way was that we have done a lot in the past especially to improve writing in which we are getting accelerated shift against the norm however there is still much to be done and our progress must be maintained as we venture on with the aim of seeing the same accelerated shift in reading and maths.

This discussion was followed by Stuart McNaughton discussing with us the interpersonal skills and key competencies our learners need. He discussed critical literacy and suggest that we see low rate of achievement in critical literacy. The best place to teach critical literacy in the act of being literate.

We should also encourage learners to be critical of their action and reaction. Ask them to think why is it that my actions had a negative effect on my group? We should be thinking critically about our social skills as well. We need to think about how we build arguing and critical thinking skills in groups.

Another area Stuart discussed was self control. He suggested that children are much more aware of needing to be self controlled online however we need to give the learners strategies for building self control.

He also talked about the interpersonal skills of empathy and compassion. He said that
children who read more books tend to be empathetic. this is because well written narrative text help learners to consider others views. It seems that many of our learners have strengthens in this area.

We do however need to consider how we help learner to put themselves in others shoes when online. To make digital personal again so that learners learn to tell when someone is upset online and think would I like it if.....How is the best way to interact and react to others online.

Lastly he suggested that teaching of these skills needs to be part of teaching other curriculum areas.

I have to admit it all seems like a huge challenge one that I am ready to take on but first I need to decide on a starting point. Listening to expert researchers present challenges reminds me how very privileged I am to be in an innovative school and community. A community that is not afraid to look at itself and say that failed lets try something different. A community that invites others to give input, to be critical and to challenge us. It is because of these researchers along with many others that I feel challenged to alway do better, try harder and keep going on my voyage no matter how rough the sea is.

So thank to all those who are part of the Manaiakalani community setting expectation high for both learners and teachers!

A new year, A new room and New learners!

The beginning of the 2017 school year has seen a lot of exciting changes for me. This year I am in my own space with a wonderful group of 30 year 3/4 learning. I have to admit after one week I am already feeling tired but also excited for every moment of learning we will share.

My first week was amazing! The children of room 14 are loving, kind and enthusiastic learner who are ready to try new things.

My big focus for week one

My big focus the first week was be routines, expectation and getting to know each other. In room 14 we start the day with the roll followed Mihi and Waiata I have really enjoyed introducing this to the class and I feel this sets us up for the day really nicely.

To start the year i put all the learners in teams, their bags hang in there team, they sit on the mat in their team, their chromebooks are labels in teams and even their boxes for their books sit in team groups. This has really help me to support the learners to feel a collective sense of responsibility and helped them to support each other. They all gain points as a team. I have found that this work really well both for management as there are only 6 learners in a group and for building collaboration and collective responsibility.

I am really enjoying teaching in room 14 and look forward to many more wonderful learning adventure to come.