Thursday, 21 August 2014

Digitial Learning with Manaiakalani - Spark Foundation

Some of the 2014 Manaiakalani innovative teachers were given the opportunity to share about our partnership with the Spark foundation in this movie. Have a look to see all that we can achieve with a very generous partnership with Spark!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Presenting at the Learning & Change Network Hui

This is my presentation at the Learning & Change Network Hui. This was a great opportunity to discuss my thinking and inquiry to like minded people.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Create to Learn: Purposeful Reading

Source: Rebecca Jessen, Woolf Fisher Research Centre

I have been giving Rebecca Jessen's feedback to the Manaiakalani group of schools some thought. There is a section in her feedback that pertains to the reading that students undertake in order to successful create to share their learning. Rebecca states, "Rather than reading for the sake of reading, students need to use their readings as sources for creating." She continues, "Reading provides students with the ‘‘knowledge fuel’’ they need for creating."

With this in mind, during our term 2 topic of 'Floating and Sinking' we were focusing on the Titanic. I found that this topic was hugely engaging for my students and provided them endless opportunities to create their own lines of inquiry. However, during our guided reading sessions I found myself getting stuck in old boring literature that was all that engaging to the students. Most of the reading was helpful to their inquiries but didn't extend their knowledge or understanding. So where was the 'knowledge fuel'?

I decided I needed to go hunting for some extended texts for my students. However, these were hard to find in hard copy. This lead me to creating my own digital books (Titanic example). I found a whole lot of information and interesting readings on the internet and created books in Google Docs. My students were suddenly hooked! I found they couldn't read these books quick enough and became sponges, thirsty for more information. This lead to the following two outcomes. The students enjoyed the process of using extended texts that they started creating their own digital books. I also noticed how easily they were now able to share and in greater detail.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Teaching as Inquiry

I have been recently considering this model again and how this impacts my teaching and the progress of my students.

The questions that I am going to focus on this term are:
1. What do the students say they need?
2. What does the  research recommend as likely to be effective?
3. How can I implement the research?

I have also been considering how my students might use this learning inquiry to benefit their own learning. I have noticed that when I give my students the opportunity to design and undertake their own line of inquiry in literacy their quality of thought and sharing has increased exponentially. Watch this space!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Using the SAMR Ladder to Hook Readers

Are my reading tasks and thinking frames above the line?

Am I creating busy work for my students?

Are my students creating things that were once inconceivable without the technology that we are so lucky to have here at Pt England School?

These are just a few of the questions that have been circulating around in my mind when thinking of my students progress in reading. I am working hard to create enough opportunities for the students to interact with engaging material that extends their thinking and fast tracks their reading progress.

Using Blooms Taxonomy to Hook Readers

Over the past few months I have been exploring the use of reading followup activities in my programme. I have realised that my students have a love for reading and have been hooked into reading a range of books. However, in my classroom reading programme I have found that the followup tasks set for the students can either make or break their motivation or love of the book. If the followup task is too short or simple they become easily bored. If it is too challenging they have been demotivated to push through and solve the problem.

So, I have been looking at creating tasks based around Blooms Taxonomy. As soon as I have taken the time to assess my activities against Blooms Taxonomy and checked that it is cognitively engaging the students have been immediately hooked.

Here is an example of a followup that my students have been working on.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Kids Hooking Kids into Reading

Over the past two weeks I have been encouraging my students to sell a book that they are currently reading or have finishing reading. I hope that the students start encouraging one another to read and that the emphasis moves from me hooking the kids into reading to the students leading the way.

When the students first started selling their books to each other it was still very much led by me. However, as the students have become more invested in the reading process they are now fully running these presenting times. I have been impressed with the level of questioning from the students listening as they really want to know if the book is a decent read and if they will try it next.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Helping Students to Choose Appropriate Books

I became aware that during the silent reading time some boys were trying to read books that were not engaging and were a waste of valuable learning time. So, as a way to help fix this problem and to hopefully help the boys in my class to choose more appropriate books, my team and I went to Whitcoulls on a book finding mission. After an hour or so we managed to find around 50 titles that we thought would both challenge and motivate our boys.

My question now it how do I sell these books to my boys? How can I make these as exciting as possible? My main hope is that they get so hooked into these books that they are looking to continue their reading at home.

I am really looking forward to creating more mini libraries of books to help hook my class into reading.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Using Silent Reading as a Hook

From the beginning of this term we have been starting off our learning day with silent reading. The students have had a chance to choose a book that is at their level and is something that interests them.

This has been an awesome way to start the journey of hooking the students into reading. I have had many conversations with the students about their book choices and if they would recommend it to others. The interesting part of this conversation for me is their reasoning behind whether or not someone should read their book. They have been very focused on how fast the plot moves and the characters depicted in the story.

Another set of conversations that we have had has been around the purpose of silently reading. More than ever before the students in my class are very aware of their reading age and have become more and more driven to improve this. They are now aware of the relationship between practising their reading every morning and improving their reading age. This is very exciting!

The next step for silent reading in Class 8 is to teach my students how to choose a book. I have noticed that most of my boys pick their book based on the cover or a 'boyish' sounding title. The girls however, choose books based on characters, or a 'girly' sounding plot. I want to teach my students how to choose a book that is challenging for them, is going to motivate and keep them engaged and ultimately help to accelerate their improvement.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My MIT14 Proposal

In 2014 Manaiakalani, with support from the Telecom Foundation, have given me the amazing opportunity to follow a line of enquiry into my own teaching. Below is an outline of my proposal.

School: Pt England School
2014 Teaching: Teaching in an open learning environment with Year 5/6 students along with three other colleagues.
My class Blog link is here.
Our space site is here.
My blog where my MIT14 Inquiry is shared is here.


Hooking Kids into Reading

How do you hook and cognitively engage students in reading a range of texts? I want to create a classroom that is filled with highly motivated readers who devour books in order to learn, create and share! I want to look at ways that can motivate and cognitively engage students with reading. Be it with ebooks, netbook friendly versions of texts or the humble paperback book! I plan to create age and maturity appropriate mini libraries that are a mix of physical books and ebooks, which will help to motivate and capture a wide range of students (see this Stuff Article from the 14th of November ). I also plan to look into ways that kids can interact with a text via internet based applications and websites. For example, imagine a year 6 student plotting the path and places that Phileas Fogg and his companions traveled on Google Earth while reading ‘Around the World in 80 Days’. The possibilities are endless.