Friday, 26 August 2016

Manaiakalani Hui

Today I attended the 5th annual Manaiakalani Hui, which was a thoroughly enjoyable and informative experience.

My (mini) live sketch note
One of the highlights of the day was watching a student representative from each school present a piece of their learning. These presentations illustrated the various ways in which Manaiakalani students learn, create and share. There were presentations on a variety of curriculum areas and topics, although I think watching one of my own learners was most special to me. I felt incredibly proud to watch my student represent our school and share his learning.

Using Twitter to share our learning #Manaiakalani

It was also a pleasure to hear about the research that the MIT's (Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers) are conducting. A few of these teachers are researching about student achievement in writing, which I really enjoyed as I have been looking into writing for my University study.

Research was presented from both Woolf Fisher and Rachel Williamson. Rachel discussed the Summer and Winter blogging programmes and their affect on student achievement; namely, they cause a reduction in summer drop off. I created a Sketchnote of Rachel's presentation at a previous conference, but I was excited to hear that the Summer Blogging Challenge will be extended to run for four weeks in 2016/2017. 

Woolf Fisher presented their findings regarding our data. They reaffirmed that we need to work on our summer drop off, but they also discussed critical literacy. 

I found the kĊrero by Pat Sneddon, Dorothy and Russell Burt the most inspiring however. Pat and Dorothy discussed the results that the cluster are achieving and reiterated that we are a driving force for change.  Russell posed "If we know something works, we have no excuse not to do it". This provoked a lot of discussion between educators and our School discussed our commitment to the initiative.  We will ensure that we are following the research to do right by our tamariki.

Friday, 19 August 2016

#Using Twitter to develop a PLN

I have been idle on twitter for a couple of years, but it is only now that I have fully explored Twitter as a means of building a professional learning network (PLN).

This morning we connected with James Hopkins via Google Hangout, who shared a presentation with us regarding his journey with Twitter. I loved the notion of using Twitter as free PD and connecting with other educators who have different perspectives and experiences.

It's interesting thinking about the different way people view change and technology in education, and how this is discussed through PLNS.

After being inspired by James, the MDTA's began our first twitter chat, using #MDTAchat. Anne posed a series of provocations which we responded to and conversed with one another. I found this really interesting, although it was a little stressful! I hadn't considered the learning that could occur from something like this before and will be engaging in other chats, such as EdchatNZ more often.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Break Out!

To start the term off with a bang,  Room 7 took part in a 'Breakout'. This meant that the students had to solve a series of clues in order to unlock a number of locks that were attached to a treasure chest.

I first found out about Breakout Edu at Sparkshop,  where Angela Lee facilitated a Breakout for the educators.  I thoroughly enjoyed this session and had been waiting to use this ever since. As Breakout can be used in any curricula area, I decided to use mine to recap some of our mathematics learning from term two.

I modified an established game; 'The Mathematicians Code' by Jeff Hennigar, so that it could be used by my whole class. I ended up using 6 locks on my main box and a smaller locked box which contained some clues.

To start off,  I presented the students with a picture frame that contained a picture of a Pythagorean tree. Some of the students realised that their had to be something more to this picture, and found a secret note hidden inside.

Hidden in the bookshelf was another clue, this time it was a quote by Pythagoras. Once the students worked out which word was missing from the quote they were able to remove the word lock.

The students also found a series of cups that contained a clue. Once they placed the cups in order it spelled out a word which lead them to find another key.

Another group of students found an ultraviolet light hidden in the bookshelf. They also found some 'blank' paper and realised that their was something written in invisible ink. This sheet was a key for the directional lock and the students solved a maths problem and converted it to the directions.

This was the last lock to be opened before the students claimed their prize. They finished with ten minutes left on the clock which was a great time.

Tips for breaking out

  • Next time I would consider increasing the challenge, as with a whole class of children it was not too difficult to solve the puzzles or to locate the clues. It would have been easier to start with a group breakout as well as I definitely learnt a lot for next time
  • I would also explicitly state where the clues might be hidden (and where they would not be hidden) as the children did get rather excited about searching the classroom.
  • You need to leave yourself some time to prepare the breakout. I held mine after lunch and it took me the entirety of the lunch break to prepare for the session
  • Spend some time thinking about the clues and how you want to introduce the session. This is definitely occasion where preparation pays off
  • You can either buy a breakout kit or buy the pieces separately. If you are a keen shopper, it is possible to buy the pieces at a fair price, although it is something to see as an investment and I will certainly be using mine a few times in the future.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Getting Started with Garage Band

I have been neglecting a rather jazzy icon in my dock for some time, yet it could have been used on several occasions this year. While I have fond memories of Garageband from my youth, its latest update is far more complicated than the one I remember. Fortunately, Rob Wiseman facilitated a PLG today and guided us through some Garageband basics. We began at the very beginning...

Getting Started

  1. Open a new "empty" project.
  2. Select the microphone icon to record sound through a microphone and to use the preset sound clips. The keyboard icon allows you to create your own tunes using the keyboard on your computer, while the drum icon acts as a drum machine and the guitar works as an amp. 
  3. You are then ready to record or click on the loops icon (top right) to select the pre-made loops.

After we had a play around with the settings and basic features on Garage Band (there is a lot to it and things can get pretty technical if you would like them to) we created our own recordings. We first recorded a recital of a picture book before adding an audio track to a movie. It was quite interesting using the preset loops, especially after I realised that they could be cut and copied. We could have easily played with these for some time, and I recommend doing so before using the app in an important project.

Rob's Top Tips
  • Make sure you record sound in 'mono' on your device or camera. This ensures that sound will play out of both speakers when listening in stereo
  • Check your volume levels. Think about which sounds you want to stand out. For example, if you have recorded dialogue this should be louder than the background music
  • When making a movie, make sure you have completely edited your video footage before working on the audio.
  • When you are happy with your audio, play it through a large speaker system to check the quality as headphones can be quite kind to sound! 
  • Investing in a microphone may pay off in the long run. It is a good idea to record audio through a hidden microphone that is connected to garage band while filming footage. This means that if your camera has poor sound quality you can simply line the audio files up in Garageband when editing.
I am very glad to have learnt about this today as I know it will come in handy for the Manaiakalani Film Festival!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Share through Infographics

Today I attended a Manaiakalani PLG which focused on the share element of the Learn, Create, Share pedagogy.

We first discussed the benefit that sharing has for our learners and we looked specifically at blogging. We investigated the research that has been conducted regarding the benefit of blogging during the school holidays and I was amazed at the effect that it had on the students learning. I created the following sketchnote to illustrate the key findings of this research, although I found this quite difficult to create as the information was presented live!

We then discussed the way infographics can make data more accessible to viewers,  as our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. If you are interested in using infographics, this website illustrates some of the infographics that are most commonly used.

Our task was then to create infographics that were related to blogging. I decided to make an infographic for my two bloggers of the month for July. I used Canva to create this, which is free and fairly easy to use. These two students have been consistently winning this competition and made 51 blog posts last month alone!

I did quite enjoy creating these infographics and think that I will use this template for this purpose in the future!