Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Getting Creative

After engaging with a summer school paper regarding digital teaching and learning, I feel more inspired than ever to make greater use of the technology in my 1:1 Chromebook class.

This year about 95 percent of my students own a Chromebook and the others can work 1:1 due to the PC's that are available in my class. This has allowed me to step up my digital teaching and create more activities that align with the augmentation, modification and redefinition level of the SAMR model.
Using MnMs while looking at different types of graph in statistics

So far this year, the students have used Tagul to create posters, Infographics to convey statistical information, Answer Garden, Kahoot and Padlet to share their ideas, Google Forms as exit cards, Sketchnotes to illustrate their maths strategies and Google Slides to present their learning during our school science week. I have used technology more meaningfully in these first five weeks than I was able to do last year thanks to the culmination of my MDTA training and my university papers.

Using Google Draw to create a class infographic


Not only have I been more creative with the activities that my students are participating in online, but I am also facilitating more non-digital creative activities as well. I now have a far better understanding of the notion of using technology meaningfully - I can easily recognize when a non-digital activity might be better suited than a digital one.

                      
 Creating bird feeders as part of a wastewise lesson.    Creating a Tagul as part of a lesson on identity          

I cannot wait to see what my class are able to create as the year continues.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Going Solo

I have now been teaching 'solo' (in a single cell classroom, without my mentor) for five days and I cannot believe how much I have already learned.  At the start of this year I decided that I would enter the classroom being a little stricter than I would like to be, so that I could quickly establish expectations and routines.

While I managed to stay uber strict for the short walk from the hall to the classroom, I was quickly laughing with my students and my strict facade was broken. However, I was very persistent regarding our class routines and I am finding that my students are following them fairly well. We have chatted about respect being a huge part of our class treaty and the idea of work hard, play hard - which really means that the students get to play a game when they pack up efficiently or work well in class. You can check out what a day in our class looks like in the video below (we managed to put this together in a day and I am quite pleased that we managed it so early on in the year).


                                

I tend to have very high expectations of my students in terms of their learning and this has definitely been something I have reflected on this week, particularly after attending a Manaiakalani meeting regarding our data. We have been advised to teach critical literacy; to support our learners to read widely and deeply and to look up to what is expected of them in the years to come. Although I need to be wary that I am not pushing my students too far (bearing in mind some of them are two years younger than the students I taught last year), I have discussed this with them through our goal setting lessons. My year 6 students in particular are very eager to set high goals for themselves, seeking to achieve similarly to the year 7s in our class.


As my students had the task of creating a self portrait and quote that would inspire them to meet their goals this year, I created my own reflecting my high expectations. I also wanted to reflect our desire to work as a team and to stay in/ row our class (metaphorical) waka, in which we all do our part to sail towards success.