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Showing posts from 2019

Inquiry Update

Its now just over halfway through the year and my literacy inquiry has been successful. All of my students had good results in reading and I can see their confidence has grown. This week we have been working on inferencing and I am so impressed with my students ability to read between the lines - we have come a long way and I have been throwing some really challenging content at them.

I am now going to change my focus to maths, as this is an area that I have less confidence in, since moving to the 'DMIC' approach.

Two years ago I conducted a dissertation looking at effective differentiation in maths. I had some great results, but did not keep to the programme I was looking at as we moved to the DMIC approach. I would now like to integrate components of this approach with DMIC.

In my dissertation I offered multiple opportunities for my students to engage with a particular maths concept; we did a few problems (similar to DMIC), watched videos, held workshops, used materials, use…

Love of Literacy

This year I have been really enjoying my inquiry, which is concerned with raising my students achievement in reading. At the start of the year I focussed on increasing the amount of discussion in my class, however I then changed to increase the reading mileage for my students reading below 13 years.

I started by scaffolding my students with discussion, before they went off to read or write. We also held debates using the points the students recorded in their writing and I gave my students opportunities to share their creations with each other later in the week. As such, rich discussion was occurring throughout the week.




However, I realised that to directly accelerate reading progress, I needed to increase the reading mileage of my reluctant readers. As such, I began giving them a couple of 'main texts' (e.g. two school journal stories) a week. However, I did not increase the mileage of my students reading above their chronological age, as they already read in their spare time.…

Raising Reading Achievement

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This year my inquiry is focussed on accelerating my students reading progress. I am really enjoying this focus and I feel that I have set up my class well - they understand my expectations and they are rising to the challenges that I am presenting them with.

For my learners who are reading below their biological age, I am focussing on mileage and being able to summarise what they are reading. I am assigning two journal articles a week (with one joint create activity) to achieve this. In term 1 our focus was understanding texts at a literal level, but this term we are beginning to focus more on evaluating the text and making inferences. These students also need to develop their vocabulary so that they can comprehend increasingly challenging texts. I have used reciprocal reading to ensure that my students are discussing new vocabulary, the ideas presented within a text and that they are consistently summarising chunks of texts.



For my student reading above their biological age, mileage …

Making magic with Google Draw

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While it is easy to get carried away with a range of apps, extensions and sites when you are a digital teacher, it is important not to focus more on a cool tool than your lesson content. In the spirit of this, Clarelle and I decided to run a session about Google Draw, to show how one simple tool can be used to do a range of things.

This was a really fun session to run - it started off with us talking about the things that we use all the time, like sketchnoting, annotating, hyperdocs (or hyperdraws). We then looked at some of the more artistic things that you can do with Google Draw, I had a lot of fun with this part, but it wasn't for everyone!

We also went through some of the tips about how to use Google Draw. Some of them were really basic, such as changing the size of the Google Draw, but they are still really useful to know!

Sticky Learning with Hyperdocs

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When I used to think about Hyperdocs, I immediately imagined a page filled with hyperlinks. After a session with hyperdoc guru Lisa Highfill, I realise that I may have been wrong about them, in fact, they are not so different from the type of slides that I have been creating for my own learners.

The docs and slides that Lisa creates have a definite structure, they clearly take the students on a journey, which for me would look like 'learn, create, share', while for Lisa this might look more like 'explore and explain'. The slides have short instructions and they use images and a layout that is visually appealing.

The other misconception that I had about hyperdocs was the number of links that they would feature. Yes, student choice is wonderful, but nobody likes to be bombarded with links as this can become overwhelming. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of links that Lisa's slides provided; the links were purposefully chosen and took students to engaging bu…

Teaching Algebra with Coding

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Now this sounds like something my maths class would enjoy - many of us are pretty passionate about algebra and we already really enjoy coding. However, I also have students who fear this dreaded subject and some have already asked when we will be learning it this year (perhaps hoping that it might align with a terrible pre-planned illness of family holiday).

We started by having a look at algebra on spreadsheets - using functions to write the equations. These were like a more interactive version of a worksheet, but I actually enjoyed completing them alone. It is easy to see how this would translate to coding, taking the engagement and interaction up another level.


When it came to generating our pattern we did things a little differently; we jammed on chrome music lab and created a simple song using its song maker function. This was such a fun way to see maths in the world - there are patterns everywhere!
We then went onto scratch to code some music - each note is here represented by a…

Tool Takeaways from Edtech Auckland

One of the best things about Edtech is picking up new sites, tools or tech tips that can be applied in the classroom. This is a list of some of the useful tools that I have learnt about throughout this summit:

The Most Dangerous Writing App
This is a cool idea for quick quickwrites. The site gives you a time limit to write and it does not allow you to stop - the second you stop typing, your text will disappear! A bit gimmicky and a red will come up and tell you that you've failed, but it could be fun once in a while.

iFake Text Messages
This is one of the best fake text messaging sites I've come across. They could be used to show a text conversation between characters or even for a Cybersmart lesson.

My Simple Show
This is a really cool website which allows you to make a slideshow with voiceover very quickly. It auto selects images for you based on the text, but you can choose your own from their library as well. It's not as creative as making one independently, with your own…

EdTech Auckland; Time to Wonder

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There are no new ideas. This was the idea that keynote speaker Lisa Highfill opened with at Aorere college this morning. She experienced this first hand as she watched her inventor father come up with new products, prepare to launch them only to find another company had already produced them.
This might sound a little defeatist, but she went on to explain that the value in an idea is putting it out there and sharing it. Instead of focussing on new ideas, Highfill suggested that we focus on sparking curiosity in our learners, so that they create, build on and share good ideas with one another.

We considered different ways to elicit student thinking, dreaming and wondering. This could be through engaging multimodal sites, stories, videos, google earth... But they must ask questions and discuss their thinking with one another. This aligns very closely with the Learn, Create, Share pedagogy of Manaiakalani, as we spark our students thinking through immersion assemblies, multimodal sites …

Quantities of Quality Text

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This afternoon we were visited by Dr Jannie Van Hees who came to talk to us about language acquisition. She first asked us to consider the literary understandings that our students come to use with and why we need quantities of quality text (both spoken and written). The more books that students engage with, the more concepts they learn about, the more knowledge and vocabulary they acquire. If the texts are too simple, the students will not not learn as much; they need to be challenged with challenging new words and ideas.

Children's language acquisition potential is astounding; they have amazing potential to learn. Thus, we must have high expectations of our learners - we need to keep pushing them, giving them learning in their ZPD or 'goldilocks' zone. However, learners need to do their part to; they can't simply listen or view the words, but they need to focus and notice. They must be metacognitive and be aware of their learning of the vocabulary.
Jannie's tips …