Sunday, 21 February 2016

Thank you Spark Foundation!

What an inspiring day! We turned up, were welcomed, fed, plied with coffee and were given surprise goodie bags. A completely inspiring day surrounded by an inspiring environment and inspiring people!

My new friend Frank :>

2015 stats - now it is up to $41million of giving!

Re-Writing my Inquiry Proposal

Image result for stop collaborate and listen

It is exciting that with a clearer 'problem', my inquiry proposal suddenly makes more sense! It is something we always teach our students - the important of structure and planning, and yet it hadn't occurred to me how important this foundation was to my inquiry.

So here is my new proposal!

Reimagining Co-Teaching Through the Innovative Use of Online Spaces
Why are the majority of our Maori boys not achieving at their National Standard in Writing?

Our evidence shows that our Maori boys are not achieving at National Standard in their Writing. To accelerate the writing achievement of our priority learners we know that a more personalised approach to teaching and learning is essential.

In my wider management role within the school, I work closely with classroom teachers to design appropriate tasks and experiences that engage and provide the students with personalised support and timely feedback / feedforward.

Working collaboratively requires the development of an Ako relationship with both the students and the teachers involved.

Technology enables effective co-teaching in this context where I am not sharing a physical space. I plan to explore how we can strengthen the co-teaching approach through the use of appropriate online spaces to create engaging and effective learning environments, that specifically target our priority learners - Maori boys.

My target group will be our year seven and eight Maori boys whose learning and achievement needs acceleration to attain expected national standards.

Stay tuned for updates!
Again, thank you to #SparkFoundation for making this all possible.

What is the Problem?

So what is the problem? Today at the Spark Headquarters (which might I say are completely inspiring with their very successful use of modern learning environments!) we were given the challenge of taking our initial inquiries for Spark-MIT, and to re-craft them, focusing on the problem we are looking into and the evidence we want to collect.

So what is the problem? My initial proposal was to accelerate the writing achievement of Tamaki Primary's priority learners with a more personalised approach to teaching, possibly by exploring the co-teaching approach through the use of appropriate online spaces. Re-reading over this it seems that the problem I initially wanted to explore is why are TPS's priority learners not achieving at the national standard? When I was first thinking through this, I was under the understanding that I was finding a new technological way to teach writing that would work for all learners, especially our priority learners. 

So what is the problem NOW? After our group discussion, I am now wondering if focusing on such a wide group of students is not the best approach. Our priority learners at Tamaki Primary School are our Maori boys. In this group (working off November 2015 data), there are 11 year 7 and 8 Maori boys in our two year 7/8 classes who are below in their writing, and three who have reached the national standard. So, why are the majority of our Maori boys not reaching the national standard in Writing?

Identifying the Problem:
Our evidence has shown that the majority of our Maori boys are not reaching the National Standard in Writing. 

EasTTle Writing tests (Nov, 2015), Teacher OTJs 2015

Now that I know what the problem is, it is time to move onto creating a proposal to shape my inquiry.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

New Online Spaces

My aim today was to try out some new online spaces. When looking at the "32 Top Online Spaces"  a couple of new online spaces came up. For example

So lets give it a try! I logged on as a teacher, swapped American grades to NZ equivalents, and was set up in what looks like a facebook account. Straight away I could see why students would be attracted to such a sight. It was interactive with avatars, commenting and games available. From a teachers perspective, it was easy(ish) to use, once getting the different groups and pages set up... and there were some resources available to add as gadgets - although most weren't free.

From here I decided to create a small group and test out the ease of use. I chose 5, level 3, year 7&8 boys to test this on. The first thing they said? "Yay! It looks like facebook!" Within 30 seconds they had all made comments on my first post and had clicked on the links, and began discussing the Bryde whale. Perfect!

After they had explained to me what their abbreviations meant (man do I feel old!!), we moved onto the first "assignment." Straight away there was silence as they clicked on the links, opened a doc and began typing. 20 minutes later, I had four assignments logged, and they all moved onto creating their avatars. In hindsight, more of an introduction was necessary for more depth of writing.

After all the work had been "tuned in", I was able to simply click on their links and comment! One learning point was that the boys had to download their work and then load it up - they weren't able to simply attach from their drive. However, I have noticed since that there is a link button - could be interesting to explore this...

All in all however, I think this site as potential, and I am excited to use it with this group of boys to see what writing comes out of it.

Here are some examples of the work completed today, and the comments and feedforward I gave.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Creating Engaging and Effective Working Environments

How do you engage a group of reluctant writers?

Step One: Engage them in what interests them
After discussions with a group of boys (chosen because boys are the target group) from both Yr 7/8 classes, dragons and spending lots of money were their main interests! From this we came up with the phrase - Rich Writers!

Step Two: Create ownership
Choosing the symbol of a dragon and a crown was found by two particular "arty" boys in the group. The rest of the boys were very excited by the symbol.

Step Three: Check in to 'feel out' continued interest
From here, it is important to continue to evolve with the students. If their interests change, then the writing programme needs to change with them. this space...