Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Trying to better my writing practice - a reflection

I have always felt that I am best at teaching maths, then maybe reading, followed lastly by writing. I get more shift in maths than I do in other learning areas, so I must be doing something right. I have never felt confident teaching writing, and I think this shows through my teaching and students lack of shift. 

I realised towards the end of last year and confirmed it (in my own head) last term, that the 'bit' I am missing is the middle bit. 

Thinking of the 'Gradual Release of Responsibility'...

I found that I was going from 'demonstration' straight to 'independent practice', and missing the bits in the middle. Therefore students often did not have in-depth understandings of what I was asking them to do, couldn't explain, would make mistakes etc. 

This week, as a new term (we didn't do writing last week) I have really tried to focus on those middle bits to 1) see what difference could be made for students, and 2) prove to myself I can be good at teaching writing.

This was my plan for the week.

WALT identify features of a report
SC I can identify the features of a report  
  • T introduce new writing topic - report writing. Clarify this is similar, but different than reports the kids get.
  • Give each group an example - they have 5 minutes with it to see it, read it etc and take notes about it. PRINT EXAMPLES FROM HERE.
  • Class discussion - what do they all have in common? What are the proper words for those things? (E.g. headings and subheadings, technical vocab, pictures, diagrams, sometimes have questions, lists, facts NOT opinions)
WALT navigate an information report by using its features
SC I can find information in a report without reading it
  • Give students copies of reports they have not seen before.
  • Ask them to find one feature - headings/subheadings. WITHOUT reading the actual text, what is this story going to be about? (possibly block out the actual text so they can’t read it). Make a prediction about 3 different things that will be talked about.
  • What information can we add from only looking at the pictures, diagrams or illustrations?
  • What have we learnt so far? Write FACTS. Finally, read the text. Find the technical vocab and any questions. What else have we learnt?
  • To sum up - where can we look for information? NOT JUST THE TEXT. But also, there is not one sentence that doesn’t tell you something new. Read sentence by sentence and check this. No random silly sentences.
  • Students annotate a digital copy of the text with a buddy to find the different features of the text.
WALT to identify and use the SEE structure
SC I can write an explanation and an example for a statement
SEE structure example - here.
  • T show 3 different examples of reports. Get students to focus on one paragraph at a time. What do you notice? Hope they say SEE.
  • If not, explicitly show. Highlight in different colours so they can see.
  • Model writing paragraphs using think alouds.
  • Share back to class. Display these on writing wall with SEE parts labeled.  
WALT to identify and use the SEE structure
SC I can organise sentences into the SEE structure
  • Class discussion - review SEE structure
  • Students organise given sentences into what they think is an appropriate SEE structure that makes sense.
  • Groups go and read each others, then feed back to class.
WALT create and use a check-list to mark information reports
SC I can identify features of a
  • T hands out all information reports that we have looked at this week and all resources.
Have blank template of checklist open, get students to help fill it in to create an agreed checklist.
WALT write an information report
SC I can use a plan to help guide my writing
  • As a class, plan together (teacher lead) what we will include.
  • Students write a information report about the sun using plan created together.

Evidence of our learning this week

The kids came up with all of these features of information reports. Even the idea that pictures/illustrations and diagrams are similar, but diagrams must have labels. Woo!

Examples of student labelling digitally.

Examples of the added 'explain and example' sentences -

Written by Timote and Isaia.
Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world.Because you can do like anything with it and it cheap for example you can make a
  1. milkshake
  2. A cake
  3. Ice cream
  4. Bread
If You wanted to measure time you could use a watch , clock , hourglass or even a sundial.
This is a clock you can find it in your house and if you look at it you can tell the time  because there is two of sicks on the clock a short and a long the short one tells the HR and the long on tells the minute that is one strategy but in the world there are a loads. You might say why because it is eazy and you must have one of them.

  1. in your house
  2. In a community hall
  3. In your family house
 On Thursday we did the sorting activity. All the groups could organise the sentences into the correct SEE structure. Some needed reminding what an introduction and conclusion were, but got there in the end.
What I loved was walking around listening to the groups trying to figure it out. They were using words like 'explaining' and 'example' to justify why a particular sentence went there. This showed me that they really understood the structure and could use it independently.
Link to co-created checklist.

Link to the modelling I did and paragraphs co-created.

Overall reflection
I have really enjoyed only doing 'shared writing', instead of just doing 'writing'. The kids have developed such deep understanding of this type of text, and they haven't even written one yet. I loved hearing them discuss the texts and be able to identify and define a particular feature of this writing, and justify why they were making the choices they did. 
Throughout the week (everyday) I reminded the kids we are doing 'shared writing', which means we are learning about writing rather than just doing writing. The kids who struggle to write slowly understood the difference and the stress/fear/pressure slowly lifted. There was 100% participation in all the activities, even the kids who can't actually write independently. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

#CoLWeeklyUpdate (W2T22018)

What I was trying to do...

After Donna's advice, what I am now trying to do...

Ryan's visual timetable and teepee

Visual Strategies for learning - Donna (CoL)

Donna's blog.

Why use visual aids?

  • improves understandings
  • encourages independence
  • helps with generalisation
  • reduces anxiety
  • minimises problem behaviour
  • provide support for communication
  • provide structure or predictability to help with thinking
  • act as a motivator to reinforce social meaning
  • lets the child know what is going to happen
  • shows the sequence of events
  • provides predicability
Visuals can be
  • words
  • photos
  • symbols - board making, writing with symbols
  • drawings
  • pictures
  • objects
  • checklist
  • lists
  • indicates what needs to be done and in what otder
  • provide information about what is going to happen
  • this helps to provide predictability and to help students understand routines which is an extremely important part of reducing stress
examples of social stories

Rules and routines
  • using a visual to SHOW students what they should look like when they should be 'listening'
  • timers - "in 5 minutes"
Break Cards
  • a card that can be handed to an adult when they feel stressed
  • or the adult can hand it too the student when they feel a break is needed, especially to pre-empt an outburst
  • these are individualised, depending on the student
Visual aids for learning
  • Visual aids are the devices that help the teacher to clarify, establish, and correlate and co-ordinate precise conceptions understandings and appreciations and support him to make learning more actual, active, motivating, encouraging, significant and glowing. 
Proper use of visual aids helps to retain more concept permanently.
  • Students can study well when they are inspired properly through different visual aids.
  • Visual aids grow the accurate image when the students see and hear properly. 
  • Visual aids provide complete example for conceptual thinking.
  • Visual aids create the environment of interest for the students. 
  • Visual aids helps to increase the vocabulary of the students. 
  • Visual aids helps the teacher to get sometime and make learning permanent. 
  • Visual aids provide direct experience to the students. 

  • smiley face marking
Story planners

Building vocabulary
  • use pictures to support the vocabulary students are learning because they might know the meaning, but might have forgotten the word. It gives them access back into the word.
Time tables and labels

Regular activities in the classroom
Language starters
  • E.g. talk moves, reciprocal reading, sentence frames

Directions and learning goals

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

SIGNS - Child Abuse in Aotearoa

Paul Joans - SWIS
Signs for....

Physical abuse

  •  hand marks
  •  oblong shaped bruises
  • bruises in weird places where they wouldn't naturally get bruises
  • clothing
  • food
  • lice treatment
  • medical
  • abandonment
Sexual Abuse 
  • usually not talked about
  • comes out with long term trust and discussion, not overnight
  • age of consent is 16 years
Burn = fire
scald = steam or water

It always comes back to the intention behind the action.

Other things to look out for (keep in mind the context!!)
  • bed wetting with no medical cause
  • continual sickness (vomiting, diarrhoea)
  • has not attained significance milestones
  • differing living conditions to the rest of the family
  • lack of personal attachment - goes to anyone without issue
  • children in the adults role (cooking, cleaning, child-minding etc).
  • violence towards animals and other children
  • dressing inappropriately to hide bruises or cover their bodies
  • may be extremely aggressive or extremely withdrawn
  • change in personality

What to do
  • be transparent
  • record in students own words
  • pass info to SMT
  • don't confront parents without discussing with school management

Quote by Dame Whina Cooper

Thursday, 3 May 2018

CoL meeting 3 May 2018

Equity and Access for Capital building citizenship.

Learn ready kids become employment ready young people.

Link to Russell's slideshow.

Students need to be able to do level 3-ish learning to be able to fully participate in society/workforce.

Learn ready kids, become explain ready learners, become employment ready young people.

Goal for Manaiakalani - be the schools of choice.

Dr Jannie Van Hees - Language in abundance.

Language is the critical tool that we use as the elevated species. It allowed them to make meanings of life. 

Oral literacy is not just about talking aloud. It's more than that. 
Print brings forward more complex vocabulary, grammar and ideas. 

Kids have great brains, and its our job to make acquisition possible. 
(Potential is there, are we making learning possible?)

Optimal language learning

Q+A  of prior knowledge is not sufficient. It needs to be connected to something they already know/do and add to that. 
Our job is gifting language to the children. That's what made us smart - being gifted language.

Architecture not archeology. 

Core 4 -

1. optimising learning and interactional conditions
We don't want the kids to feel that school is pleasing the teacher and doing what they are told. 
Shifting from unidirectional to a collaborative community.

how much extracting are we doing vs how much gifting? Should be 40-60/

Say to children
Catch what you can
Read and think
Think and talk

2. Elaborative style pedagogical responses
3. Scaffolding learners to become effective conversationalists
4. PPP - planning preparing providing language acquisition potential


Link to slideshow

Be very clear about what you are doing differently and how its going.
Keep the spectrum of view quite wide, or you might miss other things that are happening.

Collect data often, and in a reasonable way that can be reliably
- deliberate check points
- small notes on small things
- student voice

Friday, 27 April 2018

Developing Mathematical Inquiry Community [DMIC]- Staff meeting/PD

NZ maths link - really good video here.
DMIC website

Shift our mindset out of Numeracy Project and stages. Stop blaming the kids for bad data.

Why do we need to do this?
At the end of year 8, 26% of Maori and 11% of Pasifika are achieving the curriculum standard.

If I've taught them I did my bit. But did they actually learn it?

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Meeting with Donna

Meeting with Donna (Across schools leader for Sommerville)
Advice for special needs students

  • Collate data - (ABCs) Antecedents, behaviours, consequences...keep detailed data.
  • Look for patterns - Share with Donna
  • Give students who are charged or wired from home to have something to do before going to class (getting their engine ready)
  • Key competencies are these students biggest level of learning at the moment.
  • Students often don’t know the language for what they’re feeling.  Give students time to identify what they’re feeling and work with them to find a solution.
  • Class discussion around what we can do as individuals in the class to help the student/s with special needs.
  • Allocate time every week (perhaps on a Monday) to PB4L and key competencies - identifying feelings/emotions and ways to deal with them, identifying characteristics to manage our feelings and behaviours e.g: tolerance, acceptance, inclusivity, patience
  • Celebrate the small successes - differentiate expectations e.g: 10 minutes where a student manages himself without disruption, or 10 minutes where a students completes a certain amount of work...etc
  • Visual assistance for routines - eg: timetables - teaches students what comes next and allows time for them to mentally prepare. It also can be used to teach when things don’t go to plan by changing the image/word when changes occur.
  • Make sure you have a conversation with students around the timetable discussing any changes that may be happening.
  • “Not available” - (circle with a red line through it)use of terminology as opposed to ‘No’, just means that you can’t have that now but it will be available to you later.
  • ADHD - kinesthetic strategies: brain break - use them as reward for begin on task.  
    • Vibrating toys from the $2 shop.
    • Squiggy toys
  • Create a work/brainbreak chart showing students what work they have to do to earn a brain break.
  • Create a check sheet of all the things students like to do during brain breaks and students choose what they’d like to do.  Give them an amount of time they can take for they’re break and use a timer to track.
  • Noise reducing headset helps in blocking out sound during learning time.
  • All behaviour is a communication. When a student acts out - stop, take a breath and try to figure out what the student is trying to tell me.
  • Review mindfulness - setting a positive safe classroom environment.  Ensure students are comfortable in saying they don’t know how to do something, rather than not try something because they ‘think’ it’s too hard.  Have strategies on the wall around the room giving ways they can help themselves in their learning e.g: ask 2 friends, give it a go and ask for help, make a start.
  • Check students understanding of the names of equipment in the room e.g: vivid/marker/sharpie, card/paper…
  • Donna’s professional blog - http://sssdonnaryan.blogspot.co.nz/
  • Get onto the Sue Larkie mailing list - available on her blog:-)...has great information and strategies to add to your tool kit.
Recommended Websites/Reading/Resources:

Thursday, 19 April 2018

UoA New Associate Teacher training

Today I went to a training meeting at the University of Auckland about how to be a good associate teacher. I'm excited to be getting a student teacher this term!

My notes - 
The most important stuff to do with your student teacher
1.    read the brief
2.    modelling and explaining by thinking aloud – making the implicit explicit. Explaining how you got that to happen (e.g. routines)

How will you ensure that your own planning clearly reflects children’s different learning needs (academic, personal and social)?
·      Meeting with SENCO/principal to discuss how children’s needs are met
·      Discussing IBP/IEPs, why they are necessary
How will you provide evidence of and access to,  your longer and shorter term planning?
·      Sharing docs with them (view only)/photocopies.
What evidence of differentiated planning (groups and individuals) will you practice/demonstrate for your student teacher?
·      Getting students to change the tumble/group box – explaining why you are changing it and what is informing your decision making
·      Modelling the think aloud of your decision making process for your student teacher (e.g. I want you to move to the front of the mat because…)
·      Explaining – this is why I am doing this, this is how it connects to my planning and assessments etc.
How will you share aspects of your planning and preparation for teaching and learning with your student teaching?
·      Think alouds.
When will you discuss the planning process with your student teacher?
·      Giving them a timeline – 24hrs, a week beforehand etc. Make sure you check in.
·      Show them BT planning so they know how detailed it should be.
·      Be tough.
·      Follow school expectations.
What is your understanding of the key elements that should be evident in effective teaching practice?
How will you help your student teacher develop effective teacher practice?
How will the student teacher know that their teaching has been effective?
·      Did the kids learn anything?
·      If they didn’t and it was a unsuccessful lesson, can they themselves say how to make it better?
How will you promote and support your student teacher in planning, teaching and assessment (across a range of learning areas) with individual, multiple groups and whole class situations?
·      Do the basics first – get to know the teacher, get to know the kids before jumping into planning/teacher. However there might not be time for them…
·      SHOW them how to do assessments, even if it’s not in your schedule. Explain the purpose of it, why your school does that certain assessment and what happens with the data. Show them how it connects to the curriculum, long term planning etc.
·      Discuss if you have ability groups or mixed groups and WHY.
·      Learn how to group effectively for ability groups. Get good at that before going to mixed grouping etc.
·      Show them how to make an OTJ.
·      Any reflection should cause a change in practice. ‘Why am I behaving in this way’, ‘What is the impact’, ‘What can I change’.