Posted in Standard 2, Teacher Registration, Teaching As Inquiry

Improving Writing with Education Perfect

What is the current situation/problem?

My year 9 learners find it a challenge to apply basic grammar such as punctuation, spelling, effective use of sentences and capital letters.

School Goals relating to this issue:

Objective 1: Challenge and support all learners to give of their best and achieve their best in their learning and the other areas that they pursue.

Objective 6: Further integrate eLearning into our curriculum in order to enhance the achievement of learning.

Objective 16: Ensure that self-review becomes part of the culture of the College.

My intervention will be…

Education Perfect

I was introduced to the Education Perfect programme late in term 2 and was very impressed with what it has to offer. I can set tasks such as sentences and the programme will teach the different sentence types and then test learners. There are different levels to work through and even a game that the learners can play on completion of each level. I can monitor learners to see if they are completing the learning or not; see statistics and who is struggling. The best thing is that I don’t have to mark it which frees me up to work alongside learners or plan lessons to cover any holes in their learning.

What happened?

The first time that I used Education Perfect the response was extremely positive. I initially planned to use it for the first 15 mins of each lesson but the class didn’t want to stop! They worked on sentences for a whole lesson and we agreed to use it for a whole period once a week.

I wanted to find out whether using this programme would improve their writing skills. I compared an earlier piece of creative writing with formal writing completed in term 3 to see whether there was any improvement in the accuracy of spelling, punctuation and general use of grammar.

Some of the issues found in Creative Writing were:

  • Lack of capital letters
  • Run on sentences
  • Syntax
  • Lack of proofreading
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Spaces

To help with these issues I set Education Perfect tasks on:

  • Sentences
  • Capital letters
  • Apostrophes
  • Commas
  • Proper nouns

What happened and how do I know?

After completing the Education Perfect tasks and developing their formal writing, learners were assessed on the criteria of ideas, structure, language/style and accuracy. I was interested in accuracy and was able to break the formal writing marking into categories so that I could see this particular result.

Part way through the year our department adopted the use of Doctopus and Goobrics which allowed us to categorise the marking of formal writing into the 4 areas. Unfortunately, I didn’t have separate categories marked for the creative writing as we weren’t using these tools at the time.

The Data

Creative Writing

  • NA = 6
  • A = 7
  • M = 2
  • E = 3
  • DNS = 3

Formal Writing

  • NA = 7
  • A = 7
  • M = 7
  • E = 4
  • New learners = 4

What does this data tell me, and what should I do next?

There are 4 new learners in the class so this could account for the slightly larger number of NAs and the same number of As. I am pleased to see an increase in the number of Ms and Es! I also had a bigger hand in rate with the Formal Writing which could indicate a growing confidence in writing. This shows me that learners have benefitted from the use of Education Perfect and our decision to use it with all juniors next year is justified.

Next year we will use Doctopus and Goobric for all of our Common Assessments so I will have more data to work with and may look at another aspect of writing to target and improve with Education Perfect.

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Posted in Criterion 11, Criterion 4, Professional Development, Standard 2, Teacher Registration, Teaching Standards

Using asTTle in the English Classroom

The Call to Action

Today I attended Tania Linley-Richardson’s comprehensive and useful workshop: “Using asTTle in the English Classroom’. For a while now I have needed professional development on using asTTle but the opportunity has never arisen. As a Head of Learning, I have felt behind the 8 ball and a bit out of my depth when it comes to asTTle so when I received an email about this workshop earlier this year, I knew that it was time to take action!

CALL to action

Reading and Interpreting Data

What I liked about this course was that we started with the basics such as what the sub-levels of each level are; what curriculum levels you would expect learners to be at each year; and the skills that asTTle tests. Tania also advised us on the best skills that we should test based on her experience. She also shared ideas of how other schools were using data such as the Core Group model where core subject teachers meet and strategise how to use data for a year group.

Our first focus was the reading test and we looked at the different types of report that could be generated and how to read each one. This was explained to us and then we practised identifying key trends and discussing reasons for each.

We were given resources to use with our learners to unpack the next steps for them. This could be done with either the Academic Counsellor or English teacher. I think it would be a great reflection tool for our learners to look at after their 2nd asTTle test to see if they have progressed or not. Tania recommended that we test mid-year as well as at the beginning and end. I know that Tim Rea is keen to do this which would be helpful for our department so that we can share the workload. However, the lady I was sitting next to said they she had done this and the learners got ‘test fatigue’ and didn’t take it seriously. Something to consider…

After this we looked at and discussed the reports generated from the writing test. I’m not sure about doing the writing test, I worry about the marking load that doing this test would create. However, I did get the contact details of a retired teacher who is looking for work and is happy to mark the writing. Having one person mark would help maintain consistency and I would need support from the SLT in doing this as payment would have to be budgeted for.

data knowledge action

Creating an Adaptive Reading Test and Target Setting

Adaptive tests are on-screen only and adjust to each learner after they have answered a set of questions. According to Tania, this is the most accurate test and it can even work out when kids are guessing and make adjustments! The other bonuses include instantly generated reports and no marking. I had a go at creating one of these and it took less than 5 minutes – I was sold!

We were then shown how to set targets for our learners which was also easy. This would need to be discussed with each learner so that they are aware of the target and how to hit it. Another useful Academic Counselling discussion, perhaps after discussion with an English teacher to work out specifically what to do.

We were shown the Starpath Toolkit which has heaps of free resources to support the use of asTTle and also support Academic Counselling. One of these resources was a spreadsheet to enter data into which then produced charts of varying types to show different types of data.

Target setting

Strategies for Developing Reading Processes

“When students have difficulty reading and understanding subject area texts, they hit a “literacy ceiling” that limits what they can achieve both in the classroom and in their lives outside of school.”

Reading for Understanding p.5

After very nice lunch we spent the last 90 minutes on literacy activities that could be used to help develop reading and writing skills. These included identifying roadblocks to reading and strategies to overcome these; the 3 level reading guide; and creating vocab toolboxes.

I enjoyed learning about these ideas and will create some posters of reading and writing strategies for us to put in our classrooms. I also plan to create a resource that can be used with all the ideas I have heard today. Our year 9 and 10 classes are split so these activities could be used by the teacher who sees the class once a week.

Concluding Thoughts

The day was well worth it and has resulted in feeling confident and up to speed with using asTTle. I now know how to create a test, interpret data and have strategies for adding value to our learners.

I'm happy now

Posted in Criterion 4, Professional Development, Teacher Registration

The uLearn 2016 Experience

Powhiri

After checking into our Rotorua motel, Lisa, Christine and I attended a powhiri at a local marae. It was a special way to begin our uLearn experience and lovely to be welcomed in a meaningful manner.


Keynotes

Larry Rosenstock

Rosenstock set up High Tech High in 2000 with the common principles of personalisation, real-world connection, and common intellectual mission. His background is in law and carpentry and he told of how local kids would come to him after school to learn how to make stuff. He explained how the enjoyment of this inspired him to set up a school where learning was all about doing and having a real world purpose.  Forbes magazine profiled Rosenstock in 2004, check it out for more info. 

John Couch
John Couch is the Apple Education executive who began by discussing the difference between education and learning. He explained the vision that Apple has for education. Apple believe that every learner is unique and deserves to be educated with this in mind. This article pretty much sums up his story. As educators we were encouraged to “unleash creativity!” Apple have developed CBL, or challenge based learning, which is something that I came across at the ADE conference last year. 



Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan explained that we are all wired to connect and that relationships are super important. Helping humanity is important to Millennials so we should tap into this value and use it to motivate and engage our learners. Fullan’s version of inquiry based learning is New Pedagogies for Deep Learning  and he has utilised the “C”skills to frame deep learning.  











Karen Spencer
This was by far the most engaging keynote although we were reminded that it was only 72 hours until Term 4 began! Karen encouraged us to ‘see the story behind the data’ and to ’embrace discomfort’. She discussed encouraging diverse thinking and views in our learners and ourselves. A very worthwhile keynote.

Workshops

Preparing for the future: Graeme Muller

Graeme discussed all the amazing new develoments in technology that we would have dreamed of as kids. He then got us to discuss what our world may look like in 2028. We discussed different changes that may occur in the home and in teaching. We also talked about what skills we would need to teach to prepare our learners for a future where many jobs will be automated. I really enjoyed these discussions and the conclusions that we drew. We realised that ethics and morality would be important to discuss and teach with our learners. I got a revelation that I would need to start this now! It was a very thought provoking workshop.

Creative Commons: Paula Eskett

Paula discussed the different types of creative commons that could be applied to created content. We thought about whether a school policy should be made available for schools as a few people had created content but could not sell it as their school owned the IP. I found this interesting as I had experienced this issue myself with creating an iBook to sell to our learners as a textbook but then being told that I could not sell it as there was no school creative commons policy. 

Someone also asked if there was a video that explained plagiarism and its consequences that we could show our learners. Paula thought that this was a cool idea and said she would look into it. Christine and I were very interested in this as a resource as we have had a few incidents of plagiarism this year. I can’t help thinking that maybe we should create this resource ourselves.

It does make you think about the content we use that is not attributed. I feel challenged to create more of my own images and also to acknowledge more of the images that I steal!



Transforming Middle Leaders: Jo Robson and Martin Bassett

This workshop was about using a UDL approach to create a flexible and collaborative online course for middle leaders: “Leaders building leaders.”

This workshop took us on a whirlwind tour of a new course that is being developed for middle leaders by Jo and Martin. As a new HOL I found this very interesting and enjoyed thinking about and discussing my personal stengths, the culture and vision of my department and planning where to next. It is a course that I would really love to do.

Some of the things that I would like to do next as a result of this workshop are to read more leadership articles and books, and work with my department to create a vision for next year.

New School or Old School: Marcus Freke, Tony Grey, Richard Jenkins
This workshop was about starting up a new school and some of the ideas behind it which included:

  • Build a culture and be clear about the vision and values.
  • Rituals – how do they effect whats really important?
  • What is powerful learning?
  • What is powerful to learn?
  • “The quo has lost its status”
  • Knowing your learner is super important in helping learners do well. Having year groups is an anachronism.
  • Leadership styles – be there to help teachers make the changes.
  • Building the team: be explicit about how teaching and learning will happen.
  • Consider EQ over IQ
  • Shared understanding over vision, signature practices and culture.
  • Remember that new teachers bring knowledge and valuable experience.

GAFE apps: Lynne Silcock

Lynne shared apps and examples of how they could be used to support literacy. This was really interesting as I immediately thought of a few learners who would benefit from these apps. Many learners do not realise that their writing doesn’t make sense so having an app read their writing aloud to them would really help.

The Gala Dinner

The dinner had a Kiwiana theme and many people had dressed up and looked amazing. There was a prize for the best costume which went to a dude who looked like a sheep but who was supposed to be Aotearoa (Land of the long white cloud)! He kept getting mistaken for a sheep because he was hanging out with a chick dressed as a farmer!

The meal was quite acceptable and the band were awesome! As soon as they started playing people got on the dance floor for a boogie. It was a great atmosphere with everyone in a celebratory mood.


Overall, it was a fantastic few days of learning and inspiration that I would fully recommend to anyone thinking of attending in the future.


References
1. http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-apple-wants-to-remake-the-classroom/

2. https://www.cpcc.edu/millennial

Posted in Criterion 12, Criterion 5, Criterion 6, Department TAI, Department TAI, Teacher Registration, Teaching As Inquiry

Motivation, Engagement and Consequences.

When brainstorming ideas for Teaching as Inquiry, our department focus became centred around how we could encourage our learners to complete their learning. This is a challenge that many of us face. We decided that we would link our TAI to some of the Whangaparaoa College school goals which include:

Objective 1: Challenge and support all learners to give of their best and achieve their best in their learning and the other areas that they pursue.

Objective 6: Further integrate eLearning into our curriculum in order to enhance the achievement of learning.

Objective 16: Ensure that self review becomes part of the culture of the College.

What is the current situation/problem?

The current situation is that many learners lose motivation and do not complete their learning. This has happened a couple of times throughout the year, especially if the assessment does not go on reports. It seems that if a piece of learning is not worth credits then learners are not motivated to complete it. We have found that if a senior learner has another subject’s assessment due then they will work on that instead! It’s like they’re cheating on English with another subject!

My intervention will be…

Classcraft

I have written about Classcraft previously in my post on Gamification and Assessment. It’s a game that is more appropriate for junior classes than senior ones. I trialled Classcraft over term 2 with my year 9 class and it has been very effective in helping to modify their behaviour.  Classcraft engages and motivates learners by rewarding specific behaviours with points which learners can use to level up or to buy powers and costume accessories for their avatar. I modified the point system to reward the key competencies and 21st century skills. I also gave points for some work completion so that my learners realised that it wasn’t just about playing the game.



What happened and how do I know?

The class took to Classcraft like the proverbial duck to water. They were excited about getting points and suddenly became very helpful and complimentary about my fashion sense. I’ve never blushed so much! Apart from the fun aspect, my learners’ grades either stayed the same or improved by one grade. Some learners had worse results where they either dropped a grade or did not submit.

  • Same = 6
  • Better = 10
  • Worse = 6 (2 did not submit whereas last time they did).


What does this data tell me, and what should I do next?

This data tells me that Classcraft is worth persevering with as most of the class either had the same results or got a better result than the previous essay. I have developed a very positive relationship with the learners and really look forward to seeing this class now. Previously, I had dreaded them a little as they were quite a challenge both behaviour and learning-wise. The class have really enjoyed playing Classcraft and the stories that I have told about its use have encouraged other people in my department to have a go at using it themselves.  Motivating learners to want to complete their learning is a positive strategy for dealing with this issue.

Discussing the importance of finishing well is also something that I will do with all my classes. The sense of satisfaction for a job well done is something that most of us enjoy and contributes towards living a life of integrity.

While I am in favour of rewarding positive more than punishing negative behaviour, there is a place for a negative consequence. Not all learners in this class have had a change of heart when it comes to their learning. Contacting the whanau when learning is not completed is something that will happen more frequently as, in my experience, it mostly gets good results. We are, however, on the right track towards all learners in this class completing their learning.

Posted in Criterion 2, Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Criterion 7, Mindlab reflections

Changes in my practice

Completing the Mindlab course has been an amazing journey and I have learnt about and been challenged by many new ideas. This has led to some changes in my teaching practice, some of which are the inclusion of gamification and the adoption of transformational leadership.

Classcraft
Although I found writing the literature review very challenging, it further developed an interest that I had in gamification and game based learning. On Google+ I came across a post about Classcraft and decided to investigate. I have since implemented the use of Classcraft with my year 9 class and this has helped to improve their motivation and engagement enormously. Their behaviour is also much better and they are developing 21st Century skills as a result. This reflects Criterion 8 which includes the ability to, 

Encourage ākonga/learners to take responsibility for their own learning and behaviour.

Because my learners know that they will earn points for positive behaviours and skills they come into class wanting to help hand out books and get started on their learning. We have been using Classcraft all this term and lately I have tried one or two lessons where we don’t use it to see if the behaviour and motivation is different. I am pleased to report that it is not! Rewarding these skills has helped to make them a consistent and usual way of behaving. Thanks Classcraft!



Transformational Leadership

I have also enjoyed learning about Leadership theory and styles. This has been particularly helpful for me as this is my first year being the head of a department. I identified mostly with the transformational leadership style and have consciously used this style when leading my department. I believe that one of the reasons that I was employed is because of my skills in incorporating technology to enable my pedagogy. I have lots of ideas for changes that I would like to see in my department but am aware that not everyone is as tech savvy as I am and could see a rash of hastily made changes as a challenge. For this reason I have not made huge changes but have discussed ideas for the future and sought opinions on those changes. Some things will be non negotiable such as submitting year 11 moderation digitally next year and adding each year level in subsequent years. But many ideas will be a choice. I am encouraged by the positive attitudes of my people though. I showed them my blog and explained that I used it to record reflections on teaching and learning which were then linked to the PTC and they all are very keen to do this also. So we have begun that journey together. This reflects Criterion 5, the Enabling eLearning website comments:

Effective leadership is crucial for the successful implementation of ICT.

Utilising the transformational leadership style is a non threatening way of leading my department in the adoption of ICT for their own use which will help them become more confident in leading their learners to do the same. As my departments’s confidence in me as a leader increases, more changes will be made but I believe that it is important to first build relationships and earn respect.

The Future…

I would like to keep learning and growing as a leader. I see my department as being leaders in the school in the area of technology enabled pedagogy in the future. To make this happen I would like to develop into a leader that has “the capacity to translate this vision into reality.” (Warren Bennis) I would also like to complete the Masters of Applied Practice offered by Mindlab so that I can continue to learn and think about new ideas and technologies and how they can be applied in teaching and learning.

References

1. Enabling e-Learning, Professional Learning. Retrieved from: http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Practising-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning/Criteria-8

2. Enabling e-Learning, Professional Learning. Retrieved from: http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Practising-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning/Criteria-5

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 2, Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Mindlab reflections, Teacher Registration

Interdisciplinary Connections

The interdisciplinary approach is a team-taught enhancement of student performance, an integration of methodology and pedagogy, and a much needed lifelong learning skill. Interdisciplinary approach (2009).

Goals

At Whangaparaoa College each curriculum area has had its own paragraph structure acronym, these have included PEEL, SEXY, and TIE, to name a few. It was decided that we needed a common structure. Heads of learning from 6 curriculum areas met over the course of a term to decide which structure would work best overall. We settled on SEEL: Statement, Explanation, Example, Link. To achieve this goal we shared examples of what it would look like for each of us and then spent time creating resources. We have now introduced the chosen structure to our departments and have also begun using it. Posters are being printed so that the SEEL structure will be displayed around the school. It is hoped that by the end of the year all teachers and learners will have adopted it.

TALL (Teaching and Learning Leaders) is a group representing all curriculum areas that meet twice a term to brainstorm ideas, conduct research, and eat lollies!  A goal of the group is to create short lesson plans and accompanying resources for the staff to easily pick up and use. These lessons can be used in more than one curriculum area. We want staff to be comfortable trying new ideas without having to spend a lot of time planning. These lesson plans consider the SAMR model and aim to encourage more engagement and motivation. Currently I am working with a social science teacher to create a paragraph writing unit which includes a ‘how to’ video resource and a Kahoot to quiz the learners.

Challenges

Although the paragraph group have only focussed on one skill in an interdisciplinary manner we found that the paragraph structure needed to be general and not specific or it would not fit all curriculum areas. In English, the SEEL structure will be fine for our junior classes but we will need to add to it for our seniors so that learners record all the information needed. Other curriculum areas will do the same.

Benefits

The benefit of the interdisciplinary approach is huge for learners. They are able to apply principles across curriculum areas which makes them easier to remember and understand. This also cuts down on the time spent in teaching these principles so more time is available to help wih understanding specific content.

“Their cognitive development allows them to see relationships among content areas and understand principles that cross curricular lines. Interdisciplinary approach (2009).

According to Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997), there are many other benefits including increased engagement and motivation, more ability in critical thinking, synthesis and making decisions, and also in the promotion of collaborative learning. Basing learning on a theme across curriculum areas and incorporating project based learning could make school a very cool place to come to. For teachers, it would promote “…better collegiality and support between teachers and wider comprehension of the connections between disciplines.” (Mathison and Freeman, 1997).

Our paragraph structure group and the TALL group are only small steps in the journey of interdisciplinary learning. I would love to take larger, bolder steps in this area and truly become interdisciplinary in our school. I found the video below very inspiring.

References

1. Jones, C.(2009). Interdisciplinary approach – Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI, 7(26), 76-81. Retrieved from http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1121&context=essai

2. Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997). The logic of interdisciplinary studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997. Retrieved from http://www.albany.edu/cela/reports/mathisonlogic12004.pd

3. Lacoe Edu (2014, Oct 24) Interdisciplinary Learning . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA564RIlhME

 

 

 


Posted in Demonstrate commitment to promote the well-being of all ākonga, Mindlab reflections, Professional Development, Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning., Teacher Registration

Blogging for Professional Development


The social media platform that best supports my engagement with professional development is WordPress. Blogging is beneficial to me as it allows regular reflection on teaching and learning. Many posts discuss challenges and solutions based upon discussion with colleagues. This is a great way of being a reflective practitioner and processing information and thoughts.

The act of regularly expressing your thoughts in written form can help sharpen your intellect, organize your ideas and prep you to lead lessons in the classroom more effectively. (Teach.com, 2015)

The Reader on WordPress is a stream of bloggers that I follow and is an interesting way of staying up to date other educators with similar interests.

Putting your ideas into the world is a great way to attract like-minded people to argue with, network with, or get advice from. As we’ve learned from other discussions on personal learning networks (PLN), talking with other educators is a wonderful way to learn and grow as a teacher. (Teach.com, 2015)

I like WordPress because I can include photos, video, slideshows, and hyperlinks. It is a visually interesting digital portfolio that can be commented on and modified when needed. Many posts create a discussion which gives me other things to think about.

Positive or negative, getting reactions from other people in your community is a great way to test out your ideas. It can also be a great motivational tool. (Teach.com, 2015)

I use WordPress to enhance my professional development to record reflections and evidence linked to the Practising Teacher Criteria. Categories for each criterion can be created and each post linked to the relevant criteria. Before my last re-registration interview with my principal, I emailed her my blog address. At the interview we discussed a selection of blog posts. As I had been writing posts for the 3 years leading up to re-registration I did not need to write a lot to make sure that I had provided evidence for all of the criteria.

Many employers these days will check out a prospective employer’s online prescence to find out about who they are as a person and how they represent themselves. A blog will help an employer to understand the values and attitudes of a teacher. It will also give insight into how they teach and reflect on their pedagogy.

A media-rich teaching portfolio will give employers a deeper insight into your teaching practices while signaling that you’re a 21st century teacher. Having a teaching portfolio can be a decisive element at the interview stage of the hiring process (Mosely, 2005).

At my new school we are beginning to investigate blogging for the same purpose and many teachers have already begun to set up their blogs. It is preferable to filling in lots of paperwork. I have also been involved in facillitating professional development in both schools to help people set up their blogs. Blogging to reflect on teaching and learning naturally links to many of the PTC so one blog post can cover many areas.

I have enjoyed blogging about my experiences and journey of teaching and learning over the last few years. It is interesting to look at older posts to see how I have grown and developed as an educator. Sharing this journey with other educators from around the world has given me new perspectives on issues and I have learnt a great deal. Blogging is a great social media tool that is also valuable for our learners to use, but that’s a story for another post.


References
1. 10 Reasons to Blog as Professional Development (2015). Retrieved from http://teach.com/teach100-mentor/blogging-as-pd

2. Do I need a digital teaching portfolio?(2014).  Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-teaching-portfolio-edwige-simon

Posted in Criterion 2, Criterion 7, Mindlab reflections

The importance of Netiquette

Blogging and Twitter

When I was teaching at Orewa College we introduced Twitter and blogging to our learners. I began using Twitter with the intention of it being a back channel to ask questions in class. However, my learners were a little immature and were soon making silly comments about each other so I had to press pause and reflect on how to proceed. I put a stop to the in class use of Twitter as I was concerned about it getting out of hand and becoming a cyber-bullying issue. Blogging was introduced soon after and we realised that it would be a great way of publishing learning that could be shared with families, both local and overseas.  An integral part of blogging is commenting on blog posts so our learners needed guidance on how to do this positively. Often learners are not aware that they are cyber-bullying as they think that ‘everyone does it’. It was important to teach them that this was not normal or responsible behaviour.

The Code of Ethics for Certified Teachers explains that we should:

Teach and model those positive values which are widely accepted in society and encourage learners to apply them and critically appreciate their significance.

I realised that my learners would not be prepared for participating in a mature manner online if I did not teach them how to behave appropriately. I used the following slide show to teach them Netiquette. By explicitly teaching netiquette we were able to teach positive values that are good, not only for blogging, but for life in general.

     As a teacher, my responsibilities at Orewa College included:

     Maintaining a high standard of behaviour in the class, so that all students can access the Internet and use their devices safely and to the best advantage educationally.

    After teaching Netiquette, I saw an improvement in the online behaviour of my learners. Their interaction on twitter became more positive and the comments on their classmates’ blogs were in the form of a ‘compliment sandwich’. My learners enjoyed giving and receiving comments and the conversations created.

    Blogging and the whanau

    Some parents questioned the use of social media and we were able to explain the value of publishing learning on line. Our learners made more effort in creating quality posts when they knew they would possibly have a global audience. Reflecting on their learning was another valuable reason to blog and being able to comment positively and give feedback on each others’ blogs was also a positive. Many parents did not realise how social media could be used to enhance learning.

    We explained that Netiquette was taught as we were aware of our responsibility to “teach and model positive values” and to “maintain a high standard of behaviour in the class…” It was important to have the conversation with parents and to explain our reasons for doing this as they often did not understand the value of this style of social learning. Once they heard our reasons and saw their child’s blog they were mostly happy about it.

    When we had our parent evenings I was able to ask the parents whether they had seen their child’s blog or not. Most of the time they hadn’t so I was able to show them and then explain what learning had taken place. Every parent I spoke to loved seeing their child’s blog and was very positive about it.

    References
    1. Code of ethics for certified teachers (n.d.) Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/code-of-ethics-certificated-teachers-0

    2. Responsible Use (2011) Retieved from http://www.orewa.school.nz/uploaded/file/downloads/Responsible%20Use%20ICT%20Devices1.pdf

    Posted in Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand., Mindlab reflections, Respond effectively to the diverse language and cultural experiences, and the varied strengths, interests and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga., Work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

    Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness

    matariki_Paralax_v0021-1024x738

    “…the most common positions taken by Maori students, their families and their school principals were those which identified classroom caring and learning relationships…” (Savage et al., 2011.)

    The relationships we develop with learners and their families is important. On this foundation, we can have high expectations of our learners. They are more likely to listen to and act upon feedback if a positive relationship has been formed.

    Showing interest in a learner is a great way of establishing a relationship. Greeting them each lesson and interacting with them demonstrates that you care. Once a relationship is built, we know more about their learning preferences and can develop appropriate activities.

    A settled and well-managed learning environment, activities that encourage learner-led activities and social learning are also important so that learners can share and learn from each other. (Savage et al. 2011, p. 186)

    Goals

    Some of the strategic goals for Whangaparaoa College for 2014-16 are:

    1. To ensure learners achieve their potential
    2. Further  improve positive relationships with whanau/community

    The specific objectives addressing these include:

    Objective 1: challenge and support all learners to give of their best and achieve their best (tutuki) in their learning and the other areas that they pursue.

    In the classroom, this is reflected by expecting our learners to aim for excellence. We support this by encouraging and giving feedback/feedforward. Scaffolding is provided for less able learners. In Academic Counselling time, goals are set and learning is reflected on to plan next steps.

    Objective 7: Work with Maori, Pasifika, Special Needs and GATE learners and their whanau to help them achieve their potential

    We regularly keep in contact with the whanau. At the beginning of the year whanau are contacted by the Academic Cousellor in an introduction capacity. During the year whanau are invited in for a meeting if there are issues. Learner led conferences are conducted throughout the year.

    “Maori whanau, leaders and teachers meet regularly to strengthen bi-cultural partner ships.” (ERO report, Ministry of Education, 2013)

    Objective 9: create a welcoming and inclusive environment; evidenced by cultural harmony, respect, and a positive two-way relationship with whanau/community

    “The school ethos of learning together in a supportive, respectful environment is helping students to engage in learning and to achieve. Maori students express very positive attitudes to school and learning. They are well represented in school leadership roles.” (ERO report, Ministry of Education, 2013)

    Even though our learners are supported and valued, there is room for improvement. ERO (2013) suggested that we, “strengthen and improve the planning and evaluation of initiatives.” We also need to develop a school wide plan for Maori success so that our efforts are coordinated. They have suggested that we use The Measurable Gains Framework,  Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success and Tataiako to further promote teachers’ cultural responsiveness.

    Learning Activities

    In the English Language department, year 11 learners research Matariki to identify similarities and differences with their own cultures. In English we study some texts that are written/directed by Kiwis. Our juniors research Matariki and create presentations to demonstrate understanding.

    We need to teach more Maori and Pasifika texts in our department as none are taught at senior level and the junior texts we teach are short stories or poetry. This is something that will be addressed for next year. It was awesome to see Taika Waititi’s film, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, it is a film that I know my year 9 classes will love.

    References

    1.Savage, C., Hindle, R., Meyer, L., Hynds, A., Penetito, W., Sleeter, C. (2011) Culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom: indigenous student experiences across the curriculum. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), p.183 – 198

    2. Ministry of Education. (2013). Whanagaparaoa College Education Review Report. Wellington, New Zealand: Author.

    Posted in Analyse and appropriately use assessment information, which has been gathered formally and informally., Demonstrate commitment to promote the well-being of all ākonga, Mindlab reflections, Student Achievement Analysis, Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.

    Contemporary Trends and Issues


    Big Data

    “‘Big Data’ and the use of analytics can provide insights into some of the gnarly challenges associated with improving equity and excellence.”(Data-driven organisations, 2016)

    According to Core Education, the use of Big data and analytics is a contemporary trend that is influencing education in New Zealand and internationally. This can be seen with the use of Fitbits to measure and monitor health and fitness in PE; monitoring progress in gamification; and tracking academic progress. The reason for gathering this data is also to inform ‘next steps’. One of the assumptions associated with data use is that tracking numeracy and literacy and planning next steps will ensure success for the learner. However, the NZ curriculum states that a successful learner is a “confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learner.” Therefore as educators we need to consider monitoring more than literacy and numeracy to ensure that our next steps to help our learners are inclusive of other aspects of education such as a sense of belonging.

     “One collaboration found that the most powerful predictor of student success in College remedial mathematics courses is students’ sense of belonging to their mathematics class. The teachers have now been trialling different ways to improve students’ sense of belonging.” (Data-driven organisations, 2016)

    The data that is currently most relevant to my practice is its use in the academic tracking of our priority learners. At every HOL meeting this year we have analysed data and evaluated the results. We have looked for patterns and reasons for low achievement. The data we have looked at is from year 7-10 E-Asttle testing in maths and reading. We have also analysed assessment related data for years 11-13.  Recently we also looked at other data related to extra curricular activities and attendance to see whether there were any patterns.

    In our curriculum meetings I have presented this data to my department and asked each staff member to identify their priority learners and think about how they would help them. We then each completed a table to record our ideas. In our most recent meeting we collaborated on a Padlet to brainstorm specific ways that we could help our learners.

     

    Collaborative Learning Approaches
    According to the NMC Horizon Report (2015) collaborative learning approaches are increasing. This is not only between learners but between teachers, also. These approaches, which involve inquiry-based learning, gaming and global blogging, are proving successful, especially for less able learners.

    Collaborative learning models are proving successful in improving student engagement and achievement, especially for disadvantaged students. (p. 12)

    Combined with mobile devices and access to the internet, collaborative learning becomes possible anytime and anywhere. Teachers can encourage global sharing and learning also with Skype and quad-blogging. Many teachers worldwide are embracing collaboration between learners and also between themselves on social media platforms such as Twitter.

    Bryan Bruce in his investigation, World Class? Inside New Zealand Education: A special report (2016) found that lower decile  schools that employed a collaborative approach to learning improved the results of their learners. He also found that Inquiry-based learning was instrumental in engaging and motivating learners to take ownership of their learning. However, even though this approach has proven successful, governments are still not mandating it as a preferred model for teaching and learning. This approach to learning has been outlined as something that will be happening in 2025! I find this a bit ridiculous as many teachers are doing it now, so why is the expectation set so far in the future?

    Collaborative learning is relevant in my practice as I utilise inquiry-based learning regularly. I encourage my learners to collaborate in this way and also with teams in Classcraft, an online game which promotes 21st century skills. I also use shared Google docs to gather ideas and information for different projects in our department. Google Classroom is also used to share resources and discuss ideas.

    Even though collaborative learning approaches are not mandated by our government, many in my department use this approach and we also share ideas of best practice, informally. In the various groups that I am involved in, collaboration is always encouraged.

     


    References

    1. Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2015-k-12-edition/

    2. Data- driven organisations. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.core-ed.org/thought-leadership/ten-trends/ten-trends-2016/data-driven-organisations

    3. Bruce, Bryan (2016). World Class Inside New Zealand Education A special report (2016)  May 23rd TV 3. Retrieved from http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/should-we-be-worried-about-nzs-education-system-2016052317#axzz49c1lscAk

    4. New Zealand Education in 2025: Lifelong learners in a connected world.