Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Pau Te Hau!


Last week Grant Ogilvie and I took part in the teacher training session for the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) research we will be taking part in with Dr Nigel Harris from AUT. Our session began at 7am with a tour of the amazing facilities at the Millennium Institute of Sport. An early start but absolutely worth setting the alarm earlier for. The focus of the day was set the teachers who will be carrying out the HIIT sessions up with the tools and knowledge needed to run successful  sessions. 

Here are my notes:

  • Physical activity can help buffer stressful events
  • The more they burn the better they learn - more activity can improve cognitive and academic performance, focus in class, memory, on task behaviour, 
  • Greater the strength of the energiser the stronger the focus
  • Initial response to exercise sessions is that it’s too hard - rsh shows encouraging participation and reason will break down the barriers 
  • Students need to see value and we need to understand this and find what motivates them = increased motivation
  • Burn 2 Learn study showed autonomous and intrinsic motivation = students can see the value in the challenge and know why they need their skills. Ask "What is your motivation?" 
  • Strengths v difficulties - Do these change their efficacy? 
  • 2 sessions of HIIT was most effective 
  • HIIT = efficacy 
  • Short bursts of exercise more beneficial than duration exercise 
  • Challenge self v previous performance - can link to 2 words 1 minute
  • Initial response to exercise sessions is that it’s too hard - research shows encouraging participation will break down the barriers 
  • Students need to see value and we need to u/stand this and find what motivates them so that we increase motivation
  • Include Te Reo commands/vocab to strengthen cultural connections - exercise rotation can be linked to Maori legends.
  • Burn to learn study showed autonomous and intrinsic motivation occurred when students could see the value in the challenge and know why they need their skills -Need to ask what their motivation is. 
  • Use a variety of questions to gather student voice after each session: What did you like/not like? How would you rate your performance? What could you do differently next time? Did you achieve your target?Could you help someone who was struggling? What progress have you made?...
Throughout the session I saw many connections between this research and my current teaching inquiry. Increased efficacy and understanding the reasons students have these beliefs in both areas seems to be the key to unlocking the self imposed barriers. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Manaiakalani Staff Meeting: Create

“Our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth.... Creativity is now as important in education as literacy, and we need to treat it with the same status." - Sir Ken Robinson TED talk 2006


Creativity was the focus of our staff meeting yesterday. We were challenged to think about what our learners need to harness to create and share their learning. The GIF above reflects one way we create in LS2. Creativity in NZ classrooms is not new. Creativity empowers learning, and digital technologies empower creativity. Have a look at the ways we harness and empower creativity from NE to Y8 at PBS.


Growing vocabulary knowledge...

This term I have been exploring ways I can grow my learner's vocabulary knowledge and awareness. I say awareness as many of them had not made the connection between the norm of high frequency words and their more powerful synonyms. 

Today I used the poem 'Two Day Wonder' by David Hill to explore juxtaposition and vocabulary choice. This poem (shared by Kiri) looks at two days through the eyes of the same character. Verse one describes a dull and gloomy day which links directly to the character feeling unwell, whereas verse two sees the character recover from his illness ready to venture into the bright new day ahead. 


Once we had explored the language used in the text I used the idea pf juxtaposition to open the door wider to let the synonyms (and antonyms) in. This search provided us with a much broader word pool, and introduced the students to new vocabulary that did not require any dictionary meanings to be located as the connections between the words made sense.

To strengthen the connections to the new vocabulary I introduced the idea of creating word clines. This was a huge success and prompted some very rich discussions as thinking was justified as to why one word was more powerful than the other. To put the learning into context we then used our new word knowledge to write our own contrast poems that describe waking up in the morning and coming to school in summer versus the same journey in winter. As the teacher in this learning opportunity it was extremely rewarding to see learners who usually struggle move beyond the security of their 'go to' high frequency words create writing that was powerful and rich.




Example 1 written by two of my target students:


In summer I get dressed for school and make sure my arms see the sunlight.
The street awake and chattering.
Trees motionless and attractive.
Birds are flying and whistling.
Clouds high in the sky and far, far away from humanity.
Carefree people laugh and smile.
The bell goes but no one hurries to class.

In winter I get dressed for school and make sure my arms are hidden from the darkness.
The street asleep and silent.
Trees moving and unsightly.
Birds are hiding in their nests.
Heavy clouds are low in the sky, nearly touching the earth.
Downcast people moan and whine
The bell goes and everyone hurries to class.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Backward Mapping for Clarity

Below is my graphic that reflects the backwards mapping of my inquiry. I saw Karen Ferguson's post on how she did this and was immediately drawn to her graphic. As always Karen was happy to share when I asked if I could 'steal' her graphic idea to break down my inquiry.



Last week Kiri and I met with Aaron Wilson (WFRC) to discuss our planned inquiries. Here are my takeaways from our conversation.

With my focus being student efficacy (in writing), I have realised it is important to plan how I can help raise this, and as such have been looking at where I can notice success throughout my lessons. Aaron suggested in addition I pay attention to how I am phrasing my instructions, an important consideration and something I have been adapting over time.

Below are some of Aaron's suggestions as to how by keeping in mind that scaffolds are bridges not supports, I can help break down the barriers my target group have of not knowing what to write.
  • Use vocabulary lists as plan - eg: list all the 'cool' words - must use 5
  • Picture dictation, dictated drawing
  • Summary of a story
  • 10 statements - Draw clouds - 1 minute to draw (only one word allowed to be used)
  • Using the pictures to ignite the talk
  • Retell using the pictures, this is then in their own words
  • Write captions for the pictures
  • Multimodal opportunities - Hear - Draw - Speak and Listen - Write 
  • Change the setting / characters
  • Draw stick figures to plan the writing
  • S chart to show progression

I am excited to implement some of these ideas as I know my learners respond well to 'fun' writing that has a clear end point. I will be taking Aaron's advice and will use video to map the changes over time.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Observation Opportunity in LS2...

I work in a shared learning space with Kiri Kirkpatrick but rarely get an opportunity to formally observe her teaching practice, so when an opportunity arose I grabbed it with both hands. 'Teachers who share their love for words (logophilia) and who provide engaging opportunities to interact with words across all content on a daily basis will ignite this word learning passion in their students' (Keys to Literacy blog). This is something that most definitely happened in our learning space this week.




Kiri introduced her group to a shared text using the sophisticated picture book, 'Memorial' written by Gary Crew. Throughout the sequence of lessons Kiri introduced her learners to a wide variety of vocabulary that not only explored the content but also the layout of the text and the hidden meaning behind the images. 

Learning Through Talk cites Blachowicz et al, when defining word consciousness as being 'an awareness of words and their meanings, an awareness of the ways in which meanings change and grow, and an interest in and motivation to develop new word knowledge...'(p73). Kiri used this strategy to explore a wide variety of themes the learning was most definitely not 'dumbed down'. 

The vocabulary explored like the text was sophisticated. Each new word was unpacked through paired and whole class discussions, defined and explored in context, and linked back to something the learners could use their prior knowledge to forge a strengthened connection to. What this meant was that her learners were motivated and connected to the content. To grow and develop this new word knowledge Kiri used questioning throughout to revisit the language which ensured each word was not only seen and heard, but also used. 

The DLO below is an example of the follow up tasks that reflect the content covered.



My takeaways:
  • The teaching strategies in our shared learning space are aligned through the use of a shared language of instruction. This sets our learners up for success regardless of who the teacher is in front of them.
  • To introduce my focus students to more sophisticated vocabulary to help ignite the passion for wanting to develop new word knowledge (eg: peritext, juxtaposition)
  • To look for opportunities to use sophisticated picture books as a mentor text in writing lessons
  • When looking at language features and vocabulary in mentor texts ask questions like:  'How do/does ... add to the text?' and 'Would the story make sense without...?'