Monday, 7 December 2015

Term 4 Reflection - How did we go?

This term has been an amazing term. What I have loved has been to see the huge difference that I have been able to make in my student's learning. Since being able to analyse my student's data I have been able to find a number of interesting things:
  • 23 students who made 1 year or more progress
  • 12 students from my target group made more than 1 years progress
  • 5 students made 1.5 years or more!
  • 5 students who made no improvement at all (4 high needs kids)
  • Only 1 student from my target group of 13 didn’t move
  • PAT has aligned very closely to our other data and eventual OTJs
  • Some huge shifts across PAT scale scores. However, these are very sporadic.
I am looking forward to the challenge that my next year's class will bring. I can't wait to continue with the things that I have learnt from this year and take it even further.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Term 3 Reflection

During term 3 I have been working on integrating a lot of what I had been working on with iPads into the netbook world. The key thing that I have continued with when creating greater scaffolded reading followup activities have been the use of audio instructions and queues.

One interesting thing that I have found out when creating audio instructions and queues is the more natural they are the more powerful they are to the students. When I had created more of a scripted instruction I found that the students weren't getting the most out of it. I realised that the true power of these instructions was when I was recreating myself - more natural and conversational. This way it is like I am answering a question that the student has asked rather than just telling them what to do.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Creating Scaffolds That Enable Higher Order Thinking

During the last 4 weeks of term 2 and the beginning of this term my main focus of my inquiry has been on scaffolds. I have re-realised just how important they are to my teaching and the student's learning.

The main catalyst for changing how I use scaffolds has been the shift from teaching extension students to teaching well below students. I was suddenly thrust into a world where every student needed instructions explained, re-explained and even re-re-explained! They needed way more help when they worked independently than I had realised!

So, this has led me to create templates (see below) with loads of instructions. I have also needed to create audio voice recordings to explain these instructions further for those who are reading well below. This has lead me to chunk each piece of the create cycle into smaller, more manageable pieces with clear modelling on how to achieve these.

What difference have these practice changes made? Well, for once I feel like I am starting to get content that is more thought out, in-depth and shows me where the students are at in their thinking or understanding of the content. This is the first time that I have been able to strike a balance between the creating of a quality product married with quality thoughts and insights.

Where to know? I am beginning to see this line of thought and practice seep into other learning areas. I am beginning to develop more scaffolds and aids in maths and am finding that the students acquisition of new concepts is quicker. I'm excited to see where this will lead.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Examples of Recent Explain Everything Projects

I have noticed that my recent Explain Everything project design has developed after working with Michelle George here at school. Her idea was to use our school wide progressions as a tool/ filter to base our projects on. For example, see the Red progression.

When using these I have been able to identify student's current and next learning steps. I have also been able to evaluate the quality of the learning that my students will undertake when completing my projects. In this way I have seen the learning and engagement increase.

Here are two examples of my Explain Everything projects (thanks to Emma Berry for the compare and contrast template!):

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Term 2 Presentation/ Reflection

The direction of my inquiry this term has definitely been defined by the development of templates that provide quality scaffolding. I realised through professional conversations and reflections that I was under scaffolding... by quite some way! So I decided to up my game and provide better temples and scaffolds.

Below is my presentation to the staff that outlines these changes:

Monday, 29 June 2015

Creating Explain Everything Templates

While creating a number of Explain Everything projects every week, I have found that there are some activities/ pages that I repeat from week to week. I was starting to get annoyed with re-creating these over and over again. Then it struck me... screenshots!

So in EE and in my photo reel on my iPad I have created a template folder with my most used or recent activity pages. This has sped up the EE project creation hugely as all I have to do is import the photo, crop it and adjust for that book. Easy!

Here are a few examples:

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Creating Explain Everything Projects Using Audio Instructions

Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to get my target group using Explain Everything independently. This has had varying degrees of success! Recently, I have been trying to provide detailed written instructions on each slide to help the boys complete the activity. (see below) However, I was still finding that there was still a high degree of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

I had a brain wave! I had noticed that some of the junior teachers were inserting an audio file for spelling words. This got me thinking. I could do the same but instead record my instructions so that my boys new exactly what to do. (see below)

This has made a huge difference. Suddenly my instructions are rewindable, pauseable and much clearer. The boys aren't interrupting me anywhere near the same and I have noticed the quality of their work has improved also. I have also decided to keep my written instructions so that the boys are able to read along with the audio instructions.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Reflection Presentation

This term has been a good start to reaching my long term goal. I have enjoyed finding solutions to problems with the students. For example, how my students access their work, how they share their explain everything projects, etc. I have been impressed with their increase of confidence and self management and really looking forward to how this might develop further throughout the year.

Where I want to head next is:
- How might I make connections from my use of explain everything with my students to the use of Movenote?
- How am I going to use SOLO in my project design?
- I want to explore the use of that Fast Forward series of books for my lower kids.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Student Blogs - William & Desmond

Below are a couple of links to examples of students sharing their work on their blogs. It has been interesting to me to see how they are managing to do this independently. When they are just posting a screenshot to their blogs they are able to do this easily. When they try to post a movie they need much more help from me. I am hoping that this will change with time as they get used to the process.

I have also enjoyed reading about their understanding of their learning. For William his enjoyment is very high but he doesn't really understand what he has learnt. My next step is to make his learning more explicit so he is able to reflect on his improvements and his next learning steps.


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Sharing with Explain Everything

My target group of boys are loving creating responses to a range of text using Explain Everything. However, we are finding it tricky and time consuming to find a good way of sharing our thinking and learning on our blogs.

The boys first tried uploading screenshots of single cards of work to their blogs. However, this didn't truly capture their thinking and learning as it only showed the end product, not the process. Then one of the boys wanted to share his learning by creating a movie. This has caused all kinds of problems when trying to upload quickly and easily. We have tried uploading to Vimeo from Explain Everything but this seems to keep failing at the final rendering stage. We then tried uploading to the students drive then embed on the blog. This isn't ideal as there are many steps to complete and this only works the students manage to get the permission settings right. Hmm...

My next step is to find a quick and easy way of sharing their movies that is intuitive and quick. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Making a Start With Explain Everything - William

It has been an interesting journey so far using Explain Everything with my year 6 students. I have found that some of my students have younger siblings who are using iPads and Explain Everything for their learning. Some of my students have the perception that Explain Everything is junior work only and they must be behind to be working on this app. It has taken a while to get them fully engaged and motived to learn using this app.

For others it has been completely freeing and motivating. One young man named William has been absolutely loving it and can't wait to create another movie. This has suddenly turned him on to reading and is very keen to share his learning with others in the class.

Below is one of his first responses to a text using Explain Everything. You can see that he has wanted to record his voice whenever possible. When he has played this back he has laughed at how he reads and told me he would like to work next on his use of expression. This is incredibly exciting to me as it is providing the motivation for him to come to school each day and learn. Before this he was very sporadic with his school attendance.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Teacher Inquiry 2015

How can Year 5 and 6 students use iPads for higher order thinking in creating tasks?

This year I am teaching in a year 5 and 6 modern learning environment with 1-to-1 devices. When reflecting on my practice from last year I want to increase the cognitive value that my students gain from their independent creative tasks. I found that last year more emphasis was put on 'how to create the digital learning object' rather than showcasing the learning in the digital learning object. 

So, this year the focus for my inquiry is setting a range of digital creation tasks to facilitate higher order thinking. I have decided to start with reading tasks and look at using the app Explain Everything. I am keen to find out:

  • What kinds of tasks facilitates higher order thinking?
  • How might these tasks differ from lower achieving students through to higher achieving students?
  • Can I use SOLO and Explain Everything together to ensure that the tasks I set are in fact higher order thinking?