Thursday, 19 October 2017

Maths PLD with Jo Knox

We have just finished another maths PLD session with Jo Knox.

Here are some of my reflections on this session:

  • Is IKAN a worth while assessment without some changes made to how you administer the test? We have found that the pressure of the test - the speed of the test, someone reading it out, etc - stops children from being able to show what they can actually do. We have trialled a few different ideas with changing how it is administered. For example, slowing the speed of the test down, giving children the opportunity to choose one or two questions to change after they have completed (but before marking). I think with these changes we might see better results as the children will be more comfortable.
  • Aligning the NZ Framework and NZC was a highly valuable task for our teachers. The numeracy project has unfortunately given teacher an unhealthy reliance on stages of maths rather than the knowledge of maths. Consequently I think teachers have lost some of their knowledge of the curriculum and are therefore not as equipped to led mathematical conversations with children. 
  • Gloss - is this an assessment of the past? I think it might be from the mainstream of assessment as all it's looking at is the strategy use of the children - not their understanding of mathematical concepts.
  • Lastly, I feel as though we need to get a better understanding of an effective teaching cycle and what that can look like in the classroom. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Teaching as Inquiry - Graeme Aitken

Today as part of our Leaders PLG we had the honour of listening one of NZ's godfather of Teaching as Inquiry - Graeme Aitken! I was blown away by his passion and knowledge. Here are just a few of my notes from this session:

Collaborative Inquiry - An approach to teaching

Often teaching is only about adjusting the learners rather than adjusting my teaching.

Goals as a teacher:
Creating interest, creating confidence, creating achievement
  • Bigger evidence of raising achievement
  • Less focus on creating interest and joy

To do this we need to:
1. Take stock: add to the data we have of achievement
  • Current state
  • Student experience 
  • Data story: tools to help with this
How to do this:
  • Scan
    • Can you describe what you are learning and why?
    • Where are you going with your learning?
    • Name two adults in this school who believe that you can achieve
    • NZCER me and my class
    • ERO well being survey

2. Focus on the solution

  • Defining the problem
  • Create focus
  • Add the correct next steps to help solve the problem - create the write strategy to solve the problem
  • Could be measuring the wrong thing??
  • Our best guesses about a fix, then test it. What do we need to learn to aid our best guess?

3. Take action

  • Test hunches
  • Share successes, failures and improvements
  • Discuss whether or not we have made enough of a difference
    • This can only happen with trust…
  • Got to think about incremental improvements
    • It's ok, to make mistakes but not ok to keep on making mistakes

4. Maintain momentum

  • How do we spread these ideas
  • How do we get other teachers/classes to do the same?

Monday, 11 September 2017

Google Suite - Tips for Efficiency

Dave Winter and I have put together this presentation to help make your use of the Google Suite more efficient. This includes tips like: shortcuts for making a copy of a google doc, Using quick view instead of opening a doc, Shift Z... it is your friend and many others!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

How To: Hapara Teacher Dashboard

A tool that we use daily in Manaiakalani is the Hapara Teacher Dashboard. However, I have become aware that many of our new staff here at Pt England have a very rudimentary working knowledge of Hapara Teacher Dashboard. Through taking a number of toolkits and one-on-one sessions with teachers I have decided to make a screencast so that teachers are able to come back to it. Please feel free to use this with your teams/staff.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

2017 Inquiry: Broadening Extension Maths Learners

How do you effectively broaden the understanding of an extension maths student, particularly number knowledge and the application of this, in a way that is engaging and effective.

In 2017 for my inquiry I have selected the following Manaiakalani Community of Learning achievement challenge:
#4. Increase the achievement of Years 1-10 learners, with a focus on Years 7-10,  in reading, writing and maths, as measured against National Standards and agreed targets.

The teaching as inquiry framework I will be using in 2017 has been specifically co-constructed for Manaiakalani schools using our familiar Learn Create Share structure.
The elements in this framework share close similarities with other models New Zealand teachers use.

I will be labelling my posts as I update my inquiry throughout the year to make the content easy to access.

Label Key:
Learn - Gather Evidence
Create - Make a plan
Share - Publish
Learn - Scan
Create - Try new things
Share - Co-teach
Learn - Identify Trends
Create - Innovate
Share - Model
Learn - Hypothesise
Create - Implement
Share - Guide
Learn - Research
Create - Reflect
Share - Feedback
Learn - Reflect

Share - Reflect

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Product Review: Phantom 3 Advanced Drone

I have been very pleased with our purchase of the Phantom 3 Advanced Drone. After taking it on it's maiden flight and then using it to film some shots for a number of different PES film festival movies, I feel as though I am only scrapping the surface of its capabilities!

The Phantom 3 has an amazing full-HD camera with a fully integrated gimbal that creates the most incredibly smooth professional shots. It has excellent safety features, perfect for new pilots, which include: sensors, satellite navigation and a return to home button (RTH) for when you have to do an emergency landing. it is very easy to fly, especially if you have lots of experience playing Playstation, or the like! My only advice when flying however, is to make sure you have a spotter who is watching the drone from the ground. This allows you to fly using the camera view on your controller.The app is also the best drone flight app tat I have ever used. It's well worth searching for Youtube clips showing the app in action.

A couple of things that aren't as good as they can be are firstly, the battery life. The 20 minutes goes really quickly, especially when you should be heading for home once the battery reaches 10%. If you want to buy more batteries, they aren't cheap! At a minimum of $350 extra battery life isn't coming cheap! Secondly, if you are an android user (if not, you should! It is the superior phone after all!) there isn't much in the way of Android support.

So, it is easy to is well worth spending your money on this Drone!

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Features
(Source: First Quadcopter)
  • Vision positioning system (visual and ultrasonic sensors);
  • GPS+GLONASS dual positioning system;
  • 2.7K video recording;
  • 12MP photo resolution;
  • 3-axis stabilization gimbal with remote control of the tilt angle (90° to +30°);
  • 720p HD downlink (with up to 5KM range);
  • Auto-takeoff through DJI Pilot App;
  • One key return to home (RTH);
  • Failsafe auto return to home;
  • Auto flight logs;
  • Versatile mobile APP;
  • Intelligent flight modes (Follow Me, Point of Interest, Waypoints, Course Lock and Home Lock)
  • Smart flight battery with charging level indicator;
  • About 23 minutes flight autonomy.

Some example footage from our DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Drone:

Friday, 7 April 2017

Pt England Ambassadors @ Epsom - 2017

Today I had an opportunity to step in for Dorothy Burt and present our learning to students studying to be teachers at the University of Auckland in Epsom.

I took with me the year 6 Ambassadors to start off the session - and they were fantastic! They did an excellent job of passionately describing how they learn and what works for them. What was interesting for me was to watch young people (the uni students) who were very paper based in their own approach to learning listening to kids half (or more) of their age describe how to learn in a way that is better, more natural for this day and age. The ambassadors were way more tech savvy and described an ever increasingly 'normal' classroom for 2017 to up and coming teachers who were in essence quite anti learning in this way - it was so totally not what I thought would happen! However, by the end of the session I think we had shifted some mindsets and ways of thinking. From questions asked throughout the session it became clear that the uni students were starting to connect to the following key ideas - Rewindable + Visible + Transparent + Personalised + Accessible - and that these result from teaching and learning in a digital way.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Maths PD with Jo Knox

This year Pt England are under going professional development with Jo Know from the university of Auckland. In this session Jo went over some of the basics, to remind us of how simple and yet complex teaching maths can be!

Some take outs for me were:

  • Knowledge and strategy are equally important. It can be very easy to get into just teaching strategy, or just number. However, without the correct context either of these on their own aren't doing enough for our children.
  • A reminder of what kids do when completing tasks at all of the different levels. This is hugely important to keep at the forefront of your mind when teaching and testing children in maths!
  • Risk taking. If teachers aren't taking risks then children can't either!
Really looking forward to continuing the learning journey with Jo! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Teaching as Inquiry - Focus for 2017

Photo Attribution
In 2017 Pt England school’s inquiry focus is Mathematics.  This is in response to the analysis of our own teacher gathered data as well as official data from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre.

My inquiry is going to consist of two different paths. The first of these is helping, supporting and mentoring others to lead their own inquiries as the head of ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ for 2017. This is a huge challenge to undertake, which I am really looking forward to.

The second path is the leading of my own inquiry. Maths for me is something that I really enjoy teaching, so I’m excited about having the opportunity to inquiry into the following idea: How do you effectively broaden the understanding of an extension student while still giving them enough challenge and speed in delivery to keep them engaged?

Whenever I have had to opportunity to teach extension maths children I have always found it hard to keep them excited and engaged. They are mostly looking for the next big challenge…”Teach me something I don’t know yet...Come on hurry up!” When I have done what they have asked, in the name of keeping them engaged, or because of time pressures, I have found that we have moved too fast. Yes they are able to complete most tasks using multiple strategies which are well advanced for their age and stage but they don’t truly have the full understanding or mathematical knowledge of someone at late stage 7, early 8 should have. So this is my challenge!

Keep checking back here as I hope to share some new findings, tips and loads of evidence of better gains in knowledge acquisition and understanding! :)