Friday, 12 April 2019

TOD: Quantities of Quality Text - Jannie van Hees

Today as part of our teacher only day we had Jannie van Hees come and talk to us about the power of words and Quantities of Quality Text. Below are some of my notes and key take aways from this session.

Words have Power - Quantities of Quality Text: 
Both spoken and reading/writing text. More books means that there is going to be more:
  • contexts
  • concept knowledge
  • vocabulary - language that won't otherwise be in children's lives
  • conversations that apply to the above are super important - produce thinking and meaning.
  • Language structures

Teachers just repeating back to kids what they have said is no use. This is already what they know, this is not in the 'Gifting Zone'. Quality text that I can't just do on my own.

Children's ability to acquire and use language is astounding! Are we putting children into this zone as much as possible? The goldilocks zone is where we want children - grappling with text. We need to continually teach our children how to use new language.

Are reading groups making the difference for our 'Reading to Learn' children? Are these providing enough text for our children that is dripping with high powered language. Are they also getting multiple chances and goes at this text?

How are we optimising our learning conditions? 
  • Attention to and noticing
    • focus and notice
    • put in the effort
    • fully participate
    • push myself to the edge
    • dig deep for what I already know
    • learn from others
    • I share
    • think and talk; think and read
    • wondering and asking

Use your words and ideas that gift your learners knowledge and words. Are there a tonne of questions and 'raising hands syndrome' happening in our classrooms? 

Say more. Tell more detail.
Use words and ideas that gift your children knowledge and words. Talk the detail! What is the 'gift' that I am giving the children? What is the lense that I am putting the child's mind onto? The children's writing needs to move away from talk language.

SAY: "Because we are adding more detail we know what you mean" 
NOT: "Write this in a more interesting way!"

I am not going to offer a response that they can repeat - I am wanting to develop their vocabulary use. Talk the detail! We want to get our children out of the lazy zone and make them think. Say and use words so your audience really know what you mean.

Sources of language:
  • spoken
  • written
  • variety of contexts
  • loving reading
  • reading together

DMIC PD 3: Complexity of Instruction

Today we took part in DMIC PD session 3 with Don Biltcliff. Below are some of my notes, take aways and epiphanies (hopefully! ).

Complex Instruction
Through DMIC We are only changing how we deliver maths not the maths content - it's a pedagogical change only! It's about creating a different image of what it means to understand a mathematical idea. Can we truly develop ourselves as teachers to create children who are confident in maths even if they believe they aren't 'good' at maths?

Assigned Status & Value
Through the focus of social and academic status - we raise the status of children's mathematical contributions. Affirming them within their own knowledge and understanding. Creating a relationship that is reciprocal but also safe and that our children understand that they are loved. This will always result in children learning and learning with passion and drive.

This builds on the idea that learning is complex, and that learners will make sense of the learning challenge it presents in multiple ways, but only if we step back. But only to a point - we still need to be in control of scaffolding kids, helping to direct the sharing/conversation portion of a lesson, etc.

Anxiety: By giving children the opportunity to know that we are going to ask them for their thinking, they can feel safer that their turn is coming rather than sitting waiting anxiously for their turn and then it never arrives. Could and should we tell them when we are not going to ask them??

Status is local and changes within settings. Often what is seen in the classroom reflect status' seen in society. I wonder if we can help redefine these for a new generation?? Children watch how we interpret things and our actions and wait to see what we value. We need to be more obvious and overt to assign value to children across our classrooms.

Status of children in small groups shape who talks first or who's opinion is listened and used more often. So what does this look like practically in the classroom? How do teachers actually do this?

Equitable Teaching Practices
Jo Boaler - How a Detracked Mathematics Approach Promoted Respect, Responsibility, and High Achievement

  • How do we implement this into our classroom practice?
  • What do our children learn through this?
  • How do we develop this in our classrooms?

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Pt England Ambassadors @ MIT - 2019

Today Garth and I took the 2019 year 6 Ambassadors to MIT. Their job was to present to a group of training teachers and show them how they learn from day to day. These training teachers were blown away by the way our Ambassadors were able to talk about their learning, and do so with such confidence. Some of my reminders/takeaways from their presentation was:

  • our children are hooking into learning because of a real audience
  • they are passionate learners
  • our children are learning in a VERY different way to other learners in other schools
  • if you give our children a stage, they take it with two hands! Our children lifted hugely in their presentation because of the large crowd today and they lifted more when the crowd were responsive
After the Ambassadors' presentation I was then given the opportunity to stay and discuss further the way in which we teach and learn at Pt England school. I was impressed with the openness of the training teachers and the passion with which they talked about teaching and learning. The things that stuck out for them was:
  • why we teach with digital devices (see photo below)
  • why it's important to rewind what we teach
  • the importance of connecting with our children and then connecting them with a real audience
  • have fun!

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Google Drawings: Creating Info-Graphics

I love Google Draw! I think it is one of the most underused google apps in the Google Apps for Education suite.

In the below screencast I will show you how you can use Google draw to create fast and easy to create info-graphics that could be used as a teacher tool or even a follow up task for the children in your class. Check it out and let me know how you use this cool technique in the classroom!