Tuesday, 28 August 2018

All this technology is making us antisocial?

You could argue technology is making us more social, rather than anti-social. We spend more time communicating in new and often novel ways, more than ever before. Where once the Newspaper was our smoko addiction, we now have the unlimited ability to communicate across the world with friends and associates, even if it means we are ignoring the person sitting beside us.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Information Transfers: Science, Maths and Beyond.


Friday, 25 May 2018

Friday afternoon 25 May      Year 10 Social Studies      Amazon Rainforest 

A feature of the Writing Plan for 2018 is a teaching strategy which ensures students are Talking About the Texts they are required to write. In Judged Group Writing Tasks students work in small groups on a set writing task.

Usually, students are asked to draft a paragraph, one which is similar to the assessment task. An exemplar is used to model the requirements of the writing task. The teacher may want students to focus on sentence starter use, grammatical features such as modality or content details and vocabulary chains.

Prior analysis of student exemplars from 2017 indicated that students who did not reach the standard did not use all sentence starters. Students also tended to include two or more subjects in a paragraph without linking them in a significant manner.

The sentence starters were:  The Amazon rainforest is culturally significant because....
                                                .....it is significant because.....
                                                the problems are........

Because each student group is required to draft a paragraph which is then presented and judged, students begin to Talk About the Text.
As there is a competitive element to this strategy, student involvement increases dramatically. Students who are reluctant writers or hoha often change overnight and enthusiastically participate,  correcting the work of the peers.

This strategy requires the teacher to judge, dialogue and then grade the work of each group. e.g. "I'm going to give this paragraph a 4/5 because it has .........." This is an exciting way for students to work on a writing task and to contribute without feeling whakama. i.e. students can spread the mahi.

One drawback of this method is the need to set deadlines during the lesson, for writing the draft and for the student presentation of their paragraph. This is needed so there is time for the teacher grading of each text. This means there is a class discussion about the quality of each text or talk about the text. In this lesson, it was a little rushed but it is still possible to give relevant feedback which can be discussed during the next class.

-good use of the sentence prompts x3
-good topic/vocabulary chains
e.g.   rainforest, traditions and spiritual
e.g.   rainforest, animals and cutting trees
        and building roads
-but the paragraph tries to explain two different topics,
the two halves are not linked  
-the two halves could be linked by explaining the
traditions which the indigenous people use to limit
their hunting of various animals
-vocabulary examples which could improve this
paragraph are: indigenous people, in the past
animals have been protected, and, the habitat of
many animals are now threatened because the trees
are being logged.

-good use of the sentence prompts x2
-good topic/vocabulary chains
e.g.   rainforest, indigenous tribes,
        ancestors, history
e.g.   rainforest, smaller, weather,
        government and global warming
- the two halves of the paragraph are linked
 by the word smaller, the rainforest is
 getting smaller, but the link is not strong
-to improve the link add details which show that
the place they live, the rainforest is the place where
they get their food, their clothing and where they
build their shelters.

-good use of the sentence prompts x2
-good topic/vocabulary chains
e.g.   rainforest, indigenous people, tribes,
        a specific way of life
e.g.   rainforest, a certain way, their
        necessities, food, clothing
-the two halves of the paragraph are linked through
the use of, their specific way of life and their
-to improve the link add details about using the
rainforest to hunt or collect food or collect material to
make shelters.
To improve fluency link sentences using, because,
this is because, in addition, besides

Thursday, 24 May 2018

It's a technology lesson Jim, but not as we know it.

I watched a fantastic technology lesson today. The teacher wanted her students to understand how a design process develops, one where the participants are engaged and where they must communicate with each in other to progress an idea. The teacher also wanted the students to develop their understanding of two key concepts of a design process. This was based on the key design words, Switch and Adapt.

So instead of sitting at their desks pouring over design diagrams, it was out into the playground to play a game. The students were given a ball, shashes, hoops, cones, hockey sticks, told to stand in a circle and told to 'play ball!' Nonplussed, the students automatically started passing the ball around the circle. At various intervals, the students were asked to improve the quality of their basic game by adding rules. This was the Switch but students could also Adapt their rules by modifying each rule.

Eventually, the game evolved, until there was a rotation of three teams, cones, a points system and a set of penalties. For example, when a student dropped the ball that student was required to do a pushup. This worked well until one student exclaimed that there was no rule which enforced the push-up rule  -well done that man. The best comment and the point of the lesson came from a student on the way back to the classroom. "Ms," he asked, "what is the point of having a game if there are no rules?" This lesson embedded a design process which both the teacher and the students will be able to refer back to as they work on their design tasks. The lesson helps the students notice and it helps them care about a process that often only happens in their heads. Thanks, Karen

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Writing Plan  Teacher Meetings
Meeting with a teacher A of a Junior Social Studies class. The meeting was held to discuss the school Writing Plan.
The first question to ask a teacher when looking at a unit of work, "what does the finished, or assessment, task look like? Have you attempted that task yourself?" If we want to know the writing demands of a task our students are asked to complete, we need to create, or find, an example of that task. Teacher A wanted to trial Pair Prompt Sheets to encourage students to write more about the topic, Island Atols. She also wanted students to include more of the details they found from their research. Step one, find or create an exemplar.
Next step: discuss the writing demands of that task.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Week 8      And you'll never mark alone
The new style marking panel with an emphasis on pair marking, an emphasis on exemplar comparisons and an emphasis on coffee.  Getting deans to mark Asttle writing just prior to the Pacifica Festival was a little tricky but achievable.

Teacher Inquiry 2018

Lift the achievement of boys’ writing Years 9-10

Lift the achievement in reading for all students, with a particular focus on boys and Māori students (both genders) years 9-13

Increase the achievement of Years 9-10 learners in reading, writing and maths, as measured against agreed targets

Week 7 The marking of asTTle writing scripts provided the opportunity for non-English teachers to sit in on marking sessions and to learn about the language and structural features of a written explanation. Many school disciplines or subjects expect students to produce an explanation when completing a unit of work. Many participants in these sessions were surprised by the degree of complexity demonstrated in the marking rubric and this highlighted the need to develop an understanding of the skills students must master in order to successfully write an explanation at a secondary level.

What was most heartening during these sessions was the way participants in this PD spoke, with almost one voice, of the need to work as a cluster so that the teachers of each class could strategise effective ways of teaching writing skills.