Sunday, 3 December 2017

Reflecting on my Maths Inquiry for 2017

This final term has gone so fast!

I have been reflecting on my journey this year and the progress that my class has made on the whole. I am really proud of how so many of them have stepped up to show their readiness for Year 3 next year.

Looking specifically at my Inquiry focus of Making Maths more Fun and Engaging for Students, I feel I have for the most part accomplished what I set out to do. I have a group of particularly enthusiastic, self-motivated, high-achievers in Maths who actively enjoy achieving new personal bests. Even the lower achievers academically, seem to enjoy practising Maths at their level and seeing the progress that they themselves are making at their Basic Facts too.

Next year, I would like to include more Strand Maths in my teaching on an ongoing basis rather just in short blocks throughout the year. I have held back from focussing in these areas in the past for fear of it impacting negatively on Number Knowledge, Add/Sub, Mult/Div and Place Value learning but I now feel more equipped to incorporate these elements alongside a Strand focus such as Measurement.

While not all my students have progressed to 'At' or 'Above' the National Standard in Maths for their level, I feel attitudes have improved towards Maths across the board and a good number of my students will continue to practise their Basic Facts at home over the holiday period.

Jo Knox PD with my target group
Addressing that monkey/banana problem from JAM.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Celebrating Accelerated Shift for One Learner in 2017

Dorothy is taking our Manaiakalani staff meeting this afternoon. She has asked us to reflect on a learner that has made accelerated shift in our Inquiry topic this year. Here is my slide celebrating shift for one of my learners in 2017.

I am particularly proud of how his engagement in Maths made a complete turn around from Term 1 to Term 4. He now enjoys and is excited to be doing Maths in class.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Maths Inquiry - Term 4.

Term 4 is already one week down and only eight more to go! With such a busy term ahead of me I think it is important to keep my Inquiry goals realistic and achievable.

I have started this term's approach to Maths by thinking about engaging the children with WHY we learn Maths and the implications their knowledge base has on their daily lives. Week 1 was a whole class focus on money. It was great to see who had prior knowledge in this area and just how many could apply their skip-counting in tens (for instance,) to counting up their 'real world' money. They all enjoyed the hands on element of getting their own little 'wallet' full of real-looking money, which resulted in a high level on engagement with the tasks.

With testing coming up there needs to be a focus on revision but also on doing their best in the test. In previous tests I have found that while I know they have the knowledge or strategy to solve a problem they don't always know when to apply that. So, revision through problem solving is my focus for the first part of the term with the second half switching to fun, engagement and strand knowledge building.

Monday, 18 September 2017

My End of Term Inquiry Presentation

I have been reflecting on the very pleasing progress my class has made this term in both their basic facts knowledge and attitudes to Mathematics. I prepared the following presentation to share my findings with my Inquiry group today:

Friday, 18 August 2017

Jo Knox and the Maths Wall

We were fortunate enough to have Jo Knox spend some time with our team this week, explaining and modelling the teaching of fractions. Particularly in moving Stage 2-4 kids on to Stage 5.

I have been struggling to find a specific enough inquiry to focus on this term, instead I have been feeling overwhelmed with ideas and pulled in all sorts of directions as to what I want to work on first, or problems that I am currently facing.

As I covered fractions earlier this year, and intend to revisit them more in depth next term, I instead want to focus on another point that Jo made in our session. She showed us an impressive video of a teacher's Maths Wall, and how that teacher uses the wall on a daily basis, over a short space of time to revisit and cement learning across a wide range of Maths learning areas.

This got me thinking about the value in daily rituals, where learning is taking place in a brief but meaningful way. I want to explore how I can develop this idea in my own classroom. I like the idea of sneaking more learning in throughout the day, in fun and engaging ways.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

My Inquiry: Planning for Maths

Ahead of meeting in our Inquiry groups for the end of term, I was reflecting on how much I have learned at the Digital Fluency Intensive, and also the amount of time this has taken me out of the classroom for. I am really looking forward to having my Fridays back in class so that we can finish all our learning for the week off properly together!

I have learned a lot about working smarter, not harder, when it comes to using digital devices and want to bring this over to my planning process for Maths. I have found planning for Maths to be more time consuming and laborious than planning for Reading or Writing. Here are some challenges I have identified and my presentation on what I could do to address these.

  • Planning for Maths seems to take so long!
  • NZ Maths - teacher instructional lesson
  • Explain Everythings to follow-up
  • 4 x groups, and the varying confidence and abilities within those groups across different contexts
  • Can I make a resource to cut this planning time down and streamline my thinking?

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Google Certified Educator Level 1

I passed the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam!
This morning we were challenged to put our knowledge to the test. After 2 hours of hard work and confusion I submitted my exam and was relieved to discover I had passed. Thank you Dorothy and James for all the knowledge and wisdom you have imparted over the last term. 

I have also received my Digital Fluency Intensive badge which I am proudly displaying on my blog.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Our Penultimate Digital Immersion Intensive Session

We are almost done with our Digital Immersion course for this term. Next week we will be sitting the test to become Google Certified Educators - Level 1. I am almost feeling ready!

Today Dorothy started our day with a session on Empowerment. We discussed how students need to be empowered in their learning, and this can't happen without the other 3 words in the Manaiakalani ring: Ubiquitous, Connected and Visible. I found it interesting to think of how many members of our local community feels disempowered by so many facets of their lives not really being under their control, and therefore how important empowerment really is to our students.

We moved on to the NEW Google Sites. It was so easy to play around with and create a pretty page in no time. It did however feel limiting in how much of a personal touch you could add to it.

I spent some time training up on my Fundamentals in preparation for next week's test. Hopefully I'll finish the remaining units by next Friday.

Finally, after all that, there was more to learn! Dorothy has been showing us how to green screen in preparation for next term's Manaiakalani film festival. I am nervous but also really looking forward to making my first film for this. I had a little practice removing the background from a student's photo - of course his curly hair presented some challenges.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Sites, sites, sites: connecting with the world.

We have been exploring sites at today's Digital Intensive session. It has been great to see how different teachers at different schools present their lessons to their students.

Dorothy began the day by reminding us of the importance and power that comes from the connections we make, be it through blogging, our public sites, our Google+ community or professional development days like today.

I have really enjoyed having the time to fix up the little things that have been bugging me about my own site. Here is the criteria we came up with for what makes an effective site:

User Experience
Using space effectively
Keep it looking basic not busy
Following conventional layout rules eg white spaces
Commonality- Reading/Writing/Maths

Interconnected pages
Engaging (resources)
Learning is easy to find
Main elements are obvious- landing page has important info

Do you think my site reflects these?

In my own practice I have definitely been improving my visibility and connectivity with the world through my class blog, and encouraging the children to blog on a much more regular basis.
Please feel free to check them out here and leave your comments.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

HTML fun!

Today I felt a little out of my depth at Digital Intensive, but also really enjoyed building a site using HTML. We were fortunate to have Matt Goodwin in to assist us with this.

Dorothy started the day by reminding us of the importance of Visible teaching and learning, and the role sites play in this. We also looked over the draft version of the new Professional Standards for the Teaching Profession.

This all came together in today's task, to build a site to showcase how these new standards are evident in my own teaching. Take a look!

I really enjoyed picking up some skills to improve my site layout, keeping it clean and organised. I now feel confident to go back to my existing class site and see what I can improve and tidy up. Maybe I'll even attempt Image Mapping again!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Learning about sites!

Today has been a site-building day at Digital Intensive. We have been collaborating and planning a unit around the PM reader Magpie's Baking Day. It has been a real confidence boost to make a site for the second time as I am feeling much more like I know what I'm doing!

Check out the site I built today!
We also talked earlier in the day about being CyberSmart and the importance of allocating teaching time to deliberately teach the subject. Thanks to Fiona for sharing her knowledge with us.

Maths Testing Fun!

I have really enjoyed the last week in my class. Aside from our exciting museum trip, we have also had a real love of learning in the classroom.

I designed a simple addition Maths test using Google Forms. The children did this for the first time on Monday, and then again Tuesday and Wednesday. I was pleased at how easily they could fill in the form using their i-pads and loved how quickly I could mark and compare their results using Flubaroo in Google Sheets.

It is great how the one test caters to all the children in my class. I give them 5 minutes to complete it and stress how I just want them to get 1 more correct than they did the day before. My lowest improved from 2, to 6, to 9 and my highest from 44, to 53, to 57 (out of 57!). They are actually excited to take the test and enjoy the change from the usual Explain Everythings.

We have also started simple animations on our i-pads which I look forward to sharing on their blogs.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Share to Learn: Week 4 of Digital Immersion Intensive.

It has been a very busy day today! Dorothy began the day by highlighting how we Share to Learn. This is particularly apparent in blog posts that can be visited, commented on and revisited years later. Learning should be visible, rewindable and able to be revisited months, even years, later.

Feedback was another area of interest today. Comments on blogs can be valuable learning tools, particularly when conversations back and forth are entered into. We looked at The 4 Fundamentals of Feedback to students as well as the Manaiakalani “Positive, Thoughtful, Helpful’ tools to help us leave useful and relevant comments on our students' and peers' blogs.

I really enjoyed getting on the Chromebooks and I-pads today, to get a taste of what life is like for our students. By completing the 'Digital Dig' I learned a lot of new shortcuts and skills to speed up my work on a Chromebook and MacBook for that matter. (I'm a little embarrassed to admit I didn't know about the two-fingers to right-click and scroll on the touchpad!)

I shared a lesson I created in Explain Everything to use with my class on their i-pads and enjoyed seeing my fellow teachers have a play and complete it. Ben and Trish shared some of theirs as well, and we were lucky enough to have one of our Col teachers, Khismira Lal visit to share her expertise with us. I learned about lassoing images and Ben taught me how to create simple animations. I liked how Khismira makes a template for images that the children can copy into their Explain Everythings when appropriate. I can see that they would enjoy the Spiderman and Queen Elsa images more than the few shapes available in the app.

Here is me using Screencastify for the first time to comment on Trish's blog.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Week 3 of Digital Immersion Intensive

Today we reflected on what the CREATE portion of learn-create-share means to us. We looked at children's blog posts and thought about how much of an opportunity to create was included in their work. We came together in groups through Google Hangouts (video of our Hangout at the bottom) and looked at the opportunities for learner empowerment and agency while becoming familiar with the tools that Google Hangouts has to offer.
Norah-Jade's Blog Post
I learned to organise my Gmail more efficiently using settings and filters. It even looks much prettier now that I have discovered the Themes option. My Calendar is organised to include the school calendars as well as those of my colleagues.

The most exciting thing I discovered today however, had to do with Google Keep. I had been using it for a little while as a post-it note type service but today I discovered two new things I can do with it! I love the ability to strip text from an image, and then transfer that into a Google Doc. Also, being able to voice record my notes could make my multi-tasking life a lot easier.

I look forward to seeing what next week has in store for us.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Inquiry, Term 2 - Where to from here?

I have been working really hard at making Explain Everything activities tailored to my students' needs. These have been easier to do with my Reading Groups than with my Maths Groups, but I'm working on changing that.

This week, I made two EEs targeted towards my whole class Maths lessons on Fractions, and I am really proud of how they got the students to both reflect on their learning and extend it. The first one was a follow-up reflection on a really hands on lesson, and the second was more of an assessment of their learning. By taking and using photos of the hands on sessions, the students felt that it was really their personal learning that they were working on.

I look forward to many more learning opportunities truly tailored to my learners, while extending my practice with my colleagues' awesome resources that I have at my disposal.

I hope I might even pick up a new skill or two to use on the i-pads from the digital immersion intensive that I am currently taking part in.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Digital Intensive Session 2

Today was my second digital intensive session. We have been focussing on the Create portion of the Manaiakalani Learn-Create-Share philosophy.

It was lots of fun today designing forms and quizzes to find out more about each other at our Digital Intensive day. It has been really interesting to see the different ways forms can be used. I like the way data is easily graphed and transferred into a Google Spreadsheet. We even looked at plotting peoples' location answers on (As well as pinning the locations of our cars on our phones!)

I am hoping to utilise Google Forms on the i-pads in the class as it seems like they would be quite straight forward for the kids to follow. I have made a Google Form pick-a-path Maths test which was an experiment in children following basic facts questions at their level. Now that I have made one, I could see myself making more for Writing and Reading activities in particular.

I look forward to taking lots of clever tricks and tips back to my team at school.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Digital Intensive Session 1

Today was the first of 9 Digital Intensive courses that I am lucky enough to go on this term. We have been familiarising ourselves with Google Drive and Google Docs in particular as well as various Add-ons and Extensions to make our lives easier!

The venn diagram above shows some of what I have been learning about today. As my class of Year 2s  are very young and still getting to grips with the basics of using their i-pads and saving their work correctly there are less things in the kids’ circle. However, there are many things I have learned that are valuable for my personal administrative needs as well as being interesting to think about how older classrooms can work.

I think the take aways for the children in my class are the word cloud (I think they will enjoy the visual plan), keeping their Google Drives well organised and the Text to Speak extension could be at the very least fun to experiment with, and hopefully, quite useful.

I have learned a lot about using Google Docs, such as using headings and inserting a table of contents. I like the Easy Accents add-on for writing Maori (and other languages) properly. I have been further familiarised with Hapara Dashboard and the many useful things it can do.

We have been encouraged to use our phones and all devices available to us to be making the most of every opportunity by having our accounts and apps set up across our devices and ready to use at any time.

Lastly, I’m looking forward to trying out Google Save some more to see if it can help me organise my many ideas more easily and visually. I look forward to what I can learn from the next 8 sessions.

I have made a! Go to for my class site!

Monday, 3 April 2017

My end of Term 1 Inquiry Presentation and Reflection.

We came together in our inquiry groups yesterday to share how our inquiries have progressed through the course of Term 1. It was really interesting to hear how other people's classes are going and to hear teaching points and strategies that are working well for some or may need adjusting.

Here is the presentation I used to remember my talking points in our meeting.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

My Inquiry 2017: How to make Maths more engaging and productive when away from the teacher.

Now that I am properly immersed in a 1:1 i-pad classroom it is time to get to grips with the opportunities that this offers me. Already I have seen some real potential for learning to be more fun, engaging and independent on the i-pad if it is set up and ready for the learner to go. The next step is looking at the activities themselves that the children are engaging in and just how effective they are for maintaining and encouraging learning independently.

My inquiry for 2017, or at least where I plan to start, is in looking at the EEs we currently have available to use in the school, and in how to create my own, to best serve the needs of the students in my class. Particularly the lower level children that haven't yet discovered that Maths can be fun!