Friday, March 14, 2014

A different approach to learning

I enjoy introducing my learners to new & different learning opportunities in which they can also have fun.

Last year, my class was involved in the global classroom project called 'The Travelling Rhino's'
Learners were so engaged that I've extended this with having a class production called 'Save the Earth' with much success.

I love this different approach to learning, something that Project Based Learning (I found out) exactly is.

As an ongoing learner and always on the lookout for personal learning opportunities, I read this tweet with great excitement:

With so much learned, this was a twitter chat worthwhile to be involved in.

        ~ "Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears and never regrets." 
                                                                                                           - Leonardo da Vinci ~

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Out of the Cave" - Master Class #1 (#eFellows14)

I was looking forward to our first eFellows 2014 Master Class in Auckland with great excitement.  This by the way, did not disappoint! Our programme was stunning, well planned and well organised by John and Louise from CORE.

Meeting the other #eFellow14 (Anne-Louise @robeanne; Tim @TimGanderNZ; Vicki @hagrnz; Bec @Bec_Power; Rowan @RowanTaigel and Ben @mrbenbritton) at the CORE office was fantastic.  Some of us were already interacting on Twitter and I relished the opportunity to meeting them f2f ! We chatted through our first morning, sharing our Mihimihi and learnt what the eFellows is about.  At the end of this session, we were given three questions to ponder for the next day.

Then we had our first lunch together, with the complements of CORE Education.

We were fortunate to visit Stonefields School and listened to Sarah Martin, sharing the schools educative purpose and explaining the learning philosophy which rest on their Four Vision Principles - Building learning Capacity, Collaborating, Making Meaning and Break Through, by using a very informative presentation. A highlight for me was seeing junior students in action in their Learning Hub.

Back at our accommodation the seven of us talked, shared and chatted until late at night around our camp fire.

On day two we had inspirational conversations about bringing a transformative lens to inquiry, led by Louise Taylor.  We discussed key points for our project, critical pedagogical theory, things we notice, how we make sense of the world and positive transformation.

Lunch at Catalina Cafe

After lunch, we toured the new Hobsonville Point Secondary School with Claire Amos, who enlightened us with her presentation about what excellence look like at HPSS.  We learnt about their Vision and Shared Values and the Hobsonville Habits which covered their four areas of personal development required for optimum success - strategic, cognitive, innovative and relational.

Back at the CORE office, Mark Osborne's passion for Modern Learning Environments was evidence during his session in which he further discussed ways to "Innovate, Engage and Inspire."

John Fenaughty organised a yum potluck to enable us to meet some CORE whanau and where we could connect with past eFellows.  I had the privilege of meeting my mentor, Sonya van Schaijik for the first time f2f!

On our last day, we had another great session with Louise and we were reminded to "seeing the possibilities within the impossibilities".  We talked about some key points to 'throw together' and continued our discussion on how to bring a trans-formative lens to our inquiries.  We started on our projects with reflective tasks and left with a clear sense of where we want to go and what to look at.

What an amazing three days (with an awesome and enthusiastic group of people), filled with laughs and inspiration!

Slide created by Louise Taylor

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Off to great places!

I am very excited about next week's first eFellowship meeting, as I have been looking forward to this for some time now. 

According to the latest information, a stunning programme has been created for us by our eFellow co-ordinators at CORE. 

I am looking forward to my inquiry/ learning this year, so watch this space, as I will surely be writing some reflective blog posts of my journey. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Teaching as Inquiry (Maths)

Main question: "How can I accelerate the progress of my focus group of students to where they should be in relation to the National standards?"  Using some initial data and knowledge of my students, I was able to identify (target) students.

My Focusing Inquiry questions were:
  • What assessment information do I have?
  • What are my students' strengths?
  • What are my students' learning needs?
My Inquiry: "How can I support these students to show and explain their thinking?"

My Teaching Inquiry questions were:
  • What instructional strategies will I use to help students achieve?
  • What resources will I need?
  • How will I differentiate to meet student needs?
  • How will I encourage student ownership of their learning?
  • What personal learning do I need to undertake? (Research/Readings/Support from others/Professional Development/Observations/videos)
  • Encourage student recording: Whiteboard, Student books, iPad - voice/ video, Student blogs
  • Relevant problems: student interest, addition and subtraction
  • Using materials
  • Providing challenge: students think of problems
  • Learning buddy work: explain what buddy said
  • Questioning: provide thinking time
My Learning Inquiry will look at:
  • What impact has my teaching had on my students?
  • How do I know, what is the evidence? (Assessment/Student feedback - feed forward/Observations)
  • What do I need to do next?
  • What changes could I implement?

Reflection: (To be elaborated on in due course)

~ "Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best"
 - Bob Talbert  ~