Saturday, 9 September 2017

Te ako mai i etahi atu - Learning from others

Today, I had the opportunity to visit Robyn Anderson and her students in Learning Space 2 at Panmure Bridge School.  For me, it has been a while since I have visited an innovative learning setting complete with furniture and space that allowed for movement around the class.

Clear guidelines and expectations were given before students moved to working spaces that included group and independent settings within the one learning space.
I observed, and listened to the interactions that evolved as students set to the tasks they had to complete.  Student self management of these tasks was strongly evident and a credit to their teacher, as I became very aware of the varied tasks that were occurring at the same time.  

Peer to peer conversations about their learning reinforced to me how student self management enhanced those dialogic conversations allowing opportunity for students’ to clarify their learning and gain essential ‘real time’ feedback. 'Talk' being the key word here.
Roving around the learning space and interacting with students, their receptiveness  to my questioning and their confidence as learners to 'talk about their learning', was very evident as they shared their high standards of digital learning objects resulting from the Learn, Create, Share process.

Robyn took time to share her planning for reading which was linked to their current focus on the suffragette movement that resulted in women gaining the right to vote.   Her use of the multi-modal approach, presented students with stimulating learning resources, which was reinforced across my interactions with students.   The multi-modal site was not restricted to following a specific sequence and in this, students could choose where to begin and where to next.

The feedback along with the process of learning  was reiterated by the students themselves who, identified the learning as not only highly engaging but, it also included opportunities for them to analyse, critically reflect and evaluate their knowledge and understanding about the challenges  women faced.  While they were able to interact with others, students I spoke with also valued the opportunity for them to work independently from the teacher and manage themselves.  In recognising and elaborating on the impact Winning the Right to Vote,  had on women of this era, they also spoke about how this reinforced that women need to continue to use this right and vote in the upcoming elections.

I observed a group of four students using a graphic organiser where Robyn had written a statement in the center.  Each student had a space to record their responses.  Following this, each student read the comments of the others and without talk, using only body language (pointing, making facial expressions) as a means to respond to each of the comments made. High levels of thinking were evident throughout this process as students then went on to refine their responses, checking both detail and clarity and a direct link to the statement they were given.  The comments were then synthesized and recorded under the statement. Students were very focused in their task and certainly this was not only evidence of the knowledge and understanding they had constructed across the learning but also an evaluation of
teaching and learning.

Robyn touched base with learners in a manner that did not inhibit their learning conversations and took time to observe with an occasional reminder prompting where necessary, the student's responsibility to remain focused to complete tasks.

My visit was on a Friday afternoon, where like many classes, students were finishing off work.  During this time, groups of students were in and out of the class as they participated in group activities, including dance and film making. These transitions flowed and caused no disruption, again emphasizing the positive self managing learning environment that is not only engaging but also promoting responsibility.

Both Robyn and I recognise the necessity to be well planned and organised to promote opportunities for students to be engaged in learning, to grow skills in both self management and responsibility for their learning to increase ownership that will promote their future success.

Visiting and seeing another colleague and another setting, has made me think about how I can continue to motivate engagement that promote increased levels of ‘talk’ that will led to greater levels of independence and ownership for my learners.

The opportunity to be the ‘observer’ in another learning environment is something that we need to recognise and action.  

I highly recommend touching base with Robyn to visit Learning Space 2.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Feedback to Ponder

Student feedback - I often invite students to give feedback about learning, just as I am sure that all teachers do.  It's interesting to see and hear how students feel about their learning.   At one recent reading session  - with my target group, they were beginning a new text and I decided to sit in with them after they have read the text independently.
I asked a couple of questions about the text to gauge their understanding and expected a floury of responses. The response I got however was very brief and from one student.  Another then said that she thought that they needed to re read the provided text again to support their ability to share and talk about the text.   I left the group area and went to see another group and looked back a few minutes later to see them interacting and sharing their ideas.

My 'check in' with them seemed untimely!

In saying 'check in' - one of the students from my target group, approached me after their reading session as the students were leaving the class and said," We didn't talk very much today Miss, it was because you were there, we talk more when you are not there!'

This was very interesting feedback.

Friday, 1 September 2017

CoL Visit

Today I was pleased to welcome Robyn Anderson the in-school COL teacher from Panmure Bridge School to Room 8. There is a very close connections between Robyn's inquiry and my own and consequently I was looking forward to 'real-time', feedback from her about her observations and interactions with my students.

I initially thought that having another teacher observing them might result in a reduction of dialogic discussion but this was not the case. Students moved into their multi-leveled reading groups and as you might expect, following a brief discussion began their reading task for that session.

As I use a multimodal approach i.e using varied forms of reading sources - video, sound tracks, hard materials and internet based articles linking to our class inquiry, students have , across the past few weeks, been constructing knowledge and understanding about the context of our current inquiry.

This latter aspect, is I believe a key factor to promote talk and make connections. Sometimes this 'connecting' needs a little shake up from the teacher (me) and is done through short prompts that are recorded on laminated coloured trips. These are placed at tables for when I check in with students. 

Students confidently interacted with Robyn as she touched base with each group. 
It certainly was a bonus to have her visit, to not only have another set of eyes observing talking and learning, and to receive positive feedback that also pushed me to look at my next steps.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

CoL presentations

Friday the 25th was the date of the 6th Manaiakalani Hui. In the afternoon ,the CoL teachers set up their  'science fair' type display boards highlighting key aspects of our journeys.
Preparation for this provided me with increased opportunity to reflect on specific aspects including:

  •  research I had tapped into
  • hunches I had formed from formative obervations
  • further analysis of initial data and tracking of progress
  • teaching and learning responses
  • evidence across that learning including student voice
Presentation, enhanced by the organisation and preparation of the display areas including banners representative of  each of the six achievement challenges,  (a special thanks to Karen and our team from Manaiakalani) set the interactive event that followed as teachers, principals, education facilitators, board representatives, and  people from Woolf Fisher visited the displays and interacted with the  CoL teachers who elaborated on the key areas of their inquiry.

This was a great opportunity to share our journeys with a wider audience. It was great to be questioned and  make connections with others as we continue to Learn Create and Share.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Learn - Noticing

An interesting moment..

Seeing changes and increased dialogue occurring and strengthening with the target group, I have also been transferring these strategies across all groups, I have also noted that follow up work that continues after guided reading (without my presence) is showing increased levels of collaborative work and dialogue. Today I was working with a group (not my target) who are currently reading an article about Zoo's.
After exploring the Auckland Zoo Official Site student knowledge of animals living in in the zoo was increased and led to the task today where students were asked to name 5 mammals they would find at a zoo.  The animals were not allowed to be repeated so we ended up with quite a variety.

Each student then independently went on to represent their work in a DLO to share, while also looking at being cybersmart when selected images for reuse.
 This group (mostly boys) were highly motivated to extend their reading through searching for animals which promoted me to prompt their thinking by asking, 'I wonder where the zoo gets its animals from?' Another group currently reading an article 'The Deer Debate", After guided reading, went on to complete the table below, and I noticed the interactions that occurred before, during and after their shared doc was being used. An additional resource set up for them was from DOC. Resource choose is (I believe) a key motivation that drives engagement.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Learning from peers - tuakana teina


Using a visual poster as a prompt for oral language and implementation 
of  critical thinking.  Another group observed and discussed the discussion 
that evolved.