I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Calendar Art

This year we at Tamaki primary have been very lucky to have an exclusive Art Teacher, Maryanne. I love Art and so always look forward to Art lessons. I have always learnt something new whenever I have observed Maryanne do Art with students.
Today we made dandelions for Calendar Art. Maryanne had everything well organized for us. First she talked about cold colours and hot colours. Then she modeled how to make a background using chalk pastels. After that we made stems using brown pastels and then in the end we used white paint to make dandelion flowers. What I really loved was how Maryanne broke down each step for students. She did mini lessons in between for students to understand each step properly. It was a short lesson but the results were amazing. 

 Step 1: Choose 3 cold colours or 3 warm colours. Choose chalk crayons to make three bands on a sheet.

 Step 2: Use your the tip of your fingers to blend in colours.

 Step 3: Draw dandelion stems using pastels.

  Step 4: Use the wooden tip of a paint brush to make dandelions. Dip the end of the paint brush to make flowers.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Linking Digital Pedagoies and Bilingual Pedagogies

I attended a toolkits PD that is offered to all the schools in the Manaiakalani cluster. This is done twice  a term. I went to ' Linking Digital Pedagogies and Bilingual Pedagogies' that was presented by Kyla Hansell. I have completed my Grad Dip Tessol and so the tool kit was a reiteration of what I have been practicing and delivering in my class. For me the challenge is to provide opportunities that will allow my students to use a variety of digital apps and tools. As I am new to a partially digital class, I am constantly in pursuit of learning new things from teachers who are digitally more advanced.

I have a new student in my class who has never used netbooks. He is from Afghanistan. When he came to our school, my class was learning about the Hindu festival Diwali. I took this moment to ask my new student about Eid the festival that he celebrates with his family. Suddenly his face lit up and he started explaining me all the about Eid celebrations. We together brainstormed all the ideas using De bono's  6 thinking hats.  Then he did his draft and I showed him how to make a google presentation. He quickly learnt the skill and made his first ever presentation. He later shared it with the class. Throughout the task, he was very motivated and engaged in his learning.
I felt I have done my little bit for the day. I have known my learner and made him celebrate what he brings with him... his culture, his beliefs and thoughts about this country. I have respected him for who he is and truly welcomed him into my class along with the integration of technology.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

21st Century Teacher

21st Century Teacher by Archanasharma on GoAnimate

I want to congratulate all the teachers for doing a fantastic job in this era of change! I wanted to make a longer video but a free user is allowed 30 seconds only :(

Visual Learning: Feedback

                During the Term break I read a lot about John Hattie’s influence and effect sizes on students achievement. I picked up Hattie because I wanted some accelerated progress in student achievement during the last Term.The articles that I went through were very interesting and motivating. Hattie has developed a way of ranking various influences according to their effect sizes. He ranked the influences from the positive to the negative effects on student achievement.
                John Hattie has laid emphasis on visible learning.
                 According to him Visible Learning for teachers is the role when they become evaluators of their own teaching. Visible Learning and Teaching occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers. Click Here for John Hattie's effect sizes and influences on student learning. 
                As we went through the articles it was interesting to find out that things that seemed so important did not actually make much of a difference. For example homework has ‘zero’ size effect on student achievement.
                 I shared these articles with my team and we decided to focus on feedback because it features in the top most influences on Hattie’s graph of effect size. Though the most powerful feedbacks are verbal feedbacks from teachers but I think to make it visible it was important for peers to give feedback before they came to conference with the Teacher. To make this exciting for our students we drafted a feedback form for our students who would use it when giving feedback to their buddies for Writing and Reading. We explained and modeled how students would use the form and then asked them to give feedback to their buddies. To our surprise the whole process became very powerful. Suddenly students who could not learn what describing words were , were now highlighting the words with the help of their buddies. It was thrilling to hear “ You have not used too many ideas in your story” or
                    “ You have not elaborated your ideas”
                   and “ what do you think you need to work on?” or “ I     forgot to put my ideas into paragraphs”.
                We even noticed that the whole concept of writing had quickly become clear to the students. Students understood their goals well and could now articulate what they had done well and what they needed to work on.
                When students came to me for feedback after they had already discussed with their buddy, it was very rewarding to find that they already knew what their next steps were.
                We went home as very satisfied teachers.

Disclaimer: The above Writing Feedback form is an example. Please change the goals on the form according to the needs of your students.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Key Competencies

It is the first day of Term 4 today. To begin my term I started by re-visiting Key competencies. First we discussed what we meant by each key competency. Then we brainstormed all our ideas on paper. After that each student framed a goal for themselves that they needed to work on. Their goals were based on key competencies. It was a very productive session.

KC from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.