Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Coding and Music!!

So lets start this post off by saying this is one of my first ever attempts at using scratch myself, and boy was it fun. 

Being the music teacher I am always looking for new ways to engage students in musical tasks through areas that are not necessarily musically orientated. Using scratch I was able to create my own midi keyboard with loop. This is at a such a basic level yet took me only an hour to make through trial and error. Imagine doing this with your students to show them how drum machines were first created, or to set it up to create your own digital class band.

The possibilities are limitless, I believe scratch could be that tool that builds interactive learning models for students, whilst teaching critical thinking and giving basic coding skills and strategies. Computational thinking: check
Critical thinking: check
Fun: check
Musical: check

This has ticked all my boxes. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Maths Website

This will not be a long post as it is currently a work in progress. However aside from the flaws I have encountered I have managed to create a maths website for my class. This was the final staple learning area that I needed to create in order to have my class on a fully digital learning platform which I have complete control over. Now I have created three portals of control where I can set my maths, reading and writing tasks. It also means that all tasks are now rewindable and students will be able to access their learning at any time.

This being said I did run into some issues with resources on this one as I do not have the time (nor energy) to create a million new maths problems. I found most decent maths resources are pay to play. Especially any that really link to the NZ curriculum. I also found that some resources are available for a limited amount time each day and thus makes them hardly adequate for students who may wish to continue their practice. At the moment I do use a website but I find that the students need a change up in practice tasks.

This will be a continued exercise and hopefully I can get it into full operation by the start of next year.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Are your students aware of what jobs will be needed in the future?

Yesterday Wesley Intermediate had an exciting opportunity to be part of the "Just be" expo held at the local community centre. It was a great day, and an awesome opportunity for our Year 8's to get to know some older students from the local colleges.

The day was designed around looking at future careers and involved the likes of the police, fire service, and other people or companies working in the area. I was lucky enough to end up running some workshops from Rui at Critical, who is an architect and problem solver who looks at the needs of the community around him and develops products and ideas alongside businesses to help create sustainable ideas, services and products. It was great fun having 15 minutes to teach the idea of design and development to some students who may have otherwise never imagined they had the potential to be creative. I do hope some sparks were lit from this experience.

Yet in the end, what I came to realise is that within the community I work, I believe there to be a big need for information to be shared around potential pathways that will lead to careers for our young students. Many of the kids from my school had no idea what they wanted to be, which is normal for a 12 year old, but many of the jobs they may look at for the future will potentially be taken over by robots or other tech being designed and created.

One student had said they would like to work in a sport shop, selling cool sports gear to people. This was great that they had a goal, yet that very same night, I had seen on the news the rise of chatbot technology, which would almost make this job obsolete. This has really got me thinking about the careers our kids may end up in, and how we can help break the cycle of poverty and low socioeconomic issues.

so I will leave you with this question.

What can we do as teachers to lead our students down a path that will provide better opportunities in their futures? 
(other than teach them the necessary skills for a particular job set)

Friday, September 15, 2017

If students understand then they will succeed!

So again I have been developing some sites to use within class that create equity, inclusiveness and shared understanding of learning. I have been mainly focusing on my reading tasks of late, but had a sudden burst of inspiration to look at writing. Using the new google sites I started with a one page work site, aimed at descriptive writing. However as the week went on I decided that I should try and finish it off with more of the writing styles that we cover in school.  And so this site was born. I have not tried it yet within class due to testing taking place, but will be giving it a good go in the next two weeks. The tasks were all sourced from Wesley intermediate staff or created by me, and still have a way to go to become a bit more defined, but at the moment I am looking at sharing this with the community to see what ideas can come to help the development.

check the link for my site below

Friday, September 1, 2017

Ako Hiko ICT Leaders Meeting Term 3 2017

The leaders and I had a great meeting today about how our modules we are working on to increase Whanau engagement within the Ako Hiko cluster of schools. Wesley Primary had trialled the first Module and had tinkered with it to suit their needs. I talked to Phil from Wesley primary about setting up a joint Module night so we could capture the same family's in one go, as we share a lot of the same students. We also talked a bit more about setting up a talent show of some sort, which gained interest from some of the other schools. It is now worth looking at a way to get this running as an Ako Hiko event rather than just a Wesley event.

Another great takeaway from this meeting was looking at the future of Ako Hiko for next year. Starting next year Core will be taking a backseat and that means Ako Hiko will be all on its own for the first time. New territory! The main things we talked about around this, were, how do we make sure we keep moving forward with the same goals, and make the progress we want to see.

We decided that regular Leadership meetings were still vital, but potentially creating a web portal to easily access PD and resources/ideas from other schools would be great. Sharing is caring and everyone in the room was happy with this idea to collaborate. With such a great team on hand I can only see positives moving forward with Ako Hiko. However not having Mannaiakalani or Core in the mix will be strange as they have both provided so much in terms of procedure, Knowledge, and a shoulder to destress on when things have been tricky.

Onwards and Upwards....

Watch this space

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Building ICT Admin Role Website

Recently I have been building a website to help transition our ICT Admin role within Wesley. We are designing it as a one stop shop to help answer any questions raised when taking on this role as a new teacher. Right from the start Andy and I had decided to build it into a website, not only to portray the role as ICT Administrator but because a website is far more practical and user friendly than a google drive folder filled with a million tools and resources.

We designed the site using New google site, as we wanted to give it a proper go. What we have found is that although new sites is limited, it does perform reasonably well for a basic site layout. With a few areas of tinkering we have managed to build most of the site to be user friendly, easy to access, and do the job which we intended.

This was a test case for how we can build a site collaboratively between team leaders and I must say the process has been smooth. Linking and adding docs is simple. I would recommend people try out using the New Sites as they save time (spent coding) and make the process smooth.

Monday, August 21, 2017

It has been awhile since my last post and I just wanted to share with you what I have been busy creating. My ideas for the Asttle website continue to develop and change, and so I thought why don't I create a prototype website to use in my class that is similar to the asttle site I wish to create in the future. So spending a few hours (or more) of my time I managed to whip up a quick version of a reading task website that is directly linked to the skills we teach at school. This is across all classes at Wesley and so I am hoping to get some buy in from other teachers to try this out in their class. My goal here is to see if

- Students will use the website
-  Students will understand the tasks on the website
-  the tasks are easy enough to be done individually, yet are still challenging.

I also want to gain feedback from the users to see how the site has made an impact on them and what areas need to be improved.

The tasks on this site are based or are from Sheena Camerons reading strategy tutorials. I encourage people to have a look and critique as best they can, as any input from outside my normal surroundings will help me continue to develop a site catering to the needs of all people.

Reading task Website

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

First week back Term 3 2017

Over the holidays I have been reflecting on my reading strategies and how best I can help my students accelerate their learning. All my students have been moving up levels based on their test results which is a positive, but I really would like to see if I can get better results by the way I setup my reading groups/tumbles. I have looked at what other classes do within my school to see what works and what I need to do in order to maximise the success of these new techniques. Buddy reading was a big one I came across in all classes and students really enjoyed using this task to practise reading for fluency. I have also looked at how to set up my reading tumble to provide a multi modal approach where students can find supportive texts with the texts they have used to learn the specific reading strategy. This issue I have at the moment is whether the multi modal approach will add too much to workload in terms of sourcing materials. Potentially I will create the websites for my groups or specific strategies that cater to all levels and the text within the website will vary from high to low level so that all students can use this.

I will do a test this year to see if individual group sites work better than a broad site catering to all levels.

Friday, June 30, 2017

DI Intensive Week 9 This is the end!!  (not really though)

After nine weeks of intense digital learning, I have consolidated my knowledge of LCS tools and strategies, trialled a new initiative, come up with an inquiry and developed my understanding of HTML. I have learnt the tools of the trade and I can now say I am well prepared for what the changing and modernised curriculum is asking me to teach and to achieve for my students.

I have today become a Level 1 Certified Google educator and some could call me a Level 1 Manaiakalani digital educator (although some might not). This has been well worth the time and effort, and I am very grateful for Dorothy and James' time spent working with the group.

I look forward to bringing my new knowledge into Ako Hiko and hopefully I can implement some changes in our cluster.

Friday, June 23, 2017

DI Intensive Week 8

Today we have been looking at the new Google sites. The new sites are very user friendly and are really easy to use. In saying this though, for more complex websites the new sites will not be the one to use. Instead I strongly (along with everyone else) suggest that you stick with the old sites.

New sites no longer give you the ability to use HTML which is a big drawback. They are also stricter on inserting videos from non google compatible websites. Another drawback to the New sites is that it does limit the way you insert images and where they can be placed. Although this isn't the end of the world, it does make resizing images an issue.

All in all though, after assessing all the negatives, there are still positives for the New Sites. The time it takes to create a simple website is a positive, especially if we are trying to develop new learning tools within a short time frame.

As our practice we created a simple site to share our class websites. A link for mine can be found below. Digital Intensive Team Class site

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Week 8 Term 2 2017

I have been busy building on my idea for a website that can link to resources which are directly linked to the NZ curriculum and also E-astle console goals. The idea behind this, is that students at my school often make goals based on their Astle console results, yet as a second year teacher I struggle with finding resources, that not only engage, but are clear and linked to their goals. This was my initial reasoning behind creating this site as I wanted to increase engagement at school and at home with an easy to access resource.

However, today has changed that reasoning. Talking with Andy Crow from Critical, we discussed and managed to pull out more reasons than I could have initially expected, that underpinned why I was trying to create this. Andy forced me to think about not just my perspective but also that of other teachers who might want to use this resource.

What is the aim behind the website? Was it just resourcing, or engagement? What about teachers who already had both of these things? Will it be used to teach to the test, or are we looking at student achievement overall? Can this target student needs in a more transparent manner than is already used? What are the limits to Astle testing?

All of these questions came out of our discussion leaving me with more to ponder over how I will get this website up and running, and being used by teachers and students.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Week 6: DI Intensive - Website Design/HTML Practice

This week we have continued with creating sites, except instead of going down the standard basic road, I and a few others have looked at how to embed code into an image using HTML. This is great for creating easy flow sites which are attractive to look at and convenient to use.

We created our sites based around the Professional Teaching Standards. As teachers we continually collect evidence and through the sites we have created, this will link to our blog, which will contain all our linked evidence.

Although I am still in the process of creating mine, I feel once I have created a template this could be shared between my colleagues which will go forth as a digital CV.

Playing with HTML is not easy and is time consuming, but I think with continued practice this will become second nature and creating these more intricate sites will become a quick task which can be easily whipped up on a weekend.

Have a look at what I have created with the link below.

Friday, June 2, 2017

DI Intensive Week 5

This week we have been looking at how to build a website and ways in which we can integrate this into our class work routines. I have built sites before and I am currently building one through the new google sites for my role as ICT PLD administrator at Wesley Intermediate.  The new google sites are a breeze to use, but are limited and are for those who need a quick easy way to get into building sites.

Today however we did not use the new sites we used the old version. This allows HTML use and can be fine tuned. I liked building a work portal from scratch, and it has been interesting to go through the process of creating a different way for the students to go about their tasks. I will be trialling this in the coming weeks.

Monday, May 29, 2017

DI Intensive Week 4

Having missed last weeks session I told myself I must try at least one thing that I can see from the DI intensive agenda. Through this I came across a Thinglink. A Thinglink is an interactive image where you can tag work or websites to the image you select. I have trialled this in my class with my reading groups and had a go at getting this work in a more visible place for my students. This also allowed me to show them working along with the work they were doing within one picture rather than a whole doc or presentation. This makes it much more convenient to use.

The applications for this are wide and of similar use to a padlet, yet more visual and I think a great way to engage students and parents with the work done in class.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Linking back to my previous post about PB4L procedures,  I was really impressed by how some schools were really reaching out in different ways to get student voice across. I am deeply passionate about letting my students have a say in how our class is run and the culture we create in order to learn.

One big thing I took home from the meeting was the use of Flipgrids. This programme is not cheap for schools on a budget and although it has more potential than my version, I wanted to see if I could do something similar with a free resource. Using Padlet I have managed to get my kids to link in videos of themselves talking about their bully free tips and tricks. I found all students were really engaged in this task and I can now use this as a rewindable learning opportunity.

Taking this further under the Learn, Create, Share, Model I could have my students create their videos using stop motion, or  animation tools. This would work especially well if I wanted my students to have the opportunity to stay anonymous, and still express their student voice.

I also found that videos will play within Padlet if you download then upload your videos, rather than pasting in the link.

Have a look at the Padlet, below and please let me know what you think.

Made with Padlet

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

PB4L Cluster meeting for Auckland Central.

Today we have been reviewing how we deal with minor incidents at school. Some great feedback from all people involved. Have a look at the Padlet below to see what other schools are doing PB4L wise in their schools.  I will be looking at Flipgrid and Banqer as tools for my class to have a reward system that directly reflects their wants and needs. I also like the use of videos as shown by Panama Road school, which is a great form of rewindable learning. These videos really reinforce students behaviour and because they are 100% made by students it creates better buy in.

Made with Padlet

Friday, May 19, 2017

DI Intensive Week 3

Three weeks in to this course and I have been practicing in school to use forms and my google sheets to increase my productivity along with student engagement. My kids have loved using forms to produce data to back up their persuasive writing, and they have also enjoyed looking at how to create pick a path stories.

For me I have used google forms and sheets to keep running records on the students basic facts knowledge. This has been great.

Today in the Intensive we have been looking at Google Hangouts, our Gmail, and Google Keep. The focus is on being productive and using the technology we have to our advantage. I really love Google Keep as it allows you to take a picture of a book or a slide and then download the words from that into a doc. You can see that in the picture below their is a picture of some writing, I have then taken the actual text from it and it has pasted that below the image. This can be then cut or pasted into a document if needed. A very handy tool for teachers in my opinion.

See pictures below on the layout of Google Keep.

Below you will find a video of a three way Hangouts call which a group of us trialled. The point in this video is to show that you can share a screen and talk about work anywhere in the country. All you need is some internet (cafe...Cough, Cough) and a laptop or phone. It does take some decent band width to do but is worth it. Especially for some quick PLD or if you cannot attend an important meeting. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Today we have been looking at google forms and google sheets in the Manaiakalani Intensive session. I have been able to develop my understanding in how to use forms and then take the data you collect and place it into google sheets. This is so handy for keeping your running records up to date without adding too much to your workload. I have also looked at how to insert data from a Google sheet into a map. Although it did not work for me, I will have a play and see if I can get this posted. I have also created a fun Pick a Path story for kids in Google forms. This will be a great writing tool for my boys who like to work collaboratively and share their ideas.

Another big thing for me has been looking at how to use Flubaroo as a tool in Google Sheets. This allows you to easily mark tests that you can set through google forms. No longer do we need to sit and mark each students basic facts test one at a time!

Above is the link to my Pick a path story and below you can see a nice example of how you can easily plan for your story. Thanks to Michelle Armstrong and Sylvia Duckworth for this plan.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Here is my list from Friday about the add ons and extensions which can help benefit students and teachers. I have added a brief description along with a short tutorial. I hope you find this useful. This doc was designed for the teachers at Wesley Intermediate, but if you would like to use this doc feel free ask for a share, and I will give you access.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Day 1 PLD Manaiakalani

Today has been a very intriguing day. As a professional my basic tool belt has been heftily filled, with a great amount of tools in which I can use, to not only increase my productivity, but to hopefully increase engagement within my school for staff and students.

Learn: Digital content introduction

Extending the power of Docs and Drive with extensions and add-ons
Talk & Comment - Instead of typing out a comment, voice audio.
Docutube - Insert Youtube clips into documents rather than the link
Lucidcharts - insert charts and diagrams into google docs
Extensity - for managing extensions
Grammarly - For checking plagiarism - to shorten URLs
Easy Accents- Quick and simple way to add macrons
Select and Speak- Voice to Text Engine (works with Google Docs)

Above is listed all the tools which I have developed my knowledge in. These are all free and very easy to use, but to see how to get these into the Learn, Create, Share philosophy has been very intriguing.

I really like the idea of docutube for having youtube clips linked into your docs and easy accents gives you a great Maori Keyboard to use to really help integrate Te Tiriti O Waitangi