Friday, February 24, 2017

Making up SOLO stories with Year 7 students

I have a new Year 7 intermediate class for Technology. Today we were using SOLO taxonomy to do product research.

Here is the worksheet we were working through together :-




As we were going through all the levels of SOLO and explaining what each of them meant, we were referring to this poster that is on the walls of every class room at Tamaki College.

I was pointing to each of the diagrams and getting the students to describe them. 
We were then coming up with answers to the research questions together.


Part of what we did today was try to really understand what each of the levels MEAN.
To help this, we came up with a story.....

  • Unistructural is a lonely little yellow block in the playground. He is by himself.
  • Multistructural is lots of little green blocks in the playground. The are wandering around alone, not talking to each other.
  • Relational is lots of little blue blocks walking round the playground with their arms linked. They are talking and telling each other what they like to do, eat, watch on TV etc ... They start to move themselves into groups of blocks who like to do the same things so they can tell stories to each other.
  • Extended Abstract is little purple blocks of bricks who all discover that they like ice cream and plan a trip next weekend to the Tiptop factory.

We had fun coming up with this story and two of my lovely students today made this for me when they got back to their own school after their Technology lesson.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Credit Totals and Termly Standard Protocol

We have an expectation to offer a minimum number of credits per term so the students have got the chance to achieve AT LEAST 16 at Level 1, 14 at Level 2 and 14 at Level 3 in each subject. In this way, they can collect enough between all the subjects to pass NCEA.
The termly standard protocol is so that students can achieve credits steadily over the year and not be trying to get them all at the end. This is also motivating for students if they see credits going in so early in the year. A course needs to be set up so that students are achieving a standard, at least, by the end of each term.

Here is how these protocols have been planned for in Design and Visual Communication in 2017
Link to the class site on the video here


Planning to include Kia Eke Panuku

All through last year, the whole staff had sessions all together where we focussed on Kia Eke Panuku. 
I have to admit, that I struggled all through this. I could not see what I was doing and how it fit in, or what I was not doing, so what I needed to focus on.

I began to see the light a little towards the end of the year when a fellow teacher and member of another team I am in told me what she thought I was good at. The light bulb wasn't fully on but it was beginning to glimmer.

This is how I decided to move forwards :-

In the spirit of Kotahitanga and Ako, and a focus on Level 2, as they were the topic of the Change Committee,  I got two of the current Level 2 students last year to help me design the course for this year. Blog post 1   Blog post 2.

The main way I am approaching it this year, is to include group work in NCEA. I had restructured the Level 2 course to include a couple of Technology standards as well as the DVC standards. This way, if I got the project structure correct, the students can pick up 2 standards worth of credits for one project.


While dong this restructure, I looked really carefully at where I could include group work instead of the students producing everything by them selves. We already did a little analysis work together in out Google Plus Communities and I have found this to be very beneficial as the students find the analysis to be the most difficult part of the work. Where, then, could I include group work to support them as they were producing project work? With NCEA having such an individually assessed structure, I had to be careful what I planned here so I don't stop the students from achieving the requirements of the standards.

The first standard we are doing at Level 2 is a Technology standard, AS91354.
The students are working in small groups interview their client, produce mood boards to show their client and to analyse what the physical and social aspects of the problem are. Link here to the tasks.
They will produce individual priority lists, specifications and design briefs, but we will still structure this work together.
It is the first time trying this, so I wanted to find out early what the students thought. If they are positive about it, then I can build group tasks into further projects.

I sent them a Google Form that was anonymous, so they could be honest with me.
Here are the questions I asked :-

  • Did you choose to do Level 2 DVC this year or were you put into that option line?
  • Did you do Level 1 DVC last year?
  • How easy or difficult are you finding Level 2 DVC this year? Please tell me in your own words and give reasons if you can.
  • This is the first year that I am trying to include some group / team work into some of the NCEA tasks. What do you think of this as you have been doing a little of this by now. You can talk about good and bad points here.
  • Do you feel more comfortable moving into more individual work now that you have done activities together?
  • Do you work together in teams in any other of your lessons?
Here are some of the answers I have received so far. It seems that I am going to be building more tasks like this into the following projects. (they are unedited)

It was good communicated with new people from overseas, other schools but also getting to know other pasifika children that has the same skin colour as me

I think that its a great idea being able to work and help each other because we all stay up to date.

I would rate from difficult 1 - 10 easy confident
= 10 easy confident because we all help each other as a team even when somebody falls back we always seem to catch up together.

Its alright because some of the topics we could work in groups which would make things easier for all of us

I would feel comfortable working individually but I still recommend that team work is the best! :)

Yes that would be brilliant because i love how partners communicate and help out another person because being as brothers is the best thing that you will ever have in your journey.

Preparing for Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir

In preparation for the first episode of Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir in the next week, we had a go of the camera in the lesson today. As I said to my classes, we need to get used to the camera and act like it is not there. I said WE as them and I need to do this!!
The two classes I am going to show for OnAir are my two NCEA Design and Visual Communication classes. One is a large mixed class of NCEA level 1, 2 and 3 and the other class is a smaller group of mixed Level 2 and 3. They were not all present today, but that is the reality in a classroom all the time anyway.
These two videos show most of the lessons today. One was a double period and the other a single period. They are not edited at all and is the first experience for both me and the students of having a camera film everything we do. There is the usual "playing" with the camera at times!!

Here is the link to the class site where the project instructions are for the students.
Level 1   Level 2   Level 3

Level 1 are working on a poster project (AS91069), and the current activity is using Google Drawings to make design layouts with the same elements for everyone. They are then putting these layouts in the class Google Plus Community and are making comments on each other's work, using Design Terms are the focus.

Level 2 are working on a Technology standard at the moment  - AS91354 - before getting into a DVC standard.  They are working in small teams to produce mood boards to show to their client about a variety of design eras. They are nearly at the end of this activity so are at various stages.

Level 3 are working on the external standard, AS91627. They are using drawing pencil and pens to draw from observation.


Double period - NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 Design and Visual Communication




Single period - NCEA Level 2 and 3 Design and Visual Communication

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Not sweating the small stuff....

Today, I had both of my Design and Visual Communication senior classes. On of them is a mix of NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 and the other is a mix of NCEA Level 2 and 3. So... lots of fun to be had (!!!)

The double session this morning was Level 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1 were producing thumbnail sketches of possible poster layouts to showcase the work of a chosen architect. We went over the 3 elements they were going to worry about for these thumbnails - the image (just draw boxes), the title (rough where it is going) and the written information (a series of lines in the pace where the writing would go).
Level 2 were working in small teams to produce mood boards about design eras to show to their client. They had started this yesterday so the first thing we had to do was sort out the students who were absent yesterday and didn't have a team. We ran a little auction to see who was going where. Cue printing off loads of pictures, cutting and sticking and mess everywhere.
Level 3 are drawing from observation from their chosen starting point for the first external standard.

During all of this, one of my Level 1 girls decided to show everyone what a good magician she was and started poking pencils through a bag of water.
Here is a shot of one of the boys posing with the masterpiece....


I decided to take a walk round the room with my phone to make a short video.

What you might see is level 1 and 2 students wandering round looking like they are off task and the Level 3 student on his phone. 
You might think this video looks bad. 

What you don't see is the fact that Level 2 students are working in teams and need to move round the room to get resources and use equipment. They are also really good at supporting each other with tasks that they get stuck with.
The Level 3 student has been working practically solidly without a break at his drawings for nearly a double period. He was taking a very short break at the time.
I had just changed the focus for the Level 1 students so they had to think about the shapes and forms form their architect in the poster layouts. This disrupted their flow and they were getting back down to it.



This afternoon, the Level 2 boys went to see their client with their final mood board. Feedback is to be shared with all of them when they got back. Emphasis was made on them being  TEAM mood boards and not personal ones. The same with the feedback write ups.

When the boys first went to their client for the initial interview, we decided to do an audio recording instead of everyone frantically scribbling notes.
We then got very excited when we discovered that my phone made a text file that goes with the audio recording. That was until that file was shared in the class community and it made absolutely no sence at all!!
Example :-

OK so they pulled read the free but the phone .... For Go to tell you right good good question to stop What kind of products cause we got a big list of products ....

So.. that plan went out the window today.

We then discovered that the audio files could be uploaded to Google Drive, but not embedded onto their portfolio sites.
The students then had the good idea of SoundCloud. This then rang a bell in my head that I had a SoundCloud account from a while ago...




 


So...the take out from today's seniors lessons ?

When elements in the lesson go a bit custard coloured, the students are really good at suggesting ideas if you keep them in the loop about what you were planning and what had gone wrong.

Just because it looks like chaos, well.. it probably is a bit, but the back story is a good one and needs to be made clear to anyone who wants to judge at first glance.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Using SOLO for Product Analysis

My Year 10 class designing portable speakers during the Technology rotation in Graphics (DVC). These designs will end up being produced on the 3D printer.
Here is a link to the project on the class site. I have set up this Year 10 project to be similar to an NCEA Level 1 DVC project, so they have experience of this kind of work before making their choices for next year.

Part of what we have to do within a Technology project is to analyse existing products.
To build the complexity in this, I have used a SOLO structure.

To start with, the students found a photograph of a portable speaker that they like and they had to share it into the Year 10 Google Plus class community, and say why they had chosen this design. As usual, I kicked this off with an example. This was a good way of getting them to join the community and post in it with a simple, UNISTRUCTURAL piece of information. No pressure.

Next, I gave them out a sheet of hexagons. In each hexagon they had to put one item of information about / an attribute of a portable speaker. They then cut them out and got together with a partner.



In their pairs, they had to put the hexagons in groups of their choosing and explain why they put this group together.
Here is an example shown below, the rest of the work is in this folder.
We found it was easiest to start to do this by picking a hexagon at random and then choosing others that would go with it. This got them started and they found it easier to put more groups together after that. As they quickly found out, it was the arguing and discussion about the reason which was the most important and most difficult part of the activity. (well, that and tidying up after... my room looked like a paper bomb had gone off in it!!)


This is a good exercise to do before they start designing as it makes it clear to them which attributes of a portable speaker are more important than others, which are linked together and which are reliant on others. So in terms of SOLO, this was taking lots of MULTISTRUCTURAL information and creating RELATIONAL links between them.

We made a start on another RELATIONAL activity next, which was a timeline.



It is always good to see a product in relation to how it has changed over time. Practical things like size, materials, portability, fashion etc can all be discussed while doing an activity like this. The students made a start on this using Google Drawings, and will be finishing them tomorrow. Two students completed today and their work is shared in the Google Plus Community.

The next step for this class is to do individual product analysis. I have set this up to take them through the SOLO levels slowly, building up the complexity to EXTENDED ABSTRACT.




Of course, in Technology we are lucky, as when we follow the design process, and take what we have learned to create new designs, we are using EXTENDED ABSTRACT all the time.

What worked well?
Really good conversations between me and the pairs while they were explaining their reasons for the groupings.
Listening to them link up individual facts with reasoning.
Having examples to show them that I have produced and taking them through the process for them to do it.

What needs work?
Getting them to focus when I am explaining what to do. (year 10s being Year 10s !!!!) It took FAR TOO LONG to get to a good place with this today, but when we did, it was great!
Now that they are all (mostly) in the community, I can start putting instructions and examples for them in there ready to refer to straight away.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

NCEA Results Analysis 2016

It is that time of year again when the school asks all the teachers for the analysis of the NCEA results for their subjects.
I received an email today from my HOD reminding me that it is due tomorrow, so cue the mad panic tonight to get it finished. It had gone out of my head / mental to-do list as I had started it!!


These things take a bit of time to put together but it is always worth the effort. We need to look at the good and bad of what has happened in the previous year so we can move on this year to improve outcomes for our students.
To be honest, the not so good stuff is more useful than the good stuff. With the things that have gone well, we will continue to skip along with how it is, feeling happy with ourselves. The things that are "not so good" pull us up short and make us think. We can only improve our teaching and approach if we are honest with ourselves first.

The cliff notes version is :-

  • I intend to include a lot more SOLO structured learning activities so the analysis is so much more in depth. This will give easier access to merit and excellence.
  • More step by steps rewindable skills in the form of google slides, videos of the drawing board and recorded screen casts.
  • Use of checklists for both teacher and students.
  • Use of calendars and Google Plus communities for day to day instructions so students know what they are doing and can keep up if absent.
  • Hopefully all this will mean more self motivation within the class so I can get more one to one time.



So...warts and all... here is my analysis of last year's Design and Visual Communication results.

Tamaki College Technology Department 2016 NCEA Results
Design and Visual Communication

Overall

How many students gained the following number of credits at each level?
16 Credits at Level 1
14 Credits at Level 2
14 Credits at Level 3
All Students
5 / 9
7 / 12
0 / 3
Maori Students
1 / 1
0 / 3 (1 got 12, 1 got 3, 1 got 0)
0 / 1
What was the reason for this?
What worked well?
The students who achieved well, attended regularly and worked consistently when they were in the class. There are 3 students on 13, whose attendance was not as good but who worked well when they were in. 1 is student on 4 credits, but his attendance was really poor. The 1 student on 0 credits is very lazy and never finished anything.

I have broken the projects down into small tasks.

We did a lot of support work together in Google Plus Communities.

Students who did well were good attenders on the whole. They worked well in the class and mostly finished their work. (4 of them especially, who got 21 and 24 credits).
1 student got 12 credits. He worked well when in the class, with support from me, but was a bit random as to whether he would attend.
4 students ( 3 on 3 credits and 1 on 0 ) have very bad attendance and their focus when in the class has not been good.

I have broken the projects down into small tasks.

We did a lot of support work together in Google Plus Communities.
All 3 students got 12 credits which were the 2 internal standards.

Absolutely terrible attendance from 2 of the students.
What needs to change to ensure that  more students gain this number of credits?
I am going to add more screencasts / drawing board videos so the students who miss lessons can still access the content. This will also help the students in the lesson to remind them what they have been shown.

I am going to add more SOLO supported activities so that the students have easier access to merit and excellence.

We will work in groups together wherever possible before they have to work individually.
I am going to add more screencasts / drawing board videos so the students who miss lessons can still access the content. This will also help the students in the lesson to remind them what they have been shown.

I am going to add more SOLO supported activities so that the students have easier access to merit and excellence.

We will work in groups together wherever possible before they have to work individually.
More practice with the drawing from observation and then using this as the starting point for ideas, as the external standard is based largely on this.

External Results

Level 1

AS Number - AS91063
External
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
8
1
6
1
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Doing freehand sketches in every project so there is a large body of work to send away for assessment.
Allowing students to use support grids for 3D sketching at the start of the year, so by the end, they were very confident with their 3D sketching without the support.
What would you change?
Need to include more cutaway and exploded drawings as well as work on analysis notes as this will improve the achievement up into merit and excellence.

Level 2

AS Number - AS91337
External
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
11
4
7
0
0
Maori Students

2
1
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
We made a specific effort to use design related terminology in general so when they wrote their analysis notes, the students were more readily able to use these terms to describe their work.
What would you change?
Use SOLO to support the analysis of the student’s design ideas. More in depth analysis will then be possible.

Level 3

AS Number - AS91627
External
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
3
3
0
0
0
Maori Students

1
1
0
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
ARRRRRHHHHH!!!
What would you change?
More structured, supported, tracked tasks. More practice during the project work so they are not doing something for the first time on the their main work.

Internal Results

Level 1

AS Number - AS91069
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
8
0
8
0
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Having past project from Tamak College to show a range of achievement levels. The students responded better to these than the exemplars from NZQA.
What would you change?
Add more SOLO supported activities so the students’ writing level rises. This will allow access to merit and excellence levels of achievement.

AS Number - AS91066
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
9
2
5
2
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Practice exercises and use of different media in practice situations worked well as the students could try out skills that were not directly on their projects. The step by step presentations of skills helped the students remember the steps for rendering skills.
What would you change?
I will make more step by step how tos for skills.

AS Number - AS91067
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
7
0
7
0
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Focussing on the design elements in general then focussing them into their designer. This allowed the students to see what elements were used in the architect's work and to directly link them to their own work.
What would you change?
More input into where and who with the design. More thought about how the chair would work. Linking these back to the design elements of the chosen designer will allow students to get up to merit and excellence.

AS Number - AS91068
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
9
4
5
0
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Seeing each other’s work in the class community to get support from  each other.
I saw a lot of helping each other out both with drawing skills and online tasks.
What would you change?
Allow a range of products to choose from.
Think about the future of a product so the students don't’ just copy what is already here.

AS Number - AS91047
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
9
4
5
0
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Linking this work to an already existing project so the students did not feel overwhelmed by another  one.
What would you change?
Giving specific instructions for this standard within the existing project.

Level 2

AS Number - AS91340
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
11
1
6
4
Maori Students

3
1
2
0

For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
The project is structured into small tasks.
What would you change?
Add more SOLO  supported tasks and more group work were I can before they have to produce separate evidence.

AS Number - AS91342
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
11
3
7
1
Maori Students

2
1
1
0

For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Taking the design elements from the design era research into the product design.
Responding to the moderation feedback about a product design project and what it should include.
Continuous production of exemplars by me to show the students what i want them to do.
What would you change?
More SOLO supported activities so analysis is more in depth.

AS Number - AS91356
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
11
4
7
0
0
Maori Students

2
2
0
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
This standard was linked to an existing project.
What would you change?
Breaking down the specific tasks for this standard within the project.

AS Number - AS91341
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
6
1
5
0
0
Maori Students

0
0
0
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
3D modelling a lot within the designing stage.
What would you change?
I am not offering this standard this year due to running out of time and receiving feedback from the students that to suddenly change gear after spending so much time on their design era was very disruptive. I will offer AS91343 instead as this will involve presenting work they have already done.

Level 3

AS Number - AS91630
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
3
0
3
0
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
Exemplars made by me.
Being able to look at previous year's work that included achieved and merit, made by Tamaki College Students.
What would you change?
Make them stick to DEADLINES!!!!

AS Number - AS91610
Internal
No. of Students
Not Achieved
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
All Students
3
0
3
0
0
Maori Students

1
0
1
0
0
For externals include a comparison with national data for decile 1 schools.






Comments
What worked well?
The standard covering work that was happening in an existing project.
What would you change?
Make them stick to DEADLINES!!!!
Making specific reference to tasks for this standard within the project.

NCEA Analysis: Tell the Story Behind Your Statistics
The Curriculum
1.Is this an especially difficult or easy aspect of the subject?
The design work is never the hard part. The analysis is always the part where the students struggle.
2.Is this skill dependent on another?
(For example, how much is research dependent on reading? Do you need to be about to do algebra well to succeed in trigonometry?
Reading and writing skills are key if they are to achieve at higher levels.
The Students
3.Are our students in general simply good/weak at his aspect?
(Are they better at production/performance skills that at conceptual/abstract skills?)
They are always good and if not good then keen with the drawing element of the work. They always seem to be surprised when it is not ALL drawing. I am building the Year 10 course to be more like an NCEA level 1 course because of this so it is less of a shock to them when they get to Y11.
4.Does the subject or standard attract relative experts – or does virtually the whole cohort take this subject? (Students in some sciences, arts and languages tend to be specialising already and self-selecting for ability, while most students are entered for English and Mathematics standards.)
I get a mixture of students who are really good at drawing but their analysis is weak and the weaker ones at the drawing element too. They seem keen though.
The Teaching
5.Are teaching methods and resources especially strong/weak in this area at our school or  nationally?
Resources are physical (pens, pencils, paper, 3d models etc), computer controlled (3D printers and a laser cutter) as well as online using GAFE. We are very well resourced.
6.Have we neglected this area in the past? (Areas that have not been formally assessed nationally in the past may not have been given high priority in classrooms. The old qualifications may not have demanded high-level thinking in some areas. Teachers and students may not have had clear expectations and targets.)
No

The Standards
7.Are the national standards appropriate? (When are they reviewed, do they need to be eased, raised or clarified?)
I always use the most up to date standard from NZQA
8.Have we got the right assessment approach? (Are students getting enough opportunity to show how well they can do? Are all assessments adequately assessing to the standard?)
I have made the tasks cover a variety of skills and they can mostly choose how they want to produce the worrk.