Friday, March 16, 2018

What am I leaning from AsTTLe marking PD?

I have had another short session of going through an exemplar from the AsTTle marking moderation that the English Department have been working through. I had help making my way through each section of an exemplar, seeing what level I thought it was for each of the sections and comparing it to the supplied examples for that particular level. We looked above and below to see where it was sitting.
While I am not doing this with the intention of ever being responsible for any ACTUAL AsTTle marking, it is proving a very valuable experience in understanding what criteria the students have to fulfil in their writing in order to gain a level.

How can I use what I am learning?

Ideas - We can discuss ideas for the topic as a whole class or in small teams before they start to write.  We can put all our ideas together on shared docs or drawings. This can then support the students in their individual writing that they have to do and make sure that they are covering a range of ideas in their work. I have been building a lot more team work into tasks recently so this will fit in well with what I have already started doing.
How this fits in with SOLO taxonomy? - this fits in the multistructural level where the students are using information from multiple sources.

Structure and language - most of the time, the writing styles that my students are doing are description, analysis and reflection. In SOLO, this takes us from multistructural to relational through to extended abstract, depending on the depth that they do it.
I need to give them a support structure to write to where they can lay out their ideas, show development of the ideas and give reasons why. Some of the ideas that I got from my visit to Robyn's class will help here. Link to blog post about this here.
Guiding them to start with an introduction and end with a conclusion.

Organisation - Giving them a structure to write to to provide an organisation will help them get their thoughts in a meaningful order. Using some of my SOLO thinking charts will be a starting point here for my own planning but I need to make topic specific support material for the students to use. The more they use structures like this in their projects, they will get more used to writing this way as a normal thing. Guiding them to use paragraphs to layout their ideas so what they are saying is clear.

Vocabulary - I have been working on building more activities around subject specific vocabulary and I will continue with this as a high priority. The students need to hear and use the words on a regular basis if they are to get used to using them in their work.

Sentence structure - Having exemplars for them to read will be helpful here so they can see how to construct what they are saying and how to say it. I can get the project exemplars for them to look at from the NZQA website. This will keep it in the same context as they are working. We can also use the peer checking ideas that I saw being used in Robyn's classroom.
Going through exercises together to describe and analyse other products will help them to practice before doing this in their own projects.

Punctuation - The main punctuation that my students will use is the basic ones - full stops, capital letters, question marks, quotation marks, commas etc. Peer marking will help this as will ongoing feedback from the teacher as the project is progressing. These are things that can be corrected as the project goes along so it is not left till the end.

Spelling - My students get the choice of writing in their sketchbooks or typing up on the chrome books, so spelling is very dependent on these two things at the moment. The auto underline / correction of Google Docs is helpful when online. more use of the subject specific terms will get them used to spelling them. Having them available / viewable on the classroom walls will help too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Explanation Writing - Analysis of Structure.

Today I was lucky to get the chance to visit Panmure Bridge School, where Mrs Robyn Anderson +Robyn Anderson  was taking her class of Year 7 students through a literacy task.

To get ready for the activity, the students were moving the furniture around. They have obviously done this before and are used to the set up.
They have been given a print out of a piece of writing. They all have their own. 
They are all placed so they can see the screen with the instructions on it.

Explanation Writing
They are going to focus on what they did correctly. They are only looking at the good stuff. Robyn says that it is her job to pick out the bits that need work and to help them with those parts.
Learning intention
To structure and write an explanation that tells your reader what you need them to know.

Notes from observing the lesson

The class say all the words really quickly to get used to the sound of them.
They are then asked which words they already know. What are they. Linking to what they already know. Where will they find the words in writing. Which parts of writing will they find the specific writing elements?
Tell your partner one thing that they don’t know from the list. Does anyone want to share one with the whole class? The teacher goes over these and explains what they mean.

The class then say the words to each other again really fast.
The teacher goes over / reminds the students what the writing task was that they have already done and they are going to analyze today.
She goes over what some of the students covered in their writing - what content they had included.
They then read their own explanation.
All the tasks are done in small chunks at a time so they can follow and learn the sequence and the skills.

One by one - the items are gone through. TIIC - this is written under their work and they are going to check these things off. Robyn explained to the students that this TIIC idea was one that she took from Mr Rob Wiseman  from Point England School in one of his Class OnAir lessons.

If they have got any of these things they are at the “practicing” stage and will improve but the teacher doesn’t need to start form the beginning with that element.
Now they swap with a partner and they check each other’s work and do double ticks on the TIIC list.
Information - the bulk of the information - needs paragraph structures. This was the most tricky part, so they work with a partner to pick out these elements.
They work on the printed out work with highlighter pens for each of the structural elements in the information.
The class work in pairs while the teacher goes round and helps individually where needed. Some need more support with these elements than others.
They are looking at their own work and working out which are the writing areas that they need to work on.
The class look at their own work first, so they can see the value of their own work. Then they look at the exemplars from TKI and they compare their work to the examples. This then helps to group them into what is needed to be focused on.
Good work /  samples are highlighted and read out by the teacher. Cue, embarrassed student!!.... Smiling though.
Work with their partner to talk about what they are finding in their own writing. They then tell the whole class.
This focus lesson is on the structure - the deeper features, and not worrying about the surface features, like spelling.
They have their class DLO on the class site and they navigate to the exemplars in pairs so they can work together.
Robyn explains the TKI exemplars to the students so they know they are the levels for all students in New Zealand that they are comparing their own work to. They are looking at the exemplars from the lowest upwards and seeing if they can work out which one best matches what theirs looks like.
Their teacher wants them to see where they are at for themselves and that they write the same as students throughout the country. She is trying to build self efficacy and self confidence. She is trying to break down the “I can’t do” barriers. Using “you have got” language and not “you haven’t got”.. or “you must have”.

The plan for this class to move forward is to look at the surface features next to clean up the writing. They will again work in teams of two to do this.

How can I apply what I learned today?

  • We already look at each other’s design work in the class Google Plus community, so can I get them used to looking at each other’s written work together in pairs?
  • I can get the exemplars from the NZQA website for them to use. I will have to pick out the sections that we need and seperate them as their exemplars are whole projects not individual elements.
  • I can showcase the framework and structure visually around the room for them to refer to when they need.
  • I can supply them with the support structure that they need to use for their writing.
  • I can print their written work for them so they can highlight relevant sections to focus on.
  • The students can assess themselves against the exemplars to see where they are sitting. They can then plan for improvement themselves too.
Thank you once again to Robyn for letting me come and steal / borrow / use / share ideas with her.
Sharing is good!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Manaiakalani Class OnAir Lesson 2 - Collecting Information about Chosen Architect's Work

Direct Instruction
This revolved around the class working in teams to collect information from the internet about their chosen architect. The instruction is about working in their teams, using a shared Google Document and using a shared Google My Map.

Here is the video for the instruction about the whole class shared map - where they live.

Here is the video for the instruction about the small group information collection.

Here is the video of some of the ongoing lesson

Lesson Topic :- Collecting written information about chosen architect
Year Group :-  Year 11
Learning Outcome
To be able to collect information about their chosen architect and their work from an internet search.

Success Criteria
Using SOLO

Extended abstract
Students have inputted work onto a shared map and placed a pin and found information about 1 or 2 buildings that their chosen architect has designed.
Students have created a shared map and pinned a selection of building positions. These are backed up with an image and some  information about the buildings and links to where the information is from.
Students have created a shared map and pinned a wide selection of building positions. These are backed up with a variety of images and information that explains the design of the buildings and links to where the information is from.
Students have looked at the buildings in relation to others on the same street using Google Street View.
Students can use the information that they have collected on the analysis document so they can break down and understand the style of the architect.

Links with the New Zealand Curriculum

NCEA Level 1 - Curriculum Level 6

Outcome development and evaluation

Critically analyse their own and others’ outcomes to inform the development of ideas for feasible outcomes. Undertake ongoing experimentation and functional modelling, taking account of stakeholder feedback and trialling in the physical and social environments. Use the information gained to select, justify, and develop a final outcome. Evaluate this outcome’s fitness for purpose against the brief and justify the evaluation, using feedback from stakeholders.

  • Thinking - knowledge of their architect’s work so they can find the appropriate information.
  • Using language, symbols, and texts - reading texts online and choosing appropriate elements to describe the work.
  • Managing self - making sure they contribute to the group task in a meaningful way.
  • Participating and contributing - working together as a team of two or three to collect the information.
  • Relating to others - sharing tasks within the team.
Prior knowledge
The students know which architect they are designing a poster for. They have collected images of their work and have analysed the design elements used in those designs. They have designed layouts for their posters using placeholder text.
They are now ready to use the real information about their architect on the final poster design.
Lesson Sequence

Session Outline
The students will collect the information about their architects in small teams of two or three, depending on who else is using the same architect for their project.
Method 1:- On a shared Google Doc
Method 2 :- On a shared My Map.
Student Activity
Teacher Activity
  • Listen to teacher instructions around the front desk.
  • Use the internet to search for information about the life of their architect and two or three of his building designs.
  • Read the information found, decide which parts are relevant and copy and paste those key parts of it to a shared document.
  • Instructions to whole class around the front of the room.
  • Group help where needed.
  • Individual help where needed.
  • Creation and sharing of class map.
  • Sharing of exemplars.
  • Work together in small teams of two or three
  • Decide these groups dependent on which architect they are researching.

  • Share the document between the team and all input the found information onto the same doc.

  • Share this document into the class Google Plus Community for the whole class to see.
  • Listen to teacher instructions around the front desk.
  • Use the shared My Map to have a go with the application and get used to how to use it.
  • Put in two pins on the map - one for where they live now and one for where their family is from. Add pictures of the places to onto the pins.
  • In their small teams, create a shared My Map between them.
  • Put in pins where the buildings are around the world for their chosen architect.
  • Add pictures, links and found information about each building.
  • Drop the “street view” man onto the street in front of the building so they can see their building in context with the rest of the street.
  • Think about the effect this style of architecture has on the people who see it as it is so different to the rest of the street.
  • Share the completed maps into the class community and make them public to be able to be embedded onto their portfolio google site.
  • Take screenshots of the street view scenes ready to put onto their portfolios.

Computer room (T2)
Teacher to make a shared MyMap to share with the whole class.
Example MyMap to show class what they are to do with the architect information.
Next Steps
Next Lesson
Complete the information collection onto the map.

Further in this project
Use this information in the analysis process so they have the written work ready for their poster designs.
Reflection and Analysis

What went well.

Lesson Content :- The work on the Google MyMap went well. The students enjoyed doing this as it was a new way to present work.

Lesson Pacing :- This content was over 2-3 sessions so the students were able to get into the content without rushing.

Lesson Delivery :- Having everyone work on the same map to start with was effective as they were supporting each other and were really interested in what each other was putting on the map. Some of them even branched out into putting more “interesting’ places on the shared map - like the Fukushima nuclear plant, which gave them all a laugh about the activity.
The actual architect map that they then went on to make went well, and they shared out the work between them.

Student Understanding :- It was interesting to watch how fascinated the students were to see where in the world the buildings were, instead of just reading about them.

Student Outcomes :- Most teams have created a good map full of information. The maps show how widely spread the work of the architects is.

What still needs work.

Lesson Content :- I should have pre-structured the groups before the activity, as there was a lot of shuffling about around the makeup of the groups.

Lesson Pacing :- I need to give time limits for individual tasks so that they don’t drag out and affect the timing of the next thing to do. This is especially true when I am planning on a few activities within a set of lessons.

Lesson Delivery :- I think I probably spoke a little too long at the start again. I never seem to hit a happy medium here. I don’t know whether to tell them everything all in one chunk or to keep getting them back round the front for smaller chunks. Getting them round the front is a bit of a mission sometimes though and it disrupts their work flow.

Student Understanding :- Working in teams has been good but I do worry that a couple of the students were just “riding” along, so their understanding might have suffered along the way.

Student Outcomes :- Not all students completed everything in the time given.

Other Comments.

Finding a more interesting way to present the information that they have to find worked well. This can be quite a dry part of the project for them so I am keen to try anything that will get them into it.

Image result for google plus

Link to Completed Gaudi Map made by Tyli and Chelsea

Learning from others about Literacy ....

Every year our Year 9 and Year 10 students sit their asTTle tests for writing and we are given a level that they are working at.
It has been a continuous weakness of mine that I did not really understand how I could apply this knowledge in my subject and to my teaching. This is something that I am determined to rectify this year.
With this is mind, the opportunity came up to learn how the asTTle writing tests are marked by members of the English department and we had our first session in the staff room after school yesterday. Mark, our literacy coordinator had the exemplars ready that they had used for the recent asTTle moderation meeting. He also had all the marking schemes ready for us to look at.
I found the exercise frustrating, hard and fascinating all at the same time. The frustration came from having to try and read student's hand writing while learning something completely new. I found my own understanding of structure hard to use and apply to the task and it was a fascinating process to see exactly what goes into one little number that you are given as a level.
I managed to get through one exemplar in the time and that was with the help of two English teachers pointing things out and guiding me every step of the way.
The next step for me is to sit in with the English department next week and look at work that they have marked and go through the process myself to see if I can see why they decided on that mark / grade.

I was talking about this to +Robyn Anderson today when her class were here for their Technology lessons. She has suggested that I look at the instruction language used in tasks.
So the second plan for next week is to visit Robyn's class at Panmure Bridge School where she will be doing explanation language tasks with her class. Then I will visit the English Department Teachers at Tamaki College to see what language is used in the English lessons at the collage and how they do it. Then I will analyse what instruction language I use in my lessons.
Seeing how these different approaches affect how the students understand what I am asking them to do will hopefully change how I structure literacy based tasks to the better.
If we all speak the same language to the students will this make it easier for them to understand what they are being asked to do?

So, a lot of learning from a lot of different people. Sharing is good.