Friday, March 27, 2020

Teaching Online - Day 4

Well this is the last day of term. The terms have been shifted so the 2 weeks off between terms one and two are falling in the middle of the four week lockdown.
I am feeling very mixed about this. It will be good for the students not to have to think about school stuff, especially NCEA. I will miss seeing them though. It has really cheered me up this week seeing them come online for a chat and plod through a little bit of work. I've only been giving them little chunks to do and have said to them that they don't need to do it outside of lesson times. I am available then to help if they need it. They don't need to stress anyone else at home about it.
But then I have heard from staff members who have received emails from students who are helping round the house during the day and can't join scheduled meets. I got an email from a student who is up north with little to no connection and can't join in.
We can only do what we can. Help who we can when we can when they are ready. There is no point in stressing ourselves or the students. We are all in uncharted ground at the moment.

Anyway, today, thanks to Fiona in the Manaiakalani Community, I learned how to use a Chrome extension for Google Meets. It is called Google Meet Grid View and it means you can see everyone online at the same time.

I only had two students online when i tried it out, but it adds a button to your meet that you can turn on and off and the layout changed when I clicked it on.

Before and after shots here. I know it is not too obvious with two but it will be very useful.

P6 has just finished. I saw two of my Y11 girls. The same ones as I have been seeing all week. Then another dropped in. I was so pleased to see her. We chatted about nonsense. Talked a bit about work and she shared some stuff with me but it was good just to catch up.
It gave me an excuse to have a go with that extension with more people.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Teaching Online - Day 3

I was lucky today. I got to see two of my Year 11 girls this morning and 2 of my Y13 boys this afternoon. I also got an insight into the "other stuff" going on for the kids and it made me even more certain to not add to that pressure.
There was a lot of family noise in one of the houses and they were having a hard time concentrating. Their internet connection wasn't too hot today either so that was adding to it. They kept apologising for things taking a while and their stream kept freezing. There must have been a lot of strain on the internet today as mine dropped off too when I was talking to my Y13 boys this afternoon. Our DP, Mr Dunn, dropped in on that lesson so it was good to see him. One of my students was showing him his work and we were chatting about possibilities.
I have one more day of "lessons" tomorrow then we are off for the term break which has been brought forward.

A highlight from today
When I had to "visit the other room", I could hear the girls talking to each other. One was showing the other what to do via a screen share. Very proud.

Here are two of my lovelies today. It is so good to see their faces or hear their voices.
Link to class site

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Teaching Online - Day 2

A big thing that I learned today that it is really not a good idea to organise two Google Hangout Meets at the same time.
I prepped the lessons on my Google Calendar last night, and my Y12 and Y13 students come to me at the same time. It did not dawn on me till this morning when I connected ready to go that I had put different Google Meet links on each calendar invite. What a plum! I had both open just in case today. Luckily, my Y13 boys came online and we had a good session and non of my Y12 class connected today.
Note to self - put the same link to the hangout meet on both events. It doesn't matter that the recorded video will only appear on one of the events, as I can share it later.

Link to the class site with calendars on the front page. Click the events to see the lesson information. Click on "more details" to see links to the recording of the lesson and the transcript of the chat.

I had a great session with my three Y13 boys today. We did some research work for the product design project.

They were sharing their screens so I could talk to them about their work.
I was sharing my screen so I could do an example alongside them.
I also explained that I had only put one thing for them to do on the workspace on purpose so they don't try and overload themselves. As they are doing NCEA Level 3, I don't want them stressing about getting everything done that I load up there. So, one thing at a time, as they also need to connect with their other teachers. Only work in their timetabled session. Thats all they need to do.
Link to workspace.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Teaching Online - Day 1

Today was the first day of teaching from home and it went WAY BETTER than I was expecting.

My timetable was P1 and P2 - Year 11, P3 and P4 - Intermediates so I didn't have to worry, P5 - Y10, P6 - Y9

I got online just before 9.10 this morning so I was ready for P1. One of my lovely Year 11 girls came on so we were working through some Graphics work (writing a design brief), which was great. Then about half way through another came on. I was so happy to see them. They were brave enough to have the camera on even though one of them had just gotten up. Seeing their faces loosened some of the tight feeling in my chest.

For P5, I got on just on 2.10, and three of my boys were there waiting. I was sooooo happy to hear them. They did not want the camera on but I could hear them and they could see me showing them stuff on the screen.

P6 non of my Y9 students joined me but I heard from other teachers that they were going online and doing their maths and english work during the day which is great.

What I discovered today was that when you record a session in Google Meet Hangouts that has been set up through the calendar, it puts links to the video and the chat transcript in to the calendar information as links.

On the front page of my class site where I have embedded all of my class calendars, these lesson recordings are available. When you click on the event you can see the lesson details. To see links to recording and transcript you have to click on "more details" at the bottom of the box.

Teaching Online day 1 - Preparation

It's the first day of teaching from home. My alarm went off at 5.00am as usual as "someone" forgot to change it.

I have three lessons timetabled for today. A double lesson with my Year 11 class and single periods with my Year 9 and Year 10 classes.
My preparation before today was to move all of my calendars onto the front page of my website.

Link to my site here if you want to go see.
Just click on the events to see the information.

On my Google Calendar, I have made the events and put all of the info and links that the students need on there. I already had everything ready on the class site and on Hapara Workspaces as normal prep for the year.
I have invited the class to these events on the calendar so it pops up in their emails to remind them. They can get straight to the event and info from that email.

My next thing to do is decide what i'm wearing on the top half of me. The kids can only see the top half right?

Link to places to get help for online stuff

Friday, March 20, 2020

Binary with Year 7

My Year 7 coding class are learning to make their mBots become autonomous cars. Part of that is to use the infra red sensor underneath the mBot to sense and follow a black line. To do this, the students need to understand a little about binary.

We started today talking about how they counted.
They all started counting for me out loud.
Then I asked them to add two single digit numbers together in their heads. Easy peasy. Answers were shouted out. Then I asked them to add 9 and 23. This took a bit longer in the head, and fingers were twiddled and counted.

Then I asked them to addf 329 and 73 in their heads. Some got there.
This was then written as sum on the board and they were all comfortable again.
I asked them how we know where to put the 73 under the 329 as they are different widths / numbers of digits. They then told me about units, tens and hundreds. Their teacher at intermediate will be proud of them.

After they had mentioned the units, tens and hundreds, we talked about how we count.
The name was DECIMAL as it is based on 10's. Every step to the left is 10 times bigger. We put numbers in them place slots tos ay how many of them there are of each.

I then introduced a new counting method. BINARY.
I used the class light switch as an example. How many switch places are there? 2. The switch can be on or off. The lights can be on or off. There are no threes or fours or others numbers. It is yeas or no.

BINARY counts in multiples of 2. I put the columns up to show them the difference. Each step to the left is multiplied by two this time. We did a few numbers together till they got it. 

Binary Games

The first game we played was in the car park outside. The students put themselves into teams of four for the four columns we had been using in our binary examples. They each had two pieces of paper. One with a 1 on it and one with a 0 on it.
I wrote down numbers on a card and held it up. The teams had to shuffle themselves with their paper to be sowing the correct value in binary.

Here is a slightly chaotic video ...

When we went back into the classroom, I had some binary games ready on my class site for them to have a go at.
Link to class site where the binary games are.

I thought that they might not appreciate this lesson as we did not use the mBots today, so they go no direct coding done. They did play some of the coding games that I have on my site too, but did not code the mBots.
Next week I plan to "test" their binary knowledge to see if what we did today was ok. This "test" will be in the form of an online quiz / game so they don't feel tested.
I hope this was enough for them to understand why we have to use a bit of binary when we code our rmBots to react to the black line.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Inquiry Question 2 - Collaborate and Identify

Question 2

"Collaborate with your school’s leadership team and colleagues to identify areas where your inquiry will make a powerful contribution to wider school and cluster goals."

My Inquiry Idea
Will working at scholarship level for 4 students in my senior class lift the achievement of the rest of the class?

Feedback :-

Teacher from another department

  • This will make a contribution as University Entrance is one of the school goals. 
  • For the more able students it gives a better idea of the level of work they will need if they are wanting to go to university.
  • This will possibly scare the less able students but it may build resiliency if they choose to meet the challenge.

Teacher who taught a scholarship class last year

  • That was also their hope last year, that the overall level would be lifted.
  • The outcome was not quite what was expected but the learning and the skills were all heightened.
  • This did not come through in the final results.
  • They want to focus less on the NCEA number crunching and more on the fun of learning and the experience - the experience of going through the scholarship process brought this home to them in a big way.
  • They also had external help with the process.
  • It has changed how they are approaching the Level 3 literacy programme this year and the focus is now on the learning and the wanting to read.
  • They want the students to want to learn, to be curious and not tick boxes.

Teacher in the same department

  • They think that this idea will raise the achievement of the rest of the class.
  • They think the students will reach for the bar that is set for them.
  • They think the students will have an advantage as they are profiting from the teaching to the four target students.
  • The other students could step up and achieve where otherwise they might not (this was in reference to those students who are in the class because of the timetable structure, not through any deep love of the subject. These kinds of students at Level 3 DVC have not done very well in the past)

Head of Department for Technology

  • Will this prove to be too big and too full on to be a whole class approach?
  • They think it will fit into school goal number 1 as my class has some Year 12 students in it too who are going to be included.

Deputy Principals

  • Students last year were moved up into Merit and Excellence from this approach last year in Maths, so their achievement was great even though they didn't get the Scholarship result.
  • The school is looking at more mixed level and mixed year group classes due to numbers choosing options so it will be interesting to see how my practice can affect and support teachers in their planning for this.
  • How would I get this across to others teachers at school? A tip of the week in briefing? The Google Plus staff community? Emails? The process is on my blog so this needs to be presented to staff so they can look if they want to.
  • We are to present to staff as a CoL group, termly, about where we are up to with our inquiries so when it comes time for Bursts and Bubbles at the end of the year, they are more inclined to come and see the outcome of it all.
  • The plan was seen as a good way to collaborate with and support the school with the ongoing differentiation planning, as this will be good for new students to a subject as well as their different abilities.
  • Can I explain how I am supporting this? my class site / workspaces / online examples etc.
  • How will this affect the following year? The Year 12 students who in the group this year will have a different way of working if they come back to DVC next year.
  • How am I up-skilling myself to be able to approach this?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Sharing the Why

My Year 12 and 13 class are my inquiry group this year. To get the most out of them, I have had a day with Pippa, going over techniques we can use for the first standard we are doing. Blog post here.
After this day, we have been working on our first design element. Blog posts here and here.

As this is a definite change to the way we have been working in the past and from what they are used to, the students have been looking at me a little aslant and think I have gone a little off.

Today, I decided to show them the spreadsheet that I have been keeping about the DVC results since 2013. We looked specifically at the NCEA Level 3 external results. I explained how the result change in 2015 came about, with me getting support from the ministry DVC specialist and from a teacher in another school. This resulted in the students that year starting the work for the external again and working through the new plan. This was successful and we got out first merits at external for DVC.
Since then, the results have slowly declined again. There have been changes in the expectations for this external and I needed help again to make sure I was going in the right direction for the students. I explained to them that it wasn't about my ego or feelings about my planning, but about making sure that what I have planned is going to get them what they need.

The students response to this was positive. They understood and appreciated what I was saying and why I was telling them.

Here is the total spreadsheet with all of the results on.

Here is the specific chart we were looking at today, which like I said to the students, doesn't make for great reading but we need to look at the reality and plan accordingly.
I didn't talk for too long to them today as I didn't want to bore the pants off them with spreadsheet stuff but it was enough for them to understand the why.