Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Inquiry Question 4 - Preliminary Findings

"Begin to collect evidence and data and share your preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge i.e. using your baseline student data and evidence"


I have some initial findings, basic data in the Inquiry Question 3 - Tools, Measure and Approaches - link to post here

Copy of information from that post is below.

Analysis of results from previous years
This is to try and give me an idea where the weaknesses are in my own planning.

Analysis and breakdowns of ethnicity, achievements in previous years, in both DVC and other courses, literacy and numeracy abilities.
This is to get a general overview of who I have in the class.


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I have some initial information from the mindset questionnaire that I asked my inquiry group to fill in.
The questionnaire is shown below here. I intend to use this information to compare against the same questionnaire at the end of term 3.

Here is the link to the results so far (9 responses out of a class of  15 - 2 of who have not returned to school yet after lockdown)

AS91627 - Design Elements - Student Work

My Year 13 class have been working on AS91627 in Design and Visual Communication.
Before the country went into Level 4 lockdown, we were well into the work. We have had training sessions with Pippa Lawler - blog post here and have been working our way through analysing our observational drawings through the lens of some of the design elements. 
My planning for this is here - Blog post - Lesson prep part 1 - Lesson prep part 2 - Lesson prep part 3
Now we are back to school, we have been working on a combination of the design brief for the product design project - link to workspace here or continuing on with the design elements work - link to class site. While we were on lockdown, I had started to put together examples and screen recordings of the design brief work so that students can get up to date when they are ready to. Link to help page on the class site here. This is an ongoing project for me, and this will expand over time as I make more "help" elements for the students to refer to.
The upshot of all of this is the students choosing what they want to focus on when they come into the class.
I have started putting together a presentation of the completed design element sheets as they complete them. This will be shared with the whole class so they can see each other's work.
This is no where near all of the students or all of their work (as of typing this post). I will keep it up to date as they complete this work.
I am hoping that seeing each other's work as they progress, it will inspire them to feel good about their own as they can see similarities in process in the work of others.


AS91627 - Colour and Shape - Prep for students

Planning for AS91627 - Producing drawings in 2D, looking at shapes from their observational drawings. Also looking at the colours used in the original source material.
Part 3 of looking at the design elements to develop their work in a more abstract way.


Link to blog post about part 1 of planning - Pattern and Texture
Link to blog post about part 2 of planning - Form
Link to class site



Learning Outcomes

  • Look at their drawn work in different ways.
  • Learn how to use a wider variety of media to create their work and rely less on the standard use of drawing pencil and coloured pencil.
  • Create 2D drawings that are relevant to their starting point observational drawings that focus on the shapes that they can see.
  • To be able to simplify from their observational drawings to just focus on the shape and not any details.
  • To be able to analyse the colour combinations seen in their source material.

Materials and Equipment

Drawing pencils - only to be used in a support role, not as the main media for the work
Black outliner pens
White pencils
White paper, brown paper, coloured sugar papers
Paint
Brushes
Press print / EVA foam
Scissors
Printing ink

Observational drawings in pencil and various media.
Look at these drawings as a base to find shapes to use. Look at original source material for the colour references.




Tuesday, June 2, 2020

AS91627 - Form - Prep for students

Planning for AS91627 - Producing form in 3D and drawings in 3D from their observational drawings.
Part 2 of looking at the design elements to develop their work in a more abstract way.

Link to blog post about part 1 of planning - Pattern and Texture
Link to class site

Learning Outcomes
  • Look at their drawn work in different ways.
  • Learn how to use a wider variety of media to create their work and rely less on the standard use of drawing pencil and coloured pencil.
  • Create forms that are relevant to their starting point observational drawings.
  • To be able to simplify from their observational drawings to just focus on the form and not surface, details or colour.
Materials and Equipment

Drawing pencils - only to be used in a support role, not as the main media for the work
Black outliner pens
White pencils
White paper, brown paper, coloured sugar papers
Plasticine
Card
Scissors
Craft knives
Glue
Eva foam sheets
Found media (for example -flax leaves, cellophane sheet etc)


Observational drawings in pencil and various media.
Look at these drawings as a base to find forms to use.



Methods used :-
  • Make the forms in 3D with plasticine. Focus on just the form with no surface texture or decoration or details.
  • Use card to simplify the form in 3D - or part of the form.
  • Photograph the 3D built elements and print out the photographs.
  • Draw from the photographs using a variety of media and papers.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Watching James and the Giant Peach

I have a Year 10 tutor class this year. The big percentage of them are boys. We did have a slightly more even balance of boys and girls last year but with students leaving and joining the class it is now mostly boys.
We have been told recently that the research is all showing that there is a gap between the literacy of boys and girls. As their tutor, I don't have a lot of time with them a day (20 minutes) but I wanted to try something. I had started watching episode one of James and the Giant Peach which os being read by Taika Waititi and friends. We also had a conversation about this in our department meeting. I decided to show the readings during morning tutor times. the episodes are a good length each to match the time of tutor periods.
There was some interest from the boys then they drifted into watching their own things and chatting. Then I noticed something. They were "watching, not watching", except for one boy, M, who was totally engrossed.
The next morning, it was "oh, are we watching that again?", but they still did the "watching, not watching" trick. You know what Y10 boys are like. Too cool for school. They were sneaky watching, again except for M, who was openly loving it and didn't care who knew.
The third morning, we had a great video to watch that was from Samoan Language Week. M's reaction as he came in was "are we not watching James and the Giant Peach today?", quite upset about it. We watched the lovely school video then onto our book episode.
I have made an effort not to watch ahead. I told the boys that I love it as I remember very clearly my junior school teacher reading it to our class, along with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I wanted my first viewing of this to be with the boys as they were seeing it. I love it. I love their sneaky watching, not watching reactions, I love M's open loving it.
Also, it was still on the screen when my Y13 class came in so one of my boys in Y13 got it up on his device and spent the whole double period watching it.
Can schools just hire Taika to read loads of books. The boys love it!


This photo is from the first morning when we had just started. The boys were still coming in during tutor so they weren't all there yet.





Here is the link to Partners in Health, the reason why Taika Waititi is doing this.

Here is the link to episode 1 on YouTube, the rest of the episodes can be found from there. We are up to episode 3.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Inquiry Question 3 - Tools, Measures and Approaches

Question 3


"Describe the tools/measures/approaches you plan to use to get a more detailed and accurate profile of students’ learning in relation to that challenge. Justify why you chose these approaches and tools."

Analysis of results from previous years
This is to try and give me an idea where the weaknesses are in my own planning.

Analysis and breakdowns of ethnicity, achievements in previous years, in both DVC and other courses, literacy and numeracy abilities.
This is to get a general overview of who I have in the class.

Mindset questionnaire
This is to assess where the students think they are at with how they think about themselves and their work.

Last year I did an activity with my group - What do they want from my course
I want to do this again as it gave me a really good insight as to why they were in DVC in Year 13 and what they wanted to get out of being there.

To support all of this, I have already had a session with my group about why we are doing what we are doing in DVC and why it is changing.
I did this to keep the students in the loop about what was happening in the course. This was especially important to those students who have been in Level 1 and Level 2 DVC wiuth me as they will notice the changes more than the others.

Online support
I had started putting together online support videos for my group during COVID19 lockdown, especially for those who couldn't come online for classes with me. I really like these and have decided to continue doing them for the rest of the course.
This is to give the students support when I am unable to sit with them one to one. It is a very busy class (Year 12 and Year13) and they are all at different points in their work.

Breaking Down my Inquiry for 2020

This year, the focus for my inquiry is my Year 13 class. I will be looking at ways to improve the standard of achievement for the whole class by focussing the planning for the 4 potential scholarship students.

Here is the breakdown of how I plan to do this.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Drawing Demonstrations While Engaging in Social Distancing

In my previous blog post, I explained how I have set my classroom up so it can be used safely during Level 2.
This is OK till I want to show them "stuff". Online stuff is easy as I can airplay to the HUGE TV I have in my classroom.  When I want to show them any drawing skills. I can connect up my webcam drawing board to the laptop and still send it over to the big TV so the students can see what I'm drawing. My usual method is to get the students round one desk and I show them drawing skills up close. We can't do this at the moment so my webcam is getting a good work out.




The other good thing about this method is the fact that I used Quicktime to show it through my laptop so I hit record while I did the demo. Easy peasy rewindable learning videos.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Back on Site - Level 2 Syle

I was SOOOOO excited this week. We were due back on site at school to teach. The week started with with an awesome staff meeting in the auditorium, where the chairs had been set up with enough space between them. We looked like a huge group of people who have been sent to the naughty chair!. It was so good to see everyone in the flesh.
We have a rolling start for our students. Y12 and Y13 in on Monday. Y11 on Tuesday, Y9 and Y10 on Wednesday then the whole school from Thursday onwards. It has been so good to see the senior students so far this week.
We have had to set our classrooms up in "exam style". Basically all separate desks with spaces between to ensure the correct social distancing. I wrote a blog post about the seating plans and drawing equipment boxes for the tables. 

Here it is in real life in the class. I had to put the tables on a diagonal as they were too close otherwise and I think I am going to have to swing the computer tables round so they are facing each other. Other than that though, it was an ok plan.




All staff were given a sanitation pack too so the students sanitise their hands as they come into the class and the tables etc get cleaned with the spray between classes. I don't think my tables have been this clean or been cleaned so often in their lives. We are a messy lot in my room.











As a warm up activity for my students to do so we didn't have to launch straight into our project work, they were all given paper and they got to play with the new drawing packs on the tables and get used to not moving round to get stuff like they are used to in my room.




Instructions (given out in stages with time in between) - 
Draw a square, 4 circles, a triangle, a squiggly line coming off from one circle .. etc ...etc...

Some of the instructions were about how they were feeling - draw a face on the cloud to show how you are feeling  - colour the cloud to show how you were feeling this morning - put some weather coming from the cloud to show how you feel about tomorrow.
These were interesting as they showed me the mixed feelings they had about coming back and how they are not looking forward to another couple of days of online teaching again till the whole school is back on Thursday.

I possibly am going to have to sew my sleeves into my pockets to keep me from hugging students. It is very hard. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Preparation for being back in the class

I am very happy to be back at school next week in my classroom. To prepare for that I have been trying to work out my seating plans. I have big double sized tables so I'm thinking one student per end of table as they will be a metre apart then. The only problem is, I can't really picture how many of these I can fit in lines down my classroom. I normally have them in groups. I have done a roughish plan and put students names on desks ready but it might all be up for shuffling when I get in there on Monday and start moving the tables round only to find they don't fit the plan, especially on that right hand side. Never mind, I have online junior classes in the morning and don't see my in class seniors till the afternoon, so plenty of time for shuffling if needed.



I have also sorted out table boxes of equipment so the students don't have to get up and wander round for the stuff they need. When we are drawing normally, I have boxes of equipment in place in the room and the students move to get what they want when they need it. They can't do that at the moment so I have put together packs for each table. If they sharpen their pencils into the boxes, we will be having words!! I will include a paper cup to sharpen into.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Adding Extra Help for Students who can't get to Meets

I have been concerned about my senior students who can't get to online meets while we are on lockdown. I fully understand the various reasons for this (working being the main one), but I worry about how they will cope with being so far behind the students who have been coming to class when we get back to "normal".
My inquiry group are some of these students (my Y13 class) so I thought I would try something different.

I have added a page to the class site that is specifically for help with the individual aspects of the current project we are doing.
I have recorded myself talking about the different activities they have to complete and put up the example that I work through in the video for them to use as an example.

As of writing this blog post, I have only just started this so it is no where near complete. I have emailed the link to it to that class to get their feedback and to let them know it is there for them to refer to.

Link to page on class site.
Link to workspace - I have purposefully not put all of the activities on this workspace for this class yet as I have a couple of students who would try too much at once and they have enough to cope with. All of the activities are set up on the class site  and when we are ready, will be transferred to the workspace to aid tracking.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Teaching Online - Sketching

I wanted to do some drawing with my seniors. We have been working on Google docs etc for the whole time we have been on lockdown so we really need to get on with some drawn work. I have been doing some experiments on how to set this up - blog post here - and I decided to to use the webcam and paper and pencil.

Here is my set up for today.


I set up to do drawing with my Year 12 class P1 this morning where I want them to look at drawing design elements from their chosen design era. None of them turned up today (email conversations about the docs they are working on were going on through the session). I decided to run the session anyway and record it so it can be used to look back on and be rewindable,

There is not a lot of talking on this recording as I did not have any students in the online meet. There is more towards the end where I am describing what I have done. I looked at Arts and Crafts particularly as my most frequent visitor at Y12 chose this design era to look at.


For P2 I got three of my Year 13 boys come in and it was great to test the set up in a real situation to see how it went.
This video is the lesson with the Y13 boys. Nothing really happens till about 5 minutes in when they start joining the class, just me scuffling about and then the drawing stuff starts about 9 minutes in. We focussed in on drawings skills today to warm us up as we haven't done any drawing in AGES.
On the whole, the set up worked really well. The webcam has a few issues focussing sometimes but it is only a cheap one. I could try setting my camera up in a similar manner as it has the ability to be focussed. Sounds like an excuse to do more experiments!

As I said to the kids today. It was so good to hear the scratch of pencil on paper.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Using the Tinkercad Class Feature

I have used the Tinkercad class feature for the first time today. It's great. Really useful.
I have used Tinkercad a lot with my intermediate classes and to be honest, getting them to make their own accounts has always been a bit of a pain in the bum. As we are working / teaching / learning long distance from home at the moment, we didn't need this added stress so I thought I would give the class feature a go. Why didn't I try this before??

I put basic instructions of what to do on the class site and then realised that the Tinkercad class gives us a unique url to use to get tot he class. So that was even easier as I could put a button on the site for the students to click on. Then all they needed was the nickname in the class (Tinkercad just used their first names) and we are good to go.


There will end up being two buttons here after next week for two different classes, but this will be ok as they can only get in the class where their email is set up so it won't cause a problem.

It is easy to get to the classes that i have set up. It is just a button at the top of the page.


My two classes that I have set up so far are there. I have just tried it today with one. 


Then the really good thing is that i can see the work that have been doing on the dashboard, where I also have access to open the files too if I need to.


This is going to be a HUGE help over this working / learning / teaching from home period as I am planning on using 3d design with my Y9 and Y10 classes starting next week as we have new Technology rotation groups with our junior classes.
Thank you Tinkercad :D

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Teaching from home - How can I do drawing support - Take 2

Yesterday, I wrote about some experiments I have been doing regarding trying to teach drawing from home (beyond recording my drawings, but doing it live, in a 'class") Blog post here.

After chats in the comment section, today's experiment was having one chat open and me being in it on the laptop so I can record the meet and in the iPad so I can show my iPad screen using Miro. I did it this way as I couldn't work out how to record the meet from my iPad.

As you can see from this video, it was terrible. Because I was logged into two devices on the same meet and they were close together, the feedback was huge and I had to mute both mics. This is no good if I am trying to explain something as I am doing it. The lag on the Miro board was just the same as yesterday when I was logged into the same Miro board twice instead of the same meet twice.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Teaching from home - How can I do drawing support?

We have been learning / teaching from home for a while now. Up to now, the Y11, 12 and 13 students have been doing the elements of the project work that can be done on Google docs / drawings / presentations etc. I have got all of this set up on the class website and Hapara workspaces (example here).
It is getting to a point though, that I need to start thinking about how to do drawings with the students so they can work on some design work at home. In the class, my method is to do the work alongside the students. I have examples ready before hand, I show them what to do in front of them and then continue with my demo pieces as they work so they can see the progress. How can i do this at home.

My first thought was along the same lines as when I made my own drawing board to connect to the class projector - blog post here. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick this up from my classroom on the last day I was in there. I have tried to make one at home using a webcam, a gorilla tripod and a science retort stand. This worked ok.




Recently, I have been using Miro (the free version) with one of my Y12 boys. We have been using it to collaborate on work to do with his design era project. (link to this board here). I was talking today with Ms David, one of our Mathematics teachers, and she said that she was using Miro too as a whiteboard for teaching maths. She got me thinking about how I could use it to do drawing via the Google Meets with my students.

Today's experiment was this.
The Miro board was up on my laptop and I had the app downloaded onto my iPad. I was logged into the same board on both devices.
I had a Google Meet running where I was presenting the tab where the Miro board was on the laptop. I was drawing on my iPad.


This seemed to work well. This is definitely an option to use if we are still on lockdown when the students get to doing some drawn design work.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Teacher Only Day - Teaching Strategies

Today was teacher only day for the whole country to help prepare for going into Lockdown Level 3 teaching tomorrow.
As part of the day, we had a department meeting session where we looked at the various teaching strategies that we have used during teaching online so far. We filled in a Google slide presentation where we all put our information to share. We then talked to it and received feedback from the rest of the department.

Here is a copy of that with just my slide in place and everyone else's removed (privacy)


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Trying to plan for limited contact

During our teaching and learning from home experience during the COVID 19 lockdown, I did not really know how much contact I would get with my intermediate classes. I have two Year 7 classes from two different schools, so I wanted to plan for something they could do without me if necessary and if I got to see them, then that would be a bonus.

With my usual classes, I can put work onto the class Workspaces but I can't do this with the Intermediate classes. We tried it with them last year and to be honest, it was a bit of a pain in the bum.

I have set up a page on my usual class site for this purpose and I have made step by step presentations and screencast videos to take them through the tasks. It is all based on learning and using Tinkercad skills for 3D design.

Link to the page on the class site.
The baby Yoda theme and Star Wars style lettering is just a given with me.




It turned out that today I got to see quite a lot of them. Their lovely class teacher set up a meet and I got to talk them through this and help them for an hour this morning. We had fun.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Week 1 - Term 2 - Lockdown teaching is the new norm

We started back to term two on Wednesday this week, after having Monday and Tuesday off for being part of Easter weekend.
We start this new term with a new norm. Lock down teaching from home.

The basic method for this teaching is having all the details of the lessons on Goggle calendars, with the events containing all the links to workspaces, class sites and Google Meets where we can talk face to face.
These calendars are embedded on the front page of my class site and on the individual year group pages, but the main communication is through inviting them to the event so it pops up in their email.
Link to class site


Highlights from this week include -
  • Having one student in my Year 11 class on Thursday and I had to hold my cat up to the camera so she could sing to her.
  • My lovely Year 7 group n Friday morning coping so well with a coding session. They were putting their coding together using mBlock and then downloading the code to send to me. I was uploading it onto my mBot and testing it for them. We had a lot of fun.
  • Talking to a screen full of icons during my Y13 class and I was accusing them of nicking off for a sandwich and I wouldn't know they had gone. That was funny.
  • Year 10 assembly on Friday morning. So good to see so many of them joining in.
  • Morning tea Meet with lots of other staff members.





Here is a couple of short parts of my intermediate class this morning.
It shows a bit of teaching / question / answer and then a bit of me crawling around on the floor setting the mBot away with one of the student's code. (we were using the force to make the mBot move backwards - link to work on the class site)



Monday, April 13, 2020

Checking my Site for Online Teaching

We did a site check today to make sure it is all ok.
I put the link to my class site into a Chrome incognito window and did a walk through of where the students will have to go while they are at home.
It was a good exercise as I found two things that were not viewable - one was a document that was not public and the other was an embedded workspace where i had taken the wrong url when I embedded it.

It has all been sorted now.
Please excuse the slightly grumpy face. I was on my couch, concentrating.

Link to class site



Thursday, April 9, 2020

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.






Update
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.