Thursday, June 14, 2018

Continuing the Literacy Display in my Classroom

As part of the display on my back wall, which started with the literacy breakdown work I have been doing with the school literacy specialist, Mr Marc Milford, I am adding some things about paragraph focus ideas and SOLO taxonomy.

The first one is this paragraph burger, which is adapted from the Writing Book and part of the SOLO Taxonomy thinking charts that I have been putting together.

Link to document here
I want the students to be able to use the structure we have been working on, which is highly visible on the back wall (a 3ft x 5ft poster!) and look at this poster for ideas on what they could write about.

The other thing that I have been working on for this display is a structure that is based around SOLO Taxonomy too. This one will be shared directly to the students to have in their drive too so they can use it as a template and starting point for their writing.
I have put the structure on the drawing and instructions around the outside so when the students use it and embed it in their work, the instructions and support will not be seen.
The colours on this document relate to the colours used on the SOLO posters that are in all of the classrooms.

Link to document here

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Presenting Literacy Strategies at the Technology Department Meeting

At today's Technology Department meeting, I presented my progress so far on the inquiry focus of subject specific literacy.
I explained the process I have been going through with my Year 11 class over the last two months. It is mainly outlined in this blogpost which was based around my inquiry breakdown and my short term plan.
I tired to explain that I saw the process as what I learned as the teacher, what I could then help the students with and the learning and activities that the students have been doing. This all led up to the Manaiakalani Class OnAir recording we did last week where the students were analysing their design work.

Thank you to Hinerau Anderson for the photos.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Literacy Strategies with Year 11 - Updates

I have been mainly focussing on my NCEA Level 1 class (the Year 11 students) for my inquiry.
After breaking down how I wanted to approach my inquiry, I made a short term plan with some strategies to try and a baseline writing task to compare against.

I have made this new diagram to lay out what we have been doing since the end of March, with focus on what input has the teacher had, what input have the students had and what effect this has had, if any. The links on the diagram take you to blog posts that outline each step.

These links take you to the writing examples from the students. There are some June 8th samples still to be completed as of writing this blog post.
We have been focussing on using noun groups to give more information about the thing being described, making a statement and backing it up with a reason or opinion, using linking words to construct the sentences for this and using paragraphs that use one point per paragraph.
March 25th June 8th
Student 1 SampleStudent Sample
Student 2 Sample
Student 3 SampleStudent Sample
Student 4 Sample
Student 5 SampleStudent Sample
Student 6 Sample
Student 7 SampleStudent Sample
Student 8 SampleStudent Sample
Student 9 Sample
Student 10 Sample
Student 11 Sample
Student 12 Sample
Student 14 SampleStudent Sample
Student 15 SampleStudent Sample

Manaiakalani Class OnAir Lesson 7 - Design analysis using Literacy Strategies

Link to Manaiakalani Class OnAir to see the whole team.

Direct Instruction

The students were shown the examples and templates that were available to them on the class Google Plus Community.

We reflected on the back up work we have done for this activity and an explanation of the example is given so the students understand what they are being shown and how to use it.

This video shows some of the ongoing lesson.

Class Site Content

This is the write up example broken into the three paragraphs and coloured to match the poster on the back wall of the classroom.

This is the template that was provided for the students to work on.

This is the linking words document provided to help them with some ideas for the words to link design points with reasons.

Learner Generated Content


Lesson Topic :- Using Literacy Strategies for Design Analysis
Year Group :-  Year 11
Learning Outcome
To be able to use the literacy strategies that we have been working on recently to write a meaningful design analysis.

Success Criteria
Using SOLO

Extended abstract
Students identify the main parts of their design.
Students can describe their design using noun groups.
Students can link a statement about their design to a reason by using a linking word.
Students can reflect on how their design relates to the work of their chosen 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 - think about all the strategies we have been working through and use them together in their work
  • Using language, symbols, and texts - writing a design analysis
  • Managing self - staying on task and not letting one person in the pair do all the work.
  • Participating and contributing - working together in a pair to help each other with their writing
  • Relating to others - supporting each other with their writing to analyse design work. Understanding what another student was trying to achieve with their design work.
Prior knowledge
We have done the following over a series of lessons to prepare for this activity :-
Lesson Sequence

Session Outline
The students will work in pairs to analyse one of their design developments for their seating project. We will be focussing the use of three paragraphs to make three points, noun groups and linking points with reasons or justifications.
Student Activity
Teacher Activity
  • Students sit round the front table and are given pointers as to where they can find all of the resources and activities on the class Google Plus Community.
  • Look at the examples and listen while the teacher explains the content.
Supply and explain the resources for the class to use.

Ensure the focus is on :-

Three paragraphs for three separate points.

Using noun groups to expand on details.

Use of linking words to connect and point to a reason or opinion.
  • Students each make a copy of the paragraph template.
  • Choose a design from their sketchbooks to analyse.
  • Work in pairs to support each other in writing the analysis paragraphs.
  • Share their completed template in the class community so the rest of the class can learn from what they have written.

Next Steps
Next Lesson
Analyse further design work in the same project.
Further in this project
Use the same structure to analyse the effectiveness of their final design.
Reflection and Analysis

What went well.

Lesson Content :- Having spent quite a few lessons preparing for this and slowly building the skills, the students were able to progress quite well with this activity and understood what I wanted them to do.

Lesson Delivery :- My confidence in delivering this was higher than I anticipated due to the slow build of the skills and the support that I have had from the literacy specialists in the school and from visiting other schools.
Explanation writing - blog post

Student Understanding :- they did really well with the work and I was able to support them while they were writing and we both knew what we were aiming for.

Student Outcomes :- when you compare their writing from this activity to the baseline writing task that we did in March, there has been a very pleasing improvement.

What still needs work.

Lesson Pacing :- It took two double periods for the analysis of one design development, so this was quite along time for three paragraphs, but I am hoping that this will improve the more we do this and they get used to it.

Student Understanding :- There was a wide range in the support that I had to give during this whole process from a couple of suggestions to co-constructing sentences together with the students. This generally reflects the abilities of this class as a whole whenever we are working on anything.

Other Comments.

I found it a great help to have the support for me as a teacher from the colleagues that I have been working with and it gave me a lot of confidence with these writing / literacy activities.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Environmental Designing with Year 9 Students

My Year 9 class are designing drinks cartons. There is a lot of good design content we can cover with juice cartons - lettering, colour, 3D shapes, characters layout etc...
They have done one of their designs and before they moved on to more designs today, we watched some YouTube videos about how plastic straws are affecting the environment, especially life in the oceans.
We then talked about the fact that when you buy a single serve drinks carton, there is a straw already attached, so you don't get a choice not to have it.
So my challenge them them is to continue their design ideas thinking about how to create a juice carton that dies not need a straw.

I am letting them work in teams for this and want them to display their final designs and research on boards, "science fair" style at the end of the project.

To help them, I have created a Google Drawing with readings, videos and links on so they can split up the jobs that need doing within their teams so it all gets done. I have put this onto the class site for them to access when they want. The links on the Google Drawing will then work easily as it is embedded.