Saturday, February 27, 2016

Educamp Rotavegas 2016

I had a great day today in Rotarua at the EduCamp Rotavegas 2016.
An early start meant a fabulous view of the sunrise as we drove south. I was very spoiled and got a lift ( thank you Justine Driver @digitallearnin ) so was able to enjoy the great views...

It was a full house when we kicked off in the library at Rotarua Girls High School.

There was LOADS of stuff offered at the smackdown, with lots of people standing up and offering their 2 minutes of something great.
Here is the slideshow of all the links and information from the day.

Here are the notes I made from the day...

Class Dojo :- with Shaun Wood @mrwoodnz

First of all, I went to listen in on the Class Dojo session. I have used Class Dojo before but I am in no way knowledgable on everything it can do.

Send positive messages home.
Can collaborate with other teachers.
Room dojo... so whole classes can get points.
You can use their images, not your own yet.
Can make groups to give points to as a whole.
Random selection of student for extra points.
Can do attendance on here.
Class dojo can be used to take roll when out with students?
Class story.
Can take photos and do a small write up and parents can see it - have to have parents email address in order to invite them.
Can do teacher to parent messages back and forth too.
Parents get a notification on their phone so they know there is something there for them to see.
Can allow in school shopping with points... list made up by staff.
Can do reports out of Dojo - gives a graph of how the student is doing.

Playing :- with @nzleeangela

Then I had to go and play with all the toys... well I HAD to...!!

Makey makey go - Link here
View master - Link here
Google cardboard - Link here

Sphero - Sphero app / Ollie app - Sphero link here  -  Sphero app link here - Ollie app link here
Sharkey - app link
Ollie - tickle app and code / programme the movements - app link

The Sphero is great fun, and the fact that you can use coding to programme it's movements rather than just driving it like we were here, makes it even better!

And I got a new badge!!!

Here are the tweets from the day...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rewindable learning in Action ...

I had one of my senior groups today. It is a mixed level class of NCEA Level 1 and 2.
Some of my Level 2 boys had done DVC last year at Level 1 and some hadn't.

I have put this "portfolio" section on the class Google site, as one of the tabs across the top.

On here, I have made a selection of screen casts that explain a few basic things to do with using their google site as a design portfolio. I did this so that they can remind themselves of how to do things when they forget so they don't feel embarrassed about asking how to do those things all the time. It includes things like embedding objects onto a site etc
Click the link here to check this out.

I showed the boys where this was today and left them to it while I helped the Level 1 group.
They followed the instructions and did the site organisation themselves without any more input about it from me today!! They had to either start a fresh site if they didn't have one or archive their Level 1 work on an existing site to one tab and make it ready for Level 2.

Apparently I sound different on screen cast, so they tell me......

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

First go with SOLO Hexagons with Year 10's

It was my first lesson with my new Year 10 class today so I thought it would be a good start to the project to try using SOLO hexagons.
We had some fantastic whole staff PD on Friday from +Pam Hook where she talked about the use of hexagons to make connections across information and separate facts.

We are designing and making a 3D printed model of 3D speakers this year with Year 10.
Their task today ( after exercising their cutting out fingers ) was to put everything they could come up with about portable speakers onto hexagons. We had a brief discussion before hand about what sort of things they could add, like materials, use, power, size, connectivity etc...
It was their's and my first time at this so I felt a little chat about areas they could talk about wasn't cheating too much.

Here they are filling in their hexagons with the ideas.

They then had to work in small teams to put their hexagons into groups. I was listening to some great discussions about what to put with what and why. Of course as soon as I got the camera out, they stopped!!

As they were finishing their groupings, I was going round to take photographs. These were uploaded to the Year 10 Google Plus community.
The students then had to go onto the community to write in the comment sections of their photographs about the reasons why those hexagons were grouped together. The key word for thnking about what to write was "because".

Here are some screen shots of the posts in the community.... if you want to see them in detail, the link to the community is here.

I feel that this was a positive way to start a new project. It got the students thinking analytically about the problem before they have been given the design brief.

Things that went well :-
  • Students thinking analytically right from the start.
  • Confidence in what they were doing through working in teams.
  • Straight into the project, no fluffing around.
What needs work :-
  • The smaller teams worked better at this than larger ones where there was a "sit out".
  • This was my first time doing this so my instructions for the activity were not top banana.
Planning ahead :-
  • Pre-cut the hexagons.
  • Give some key words out to see where they fit them into the links.
  • Charge the iPads to use as cameras so they can take their own photos and upload them to the community and maybe record themselves / each other verbally explaining the links and connections.

Friday, February 5, 2016

SOLO Taxonomy PD day with Pam Hook

We had a fantastic whole staff PD day today. We were all in the auditorium listening to the very entertaining and informative Pam Hook talking SOLO Taxonomy and it's application in the classroom.

Here are my notes from the day - they are just as they were taken at the time with no editing done.

SOLO PD day with Pam Hook

SOLO has been used in New Zealand for 14 years and this country is the widest user of SOLO at the moment.

Structure of Observed Learning Outcome.
Use the model to judge what you can SEE of the learning.

Looking at the outcome can allow you to place it into one of the areas for assessing where it is.

Facts are required in your mind so you can use them at will.
Strategies need to connect these facts. - why, because, timeline, compare with something else - ideas need to be linked.
These linked ideas then need to be looked at and evaluated.

Kids drop out because they don’t understand what you want them to do
Launching with the high end extended stuff is meaningless without the build up and scaffolding of the learning tasks. You need to lead to a deep outcome, not expect it straight away.

How to help kids structure questions to aid their learning.

Vulnerable students mindsets :-

Why do kids think it is luck when there work is marked well or they think that the teachers likes them or their work?
Kids give up a subject if they don’t like the teacher.

Fixed ability, fixed mindset about their learning. They think that they will not succeed. Try hard, fail anyway and get mocked by their friends.

Fixed ability smart. Kids who are always told that they are gifted, clever etc… they get results because they are gifted not because of the process they have worked through.
They suffer when work gets more challenging as they don’t have the process embedded.

The students need to think that they got the learning outcome due to what they did and the steps they went through. ( not lucky, dumb or gifted )

Is high self esteem linked to high achievement?
Lots of money spent on lifting the esteem of students thinking that this would improve their achievement.
This is not the case as they are not linked.
Can the type of praise that is given limit where students will reach for?

The mindset about learning affects how long you will persist with something. Relying of effort rather than how clever they are.

Students need to take on challenges and stick with it even if it goes really wrong. This is not a reflection on them, but a process that they are going through. Looking for and trying new strategies to get the outcome they want.

SOLO taxonomy handsigns - good for use in the classroom to indicate what level you are talking / working at.

Can the students tell you what they are doing based on the solo level of the task?
Tasks can be set a level but the student outcomes can be at any level.

SOLO hexagons
Put any ideas up for discussion on a hexagon.
All these ideas together create multi structural outcomes
Putting them next to each other to create links get them thinking about reasons why they link.
Look at the whole cluster and talk about what the whole idea was about - extended abstract.

You can annotate the reasons why you have linked the hexagons.

1 idea is better than none
lots of ideas is great
it becomes lots more interesting when you link these things together

you can prepare hexagons with the language you want them to use so they can add these into their connections.

Let students think individually first before they work together.

Pam Hook on pintrest

Here is our table having a go at linking hexagons based on the theme of morning tea.
It was interesting to see how we could completely change the focus according to how we grouped the hexagons.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

Reverse hexagons - give the layout and get them to give reasons why the connections are there. Then what is the big picture.

Hexagon generator

Sharing the SOLO model with students so they know what they are doing and why. It will probably clarify what ideas they have about what learning is.

Functioning knowledge - you can do stuff
Declarative knowledge - you can explain stuff

SOLO brings these 2 different ways together.

Functioning - start by thinking about what you want the students to do.
Progression - i have no idea how to - yes i can do that, tell me what to do - yes i can do that independently, making mistakes and don’t know why, but this is better than leaning on someone’s instructions all the time - technical competence, can do it and know why you are doing things, can identify mistakes - i can try to imagine doing this in a new way, become the expert for others, seeks feedback in order to improve
Can be used for key competencies.
Can be used for behaviour management

One of the biggest causes of failure is lack of academic language in the students.

Use visual maps to help with thinking.

Learning intentions generator

my play with the generator -

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 11.49.04 am.png

We are learning how to Identify Art Deco key design elements [Unistructural]
We are learning how to Label Art Deco key design elements [Unistructural]
We are learning how to Describe Art Deco key design elements [Multistructural]
We are learning how to List Art Deco key design elements [Multistructural]
We are learning how to Compare and contrast Art Deco key design elements [Relational]
We are learning how to Explain effects Art Deco key design elements [Relational]
We are learning how to Design Art Deco key design elements [Extended Abstract]

Students want to get to the answer as quick as possible, is this right, tell me the answer…
As the levels increase, the student's’ ability to work through it themselves increases.
Then students are prepared to not have things in black and white and can look at alternatives.

Engagement does not mean achievement.

NZTA Curriculum resources

Still need teacher judgement so that the information given is at a required level.
Some work can have all the structure there but the quality of the info is not good enough and they will need to go back to it for improvements.

Extended abstract map - claim, info, follow up/reflection

Our prediction diagram example …


Declarative knowledge generator

Compare and contrast… use a “because” with the items to lift it up into relational. Put in a final statement “overall i think ……… because …… because ….”. This will then lift it up further.

lot of gives multistructural
reasons why  / because gives relational
the round-up statement gives extended abstract


Describe map



Rectangle for loose idea
Speech bubble for because statements
Thought bubble for wonderings, what ifs etc…

Learning is all about

loose ideas
collecting those loose ideas
working out how these loose ideas connect
seeing what they can do further with this information

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Results Analysis - Working out the Why?

I was asked recently to write a piece about how we work in DVC and the approach to work, especially in regards to the external standards.
Here is what I wrote for for this feedback, with names removed.

Design and Visual Communication

I always do the work that I want the students to do in a combination of an example just before they do it so they can see what i want them to do and i also tend to do another example along with them so they can see it being produced. This also gives them confidence in me, as they can see that I can put my money where my mouth is.
I sit at the table with them and do the work with them. When they need help with anything, I will do an example just for them individually so they can see how to apply a skill to their own work. I never do this directly on their work, but do it on another sheet so they can follow along with me.
I also do examples of any online / digital work that i expect them to do. This is especially important as Tamaki College tend to be doing this kind of stuff first, so we have to make our own exemplars.
I have the project instructions on the class Google site.
We do collaborative work in the class Google Plus Community. I put up to date links and examples here too. I also experimented this year by putting the day to day instructions, links and learning intentions and outcomes.

All my NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 students make a site at the start of the year. They use this site as a digital design portfolio. They embed their digital work, scan their drawings and photograph their 3D modelling work. Everything can then onto the one google site for each student.

Level 1

When staff were told to offer a 10 credit course to the at risk group of students, I decided not to do that with Student 1 and Student 2. I discussed this plan with SLT and kept these students on the same course plan as the rest of the class. They had made a really good positive start to their work and I did not want to make them feel like i didn’t think that they could do it. I chatted to the students about this after these decisions had been made and they were quite happy.
The rest of the group were who had a normal to high work frame of mind and they were good at plodding through. I found that my new site set up helped them as they were able to refer to this a lot more when they were needing direction. I have been setting up the level 1 projects in a “MOOC’ style so it encourages more self paced learning. This was done in the form of step by steps using Google presentations and screencasts of skills.
As a class, we do a lot of work together in the class Google Plus community and this seems to give them confidence in what they are doing and it has improved their analysis and note writing.
With Students 1 and 2, I had to have a mind set change myself and allow them to work in the manner and pace that suited them. Student 1 works well by himself, late at night, so I was getting a lot of his work shared with me outside of class time. He is obsessed with playing internet games so I did deals with him in class time. I allowed him his gaming time if he gave me work time when it was needed in the lesson, for activities such as drawing and modelling which had to be done in the class. I also got him to agree to come in in the October holidays with 3 of the other Level 1 boys to complete the second external standard.
This student achieved a merit with one of his internal standards and passed both of the external standards he was entered into. He passed all of his credits in DVC.
With Student 2, he worked well in the class most of the time as long as he also got his “perks” like playing games and playing his guitar. He got to the point by the end of term 3 where he was posting his work into the class community in his own time without me nagging him. I made sure that i sat with him and gave him enough one to one time to get his google site up to date so he felt that he was at the same point as the others in the class.
When he was late to the class, I never mentioned this but just welcomed him as soon as he came in the door and explained what the rest of the class was getting on with. His lateness got less and less as the year went on.
This student passed all of his internal standards and the external that he was entered into.

This PB4L approach, especially to these 2 boys, has been a huge change for me this year and, to be honest, it has at times driven me crazy. It has been such a mindset change for me not to do my usual “nagging” but it has proved worthwhile.

Level 3

Ever since the standards alignment changed all of the Level 3 standards, I have had trouble with external AS91627. I have not had any students pass this standard.
At the beginning of March last year, I organised a meeting with the Technology contact from Team Solutions to talk about this problem external standard at Level 3. They put me in touch with the DVC teacher at another College. I contacted this teacher and they let me go and visit their department. They showed me what they did at Level 3 and gave me lots of good ideas and a really good plan of what to do in regards to that external standard.
When I got back to school after that meeting, my class were told that the work we had done up to then ( about a month’s worth ) was being scrapped and we were starting again.
This proved to be worthwhile, if somewhat painful, as most of the class passed with the added bonus of 2 merit results.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Getting ready for the new school year using SOLO Taxonomy

Although I am a HUGE fan of Han SOLO, this post is about structuring the projects using SOLO taxonomy from the start this year.

I am busy organising a new product design project for my new Year 10 groups this year. I want them to have an experience that is close to one of the NCEA Level 1 projects so that they know what it would be like of they chose it next year.
I have decided that since they are all obsessed with little portable speakers at the moment, then that is what they will be designing. This will also give us a great opportunity to use the 3D printers to create the model of the final design.

Part of what I am preparing is a product analysis exercise. I trialled this arrangement last year with my final group of year 10's, so I am using a similar one this year as it was a successful experiment.
I have used a different slide on the presentation for each step up in the SOLO taxonomy structure so the students can see how analysis can build in complexity. They need to get used to using the higher levels so they can aim for a higher result at NCEA.

It has been much easier to write a project from scratch, building in this structure, rather than trying to add it onto it afterwards.