Friday, June 22, 2018

Student Input into the Wall Display on Literacy

I have been working on the display on my back wall so it supports the students with their literacy.
Blog posts about this here :-

Continuing the Literacy Display in my Classroom
Description Burgers

Today, to finish this off for a while, I got the students to help with the last part.
I picked three words that are used most in the descriptions of products - SHAPE, FORM snd TEXTURE. I put these up on the wall and gave all the Year 11 students small pieces of paper to write words linked what those words mean.

This is that section of wall that we completed today.

Here is what the whole literacy support display is looking like at the moment.

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.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Project Planning to include Literacy

The last project that my Year 11 students have done for the last few years has been designing a mobile phone. Here is the link to last year's site with the planning for this project. When I was talking to my current Year 11 class about this, they were not too inspired by this idea. To be honest, I don't mind that they don't want to do this as the designs were getting a bit similar ( a bit like phones are all getting the same in the shops!!). So the new plan is wearable technology and they are much more interested in this idea.

As I am starting the planning for this project from scratch and not just adapting one that I already have, I like to scribble with pen and paper first, so I can scrub things out and use arrows a lot to link stuff together. It's the graphics teacher in me.
With my inquiry being solidly in subject specific literacy this year, I thought that right at the beginning of the planning process is a really good place to start building in literacy strategies.

The red sections show my thoughts on literacy during the design process. I showed this to Marc, our literacy specialist, and he wanted to talk to me about the first section where we are researching as the students need to do a lot of reading at this point.
One of the strategies that he wants me to research is "Double Entry Diary", so this is my next step in planning this new project as the research is fairly early in the design process.

Here is some information that I have found so far, so my next step is to adapt this so I can use with with my design class.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Writing Skills

Today my Year 11 class had a double lesson with Mr Marc Milford, where we concentrated totally on writing skills.
The reason we need to focus on better writing skills is that this will help then produce better descriptions and analysis of their design work so will help them achieve higher levels at NCEA.

This was the document we were working on that Marc put together in response to the NZQA exemplar for AS91068. This is the standard that the students will be working on next.

Here is a video of the sections of the lesson where Marc was addressing the class. I videoed the whole lesson but cut the sections where the students were getting on with their work and Marc and I were roaming.

Here is the writing that the students produced on the board in small groups. The marks are based on the feedback given by Marc to the teams.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

CoL Meeting Week 5 Term 2

We cluster together to try and change the results all together.
Pedagogy is not the same in different subjects - domains. Choose the approach which is best at the time for the students and the content you are working through.
We need to share what is working because of this so we can all help each other as teachers.
Great ideas are not great if they don’t go with good pedagogy. Linking evidence to practice.
Learning to read - reading to learn - these are two different things so need to be taught differently.
But, you learn to read as you are reading so some content is needed in the process.
Students need to want to improve not just get the job done.
They need to think about their learning and how to improve it.

When you plan the work, are you allowing enough for the students to add their effort and the teacher is not doing too much?
Value added is more important. How did they get from here to here?
Teaching as inquiry is formatively assessing the practice of the teacher.
Faster is not better if it is boring.

Language in Abundance - Dr Jannie van Hees

Link to presentation

Language carries knowledge and knowledge carries language.
There is no learning that does not require language.
Increasing levels of complexity are needed as well as the words / vocab / language
Is what you are doing helping the students to continuously raise the level they are able to cope with?
Constantly asking the students questions does not give them more information, you are wanting what they already have.
Give :-
Vocabulary lift
Structural lift
When talking back to the students when they are talking about their work.
They also have to elaborate to each other when they are sharing in pairs / groups / the class.
How do you get the balance between giving them more language through elaboration and too much teacher talk?
Can we respond to students but make sure the whole class know that the answer / learning is for all of them?

Talking together - a conversation
to and fro talking - chain linking
listening and responding.
Students have a sentence each and have to link onto the last one to create a paragraph of linked sentences.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Breaking Down Literacy Strategies

Over the last couple of department meetings, we have had visits by Mr Marc Milford, the school's literacy specialist. We have looked at writing examples and worked on identifying some of the language features in those examples all together as a department.

After these sessions, Marc said that it would be a good idea fo each of us to sit with him on a one to one basis with examples from our own learning areas as we all teach such different parts of Technology.

I sat with Marc today and we looked at an excellence exemplar from standard AS91067. I wanted to focus on this one as the Year 11 students are working on this at the moment and are at the point where they need to analyse their design developments in order to move onto their final design.

I printed off the exemplar and stuck it into the middle of a big piece of paper so we could scribble notes all round it and highlight key points in the text.

I then transferred this rather untidy mess of thoughts into a Google Drawing. This was so that I could share it with students and print it out for the wall.

I then printed this out really big for the back wall on my classroom that I have recently cleared. I intend to also add subject specific vocabulary on this wall to join this large poster and sentence starters, joinings and help.

Marc is going to visit the class this week to work through another exemplar with them so they know what features they are looking for and what to include in their own written work about their designs.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Manaiakalani Class OnAir Lesson 6 - The game with no rules

Link to Manaiakalani Class OnAir to see the whole team.

Direct Instruction

The students are given very minimal instructions about how to play a game and no questions are answered. They are not told what we are doing or why we are doing it. They have to slowly evolve the rules of the game over time by either adding a rule or changing one that is there. Each run of the game is 2 minutes before a change is made.

These are the brief instructions given at the start of the activity. You may want to turn your sound down as the rain on the shelter we were under is really loud. I have put subtitles on the video.

This shows a couple of examples of when the rules were added to or changed during the progress of the game.

This shows how the game evolved over time with the rule changes and additions.

This video shows the teacher instruction at the start of the second lesson of this activity where we were reflecting on what happened during the game the previous day.

Class Site Content

This is the rules and game play that the students came up with during the process.

This is the equipment that we had ready to use - not all of it was used as it depended on the rules and game play that the students came up with.

Learner Generated Content

This padlet is the feedback that I received from the questions :-
  • How did you feel when I wouldn't tell you why we were doing the activity?
  • How did it make you feel when you did not know all the rules before you started?
  • What did you think when I would not answer any of your questions?
  • How did you feel when you did not agree with the rules that others were making?
  • How did you feel when you had a great idea for a rule but your name did not come out of the bag?
  • How do you feel when we do Design development? Is there anything that is the same as how you felt yesterday?

Made with Padlet

Student Feedback

Link to lesson plan document here
Lesson Topic :- Switch or Adapt Game / The Game with no Rules
Year Group :-  Year 11
Learning Outcome
To make the students think about their feelings while playing this game with no rules and compare that to how they feel when they do design developments.

Success Criteria
Using SOLO

Extended abstract
Students follow the instructions given by the rest of their team and the other teams.
Students can start to combine the game rules to play the game in a better way.
Students can analyse what is going on in the game and use this information to change or make rules that solve problems.
Students can reflect on what happened during the game and analyse their feelings. They can think about these feelings and predict how the design development process makes them feel in relation to this.

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 - coming up with rules for the game. Linking what they are doing to design development.
  • Using language, symbols, and texts - writing out their game rules for the rest of the class to see.
  • Managing self - focussing on the activity as it has no set structure.
  • Participating and contributing - following rules made by other people.
  • Relating to others - working as a team.
Prior knowledge
The students have started the design development process for their chair design project. They have also done a little design development in the previous poster project.
Lesson Sequence

Session Outline
The students slowly build a game over time using small steps. They then think about how they were feeling during this process and try and relate it to the design development process.
Student Activity
Teacher Activity
  • Listen to the teacher instructions.
  • Listen to each other’s ideas.
  • Listen and use the rules of the other teams.
  • Give the first part of the small instructions.
  • Give the rest of the instructions in small amounts as needed.
    • Split into 3 teams
    • The game must use a ball
    • Each team must write a game rule of one of the wipe clean boards.
    • Time the game rotations to two minutes each time.
    • Encourage teamwork.
  • Don’t answer any questions.

  • Use the rules that are being decided on by the teams to slowly build a game that has teams and a ball, plus any other equipment that they want to use.
    • Play the game as a team against the other teams.
    • Think about how they felt during the process of the game and not knowing what they were doing beforehand.
    • Make a shared padlet with their thoughts.
    • Share their thoughts / answers to the set questions about how they felt and how they can compare how they felt doing the game with how they feel doing design development.
    • Read everyone else’s responses.
    Small wipe on / off boards.
    Dry wipe pens
    Game ball
    Team colours
    Hockey sticks
    Timing device (stop watch, mobile phone ...)
    Next Steps
    Next Lesson
    Continue with the design development that they are on with and reflect back on what they were feeling while playing the game.
    Further in this project
    Design development is a big part of any project, so I want them to think about how they are feeling during the process to see why they are getting upset and frustrated with it when they have to come up with more ideas and change the ideas they already have.
    Reflection and Analysis

    What went well.

    Lesson Content :- There was definitely enough for the students to do as it took nearly the whole double period. The double period gave them enough time to discuss things as a team and together and work things out without being rushed.

    Student Understanding :- The best question came at the end of the game session. “Miss, what was the point of playing a game with no rules?”. They made a good start on understanding why we did this in the second session where we were analysing their feelings and linking it to design development.

    Student Outcomes :- The answers on the padlet were great. I wanted them to be frustrated with the process and most of them were. It was a really interesting insight into how they approach things. It ranged from :-
    • Frustrated for the whole time
    • Being confused but going with it
    • Loving the challenge of not knowing

    What still needs work.

    Lesson Delivery :- I need to book / sort out the venue in a more organised way before the lesson and check the weather!

    Student Understanding :- Should  have thought about groupings myself and not let the students do it? I noticed that students who thought in similar ways put themselves together. Could a more inclusive outcome have happened if I had placed stronger and weaker students together in teams ? How would I work this out?

    Other Comments.

    What came out of this activity was a really interesting insight in how the students think away from the subject. I need to think about how I can use this information in more ways in the lesson as well as design development,