Monday, 29 May 2017

How to download an Explain Everything activity from your folder onto your teacher iPad.

This short video shows you how to download an Explain Everything activity from your folder onto your teacher iPad to repurpose, rename and reshare.

How to save an Explain Everything activity to a folder in your Google Drive

This short and quick video shows you how to save your Explain Everything activities to a folder in you Google Drive. Please write your name or initials at the end of the title of your activity to make it easy to find. Once children' s work is saved to the Drive, having your name/initials will make things a whole lot easier.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

"because context matters......inquiry is important" Claire Sinnema

The session focus for yesterday's iPad PLG was to identify how we plan for and design an effective Explain Everything informed by the needs of our learners.
First I shared a programme of learning specifically designed for my target learners. As part of my inquiry I had identified some key maths strategies that I wanted to try in my teaching practise. Key strategies from the research posted here

I shared these with the group along with a lesson that I had planned, taking into account these strategies. While I was sharing we asked the group to notice the key learning points that guided my actions and decision making when planning and designing the learning, including the use of the Explain Everything activity. The slide below shows the lesson and I have also shared a copy of the Explain Everything activity that I had designed.
A copy of the EE file  can also be downloaded here

What we noticed and need to consider when planning for and designing an EE activity.

  • Interest of the learners, engagement, relevance (e.g. visuals and images, colours)
  • Opportunities to share orally - talk with a buddy, project, record voice
  • Opportunities for formative assessment (taking photos of their learning, creating their own EE to share their understandings)
  • Creating with EE in combination with concrete learning experiences to apply new learning (in response to deliberate acts of teaching and their own discoveries)

Designing the PLG to support our teaching as inquiry enabled teachers to consider new strategies and apply them to their practice. It also acknowledged existing teaching practise so the participants were able to explore and make sense of new ideas in their teaching context.
"because context matters......inquiry is important" Claire Sinnema

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Effective Pedagogy in Mathematics/Pangarau

This term I have been looking at maths strategies that may be more effective in my teaching practise with my priority learners. This involves reading literature, asking questions about how well current strategies are working, searching my own and colleagues past practise for more effective strategies. Fiona Grant shared this wonderful resource which helped me get started.

It was an interesting read and  I think we can apply some of the key points to other curriculum areas like reading and writing. I would like to share some key learning points that I got from this article:

Key Learning Points:

  • Anthony and Walshaw clarify that we need to build on students existing proficiencies rather than fill gaps in students knowledge and remediate weaknesses. When planning teachers need to focus on students current mathematical competencies and interests as these constitute resources on which the teacher can build. I think this is a really important point. Sometimes we pay more attention to filling in the gaps that we neglect to look at what the child can do. I am sometimes guilty of this and will now keep in mind to plan and create activities that interests the child and at the same time build his self esteem, confidence and love for maths.

  • Ongoing assessment is an integral part of instruction. Teachers need to continually adjust instruction as informed by ongoing assessments. At the Junior level I use JAM testing data, group and class observations,my Overall Teacher Judgement (OTJ), Student Reflections, Student Profile Sheets to inform my planning and practise. Knowing your learner and their personality plays an important role in your OTJ's.   I often use this evidence to regroup and sometimes cross group my learners. This information also assists me and my colleagues in planning our Explain Everything activities .
  • They also state that when designing and selecting tasks the teacher has to take into account both the students current competencies and  interests and their long term learning goals.- In my classroom learning goals are visible and children are aware of  where they are in their learning  journey and where they need to get to by the end of the year according to the National Standards. This is an important  visible tool for teachers, children and their parents. I need to start referring to them more often as children make small shifts which are just as important. 
  • The image of effective mathematical pedagogy that emerges from Anthony and Walshaw's synthesis is of teaching as a coherent system. This pedagogical system encompasses: a non - threatening classroom atmosphere, instructional tasks, tools and representations, classroom discourse.  I feel that creating a happy and safe environment in the Junior classes are so important. Developing those rules and routines especially during the first term is essential. Teaching children about caring for their device (iPad) being CyberSmart , teaching them how to use the tools within Explain Everything are all essential skills that needs to be taught well for children to be able to work independently and successfully during the course of the year. Sharing children's work on Apple T.V.  Class Blog and Individual blog boosts self esteem and confidence. 
  • The available evidence also indicates that a strong network of colleagues constitutes means of support  for teachers. There is every reason to expect improvement in teaches instructional practises and student learning where teachers participate in learning communities whose activities focus on mathematical ideas and how to relate them to student reasoning.  I would like to work on this and develop it further, having those conversations within and across year levels. When we shared our inquiry within our teams a common thing that came up which was our children were  struggling with knowledge of number even at at higher year levels. This was quite an interesting topic for discussion which  led me to think about what I need to do at the Junior Level as we share a similar problem.