Digital teaching tips & tricks, ideas, examples, and general thoughts and reflections. Follow my Inquiry.

Friday, 27 July 2018

The Crank it out term

Our principal in staff meeting this week reminded us that this is the 'crank-it-out' term.

No Testing. No Reports. All Learning.
He challenged us to make the most of our timetables.

To make sure we are seeing all our groups
2-3 times per week 
Image result for Clock fast

I thought to myself well of course I am,
but then reflected actually am I?
Truth is I'm probably not.
Actually, I know I'm not - at least not ALL my groups.
The question is why?

I crunched the numbers and realised that I am probably not always making the most of my time in the classroom. Time is tight, and it is way too easy to run out of it.

Lets look at Reading as a subject.

1 group @ 20~minutes per guided reading session 
2-3 times p/w = 40-60 minutes p/w
Therefore 4 groups @ 20~minutes 
= 160-240 minutes p/w
5 groups
= 200-300 minutes p/w

That's a lot of minutes! For my team here at school, that usually all has to come out of our morning block. Even if you take out a fairly low amount of time for writing each week, assembly on Fridays, and our daily news. You find that the time remaining is already quite tight...


Mon
Tue
Wed
Thur
Fri
Total Minutes
9.00-11.00
Total
600
Assembly




45 Mins
-45
Writing
40
40
40
40

???
-160
News
20
20
20
20
-80
9.00-11.00
Total Remaining
315
...and this is before any other interruption, transition, chat on the mat, pack-up, or roam.

In fact, this remaining '315 minutes' is on the assumption that Friday after assembly time can be used for guided reading sessions instead of "Finishing time" as well.

I've realised I need to be way smarter with my time, and smarter with my planning. Even just to see the right amount of groups for the right amount of time. This will also require me to become more precise with some my interactions with the learners, particularly around management and instructions.

Feeling cautiously optimistic
Challenge accepted.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Oral Language boost from DMIC?

Keeping up the basics

Throughout learning the DMIC process there has been a temptation to forget all that I have learnt in the past... I need to keep myself in check with this as some of things that I learnt last year in my inquiry are really important. They did work. They did make a difference.

One of those things has been basic facts. I understand that within the DMIC style lessons there isn't too much room for old school basic facts learning. However, learning everything that I did last year I don't want to throw away these lessons completely. 

I'm going to experiment with trying to fit them into other times of the day such as:
  • warm-ups
  • pack-ups
  • in-between times
  • end of day
The lessons I am referring to can be read here in my blog post almost exactly 1 year ago.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

ISTE Reflection

WOW!

Last year I applied for the Manaiakalani Professional Learning Fellowship to attend the ISTE conference in Chicago, USA, and amazingly I was lucky enough to win it.

Last week we boarded the plane and off we went. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I'm still buzzing from it. I have never been to the States before, and although I have attended Education conferences in New Zealand, I have never experienced anything that resembled the sheer size and the crowds that ISTE provided.

The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference is an Education conference based out of the United States. It happens every year, and attracts educators from all over the world. The Chicago conference had more than 1000 sessions of all different types that you could attend, and had over 16,000 attendees.

With that in mind I had a lot of trouble picking my Conference class list. There was literally hundreds of different lectures or classes that I could attend each day, and usually at least 3-4 on that I wanted to attend at the same time. On the first day of the conference I attended what was called the CS Firehose. Essentially it was pre-conference whole-day session where we had an intro or play-session with different aspects of Computer Science that were going to be represented at the conference. After this, I quickly re-adjusted my entire timetable to fit in way more of these sessions.

Image result for Scratch 3.0I realised that without focussing more of my ISTE classes around a particular subject or theme I wasn't going to make the most of it as a learning opportunity. WIDE and DEEP just like our learners I suppose haha.

Sticking with CS theme, while throwing other interesting things into the mix I had an absolute blast of a conference. Some interesting things that stood out to me most can be read in other blog posts here:
- CS Firehose
- Scratch 3.0
- Micro:Bit and Make code

The biggest take home for me has been the CS/ Digital Curriculum integration (or STEAM integration). I have become extremely excited to give some of what I saw ago, and put into action all the ideas that my head was spinning while at the conference. While a tonne of it was inspiration that needs a lot of further thought and reflection for how I could implement it here at Pt England. Some stuff I can run with it straight away, or adjust how I am using it in the classroom to be more reflective.

Incredibly grateful and humbled for the opportunity, hoping to be able to update with some exciting learning experiences soon.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Makecode and Microbit - ISTE 2018

As part of the CS Firehose I went to hear about MakeCode and Micro:bit.

Micro:bit is a pocket size computer, in a similar style vein to a Raspberry Pi, (though not as powerful I believe, more like a code-able Makey-Makey), and Makecode is visual based coding software that can be used to programme it.


I thought that MakeCode was a very similar to Scratch and wouldn't be an issue for students or teachers to switch between them. The logic was very similar, as was the interface, AND IT WORKS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BROWSER! (and therefore is ready to go on the chromebooks!)

Image result for makecode

I also really liked the Micro-bit, and what it can do. There were some really cool and easy-to-get started ideas that are fun and engaging. 

Within 30 seconds of opening the software and plugging in the Micro:bit I was able to get my name to scroll across the LED lights on the device... Really cool, really simple.
Within 10 minutes I had a simple question across the screen, with 2 answer inputs and relevant responses for them.
Is this fun?
[Yes] ---> Awesome!
[No]  ---> Boooo!

This straight away told me that this product has a very accessible floor, where pretty much anyone can plug it in and run with. Yet in the presentation I also got to see examples of some really cool robotic projects, where the ceiling was far far higher. 


LOW FLOOR / HIGH CEILING 




Another really cool think about the MicroBit, is that is compatible with Scratch. Therefore there is this fantastic opportunity to extend the Scratch projects that the learners are creating using physical and tangible objects. At least thats the pitch I was sold, I din't get a chance to do this myself, but it's definitely an exciting concept that I'm interested to try out.


Overview (Copy pasted from site) 

  • 25 individually-programmable LEDs
  • 2 programmable buttons
  • Physical connection pins
  • Light and temperature sensors
  • Motion sensors (accelerometer and compass)
  • Wireless Communication, via Radio and Bluetooth
  • USB interface
  • Let's take a look at what these components do and discover how to code them!