Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Reading Inquiry T4

The above presentation outlines the shift my students made in reading this year. My teaching has been guided by my 2015 inquiry which initially had me wondering how I could develop the behavioural engagement of my students. As the year progressed my inquiry shifted into developing the dialogic reasoning, vocabulary and inference skills of my students. To see how my inquiry spanned out across the whole year please read the previous posts.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Screencast Screencast Screencast

At our recent Digital immersion PLG we created screencast to share how our learners navigate our website.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Vocab & Oral Language Inquiry

Having had PD with Dr Rebecca Jesson and Dr Jannie van Hees my Term 3 inquiry has been about developing student's vocabulary and oral language. To develop vocab I experimented with concept circles which saw the students link words within a text to a topic. This activity was effective as in order to connect the words to the topic students need to understand the context of the word. To develop oral language I experimented with 'talking points'. Students were given statements about something they had read and had to discuss the statements with others in their group stating if the agreed/disagreed with the statement and why. Students were encouraged to ask questions of each other with limited teacher intervention. At first this exercise was met with a lot of awkward silences but after a while students began to grow in confidence and some great discussions were had. Some of the student's reflections are in the above presentation.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Engaging Boys

This term I have been inquiry into engaging boys particularly in writing. We completed a unit which had students looking at the porquoi story called "Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms" by Dawn McMillan & Bert Signal. The unit culminated in students writing their own version of "Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms". Due to the nature of the story it immediately captured the student's attention both boys and girls alike. It was amazing seeing the boys fully engaged and actually enjoying the writing process.

The inquiry topic for term 2 was 'Tinkering Tools & Toys'. The students were asked 'What can you design/create/build to improve school life at Pt England school. I encouraged the students to think big, informing them that if possible we were going to try our hardest to see their ideas come to fruition. After  6 weeks we had a fully functioning go cart, shoe rack, outside bench seat, cubby hole, mini foosball table and some art work to go around the school. The students really enjoyed this unit particularly once the planning had been done and the making process started.

The greatest highlight for me was watching one boy who really struggles with the 'normal' classroom environment absolutely thrive while making the go cart. He was like a totally different child. He was fully engaged and took a real ownership over the project. There were no behavioural issues to deal with (which is highly unusual for this student) and he took a leadership role, teaching the other boys in his group how to do things such as drill holes & saw timber.

This term I have really seen the importance of hooking students in and getting them engaged in their activities that they are interested in. Bored boys = trouble, trouble for me, trouble for them and trouble for others in the class. It has made me question the engagement level of my lessons in other learning areas. It's all to easy to turn out a lesson that tick all the boxes but are really boring. I want to generate lessons that engage and motivate children. I know this is a big, ongoing goal which probably will never be 100% achieved however I have to start somewhere.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

PD with Dr. Jannie van Hees

Recently teachers form the senior school had PD with Dr. Jannie van Hees. She spoke about 'Developing  a Dialogic, Orally Expressive Classroom'. She challenged us about how much time we spend in the class developing students oral language skills. She highlighted the importance of gifting new vocabulary to students and giving them the opportunity to practise retaining information then recalling it later. I have to admit currently there is not a lot of this going on in my classroom. While students are given the opportunity to express and justify their thinking in various learning areas this needs to be done more explicitly. Currently there is no explicit opportunity for students to practise retaining and recalling information, and the new vocabulary they are being exposed to is minimal. In the next few weeks I will be endeavouring to start developing an orally expressive classroom. Watch this space.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

So far so good.

I have been using 'Wiseman's Warehouse' as a form of positive reinforcement for the past two weeks. The results have been mostly positive. The majority of students have really responded well to the concept, trying hard to earn Wiseman Dollars. I still have a couple of students who haven't really embraced the idea. When they receive a token they show no signs of actually wanting it like the other students. I don't know if this is them putting up a front, trying to look cool and not too eager in front of their peers or if they really don't care. I'll keep working on them.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Positive reinforcement

As a part of my inquiry into increasing behavioural engagement I am looking at what I do in regards to positive reinforcement for my students. I have found that positively reinforcing my students does not come naturally to me, particularly when it comes to praising them for doing things that I expect to be normal behaviours. After all, I don't get any sort of praise/reward for stopping at red lights. However, I realise that type of thinking is wrong and that students need to be taught how to behave in a way that is acceptable and normal. If positive reinforcement is going to help with that, i'm all in.

After observing a few other teachers in action and researching what others do to positively reinforce their students I have created a system of my own. It's called Wiseman's Warehouse. When Students are working well/doing what they should be doing they get given Wiseman Dollars.  Every Friday Wiseman's Warehouse is open from 1.10pm - 1.30pm, students are able to use their Wiseman dollars to buy things such as stationary, treats or free time. So far it seems to be working well, I only have to go and reach for the Wiseman dollars and the whole class goes silent. Hopefully it continues to work well once the novelty has worn off.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Teaching as Inquiry

The teaching staff at Pt England School are engaging in Teaching as inquiry as a part of their PD.
As a beginning teacher it seems a little odd inquiring into my teaching practice as I'm still trying to figure out what exactly my practice is. What's great is I can use this as an opportunity to create my initial teaching practices.

My Inquiry:
What can I do as a teacher to develop the behavioural engagement of my students in order to enhance their cognitive engagement.

To guide my Inquiry I will be looking at research around the Te Kotahitanga program that looks a raising Maori student's learning and achievement. I will also be observing various teachers within the school, taking note on their behavioural engagement strategies.