Friday, 3 March 2017

Engaging kids in writing through film!

Last weekend, I was trying to think of ways to teach writing in a more engaging way that would motivate the whole class and different ability levels. I thought back to my placements and remembered how I was once shown The Literacy Shed (an online bank of short films). I had used this on a Year 4/5 placement, however I thought why not have a go with my Year 2' was a huge hit!

I started the lesson by showing the class the first part of the movie (I used the movie Taking Flight) three times. We then talked about what had happened and made a class storyboard with specific words beside each picture. Once we had a clear idea of the sequence of events and some good words we could use, the kids set off to retell the first part of the video. I worked with my beginning writers on the mat, constructing simple sentences and finding words on the butterfly cards while the more confident writers took off to have a go on their own. Walking around the class while the kids were busy writing, I was amazed at what they were coming up with! Once we had written the first part we then came back to discuss what we thought was going to happen next and then watched the last part of the movie.

It was amazing to see how the class were motivated by not knowing what would happen at the end and by the animation which included little speech. Collaborating as a class gave us the opportunity to explore how we had all interpreted the movie and seen things others may have missed. It created a bank of resources and ideas from which students could pick and choose what they would write about. I would definitely recommend The Literacy Shed to teachers of any year level. Each video includes so many great ideas on how they could be used in a writing session!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Inquiry 2017: How to make basic facts more basic (easier to learn)!

After analysing the maths data I received from students' JAM results in 2016, it was evident that basic facts would be an area that a majority of the students needed work on. Last year I struggled with teaching students basic facts as I knew that  many students were still grasping the basic idea of numbers and what they represent. Although in saying that we had begun teaching students basic addition with small numbers so technically teaching quick fire addition and subtraction facts is very similar. Over the next week, I plan to look into some literature and ask colleagues in the junior school how they approach basic facts in year 1 and 2, so that I can create an action plan for my teaching inquiry this year. Watch this space!

Figure 1: Student data from 2016 JAM:

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Round 2 - The year of 2017!

As I began the first few weeks of my second year of teaching, I was quickly awoken out of holiday mode and was back into the full swing of teaching a beautiful class of Year 2's. Moving from a shared space into my own class was definitely a challenge and I was quick to learn the "Dos" and "Do nots" for the start of the year.

Here are some of the main gems or lessons for next year taken from this year:

Do: Take the time on the first day to have fun with the kids - Although I made sure that we set clear expectations and started routines I also wanted to make sure that we took the time to really build relationships. Together we created "Mini-Mes" and shared something special about ourselves. This is definitely something I would do again in the future.

Don't: Feel pressured to get through everything. The first few days I often forgot to really scaffold what I wanted the class to do. I realised this when I briefly demonstrated how to write an "About Me" for their blogs with an example I wrote on the board (It was a few sentences about who I am and what I like to do). I then sent the students to write their own and many returned with an "About Me" saying their name was Miss Peck, they were a teacher..... I had obviously not made it clear enough that they were to write about themselves.

Do: Take the time to try again. After the not so successful "About Me" writing lesson I was unsure of whether or not to try again the following day or to leave it a few days. I finally decided that I would retry the next day and I am very glad I did, as after discussing and scaffolding the lesson it proved to be much more successful.

Don't: Dwell on not having it all sorted in week one. After my first few days, I felt overwhelmed with a to do list that seemed never ending and which grew larger rather than smaller. I decided to take a step back and dedicate a task for each day which I knew was manageable. After the first few weeks, I felt much better and had a clearer mind as to what I was trying to achieve.

Do: Realise you will always be learning. Often I feel the need to perfect everything and this year I know that I sometimes need to realise that not everything will work out to the perfectionist standard I set. Instead I will work to do my best, ask for help, and keep inquiring and learning.

Heres to another great year at Point England School!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Oh what a year it has been in 2016!

To each and everyone who has been a part of my 2016 in both the smallest and biggest ways - thank you! This year would not have been without many others and to those individuals I will be eternally grateful. It has definitely flown by and been a huge learning journey, however one I am glad I endeavoured on and am very proud of. Look forward to seeing you all in the new year!

Here is my end of year reflection for my first year in the MDTA.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Creating a CV page/site

Today we were given the day to work on creating a CV page/site. I decided to first of all explore the past MDTA's CV pages to get an idea for how I could lay mine out. I then selected the highlights of 2016 to display on my CV page - each year I can then add a new selection on the top with the viewer still being able to visit previous years by scrolling down. I wanted to ensure I placed enough content on the page to display what I have learnt and been involved in, but also limited amount of text so that it remained interactive for the viewer.

Click the image below to visit my CV page!

Friday, 11 November 2016

My first Manaiakalani Film Festival!

On Wednesday it was the Manaiakalani Film Festival (to find out more and to see all the movies follow this link). All the students at Point England School caught a bus to Hoyts movie theatre in Sylvia Park to see our movies screened. This was a great opportunity to share our learning with both our school and other clusters. Along with Michelle George and Room 19 we created our movie "Freedom". Our movie explores the freedom we have in New Zealand to go to school and learn and was inspired by the Pharrell William's music video. Enjoy!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Getting my PCT site up to scratch

Today we were fortunate enough to be given a day to work on our PCT site. It was a great opportunity to come together as a group and share ideas for the site and reflect on all the experiences and opportunities we have this year to include in the twelve criteria. As I reflected on the year and the development of my site, I created a list of top tips for those who are starting out:

1. Create a PCT folder where all documents are kept in your drive in one place - this folder can then be shared with those who you want to share your site documents with.

2. Either design your site late out early so you have the areas for which you must collect evidence or create docs with the headings on in a folder.

3. Give yourself 30 minutes each week to update your site.

4. Collaborate with others - often we do not realise how so much we do each day can be evidence for our PCT site.

Here is a screenshot of my work in progress site: