Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Manaiakalani Film Festival - Maui and the Sun!

This year our Manaiakalani Film Festival film was a retell of the story of Maui and the Sun. The children all worked really hard to make their costumes and act out all the different scenes! It was a great opportunity for the whole class to get involved and learn about green screening, filming and recording audio. Having our film screened at Hoyts on the big movie screen was definitely a highlight and the excitement from the children when they saw it come on was priceless - thank you to all those who organised this amazing event!


Monday, 6 November 2017

Celebrating Accelerated Shift in 2017!

Today Dorothy took our staff meeting on how visible learning empowers both students and teachers. We reflected on the strategies we have used this year to accelerate the learning and were asked to share a short summary of how we achieved this shift.

Here is a summary to celebrate the shift of a student in Year 2:

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Teaching Inquiry - Term 4 (Basic Facts continued...)

The students really enjoyed the basic facts challenges on our Google Forms last term (see previous post for more details). The competition aspect of wanting to move up the levels proved to be a hit and was great motivation to get them trying again and again! I did find that a few students who were starting to struggle at the higher levels were losing motivation and I feel this may have been down to their strategies not being high enough for the questions...

From this I realised, how although I wanted to have a big push in students' knowledge, I also needed them to maintain their knowledge of strategies. Therefore, I am going to include a daily recap of strategies they can use as part of our calendar maths. At the moment, I plan to have a daily question which we will solve as a class in a variety of ways with different strategies. Funnily enough at the photocopier this morning were a stack of strategy posters, which I was able to locate after a quick Google search (link to them here) and am now in the process of popping up on the wall as reference for the class.

Reflecting on my inquiry last term made me realised how hand-in-hand both knowledge and strategy go, and the importance of ensuring students are maintaining and practising these both as often as possible!

Image attribution

Friday, 15 September 2017

What I have learnt this year creating our film for the Manaiakalani Film Festival!

Brainstorm early!

I learnt from last year the importance on brainstorming early, as it gives you time to change your idea if you realise it may not work so well. This year, I brainstormed in the holidays and over the first three weeks of term went back and forth between ideas before I settled on one that I knew would work with the whole class.

Think carefully about audio

If you are going to have students speaking in the film, make sure that you have a good plan as to how you will capture clear audio (think about wind noise outside, getting a good quality microphone and having a quiet shooting location). I decided this year to narrate our story and we recorded our audio on Garageband prior to filming.

If you write a script make sure you time it with the narrator

Once I had written my script I timed it at home to make sure I knew it would fit into 3 minutes. However, when I got to school and had my students record I realised that I must talk very fast! Luckily we had enough time to cut out certain parts to make sure it was the right length.

Have a filming day

Last year. I was given a day to film the whole movie and I found it worked well. It gave us a day to focus on the movie and then we could retake any scenes we needed. This year I told the students our filming day and we spent the entire day building props, getting our costumes ready and filming. We did have to change a few actors due to absentees, however I was able to reshoot a few scenes the following week to make sure all the students were involved.

Take lots of shots and angles of each scene

Our team leader made sure we understood the importance of taking a variety of shots and angles. This proved to be great advice when I later noticed that in some of my shots my hair had blown into the top of the lens!

Leave enough time for editing

Make sure you give yourself enough time for editing - not only will you save yourself a lot of stress, you will also have time to create a film which you feel is refined and something you can be proud of!

With our movie almost complete, we are now onto the editing and look forward to sharing it with you soon.... Keep posted to see an amazing effort by a beautiful class of Year 2's!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

How to export a multiple page PDF as JPEGS with Automator!

Last week, I was wanting to save a multiple page PDF as a series of JPEG files. I initially tried to export the PDF as a JPEG, which would only export the first page. Next I Googled "How to save a multiple page PDF as JPEGs". My search took me to this blog by PremiumBeat where it was suggested to use an Automator workflow.

I had not yet stumbled across this amazing robot on my MacBook Air and what an honour it was to meet him/her! With a few quick steps (see the link by PremiumBeat) I built a workflow and had my PDF exported into a series of JPEG files.

I havn't yet had the time to explore more of what I can do with Automator, however I did find this link by Apple where there are suggestions for its use with mail, webpages and calendar!

Will let you know as I discover more and would love to hear any suggestions on what you have used it for!

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Maths Professional Development with Jo Knox - Calendar Maths!

We have been very lucky at Pt England School to have Jo Knox working alongside us this year in maths. Last week we had team sessions with Jo and I left feeling extremely inspired by all her ideas!

The focus of our session was fractions (I will post about this soon), however she also touched on Calendar Maths and how it can be used in the classroom to reinforce various maths skills each day.
(I had seen a similar concept on a placement with 100 days of school, however had not yet seen the many creative ideas that Jo presented us with!)

Calendar Maths is set up as an interactive wall display which you complete with students for a few minutes each day. Some teachers also use it as part of their maths rotation which can be seen in the links below.

Visit these links to see what I am talking about!

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3 

What you decide to include on your Calendar Math is totally up to you and will depend on the age and needs of your students.

You may include:

A calendar!

With this you could talk about the date - what is the number before and after? What is 10 more? 10 less?
Bundle the number into groups of ones and 10s - students will get to see how when you get to the next ten you bundle the ones and they become one group of 10 and not individual ones.
Talk about the days of the week, months, year and seasons.

A clock!

Get a clock and talk about what time the clock is showing.

A hundreds board!

Start from day one and add a number each day. You could count forwards and back from the number of the day. This will help with students not always counting up from 1 which can cause difficulties when you want students to start from a different number!

Have a daily fraction!

Pop up a fraction and get students to read what it says and maybe even match a picture that represents that fraction.

A tooth tally chart!

Each time a tooth is lost in the class add it to a tooth tally chart to expose kids to how we tally and group in 5's.

A piggy bank!

Put some money in the piggy bank. How rich are we today?

Would love to hear any more ideas you may have about Calendar Maths and how it is used in your classroom!

Image attribution 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Inquiry - Basic Facts

Last term, a colleague of mine, Charlotte Gaston, created a Google Form on which the students completed a basic facts test online, on their iPads. She had set it up so that the students answers were then submitted to a Google Spreadsheet.

Seeing as I had begun my inquiry at the beginning of the year on how to improve students' basic facts knowledge, I was excited to give this a go. On the weekend I finally got around to setting this all up!

I created a Google Form with questions I had found from a resource (basic facts tests for different stages) on Hikutaia's School Website. One of the Google Form tests was based on the Stage 2-3 test and the second form was based on the Stage 4 test.

Each question was assigned a "short answer" answer option and 1 point (This way when it was self-marked through Google Sheets we could quickly see how many each student got correct).
The only question that was set as required was the "What is your name?" question - this was so students who did not complete the questions in the 5 minutes could still submit their test. The name question was required so that students had to write their name to submit.

Next, I assigned a Google Sheet to the form - I made sure that the Google Sheet was different for the Stage 2-3 test and Stage 4 test.

Above you can see Room 27's first attempt at the basic facts test. Overall the students really enjoyed the challenge and were quick to grasp onto what they had to do to answer the questions. I will make sure to continue scaffolding this over the week, so next week students will be able to jump straight on each day after morning tea for their daily basics fact quiz.

At the moment we have said that if students get 20/20 three times in a row they are able to move onto the next level. Will keep you updated on how this goes!