Sunday, 28 August 2016

#Manaiakalani Hui - A very inspiring day!

Last Friday, I was extremely fortunate to attend the 5th Annual Manaiakalani Hui. The day began with the Manaiakalani student ambassadors sharing how they learn, create and share. Not only was it a very proud moment, it also allowed me to see some great ideas to incorporate into our classroom learning. The Spark MIT Innovative Teachers spoke next and this was equally valuable in gaining an insight into a variety of ideas and the research they were completing in their inquiry projects.

Rebecca, Aaron and Stuart from Woolf Fisher Research at Auckland University challenged us to consider how we can accelerate our learners. How can we get our students up to speed and then maintain this speed? What is important to teach? Is the learning programme rich and varied?

Russell. Dorothy, and Pat Sneddon highlighted that as a cluster we are achieving great results however we should always continue to work on where we are going next. We also need to realise that if we know something works that there is no excuse not to do it. Also as we outreach into other clusters we must continue to be open to sharing and taking new ideas and adapting our programme as successful strategies or approaches are found.

As innovative teachers we must always remain open to learning and trying something different!

Thank you to all who were involved, I felt extremely privileged to take part in this special celebration of our cluster!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Inquiry - Where to next?

Over the last 6 months I have been inquiring into high frequency word retention. I designed an intervention called "Word Worm" (click here to find out more) which both I and the students thoroughly enjoyed. The students were repeatedly exposed to the words and used the words not only in their reading but also their writing and the amount of words they were able to retain increased. As I look into my next inquiry topic and possible ideas for my dissertation next year, I am considering inquiring into the value of reading to the class. Over the next weeks I will be looking into different research and literature to further define the path I will take. This idea is still in its very early stages - I look forward to updating you over the next term. If you have any suggestions on books to read or possible ways to encourage student-led discussion when reading to the class I would love to hear any ideas!

Friday, 19 August 2016

@stephteachnz - I am now a tweeter!

This morning I was lucky enough to join a Google Hangout with James Hopkins and was inspired to join the tweeting world of Twitter (Twitter is an online social networking service where those who join can share messages or "tweets" of up to 140 characters). James discussed the benefits of Twitter as a professional learning network where you can share ideas, resources and be exposed to the latest news in the education sector. By others questioning our ideas and by questioning others we endeavour on an ongoing reflective learning journey. James explained what hashtags are used for - if you add a hashtag e.g. #school, it will enter a thread of all other tweets with the same hashtag. The use of a unique hashtag can be a great way to start a Twitter chat. Those involved in the chat all add the same hashtag onto their tweet and it creates a bank of tweets under the chosen hashtag. If you choose to do this make sure to Google the hashtag first to see if it is already being used, as if it is it will join onto the posts others have made with that particular hashtag.

Here is a screenshot of our #MDTAchat this morning so you can see how it comes up:

Follow @stephteachnz to join me on my Twitter journey!

Friday, 12 August 2016

Garageband 101

Today we were very lucky to have Rob Wiseman come to our MDTA immersion day and give us a crash course on Garageband. With the Manaiakalani Film Festival coming up it was great to get some tips on how to not only record audio, but also edit it to maximise the quality.

Here are some of the top tips/must-remembers I took from the session for recording and editing audio:

1) Don't underestimate the difference using a microphone can make.

2) Getting quality audio initially, allows for easier editing later (editing cannot fix terrible audio)

3) Test the audio first before recording - that way you can make any adjustments prior to spending valuable time collecting an usable piece of audio.

The session was greatly scaffolded in that we first of all learnt the basics - how to get the microphone working, how to record an audio track, split and delete sections (I now realise that there is no need to always start from the beginning of what you are recording if an error is made, as with the editing settings you can take out any imperfections).

We then had a go at creating an audio track using the music clips on Garageband - not only is this an extremely fun and addictive activity it is a great way to create your own original music tracks. As the sound tracks come with Garageband you really do not need to know the technicalities of composing to get creating!

P.S - Ashley wrote a great description of how to use the basic functions on Garageband so click this link to have a look!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Infographics on Canva

Today at the Manaiakalani digital immersion day we learnt all about the SHARE element of the Manaiakalani pedagogy LEARN-CREATE-SHARE and what it means to share learning. Sharing our learning as educators is an important part of developing our practice and allows us to receive feedback from our audience. Equally important is for our students to share their work to an authentic audience - students gain an understanding that they should create work they are proud of and that there are others out there who will be looking at their work and possibly even sharing this further.

In the afternoon we then created infographics (infographics are a way of visually sharing information where the data is concisely summarised). I used the data from the statistics on my blog to create an infographic on Canva. I used one of their templates and altered the colours and logos to suit the theme of my infographic. I found Canva very easy to use and it has a vast range of free icons, images, templates, backgrounds, etc to get creative with. It was also interesting to see where in the world viewers are from and the browsers and operating systems they are using!