Friday, 29 July 2016

Consolidating knowledge by Sketchnoting!

Absolutely loved creating today! Today we were introduced to the concept of Sketchnoting. When I first caught a glimpse of a sketchnote I immediately thought 'doodling". However, as I attempted a go at creating a summary sketchnote, what appears to be a doodle with a few words seem immediately more complex! Sketchnoting is an effective way of consolidating knowledge as you have to translate ideas into images while extracting the most important parts of the bulk of the information you are translating.

Originally, I had downloaded the app, Procreate, for approx. $9 to create my sketchnote on. I absolutely loved how easy the interface was to use and all the different tools that were available to further customise and personalise my sketchnoting experience. Eventually, I made the executive decision to move onto paper, but simply because I was spending too much time playing around and exploring on Procreate. I just wanted to get my ideas down and be able to complete this task before the day was up! In saying that, had I had the time, I would have loved to delve deep into procreate and happily lose hours creating a masterpiece! I have heard of a feature on Procreate (but not yet tried) where you can export your creation as a video, so it documents the process from start to finish. I can't wait to give this a go! 

I am really looking forward to introducing this way of notetaking to my learners. As many educators who use Sketchnote have mentioned, scaffolding them into how to best use sketchnoting is paramount to the success and effectiveness of it. Thinking ahead to when my learners leave to highschool, sketchnoting could be a very effective way of taking notes when they are exposed to lecture style learning. 

Dorothy Burt shared with us a really neat youtube clip of what sketchnoting is:

I will definitely be practicing my sketchnoting skills as much as possible! Excited to use this!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Term 2 Reflection

Where have I come from? At the beginning...
  • I was an experienced observer
  • I was capable of reflecting on the effectiveness of the practice of others
  • Unsure of myself as a teacher
  • Viewed myself as a ‘fast learner’ and expected that I would ‘pick up’ how to do teaching quickly
  • Thought I would throw myself wholeheartedly into teaching and not do anything else
  • Saw being in an MLE as three teachers doing three separate things but sharing the learners
  • Attitude towards high decile schools was quite stereotypical
How am I going? Where am I now?
  • Not afraid to get in and lead
  • I have confidence in myself as teacher, learners respect me as a teacher.
  • I have realised that you can have so many ideals about what effective teaching practice is and looks like, but in the thick of it when you have ten million things to do and another ten million going on it takes more than simply having those ideals to make it them a reality.
  • I have gained pedagogical content knowledge- and in depth - a lot slower than I had anticipated but I now realise I am progressing at a realistic rate.
  • I have realised that if you don’t look after yourself and emotional wellbeing first and foremost you cannot give your all to your learners and those around you, so self is most important
  • I have been conditioned by my own personal educational experience in terms of one teacher teaching one group of learners - I am now aware of this and am lucky to have colleagues willing to experiment and try different things in terms of co-teaching and drawing on the affordances of three teachers.
  • I understand now that just because high decile schools are made of people who may come from a higher demographic, kids are still kids and people regardless of their demographic still have many similar problems.
Where am I going? Where to next?
  • Knowing learners better in terms of their learning, e.g where they are currently achieving at and the next steps they need to take etc. and subsequently being able to have quality conversations with parents about their children’s learning.
  • Use of provocations to engage learners, getting buy-in and providing learning contexts which are authentic, applicable and transferable to their wider lives.
  • Facilitating literacy in a different way (not much idea ‘how’ this might look yet!)
  • More co-teaching and a less single-celled mindstate.

Appreciation post

These last few weeks have probably been the most character testing that I have endured in a long, long time. With an intense school term, my first Learner Led conferences and my personal life seemingly falling apart - (sleepless nights from a relentless toothache, the pressure of moving house, it goes on and on!) I have been trying to balance my life so that come the school holidays, I don't crash and burn.

Although it has taken an exceptional exertion of effort to stay on top of teaching and learning through the obstacles listed above, it has ultimately been the support of my beautiful, empathetic, and supportive colleagues, mentors, friends, and family that have pulled me through and allowed me to see through to the end of the term without a (big) breakdown! To the people who have shared words of encouragement or inspiration or even just a smile, to my peers who have struggled alongside me through the term, to the people who dragged themselves out of bed before 6am to come to boot camp, to my lovely mama who has sent me little gift packages, thank you, thank you, thank you; for it is you who has helped to replenish my spirit and allowed me to love and serve from my overflow! 

Friday, 1 July 2016

Tiki tour around the Manaiakalani Cluster

Being a part of the Manaiakalani Digital Teacher's Academy has meant that we are blessed with many opportunities to extra professional learning. One such opportunity happened this week when we were given the chance to visit 2-3 other schools within the cluster.

First the first school visit, Myself and another Teacher of Year 7/8s, Chelsea, decided to check out Tamaki college, to get a sense of the environment that many of our learners would be moving into within the next one to two years. We had been arranged to observe an year 9 English class. As we entered, I noticed the desks were arranged into rows and the teacher stood at the head of the class, behind his desk. I wondered how the learners found this transition, some of them coming from open learning environments, full of colour and furniture that yearned to create opportunities to collaborate; to this room, where they were no longer in Primary but in a hot, baby blue room with desks in rows and the door locked. It all sounds very bleak but it picked up from here. The learners were putting their built knowledge to the test, engaging in a Kahoot about particular functions of certain punctuation, the winner winning an Up&Go, which seemed to be great motivation. 

After this, the learners moved into their reading, using a programme new to the school. This new reading system, the teacher said, had meant that he had seen learners progressing to new levels faster than ever before. The system required learners to take a test, placed them at a particular level and then they were able to choose a book from that level. Upon completing the book, the learner would take a test, with a certain percentage right, the would 'level-up' but if not, they would remain at the same level, until they could pass. The learners could take the test whenever they felt they were ready, which meant that they were working at their own pace. Not to mention, the tests and some of the texts were available online which meant more ubiquity, more visibility, more empowerment. 

I think my main wondering from this mornings experience would be - How am I setting up my learners so that when they get to this environment they can still experience success. How am I designing learning in a way that familiarises them with the way high school will function/is structured, without taking away the integrated benefits of a Primary School setting?