Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Listening to Them Think

I just LOVE listening to the kids think as they complete activities using Explain Everything. The perfect way to really assess understanding.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

New Things to Think About

Even though I have spent 3 years in 1:1 Chromebook classes and 5 years running GAFE,  there is still so much to learn in terms of delivering a truly digital, engaging, collaborative program, where learning is at the centre.

With the switch to iPads from Chromebooks, I knew that some technical pieces wouldn't quite fit the puzzle in the same way and that I would need to adapt around that  - no problem. I figured smaller kids would take longer to work things out - again,  no problem. What I didn't count on, was that I would be changing up the pedagogy so early on.

2 years ago I made the conscious decision to develop a more cognitively engaging maths program where the students were prompted to discuss and orally share rather than fill out worksheets to practise strategies. Why I never carried this over to my literacy program, I am not so sure.

With young students using iPads, there is a limit to how successful they are at directing a cursor to an exact point on a Google Doc, the highlighting of specific text and shuffling around is quite cumbersome and the interaction between our class sites and Apps is not so smooth.

My initial reaction was that these skills would come with time and in the interim I began to print out group reading response sheets. This was a successful change, in the fact that the students were very familiar with paper and pencil and the "kids could get on with their work."

The more I thought about how to fix this problem, I started to feel that the problem was in what I was asking the students to do, not in how they were doing it.

Was I providing an engaging, collaborative reading program that was focused on Key Competencies and the development of reflective learners? - Nope.

Why wasn't the literacy program more discoursive and reflective?

As a class we are working towards sharing ideas, relating to others and participating, these can only be developed through interactive, shared experiences - Certainly not by completing a "follow up response sheet".

So to start the new week on Monday, Class 12 has a new approach to literacy. We're still going to read HEAPS of books. We're going to learn new words and phrases. We're going to make sure that we are understanding the message in our stories.
We're going to do all this by talking about our books and sharing our new learning in a discoursive and detailed fashion.

Explain Everything is proving to be an even more powerful app than first thought and coupled with Hapara's Teacher Dashboard, the sharing of templates and completed movies, is just far too simple.

So watch the kids' blogs, as we aim to share even more awesomeness.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Owning Their Learning

As we are now solidly into routines and life at school, I was interested in finding out what, in actual fact, the students had internalised around the Key Competencies.

 How were they perceiving their learning, their success and their struggle?
 What do they Key Competencies mean to 7yr olds and their learning?

 I must admit that I have been pleasantly surprised by the first group to share their thoughts. The learners are clearly able to articulate their understandings and create both reflective and prospective moments in their own learning.

 How cool is it to see small children talking like this about learning?