Lest We Forget. The ANZAC Centenary in 2V

This morning we had the ANZAC Day Assembly. Students of every age across the school campus Reception-Yr 7 all seemed to understand the significance or importance of showing respect during this time of reflection and remembrance. The stillness in assembly was something unlike any other day in your typical primary school.

Following the assembly we returned to class and watched this clip on You Tube about the significance and symbol of the poppy. This helped students to understand why we make poppies on ANZAC and Remembrance Day.

We then made a poppy using this template:

Poppy template

To do this in your class you will need the template, some red and green paper or card, scissors and glue sticks.

We have been looking at procedure writing in English so we also watched a video about how to make a poppy. This was quite handy.

This is the final display in our classroom of our ANZAC poppies.

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Some children chose to look at and draw or colour in pages of ANZAC soldiers and nurses like this image below.


soldier-and-nurse-anzac_1

 

After recess we returned to class and read a book about the ANZACS.

I was fortunate to have a parent find and lend me this lovely book called “Lest We Forget” by Kerry Brown. We read in it class today to give the children some context as to why we say Lest We Forget and why it is a day that we choose to remember the ANZACS. It has beautiful illustrations and puts things into perspective for children. The link below takes you to a review of the text.

http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2015/04/review-lest-we-forget.html

Following the reading of the book there were many questions and discussions about the soldiers, nurses and animals in war. We reflected on the importance of acknowledging all those brave men and women who served Australia and fought for our freedom and rights today.

We had a lovely day reflecting on the significance of ANZAC Day and many students were keen to attend ANZAC services tomorrow for the centenary.

The Ode

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

 

 

 

A useful resource and good read for anyone interested:

http://www.anzacportal.dva.gov.au/

Welcome back to school! Let’s play!

IB: Play-Based Learning in the PYP

PAC: Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th of January 2015

Presenter: Jo Fahey & Workshop Facilitator: Heather O’Hara

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It’s only a couple of weeks until the children come back to school and I’m trying to get my junior primary headset back and what better way to do that than to engage with play-based learning!

For the last three years I’ve been teaching in Year 6 in the MYP, prior to that I was teaching Year 2’s in the PYP and now I’m back! Very excited to be back too. My colleagues in year 6 would often say to me, “You’re such a JP teacher”, usually as I sat on the floor with my students, materials sprawled across the floor. I am generally a visual and hands on learner and I believe this way of learning is natural for myself and many children. This is also known as exploratory learning or play-based learning. Using materials, props, resources to make meaning and sense of our world.

We listened to Jo Fahey about the importance of socio-dramatic play. Research has shown that students are highly engaged and participate in an authentic and mature way whilst role-playing. These play experiences help students to make sense of their world and how it works. It also allows students to take on roles and responsibilities as global citizens.

We then went to our workshop with Heather O’Hara. As part of this course we explored the definition of play:

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We then looked at the image of the child and what was at the core of what we do as educators to meet the needs of children. Why do we teach? What is the purpose behind what we do? What do we as educators do to support and develop the child?

Great read: Your Image of the Child: Where Teaching Begins by Loris Malaguzzi

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We had some interesting discussions about the words inquiry, play and learning. Are these words interchangeable? We couldn’t come to an agreement but it was agreed that playing is inquiry and learning is a product of both.

I loved exploring learning spaces at PAC. We visited the ELC and Reception rooms. In particular I enjoyed looking at this writing space pictured below. It showed intention and purpose, involved sensory elements and tied in students prior knowledge and resources to further develop their understandings. It was an inviting and engaging learning space to assist playing with writing.

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I have also been inspired by Reggio classrooms. Something I have been researching and trying to work on in my own learning spaces for the last few years.

Here are some links to my Pinterest boards regarding Reggio and Play-Based Learning:

https://www.pinterest.com/jadevidovich/reggio/

https://www.pinterest.com/jadevidovich/play-based-learning/

These images were in the PAC Early Learning Centre. I particularly liked the grass mat and wooden blocks and tree stumps. Things I have been on the look out for and am acquiring soon 🙂

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We explored this Central Idea:

Respectful and careful consideration of space, materials and relationships infuse all aspects of early childhood instruction.

From here my group came up with these lines of inquiry:

Developing Learning Spaces
Why is it important to change and develop learning spaces?
How can spaces be utilised effectively?
How can spaces be a provocation for learning?

Materials for Engagement & Exploration
How important are materials and resources for learning?
What types of materials engage the learner?
How do we select appropriate materials for learning?
Forming Positive Relationships
What does a positive relationship look like?
Why are positive relationships important to student well-being and their development?
How do we know that we are encouraging positive connections with self, peers, environment and the community/ wider-world?
It was great to listen to and discuss our own beliefs and experiences around these. We also had time to do our own research about each of these areas. Some other groups took us outside to explore how nature and the outdoor spaces around us can be learning spaces that engage students and activate inquiry and play-based learning. Visiting other learning spaces at PAC and this group time was probably the most enjoyable part of the course. I was also able to look at my current planners and think about how to set up my class as a provocation for our first inquiry. This was useful reflective time.
I’m looking forward to setting up my classroom for 2015.
Stay tuned for pictures of playful, intentional and purposeful learning spaces on my blog.
Thanks Heather O’Hara for running the course for the last three days. It has given me time to get my JP headset back and explore ideas for including more play in my learning space.
Lets start 2015!
Action Plan: 
1. Set up my classroom with the ideas I’ve accumulated over the last 3 days. Post pictures on my blog.
2. Share these play-based ideas with my staff and encourage this to be resourced and funded by the school.
3. Keep contact with the group to share our play-based learning strategies. Do this via Twitter, Pinterest and the Wiki.

A Poetry Lesson: My Poem

In class today, Mr Huebl gave the students the following instructions:

Please select your poem and compose a blog post on it. This post will need:

1. A copy of your poem, including author, date of writing and source
2. An explanation of what the poem is about, in your opinion.

Please submit the URL in the ‘my poem’ assignment on Edmodo.

I chose to partake in this lesson and have found a poem and will submit this assignment.

My Poem:

I Love You
by Jean: http://www.teachers.net/gazette/MAY03/poem.html

A child grabs my hand in “ownership.”
“Teacher,” he calls me. “Miss ______.”
I call the roll and, instead of his name,
he answers this, “I love you.”

What do I say while the others laugh?
I’m choked with emotion; words fail me.
I have to do something, I know in my heart,
But the words are so sweet, so lovely.

An “angel” is heckled for loving.
I have to reprove him – I do,
Just to set an example
So the others won’t act up, too.

But the words don’t stop with the laughter,
And the “angel” is not quite through.
When the other kids giggle, “He loves her,”
He stands up and cries, “But I do!”

And my heart sort of pulls at my chest now
As I call the names left on the list.
But my heart is waiting to hear once more
The words that I already miss…”I love you.”

My interpretation of this poem:
The writer is a teacher. The angel is one of her students. The student/ angel is a boy and he says he loves his teacher during roll call. Obviously this teacher has made an impact on this child. I have made the assumption that this is a young boy, a child in primary school. The other children laugh at him, obviously not many students announce their love for their teachers. This makes me wonder how old the children are, and if the boy is different in some way? Is this boy craving love from his teacher because he doesn’t get love at home? Or is this boy in a family who openly expresses their feelings and love for one another, that this appears to be a normal behaviour?
Is this boy different from his peers? Yes. How and why? We do not know.
The teacher appreciated this boy and his kind words but fears that his actions and words will isolate him. Yet she craves the words all the same. Teachers can love their students and students can love their teachers, but it is not something that is usually expressed for fear of judgement, limitations of standards of professionalism, keeping safe distances and boundaries within the classroom, defining an appropriate teacher/ student relationship etc etc.

A lovely poem all the same.
An experience I can relate to.

ACEC: Australian Computers in Education Conference: CyberSmart

CyberSmart

Embedding a Cyber Smart program into the curriculum.

Presenter: Greg Gebhart

National Curriculum: Standard 4

4.4 Maintain Student Safety

  • Provide learning opportunities on cyber bullying and how to report
  • Provide students with the information on safe use of social media.

4.5 Use ICT Safely, responsibility and ethically

  • Provide lessons to students on plagiarism
  • Provide students with the curriculum that identifies key online risks and issues.

How do we embed Cyber Safety within current programs in the curriculum?

There is no doubt that we, as educators see the importance of raising student awareness about issues regarding online safety. There are constant changes, risks and obstacles we face online and it is our responsibility to equip our students with the tools and strategies to safely engage with the online world. In my teaching experience I have created a Digital Citizenship Unit of Inquiry with my Year 6 students to address such issues.

I found this statistic fascinating: The average number of student personal digital devices is 4 or more each! This includes devices such as iPad’s, phones, laptops, gaming consoles, iPods etc. It was also interesting to note that whilst the number of mobile phones for students hasn’t really changed, they have instead progressed from standard mobile phones to Smart Phones, allowing further access to online activities.

Less than 5% of Primary Schools students are on Facebook. There has been a shift away from Facebook and a move towards other social networking sites and apps such as Instagram and Kik. This is due to Facebook becoming an increasingly adult world where students are being friended by their parents, family members etc. We need to remind our students about the security settings within each app and site. For example many students are using Instagram to upload their personal pics, not realising that even though they are sharing these pictures with their friends lists, the pictures themselves become property of Google images and can be used on Google and found by strangers if searched. I have students in Year 6 who are currently using Instagram and I wonder if they realise this…note to self: remind my class about this in our next Digital Citizenship lesson.

Here are some Sites/ Apps which are popular amongst students ranging from primary to high school age:

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KIK: Kik has limited security settings, it is meant for young adults (17+), we find many offenders on this app, searching for young people. Do not recommend KIK to students, talk about the lack of safety and how to change the settings to not allow strangers to connect with you.

YouTube (13+): So many students have YouTube accounts and upload videos of themselves to share with others. Again there are privacy settings and choices of who you share your videos with. Golden rule of if you wouldn’t share this with your grandma, don’t share it online.

Vine (17+) (6 second videos) Risky behaviours are being displayed here, students dare each other to do things to get their 6 seconds of fame online. We need to warn students about these risky behaviours and what impact 6 seconds can have on your digital reputation.

Tumbler (13+) (majority of kids not using this now)

askFM (13+) ask.com has recently purchased this site and have promised to clean the site up and restructure it. It is not one to recommend to children.

Whisper. This site has been linked to teenage suicides, it allows people to comment and be completely anonymous, which is why students like it, but also allows for some terrible posting and behaviours.

SnapChat: This app is being used by some of my students. The idea is that students can share a photo and set a time limit for that photo and then it “disappears”. The issue is that these images are being shared but then captured and stored and shared again! There are Snap Chat cheats to collect the images without the sender realising their photo has been captured. The names of the cheats are: Snap Save, Snap-Hack Pro, Snap Capture. I wonder if my students are aware of this???

It is so important for us to create an awareness of the importance of Security Settings. We need to not only tell students to change their settings but also show them where they are and how to activate them. Sometimes it is simply one setting that can take you from high risk to low risk.

We need to develop the idea of Digital Identities and how they are your real identity too. Teaching the whole person and developing their well-being. Cyber safety is viewed negatively in the eyes of students, there is the “been there done that” mentality. However, the Digital Citizenship topic is seen in a positive light, looking at who you are as a person online and the values and behaviours you display that project who you are as a person.

Resources to investigate:

CyberSmart Website: Some great resources for teachers, parents and students

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Schools/Cybersafety%20policy%20guidance/Holistic%20approach%20to%20cybersafety.aspx

Bogus Websites to share with kids: https://infolit.wikispaces.com/Bogus+websites

This website gives examples of websites that are full of completely false facts. They are quite clever but can be used to teach students how to identify good sources of information. Check them out.

 

Maths Lesson: Properties of 3D Shapes/ Solids

Reflecting on My Practice

As part of my PLP (Personal Learning Plan) I identified the need for me to focus on Mathematics, specifically Maths mental warm ups and Maths lesson starters.

I did a warm up for a lesson today which I thought was quite good and I thought I would share and document it.

The lesson outline:

This was the note I sent my students on the online learning platform Edmodo: (If you want to learn more about Edmodo go to this link: https://www.edmodo.com/about)

Warm up Activity: Revisiting Properties of Shapes. 
You were given a 3D solid shape in class today. You need to describe the properties of that shape on your iPad (using the apps Explain Everything OR Educreations) and post your video to the padlet attached.
Thanks
PS. Remember to use the vocabulary we learnt in the last lesson. Key words I’m looking for are vertex/vertices, edges, faces, angles.

Below is the link to the Padlet with my student responses:

Properties of 3D Shapes:

http://padlet.com/wall/4bw0zr27be9z

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The thing I liked about this activity was I was able to quickly collect my students responses and view them later in my own time. I was then able to assess their work whilst the students were off at another lesson. I was able to give them direct specific feedback about the content of their videos and assess if they were capable of listing the properties of a 3D solid shape using learnt vocabulary from the previous lesson.

The students seemed to enjoy the task too as it was recapping what was learnt in the last lesson and applying some of their creative skills to communicate their learning in a different way.

It was a fun Maths Warm up today and I’m glad it went so well.

 

 

MLATS Learning and Teaching Mathematics: Number

MLATS: Mathematics Learning & Teaching for Success

Saturday the 9th of August 8:30am-3:30pm

Presenter: Sarah Ratcliffe

The Rationale for MLATS

The teaching of mathematics is a complex business, and in the busyness of school life, teachers often do not have time to reflect on the teaching and learning cycle, on what is working well and on what could be improved. Additionally, many teachers have expressed a lack of confidence in their own mathematical knowledge, which in turn impacts on their teaching of mathematics.

The interplay between school mathematics and the development of numeracy is complex. MLATS core course offers a broad introduction to the teaching and learning of mathematics and numeracy, and seeks to help participating teachers identify the mathematical knowledge that students should be learning, and makes explicit the teacher’s role in supporting all students to be successful.

Our broad range of other workshops and short courses are designed to meet the needs and interests of teachers.

For information about MLATS and courses available please see the link attached. http://mlats.com.au/

We need to report to the achievement standards in ACARA and be mindful of IB curriculum too.

Sort and classify activities (newspapers, houses, categorise and sort houses by number/ patterns, relationships)

When/ How do we give our students the opportunity to:

  • Identify and describe attributes
  • Identify and describe relationships
  • Think logically to classify and order
  • Handle data

 Thought: Being confused means that you are learning.

 Being Successful means:

50% confidence

25% attitude

25% IQ

(I shared this with my students and they were so surprised and relieved!) This was one of my highlights.

I don’t need the answer I want the process.

Students need to construct meaning for themselves.

Students need the factual and procedural knowledge but they also need to know when to apply these in everyday problem solving tasks.

EMU: Extending Mathematical Understanding Intervention program. Something worth looking into at St Andrew’s School. http://www.ais.sa.edu.au/__files/f/133092/Extending

I am concerned with students whom I have worked with who have difficulty with number concepts and Sarah (Course leader) suggested that they might have dyscalculia. I had not heard of this term so did some brief research about it. Here is what I found.

What is dyscalculia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyscalculia

http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/what-is-dyscalculia

http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-ld-books

Formative assessment: A discussion about how we assess mathematics formally came up in this session. We have one summative Maths assessment per term and base some of our results on testing and general maths tasks in bookwork, on iPads and through observations. I liked the idea of introducing Maths Journals, which is something we can do quite easily using the iPad in the 1:1 program currently running in Year 6.

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Ideas for the Journal:

Prompt reflections in Mathematics. (Links to IB: Reflective & Thinkers).

I challenged myself by…

Next, I want to…

I worked…. Because…

Next time I will

An activity I thought would be great for our buddy class visits:

Write a procedure on how to draw a graph. If you had to explain how to draw a graph to Year 1 students what would you tell them?

Mathematics Inquiry Cycle:

Provocation and reflect

Investigation and reflect

Share ideas and reflect

Test, draw conclusions and reflect.

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MLATS rules for working:

  • Choose to work alone, in a group or with a partner but everyone must do their own recording
  • You can choose to use concrete materials or work without them
  • You must seek to understand what you are doing
  • If you need help, follow the procedures to get it.

What do we mean by numeracy and mathematics?

Numeracy is the practical use of mathematics in context.

Developing Number Sense:

Counting

Estimation

Subitising (the ability to know how many are in a collection without counting)

Place Value

Part-Whole Relationships

Four Operations

How can we develop estimation skills?

Handful Grab Game. Estimate and counting games. Refer to MLATS booklet.

Mental Computation: Do this every so often but make sure to go through the processes afterwards. This is important for developing quick thinking strategies as well as going over different strategies each student has used and trying them in the next mental computation quiz.

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I found this image about Adult usage quite interesting but not shocking. We as adults use calculators, estimation and mental computation strategies before written strategies. Yet we are getting our students to record and write their Mathematical thinking in their books all of the time. We need to create a balance here and make sure that we are giving students the opportunity to estimate, use calculators and solve mental problems.

My goals after this workshop:

I always like to set myself a few goals after a workshop and at least attempt one or two of them within that week.

1. Year level Maths Survey and Data Collection task. How are our students feeling about Mathematics? How do they prefer to learn? Ability Ranking data.

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2. Maths Journals/ Reflections after the lesson. This won’t simply be a separate book but at the end of the lesson allow for reflection in their maths book or on their iPad.

 

3. Mental warm up strategies as per my PLP Goal (See Heather for demonstration lesson asap). Go through the mental guides in the MLATS booklet.

Resources:

The Van de Walle Professional Mathematics Series.

Two of Everything. (JP Book)

Open Ended Maths Activities: Using good questions to enhance learning in Mathematics. 2nd Edition. Peter Sullivan and Pat Liburn.

Ontario

About Teaching Mathematics: Marilyn Burns

Origo: Thinking Caps

www.origoeducation.com

Maths Solutions: http://mathsolutions.com/about-us/marilyn-burns/

All Hands on Deck

Number Pieces Basic app.

 

Have You Tried Turning it Off and On Again?

The 1:1 iPad journey has been one of huge learning curves for my students and myself. We have constantly been working out how to resolve technical iPad issues, and one of the most common starting points and our class tagline is “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

Digital Leaders

This week in Genius Hour (http://www.geniushour.com/) a couple of my students created this clever poster display for our classroom. They like to be referred to as my Tech Support Team but I am also flagging the idea of Digital Leaders within Upper Primary at our school.

One of my goals will be to begin working with Digital Leaders within my ICT Club (Co-curricular lessons) to establish a team of students who can assist their peers, teachers and other staff members with their technical difficulties. This may also extend into students running mini tech lessons in classes. This idea was born after following Nick Jackson @largerama (http://largerama.creativeblogs.net/) , who I saw at a CEGSA Conference in 2013 promoting the idea of Digital Leaders in schools. Nick also came to our school to meet with leadership to discuss options for our school.

These are some exciting ideas, which have created high levels of student engagement. I also believe that this kind of learning is purpose driven, allowing students to take responsibility for themselves and others, and importantly it gives students the opportunity to develop leadership qualities.

For more information about Genius Hour:

Language and Literature Unit: Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence

For the last two years my team and I have been developing a Middle Years Programme (MYP) unit of inquiry in Language & Literature based on the novel and film “Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence” by Doris Pilkington and directed by Phillip Noyce.

I was introduced to this inquiry unit by my colleague Andy Peartree (http://anderspearz.edublogs.org/) who had historically taught this unit to Year 6’s in previous years. Paul Huebl and myself enjoyed team teaching this unit in 2013, but this year I have been teaching the subject to all students across the year level on my own.

I have adapted the unit and made some changes and thought it was worth sharing with others. I have attached the following documents:

1. The MYP Unit Planner: Language & Literature T2 RPF 2014

2. The Task (Comparative Essay) and Assessment Rubric: Rabbit Proof Fence Rubric 2014

3. The Novel & Film Study documents:Rabbit Proof Fence Novel & Film Study 2014

4. Essay Planning Document: Individual RPF Essay plan

5. Rabbit Proof Fence Display Posters: Rabbit Proof Fence signs

Within this unit we have been exploring the MYP Statement of Inquiry: Films and novels convey the same message to an audience.

We have been comparing different texts to see if the same messages can be conveyed. I have used the film and novel, “Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence” and the picture book, “The Rabbits” by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, to see if the theme and messages about the Stolen Generations were conveyed similarly and which medium was the most powerful.

We have had some pretty amazing and powerful reactions from students, especially after watching the film and looking at the following clip to anaylse the director’s work about the abduction scene:

My students are now in the process of analysing the film, doing guided reading sessions and making text connections with “The Rabbits” by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.

RPF photo copy

The final assessment and response to this unit will be a written piece (comparative essay) responding to the following questions:

Did the novel or film communicate the story “The Rabbit Proof Fence” better? Why?

        

         Compare the ways the film and the novel explore your chosen theme.

 

Explain why you think that one communicated the theme better than the other.

This is the first essay my Year 6 students have written so quite a bit of scaffolding has been required. I’m looking forward to reading their completed responses and final reflections about the inquiry statement after this assignment.