This is my presentation for the FTPP April Residential Course 2012. Click here to reach the information website and below is the presentation Prezi. I would love any feedback added to the comments below 🙂
Hi Everyone (though with my slack posting of late, I doubt that I will have much everybody left 😉
I am quite tired, so this isn’t going to be one of my traditional sprawling tales. We had our annual Pukeokahu School Horse Trek over the weekend, and I spent the weekend serving up 6am breakfasts, peeling various vegetables, feeding hungry trekkers and sleeping poorly in a smelly shearers bed (it was actually a wonderful weekend and I had a fantastic time, especially driving around the Mokai Range and maybe the party on Saturday Night 8-).
Anyway, so I just wanted to share the rubric my students and I created during the first three weeks of school this year. My goal was for my students to create an easy to use tools which would allow them to self assess their posts on their ePortfolios in a way that they would be able to make improvements with less and less input from me.
We began by brainstorming (in small groups, then compiled as a class) what makes a fantastic blog post, after which we put the brainstormed points in to five headings, Interesting, Tools, Attributions, Punctuation and Spelling, Categories. That night, I made up the blank rubric and entered the points into the Expert column. The next day I modelled filling in one square per column, I then gave my three pairs of students two heading each to fill in. Finally, we all came together and shared and debated the final wording, while I typed it in on my laptop. This is our finished product:
I must say that, this rubric was created by kids which had a good six months of blogging behind them through the Student Blogging Challenge. So far the kids have used it for two posts, and they are not using it independently yet. I need to constantly remind them to check back to the Rubric, and I am always saying that they need to strive for at least an Advanced level. However, apart from my nagging, kids do actually enjoy using it. They find it easy to use and relavant to their ‘Real World Wide Audience’s’ needs and are beginning to remind each other to use it.
So that’s it really, I just wanted to share this with you as you might find it useful. But if you do decide to use a rubric to help your kids blogging, you must remember that the only way the kids will take ownership of the rubric and find it enjoyable is if you help the kids create the rubric themselves.
Photo by Tristin at Pukeokahu Schools Flickr Album:
“…almost one in five students are leaving school without the basic literacy and numeracy skills that they need.”
Wow, that’s pretty fantastic! That means that over 80% of all New Zealand School children are leaving school with the basic literacy and numeracy skills that they need!
Of the 20% who are not achieving at the expected level for their age group, I will safely estimate that a quarter of them are special needs or have been identified as having learning difficulties. So we could probably bump that 80% closer to 90%.
Let’s put this into a real classroom, my classroom.
Fractions, Proportions and Ratios Stages 5-6:
I have 30 students – Year 3 and 4 (7, 8 and 9 years old).
(Well actually I have 28, but we will use 30 as a nice round number, I don’t want to make this to hard for you Mrs Tolley, I know that you are too busy to speak to or listen to us) (Also 30 is closer to the average class size in little old NZ).
1 out of 5 of them is below expected age levels in literacy and numeracy.
30 divided by 5 equals 6.
6 students are below – yep that’s my lowest reading group.
Of those six almost two of them have been identified as having learning difficulties.
(Luckily for me almost all of my students come to school after having a good nights sleep, breakfast, are well dressed for the weather and have a good healthy lunch in their bag).
Which means 4 of them are below. So that’s 4 out of thirty? (correct me if I am wrong Mrs Tolley).
Yep I knew that!
That’s why I differentiate my teaching. That’s why I get them as much extra help as possible from the funding that’s available to my school. That’s why I have spoken to their parents and have given them strategies to help their children.
If the government wanted to know this, all they had to do was ask.
Hey! Brain Wave!
Instead of wasting millions of dollars on reprinting existing resources and renaming them as National Standards. Why don’t you use that money to reduce my class size to 22 so that I can spend more time with my struggling students.
Makes sense to me …
Lately I have been using Camtasia to create Screen Casts for my eWindows site. Now usually I am a strictly freeware kind of girl (well that’s a little bit of a fib because I have paid for Edublogs, Voicethread, Flickr and my domain names, anyway …) but I am really impressed with Camtasia. So much so that I may even fork-out for it after my free one month trial (this is awesome, try before you buy!).
Camtasia is easy to use, has great support and tutorials. It runs seamlessly with my Mac and uploads directly to YouTube. At one easy payment of $99.00 (Education Pricing) I do believe it may be a keeper, though it may have to wait until after I recover from my little trip to Christchurch (only 9 more sleeps!). O, and after we wallpaper the living room. Below is my weekly-ish offering to the Blog-o-sphere. My third ever Screen Cast on how to add a Wordle.net Word-cloud to a post. So readers, I would really like some feedback here, how did I do? It’s a lot harder than it looks.
Here is my second offering to the blog-o-sphere from my uLearn09 presentation
An eWindow into my Classroom
This is a Prezi Presentation that will feature on the home page of my ulearn site. Prezi is an alternative to the standard slideshow presentation. I have added a fun little ‘how to’ I found on YouTube for those of you who want to know more. If you do decide to use Prezi as a presentation tool, it is important to remember that Prezi is best viewed in ‘full screen’.
Just click the large grey arrows at the bottom of the screen to scroll through the presentation.
This is a cool little how to video I found on YouTube – Thanks zuilabs
This is the first year of my teaching career where I have been the Teacher, not the Student for the Olympic Games and its been fantastic. It is a wonderful platform for inquiry learning and my students are fully engaged in their investigations. I am also very impressed with the Chinese Olympic Mascots. The Fuwa relate perfectly with both the games and the Chinese Culture, not to mention incredibly cute.
Our class inquiry this term is centred around three questions based on information I would like them to discover. Along with this the students are required to complete five independent learning activities based on five different sub-topics based on the Olympics.
Here is a copy of the stations and activities (all based on different HOT tools):
As a side note we have decided to un-pack the curriculum value of Excellence, which is well matched with the games.
Anyway thats all for now, much TV to watch now
So here is a blog I have set up about Inquiry Learning. Now I am by no means an expert. I have picked up most of what I know from watching other teachers and experimenting with my students.
As you all know, every child, class and situation. What works for me may be irrelevant for you, however I have found the following key points have helped me no matter who I am planning for.
1. Never assume anything! Especially what the children know or understand.
I once tried to facilitate a brainstorm on why Good Oral Language Skills are important with a Year Five and Six class. After getting nowhere for quite a while, I realised that the children didn’t know what the term Oral Language meant. Once I had explained this term the brainstorm was very successful, all of their knowledge had been blocked by my use of an unfamiliar term.
2. In order to be curious about something, you need to already know something about it.
I always begin any class inquiry topic with an immersion rotation, or pitch a mini class inquiry to hook the children’s interest. Lead the children to some key learning that will scaffold their understanding and own personal inquiry.
3. Good questions are essential, and good questioning must be taught.
They need to be taught about, open ended, closed, leading, and higher order questioning. Use Bloom’s, DeBono’s and Thinker’s Keys to scaffold them.
4. And finally, do it all over again and again and again.
Again it is the assumption thing. Don’t assume because they have done it before, whether it was last term or last year that they will remember how to conduct an inquiry. You will need to teach, use and refer to the basic skills of inquiry over and over again. I often use guided reading as means of teaching these skills.
Anyway, here are some resources that I have begged and borrowed in PDF.
inquiry-model – This was given to me by our team leader and could easily be turned into a check list.
issues-inquiry-learning1 – A student workbook used in a Yr5 & 6 class
Keywords, Skimming and Scanning Skills cards
Tools for good questioning
Please feel free to add anything else you think may be useful.