R Harrison- A Teacher's Learning Journey

Teaching in the 21st Century

September12

A great, easy read. Would be beneficial to share and discuss the seven key elements with students when tackling attitudes and feelings towards mathematics, particularly at the beginning of the year. Also beneficial to share with parents.

http://youcubed.org/teachers/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Positive-Classroom-Norms-UK-version.pdf

Action Research Reflection Questions

September18

1. What was the main focus and purpose of this action research project?
The main focus of my Action research was to explore the focus question, ‘What effect does the use of collaborative online tools have on students learning?’ Our aim was to implement blogging practises within our classrooms.

2. Did you achieve the intended purpose and how do you know? If not, why not?
I believe I went above and beyond my initial intention. Initially I thought that I would establish a blog where the teacher would write posts on behalf of the students and teachers or level 5/6 children would comment. I thought that the junior students would only engage with the blog with the support of their teacher.

The students in my class were so enthusiastic to use the blog that the decision to make the blog public happened very quickly. students ICT skills developed quickly as they had a real purpose for them. They wanted to interact with their peers online both t school and at home.

Furthermore I had my concerns about how much use the blog would get both by my self and my colleagues. I was concerned it would be an ‘add on’ in a very busy term and we would struggle to find a place for blogging. How wrong was I? THe blog completely took off. Within a week the 5/6 students were giving us feedback and commenting on our learning, within three weeks my students were active bloggers and within 6 weeks the whole level was blogging. I have been impressed with parent interest being present at this vey early stage of the journey.

3. What were the most important things you learned about:
a. The focus of your action research?
I learnt that it is important to try new things. I was rather skeptical about blogging but the benefits have been tremendous. The students are so engaged, the parents are connected to the classroom and our learning is portable, accessible and engaging.

b. Your own professional learning needs? (what did you need to know for this action research?)
I have had to really motivate myself to learn more about Web2 tools. It is these tools that makes wheat is presented on the blog so much more engaging. I have had to explore what teachers use their blog for and really question my current usage. It is easy to get trapped into using this tool as another reflection tool- not really utilising the world wide audience. I have worked to phrase my posts so they engage the wider community and not just my class. As it is the connections with others that will enrich the learning.

c. How will your findings influence your own and others future classroom practice?
I feel that my findings have already had an influence on those around me. the team has been so willing to jump on board and start blogging. I believe would be lost without a blog if I didn’t have the opportunity to use one in the future. I can even see myself setting up a class blog as well as a level blog so that posts are not lost so quickly.

4. Which, if any, parts of the action research posed problems?
I feel I have a long way to go in regards to the use of Web 2 tools to enhance the way I post on the blog. I have been a little restricted by finding appropriate images etc.

5. How often did you read blogs of other members of your team?
I will be honest, I didn’t connect with others blogs a great deal. I felt like I had my hands full managing the class blog at times. I did however try to browse through other class blogs on the World Wide Web  to get ideas about how to introduce my students to blogs and what kind of learning to share.

6. How did you find the process of documenting your actions, learnings and reflections on the blog?
I think I much preferred blogging for the students learning than my own. however in hindsight I am glad I have a record of the process and the thinking. It would have been more helpful to my team if I blogged more about blogging skills for students and how to post certain items on the blog such as mind maps, you tube videos, and images. Etc.

7. What new professional learning needs emerged for you from the experience of this action research? How will you meet these learning needs?
As mentioned above I definitely need to further explore Web 2 tools, I am already working on this by completing the online course during techie breakie sessions. I have also visited other blogs to see what they have used, for examples I noticed that the level 3/4 classes were using Padlet, so I did some exploration on the Padlet website and started using it myself. I will continue to visit other blogs through the Student Blogging Challenge and hopefully learn a great deal more. 

8. Reflect on the changes we have made to PARTS:
a. Use of the blog
b. Removing the Considering Evidence Protocol

I found the Considering Evidence Protocol rather threatening. I didn’t enjoy learning in this way, whether I was presenting or not. I felt like I was thinking of things to say, just for the sake of saying something. I much preferred the reflective nature of the blog, perhaps once I become a more confident blogger I will engage with the blogs of my peers more actively.

9. How would you improve our PARTS process?

( will give this question some further thought and update at a later date.)

Blogging: Parent Morning Tea

September9

Today, we held a morning tea for families across the school. Parents were invited along to learn about blogging and how to comment on the various blogs. Whilst the turn out for my particular class wasn’t overwhelming, the turn out across the school was pleasing.

All comments from parents were very positive. Parents loved the idea of keeping up with happenings at school by viewing the blog. Enabling them to stay in touch when perhaps they were unable to visit with their child’s teacher.

One parent loved the learning that incidentally happens between parent and child when reading the blog. Her child would ask for help with reading, or how to spell words when commenting on the blog at home.

The feedback from parents was very affirming the of the work that has gone into developing and using the blog.

 

 

WLA-AUSVELS-LANE PARTS

September9

Today I worked with the Junior team to continue to work on developing tables which highlight tools and provocations that link to the content descriptors in the History domain for levels F-2.

Joyce and I concentrated our attention on looking for Lane Clark tools, we found that the Future Think and the t- chart for immersion (SWSW) would be fitting to quite a few areas. A lot of the other charts that worked along side Lane’s processes looked far too involved for the time we have, so realistically using graphic organisers would be more appropriate. Tools such as KWL charts, Venns, Cross Class charts, etc would enable children to be able to use and read various tools and to think about content in an in depth manner.

Junior Blog Update

September4

Blogging is really starting to take off in the Junior School. Three classes are currently blogging.  The students love leaving comments for one another, tracking where in the world our visitors have come from and the number of visitors we have had. Today the CEOM came out to record the blogging journey we have taken here at St. Elizabeth’s. It was very affirming to hear that the story our team had shared at the CLRP team day left such an impression that they wished to capture it.

 

Next week parents have been invited to come along for a morning tea to learn about our blogs and how to comment. Many of the students are very excited to share this new learning with their families.

 

I have enjoyed seeing the children and their parents commenting regularly on the blog. The students are incredibly enthusiastic to comment on the blog during class time and to create posts together, however it seems to be the same select few that comment on the blog at home. I am unsure at this stage as to whether it is to do with access to technology at home or perhaps a lack of interest.

 

We have signed up to the student blogging challenge and I have added the class blogs to the blog roll for both the challenge and the other classes around the school. From here my goal is to encourage the students to begin to engage with other blogs, particularly the 3/4 and 5/6 blogs.

Web 2.0 : Module 1

September4

Web 2.0 and personalising your Web space

To begin we have spent time as a team exploring the videos regarding Web 2.0. The very first thing that resonated with me was the idea that Web 2.0 was a revolution in how information is being shared. Where the Internet is changing rules, and creating a business revolution using the Internet as a platform.

That this ‘new version’ of the Internet is much more interactive, coupled now with much fast Internet speeds compared to those of the past, thus enabling many to work together to create sophisticated content and network across the globe.
It is essential as a classroom teacher to be moving forward in this interactive world, being aware of applications, websites and various other online tools to engage our students in their learning and enable our students to partake in this digital community.
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Room for AUSVELS : Timetable Changes

August19

The 1/2 team discussed the challenges with our timetable. Whilst we had previously highlighted the need for mini inquiries to support the teaching of Science and History in level 1 and 2 we had not come to a decision on when this would be implemented in the week.

We had initially decided to implement the inquiry time, with a Science focus some time in Term 3. However with the level focussed on the Arts and our Cross Arts performance, we have decided that our inquiry will be our Cross Arts this Term with the Science elements being explored in Term 4. We have commenced this week with the changes, dedicating Fridays morning block to literacy, allowing a free block in the afternoon for inquiry.

We have also discussed integrating subject areas more effectively. For example, our current RE unit could easily lend itself to the Reading block with parables being explored as comprehension/guided reading texts. Furthermore, the fortnightly spelling blend can be integrated into reading or writing group activities rather than a stand alone lesson. Furthermore using tools like Lane’s Narrtive resources can be an effectively way of integrating the reading and writing process whilst exploring genre.

The Junior Blog is Public!

August14

Over the past week I have worked to develop a letter to go home informing parents about the class blog. The letter has provided families with the blog address, the purpose for using a blog with students at this year level and to ask permission from parents to post videos and images of students. Today the blog was officially made public. I’m curious to see how many children notice over night that they now have access to the blog from home.

Today a student posed the question, ‘Do I have to bring my note back I’m not that interested in the blog?’ I found the question interesting from this particular student, as during investigations time he follows me around asking to be a ‘freebie’. (A freebie is a student who showcases their learning to the class after investigations). We talked about how we have been using the blog and compared it to being a freebie but on a much bigger scale. He soon changed his mind about the blog and the notice.

I have been so excited by the children who have been engaged and interested that I have missed the couple in the room that perhaps are not 100% sure on what this blog business is all about. I hope that by making the blog accessible to the students and allowing them to interact with it themselves they will be able to have a deeper understanding of this form of communication in our community.

PARTS AUSVELS: CHEMICAL SCIENCE

August7

This is our progress so far in designing a simple inquiry. We have worked towards unpacking the areas of the curriculum that do not fit well with our Investigation areas and tried to design a mini inquiry which is teacher directed. We are rather time poor, which is why it is so teacher directed. Our focus has been to imbede some thinking tools and to expose children to these different aspects of the curriculum.

In hindsight, it may have been more useful to concentrate on the delievery of curriculum through Investigation areas. Making sure that what does fit, is strategically planned for with relevant and engaging provocations. This discovery has come about as we are heading towards the end of our allocated PARTS time still with the question of ‘when’ to include inquiry time with the junior students.

SCIENCE INQUIRY Unpacking 2013.doc

PARTS: The blog begins!

July24

This week I have begun to use the blog with my students. They have been so excited to present their work and ideas onto the blog, and even more excited to receive comments on their learning.

My two key learnings have been that it has been much easier than I excepted to find time for blogging. At this stage I am mostly using it as a electronic reflection tool. So for example, when the reporter and photographer are sharing at the end of investigations we have blogged their learning.

 

Also I have found that I have been using my smart board in a much better way than before. I have been using the smart tools, taking screen shots of notebook pages to place on the blog, even a brainstorm in the form of a wordle. This may not be a big deal for some but I have defiantly seen an improvement in the way I use ICT with my students.

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