Saturday, 27 August 2016

IGNITE-ing those sparks!

It was a privilege to share the progress, successes and wonderings so far of my Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (Spark-MIT) inquiry at Manaiakalani's annual hui yesterday. After sharing my thoughts for a second time at uLearn in early October, along with all other Spark-MIT 2016 inquirers, I plan to share my presentation via this blog.

The Spark-MIT 2016 cohort was tasked with creating an IGNITE style presentation to share this journey at the hui. Quite a challenge to share all that has happened in five minutes using only 20 slides! Such a challenge focused the mind on the key ideas, the important milestones, expressed succinctly - to avoid having to speak at a hundred miles an hour. Thank you, Dorothy, for demanding this of us. It reminds me of those classroom learning conversations when teachers are inspiring learners to craft, recraft and reorganise their writing ideas to meet the writing purpose!

As well as a time to reflect upon my inquiry and its progress, yesterday was a wonderful opportunity to listen to the successes and wonderings of others - my fellow Spark-MIT teachers, student ambassadors and research experts from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Spark-MIT 2016: a milestone for whānau

Yesterday, digital training to empower whānau within Manaiakalani was undertaken for the first time by a family at Ruapotaka. After much persistence on the part of the student, a one-on-one training session was organised between a parent and Yayleen, Manaiakalani's Whānau Learning Kaiarahi. Alexandra's mum spent an hour with Yayleen learning about kawa of care and setting up a personal email account.

It has been two months since our Chromebook hui, but this significant meeting is further evidence that whānau do want to engage with and support their child's learning. As well as being a milestone for whānau, it was a proud moment for Alexandra too. She is now able to take her Chromebook home more frequently: Training with Yayleen. Time will tell whether other learners follow Alexandra's model to facilitate such whānau meetings!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Spark-MIT 2016: Literature Circles

I am inquiring into how learners in my Year 6 class can make and sustain accelerated gain in reading. Based on my observations and conversations with learners, all fluent readers enjoy reading but do not always actively choose to engage with longer texts independently. Despite some barriers to these learners accessing a range of relevant and interesting books, there are also personal mindset barriers which impact which books learners choose to read and how learners attempt to sustain reading a longer chapter book.  

According to the Ministry of Education, a literature circle is an approach to teaching reading that encourages fluent readers to think about and discuss books, usually longer texts. In such a “book club” a small group read the same novel independently, coming together at certain times to share their opinions, feelings and thoughts with the rest of the group.

Within the context of this inquiry, one reading group has been introduced to literature circles this term to investigate if this teaching approach can foster independence and deeper connections with a longer text amongst fluent readers. The group has taken on different roles using literature circle resources devised by Sheena Cameron.

So far, the response has been positive: learners have worked together to clarify roles and provided support to others when preparing for their first meeting - at which they enjoyed rich discussions led by the Discussion Director.

The learners are creating and completing their designated tasks digitally, although this can only be described as substitution within the SAMR model at present. However, the visible co-operation, collaboration and purposeful talk are supporting the growth of actively-engaged learners who, it is hoped, will choose to persevere to become resilient independent readers over time.