Friday, 26 August 2016

A Choice Hui

Today was the 5th annual hui for the Manaiakalani cluster, which was intriguing, innovating and inspirational for myself, my colleagues and my students.

Throughout the day we had a variety of speakers including children from the cluster, Spark MIT teachers, researchers from Woolf Fisher and Manaiakalani ambassadors.

Nicola Wells - MDTA alumni & Spark
Although each of the speakers had different thoughts, datum and provocations to highlight, there were common questions and take-aways for me from the day.

Russel Burt's statistics resonated with me - there are 47,000+ jobs in the tech sector. As teachers, we know we are preparing students for their future pathways, however we often do not know what we are preparing them for. To hear there are over 47,000 jobs in one sector, primarily in our community, is astounding. I began to ponder where our students will head, and realised the potential students have to be successful in the tech sector with a Manaiakalani background. Thus, I need to enhance students knowledge and skills to be ahead in the ever-changing technological world.

Rebecca, Aaron and Stuart from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre emphasised the need for an increase in literacy by inclusion of deep, critical texts to read and write about. Not only in English, but subject-wide. My challenge is to get involved with this proposal, and question how we can include texts in our HPE curriculum, particular at the Junior level that is primarily practical. Matt Goodwin encouraged me to think about the share component of Learn, Create, Share in a different light - moving away from Copy Paste from a Doc to share in an exciting light. I hope to include blogs in my teaching next year, to increase reading and writing literacy in exciting, innovative ways through the share component of the Manaiakalani pedagogy.

From here, I need to start thinking about student blogging and how this can be used efficiently in my classes and subject, not only for the Share component, but also to accelerate student learning.

Check out #manaiakalani for the Twitter feed from the hui!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Manaiakalani is COOL

With the recent announcement of potential online schooling for children in New Zealand, I have been reflecting on the community I work in. We are a 'Community of Online Learning', but not to the same extremity. Our learners still attend school.

The proposed plan would reduce face-to-face contact for students to develop their social skills, collaboration skills, ability to work with others, confidence to speak in front of others, and the list goes on. The Health and PE curriculum would disintegrate if learning was fully online. How would students apply knowledge of ball skills into authentic situations? How would teamwork, leadership and resilience be developed? Where would students go for questions about their bodies, gender, sexuality if their families are not open to talk about these things? 

Sure, the internet is resourceful and has a lot of answers - but not ALL of the answers.

I am for students immersed in online communities of learning, and developing skills and knowledge about the technological world, but I am not for school just being at home on a laptop.

For many of our students, school is also a safe haven, a place where they can be themselves - I do not want that to be taken away from them!

Friday, 19 August 2016

I'm Basically A Bird

Not quite a bird, but this morning I have been tweeting up a storm!

Recently I have been building a professional relationship with Carl Condliffe, an educator who is quickly becoming well known in the HPE field in NZ. He, along with many others have encouraged me to create a Twitter account to get my name out there. So, after weeks of deliberating whether I wanted another social media platform to get addicted to, not really sure what it is, I finally created one on Wednesday night!

Little did I know - our focus for MDTA this morning was about Twitter and how tweeting can impact our Professional Learning Network! I can definitely see the value of Twitter as PD at my fingertips. I can access information from an array of professionals quite easily, and engage in 'chats' to develop my thinking as well as challenge others. Our task today was to engage in one of these chats.

We were provided with provocative questions in order to push our thinking outside of the box, and responded to the questions by tweeting. Our tweets included the hashtag #MDTAchat, so all responses were collated in one space. We were then encouraged to comment on our peers tweets to continue conversations and critically think further.

Check out our chat here!

I am definitely a newbie to Twitter, but I see the value it has. I enjoyed how this morning was about myself as a learner, as I feel sometimes I don't spend enough time developing myself as I am so focused on developing the students.

I look forward to learning from and with others amongst this enormous professional networking medium!

Friday, 12 August 2016

Audio Engineering Basics

I have always been an admirer of musical talents, particularly because many of my friends have various instrumental abilities. In the future I would love to learn how to play with drums!

Today I was on leave so unfortunately missed an awesome learning opportunity centred around Garage Band. Upon discussions with fellow MDTA'ers and reading their blog posts, they appeared to have an awesome day and learnt a considerable amount of new information.

Some affordances of Garageband are movie making, rewindable learning, creating your own backing tracks and flipped classrooms.

Some key take-aways the group had were; the audio should compliment the visual, use external microphones when possible, consider whether the music or dialect is more important to highlight, play through a loud speaker to check quality, volumes levels need to be consistent.

Some in depth, useful blogs to read;

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Getting Artsy in SOS

Our Linoit to represent what we have learnt
For the past two weeks in Social Studies we have been discussing the Olympic values; Friendship, Excellence and Respect. After a few lessons learning about the values and what they look like, feel like and sound like with both reference to the Olympics and their own lives, this morning we begun a sketchnote to summarise our learning.

Yesterday we brainstormed key words, phases, and ideas associated with the values, to conclude the learning. From there I explained the three key components of sketchnoting (text, image and structure) and showed my own examples so the students had some knowledge and insight into the phenomena. From there, I suggested some possible layouts, texts and images the students could use and let them go for it.

Key ideas and learning about sketchnotes
Although some students struggled to start, eventually nearly all of the kids had started their sketchnotes, and what they have come up with is incredible. Many of the kids wanted to stay in class and keep going, and similarly at the start of the period I had many eager beans ready to go inside and start sketching before I was even there! I was pleased how engaged most of the students were, including some students who I really struggle to get engaged in classroom activities.

A few of the boys are known for their 'artwork' some may call it, sometimes in inappropriate places. I have seen some of the block writing and drawings they do, and am often blown away - so this activity was aimed to cater for them and their interests. Although they didn't complete the whole task, they were completing a sketchnote and able to explain the values to me, which was a huge step in the right direction.

Although I cannot include everyone's on here, these are some of the sketchnotes which have had the greatest progression so far, and some really cool ideas. I am so proud of the efforts the students gave!

If you are interested in the Olympic values, here are two clips to learn more!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A Seesaw, A Wheelbarrow and An Arm

Another one of the biomechanical principles our seniors are learning about is Levers. Levers are found everywhere, including parts of the body - hence our learning in PE. Students will be able to make reference to levers when analysing and critiquing a movement for their assessment.

A lever is made up of a fulcrum (otherwise known as an axis), an effort (or force), and a resistance (the load being lifted). There are three different classes (or types) of levers, which is dependant on where the resistance is in relation to the fulcrum and the effort being applied. An easy way to remember the classes is to visualise a seesaw, a wheelbarrow and an arm (1st, 2nd and 3rd class levers respectively).

To teach this, we started with a basic intro to what levers are, and then played badminton forceback. Students were in pairs and attempted to hit the wall behind their opponent to score a point. Initially the students could only hold the badminton racquet on the shaft - right below the head of the racquet. Students quickly became frustrated as they weren't able to hit the shuttle very far, as they didn't have as much force as they possibly could. Then moving their hand to the end of the racquet handle to play, this illustrated how a longer lever produces a greater force. We were also able to make reference to other biomechanical principles throughout ie widening the BOS to increase balance/stability, and turning the body to create the largest force possible (force summation).

We then went into the classroom to delve a little further into the 3 classes. We begun by watching the video above and breaking levers down simplistically, making reference to badminton forceback. We then watched a Ted lesson which provides some more of the science, theory and philosophy behind levers, to encourage students to think more broadly about levers around them, rather than just their bodies.

Finally, students created their own simple levers old school style - pen, paper, scissors, glue and pins. They started by creating 3 levers, 3 loads and 3 fulcrums, which they then constructed into the three different classes of levers. The pin was used so the students could actually move the lever by applying an effort (their finger), and then asked to explain the three components of the lever and three classes. Students were asked to visualise a seesaw, a wheelbarrow and an arm while creating their levers.

Although a little tedious with the cutting out and sticking bits together, students were able to explain their creations to me at the end of the period - demonstrating their understanding and application of what they had learnt. I think they enjoyed having the practical, discussions and then creation as something different to Google Docs, and I was impressed with their understanding. Will definitely be using this lesson in the future!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Handing Over the Whistle

Aim to get the ball into the container, cannot be over 3-point line
Currently the Juniors are completing an integrated unit based around The Rio Olympics. In PE, their task/challenge/goal is to create a game in small groups, which is then played in class. For the past week we have been playing the games in my Year 10 classes, and I am quite impressed with what they have created.

The students are responsible for setting up the equipment, teaching the game (including rules, boundaries, penalties), putting the groups into team and refereeing. Once the game has momentum and the class are engaged, our role as the teacher is to ask the group who is leading the lesson to ask questions to elicit thinking. For instance - why do you think the group are having difficulty scoring points? or How do you think you could make the game more difficult? After reflection and discussion, the group then modifies their game to increase engagement, interest and/or enjoyment.

Capture the flag style with Swiss balls and rippa tags!
This reflective process is important for students to be able to put a critical eye on their creations, and also enables them to see how simple modifications can change a game considerably. We hope through this reflection and evaluation, as well as the holistic process of creating and teaching lessons, encourages students to think about how it feels to be in the teachers shoes, but also that more brains than one can create some amazing things if you are open to feedback and feedforward from others.

I look forward to the remainder of the games, yet to be played!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Fun with Infographics

Cluster-wide PLG
Today at the cluster-wide Digital Immersion PLG we discussed the Summer Learning Journey Research and then created our own infographics. Our umbrella focus was the Share component of the Learn, Create, Share, keeping this in the back of our minds throughout the PLG and our own creations.
5 TC staff squished into a 2-door hatchback!

The Summer Learning Journey involved students learning and blogging from home over the summer break, to reduce the summer drop off. Many of our akonga lose a lot of the knowledge and skills they have developed throughout the school year, over the Christmas break. When they return to school in February to start the new year, their e-asTTle scores are not as positive as we would like, so Rachel Williamson set out to reduce this drop with the Summer Learning Journey.

I attempted to complete a live sketchnote to reflect some of the key parts of the discussion in our PLG and the findings from Rachel's research. Although it is rather messy and all over the show, I don't think it is bad for my first live sketchnote - I hope to complete more of these and include in the classroom.

This afternoon we were asked to explore the statistics behind our professional blogs, and then create an infographic to reflect some of our findings. I really struggled with this creation, possibly due to the data/information I was attempting to project. I am not 100% proud of this creation either, but I gave my best!

The original Google Drawing can be found here, which has links to the top referring sites and blog posts!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Gotta Love 'Em

I have been really unsure about teaching recently, and whether it really is for me and my future.

I have felt as if I do not fit in, that I could be utilised somewhere else in the field more effectively.

I have begun to think about other possible pathways I could lead myself down, as maybe this isn't my jam.

My love and passion for Health and PE is common knowledge, this is something I am 100% sure about. However, I am unsure whether I want to teach in school. Maybe becoming a lecturer is more my cup of tea, as I love to learn, read and research. In all honesty, I am still hazy what I want and where I see myself in the future.

But the past couple of days I have had begun to realise, I would miss the kids too much if I left teaching. Not just the students I currently teach, but students I haven't met yet. Students I can help progress their learning, career pathways and futures. Students who may need me in their life for any reason at all.

I walked around the corner yesterday and saw this, and couldn't help but smile and start to dance myself. The kids were so positive and happy just jamming and doing their own thing, playing a game, without a care in the world. I wish all students were like this, as this is how I think we should be. Happy to dance, look quite idiotic, and really not caring what anyone else thinks, because why should you care?

I enjoy my job because of the students and they joys they bring. There are definitely times I want to walk out or I feel like I am going to cry, but there are also times where I find myself in hysterics, and filled with happiness because of the kids.

Through all of the rubbish that goes on and stuff I put up with as a teacher, this is what I need to keep reminding myself - the kids get me through.