Feedback from Woolf Fisher - Summer Learning Journey

As always it is so great to have the opportunity to break down and understand our data with the team from Woolf Fisher. This time we were discussing our Summer Learning Journey Data along side the cumulative data from the beginning of our Manaiakalani journey. 

It is important to note that this was Uru Mānuka's first time participating in the Summer Learning Journey and so as expected our data does look different from Manaiakalani's. Some of the finer details of Manaiakalani's data will help us greatly in the future. Things like what activities our students are more interested in completing and how many blog posts need to be made to make progress or learning shift. 

The Summer Learning Journey focus is on Reading and Writing. The assessment used to analyse the data is the PAT Reading and e-asTTle Writing scores. Students are given choice in the number of tasks they complete and also get credit for commenting on others work. They also receive personal feedback on every blog post from a team of adults working out of Auckland University. The below table is from Manaiakalani's SLJ showing the success of the programme. 

It is interesting to note that students who don't blog over summer can lose up to 5 months of learning in Writing. The fact that students who participated did not experience the Summer Learning Dip it a huge success and the evidence that they actually made progress over the school break is an even bigger one! 

Below is data collected on student engagement based on activity type: 

It is interesting to see that our students completed the task that was to express their opinion the most. 

The other relevant data was evidence on how frequent blog posts needed to be to show progress. 

The difference between students blogging once a week and twice a week is huge. The activities are only 10-15minutes in length. If we can somehow get our parents on board and get students blogging twice a week  (at minimum) over the breaks we will see a significant level of progress in both Reading and Writing for our learners. 
This also lead us to asking questions around how habitual this is currently for our learners - are they blogging twice a week at the moment? If they are is it more likely that this behaviour will continue throughout the break? These are some areas that need some looking into. 

I am excited to see what each school will do in reflection to this data. I feel that our cluster is experiencing huge success in our connection, communication and coherence. More heads are better than one, and now we have strong evidence to tell us what exactly improves student progress over the break! 


First Assignment for Mindlab

For our first Mindlab Assessment we were asked to "identify, justify and plan a digital and collaborative learning innovation applied to a specific area of your practice." This then had to be submitted in a video format in 6-8 minutes. 

This task was more challenging than I had first anticipated... I did a lot of professional readings and so when it came time to get all of my ideas down I had so much to say! 

The challenge that I identified in my practise was lack of students originality and creativity while completing learning tasks. I was aware that students were sometimes scaffolded too much and really wanted to look into ways I could challenge them to be more creative. 
Research shows that Problem Based Learning and Collaboration are two ways to increase creativity. I also came up with an idea around using learning questions instead of using learning outcomes to also increase critical thinking and engagement. 

Here is my slide deck and below is my video presentation. (Don't you hate listening to your own voice! I sure do!)

In reflection I am aware that I did not explain my plan in enough detail for someone else to understand it... but I did well anyway and thought that I would share it with you so you could all see my thinking behind my first assignment... 

I am using Cybersmart Buddies to increase collaboration, have used the learning question to turn my lesson into a problem that needs to be solved and am challenging the students to share their own unique voice for something that is an identified problem in their community. Let's see how successful this will be over the term! Look out for students projects being uploaded to their blogs on the twitter feed here. 

Mindlab Lecture #2: Key Comps in Leadership

How do these competencies relate to being a good leader? 
What about our code of standards? 

Key Competencies and Leadership
Being flexible, thinking critically, thinking from different perspectives
Using Language symbols and texts
Biculturalism - looking at where the learners come from and being inclusive of this.
Being a good communicator - knowing what will engage your audience.
Understanding that people show what they know in different ways.  
Managing self
Showing what is expected of you - walking the walk not just talking the talk
Being able to follow
Not being the be all and end all - being an active participant
Being Colledual
Relating to Others
Communicating effectively
Getting to know the people you work with - the community, forming a relationship.
Participating and contributing
Being able to follow
Use people for their strengths - fountain of knowledge in that area
Creating a diverse leadership

We believe that all of the Key Competencies relate to each of the Professional Standards for teaching. It is important to do all of these things well. 

MANAAKITANGA: Creating a welcoming, caring and creative learning environment that treats everyone with respect and dignity.

Relating to others
Managing Self
Participating and contributing
Using Languages Symbols & Texts
WHANAUNGATANGA: Engaging in positive and collaborative relationships with our learners, their families and whānau, our colleagues and the wider community.
WHAKAMANA: empowering all learners to reach their highest potential by providing high-quality teaching and leadership
PONO: showing integrity by acting in ways that are fair, honest, ethical and just.

Inspired Research from Sir Ken Robinson

Today I took the time to reflect upon my teaching and lesson planning. I thought a good place to start would be with a video that has been talked about many times in leadership meetings, "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" ~ Sir Ken Robinson

I think there are so many great ideas that came out of watching this talk. But the one that really interested me was divergent thinking. In particular, I want to know how I can increase divergent thinking in my students to enable them to tap into their own creativity. 
The great example from the video that stemmed this thought process was around the use of a paper clip. Most people when asked what you could use a paper clip for would come up with 20ish ideas, people who are divergent thinkers could come up with hundreds. (They would think about the paper clip without limitations - it could be rubber or 10ft high etc.) I want my students to be thinking outside the box. In fact, I want my students to be thinking without the limitations of a box in the first place! 

Link to source

I really enjoyed reading this article Fuel Creativity with Divergent Thinking by Stacey Goodman. It has some great practical ideas to encourage positive classroom cultures. 
A Challenge from this article was the difference between "Good Judgement vs. Divergent Thinking." I also like the idea of sharing ideas quickly so that you can move on to more creative ideas. I feel like it is important to share as many ideas as you can and then weed them out afterwards. 

As always, this is just the beginning of my understanding. I just felt like I should document the thoughts I had and wanted to track my learning journey around this. I think it links very well into critical thinking and extended learning conversations - two areas that our cluster is inquiring into this year. 

I want to work on allowing more than one correct answer... Although I do encourage this overall, I feel like my students still end up with very similar ideas or at least share their ideas in very similar ways. How do you encourage diversity and originality? Maybe I am not allowing enough time to understand and identify the problem... 

That's all for now... I will continue to work on eliminating the square/box that we need to think outside of! 

Prep for Week 2 - Leadership

Reading: "Towards Reconceptualising Leadership: The Implications of the Revised NZC for School Leaders". 

"Looking into knowledge as a noun or verb." 

Before reading this text I already had the understanding that the front pages of the Curriculum document are the most important for our leaners. The understanding of partnership and also teaching Key Competencies were a part of my daily practise. After reading this text it became more clear that these are also the most important things for leaders to develop. 

"Katzenmeyer and Moller (2009, p. 4) assert that to tap into the potential of teacher leadership requires moving beyond changing policy, enforcing mandates, and offering professional development. These reform strategies are relatively easy compared to the challenges of guaranteeing teacher quality in every classroom, ensuring effective principal leadership, and engaging teachers in meaningful leadership responsibilities."

"She invited the participants to consider ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ conceptualisations of key themes in education. The colour red referred to knowledge conceptualised as a noun, the colour ‘yellow’ referred to knowledge conceptualised as a verb. The leaders were asked to match different statements about society, identity, conflict, answers, etc. with their corresponding colour and to discuss and justify their answers"
This is the task that we have been given in relation to our understanding of where our schools are at, below is my understanding (I have used the boxes as a continuum and have placed a green tick where I think it suits). 
I am looking forward to deepening my understanding of this in class. Through discussions and talking to others I feel that I gain a deeper understanding for myself. (Just like I would expect my learners to do!).

Prep for Week 2 - Digital Learning

What 60 schools can tell us about teaching 
21st century skills 

In the Uru Mānuka Cluster we have been talking about the types of skills we need to be teaching our students and creativity and critical thinking have made it to the top of our list. I think it is really inspiring to be working in a Cluster of schools that work together to meet the needs of our students. We identify what we need to work on based on data that has been collected and share practise to come up with solutions to increase achievement. 

In the opening of this video I not surprised to hear that we need to be teaching students critical thinking and problem solving skills. I do honestly believe that students need to be asking questions more than giving answers, as there needs to be more than one correct answer when we conduct discussions and conversations with these learners. It was interesting to hear that these students should be finding problems not solving them, but the more I think about it the more this makes sense. The problems we face today are going to be different to the ones these students have to face in the future. 

The statement "schools struggle with change and innovation", was one that I can see from a few different angels. I have been involved in schools that have stuck to their past ways of doing things because this is the way it has been done successfully in the past. I have also been involved in schools that believe in change and innovation. Manaiakalani is a great example of a cluster that is looking at hard evidence and changing/innovating to meet learning goals. I agree that models of change and innovation are there, we just need to connect, reach out and share practise. Which is just one of the reasons that I am so happy teaching in Uru Mānuka Cluster - part of the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme. 

Student ownership of learning is diverse, messy, and loud. We need to be talking about how we learn, being online, being adaptive, how to learn across subjects, what is relevant, authentic and how to stay connected. It is important to think about what we are doing, looking at balancing the past with the future, reflecting on practise that works and what needs to change to move forward. I really like the statement there is a difference between hard and uncomfortable. It could not be more true. There needs to be a change at a foundational level not just at the margin. Schools need to become creative spaces. 

How do 20th century skills differ from 21st century skills? Do we need both? 

We now have universal access to knowledge - cellphones, the internet, connections, innovation. We need to teach into the unknown, which is uncomfortable. How do we know what students are going to need in the future? The truth is we don't, therefore we need to create self evolving students - students who can adapt to change, reflect on their learning, ask questions, be critical and solve problems. In order to do this we need to be self evolving teachers and have self evolving subjects. We need to be teaching timeless skills, context over content, we need to blur lines and not stick to the tradition time, space and subject area teaching of the past. 

Mindlab Lecture #1: 'What is Knowledge?' And 'Followship'.

What is knowledge? 

Essential skills for 21st century learners: 

The skills our students need to know are broken into three areas, all are important to the development of our students. 

Watch changing education: Sir Ken Robinson 

~ What is the purpose of education? Has this changed based on the development of society? Does education match what we need for society? 

Is google to know? 
Google tracks you and has a history of the information you have previously been looking at so it modifies the search results. Duck Duck Go is a website that does not track what you have been doing in the past, so keep that in mind when you are searching for new information. 

Talking about your understanding of knowledge
We decided that our understanding of 'what knowledge is' is: 
- What you understand to be true (Represented by the T)
- Skills you have learnt (The brain and the weaving of ideas)
- What you experience to be true (The weaving)
- What is actually true?! (The question that leads to new ideas and understanding)
#knowledge #Christchurch click here to see our video 

‘The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed - it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardise education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions” (Robinson, 2009)

How is the understanding of the purpose of education visible in your classroom? 
Teaching students effective ways to use the affordances of technology to increase efficiency and encourage creativity.  
"Teach students to critically analyse the knowledge that they master and construct their own understanding from this." This is the Learn, Create, Share Framework. Allowing students to share their own understandings through activating prior knowledge, creating an understanding, critically thinking, sharing the information that they know to be true and then reforming their ideas and opinions. 


What makes a good leader? What makes a good follower?

Following and leading in relation to dance (video to watch)
Allowing creativity for the leader/follower. 

What do you consider a good leader to be like? 
Someone who includes, listens to and challenges opinion - encouraging those who follow to be critical and think for themselves for the benefit of their group as a whole. Someone who uses the strengths of their followers to build teamwork and give the followers a sense of empowerment. 

Extra resources or thoughts: Did you know that is an online place for students to learn more about being digital citizens? With cool activities and 

Feedback from Woolf Fisher - Summer Learning Journey

As always it is so great to have the opportunity to break down and understand our data with the team from Woolf Fisher. This time we were di...