DFI: Computational Thinking

OMG Tech - Led by Kawana 
Link to their Site (lesson plans and ideas!)

Hook - The sorting algorithm, find a number, then go through the steps to order from smallest to largest.

Ethical concerns around programmes like "Big Dog"... funded by Military... This technology can be used against humans if it is in the wrong hands. 

Hanson Robotics' Sophia - Singing Duet on the tonight show. Sophia taught herself to sing through watching youtube videos using deep algorithms. 

Skin Vision - Mole mapping. Able to recognise when you need to be concerned and go to the Dr for moles. 

Zephyr's Cora - Self flying drone planes. 6 passengers with no pilot. 

Tech Ethics & Morals 
The moral machine - what should a self driving car do? 
Something to think about are the values of the people creating the code for the machine. The people currently in the major coding firms are majority white, males over 40. How does that change the values of the machine? 

Understanding computer science - computational thinking. 
Designing outcomes - understanding digital systems and the application behind that. 

Based around a wire - On (1) or Off (0) - called a bit 
The more wires the more information. 
Using the worksheet below to find out what the binary for numbers would be... if the box can be filled you can count it. If it is empty you can not count it. Start at the largest you can fill in and work forwards from there (left to right). Must have the correct number of dots for the number. 
Hour of Code - good for younger students 
Toxic Code - good for older students. 
Scratch 10 block challenge - good way to start for learners, rather than a blank canvas gives them some confidence with moving blocks around. 
Unplugged resources for computational thinking. 

A self review tool for teachers to understand the Digital Curriculum (that needs to be implemented next year). 

Scratch from Scratch! 
Starting a maze... change the size of the characters first to make sure that they fit inside the stage. 
Then once sprites are in the correct position find > Events when Green Flag AND go to x y (the coordinates will be the starting point for the sprite). 
To slow down change the number of pixels moved. 
Once you have finished this level you can make a multi levelled game. 
Code to make the cheesy puffs disappear! 

Video of the finished game!!! 


DFI: Create (Hanga) and Multimodal - Overview notes...

Today was another great session at DFI with teachers collaborating, sharing, learning and creating. The day kicked off with a few words from Dorothy, then a session on Multimodal before moving on to google Sites. Here are my notes on the first two sessions... 

A few words from Dorothy on "Create" 

Create is the hook. It is how to engage students with the curriculum. 
We are educators need to have tricks in our tool kit to engage our learners and create is one of those hooks. It is more than the charisma of the teacher, although teachers who have this are amazing. 

"Our ultimate goal is a world full of playfully creative people." (Lifelong Kindergarten Group) This is something to think about. How are we supporting this daily? Dorothy says, "No young person should feel that create is only for ECE's." It is an opportunity to express and explore new ideas. 

Make sure that "Create" is in our planning. Have we as educators had the experience to be creative in a week? 

Create is a doing word. It involves all of the senses and the whole body! The heart in the image above symbolises the spirit and cultural ways to share. 

The ability to create for most of the learners we work with involves doing something not just thinking about it. 

The digital allows us to take creativity to places that we couldn't before. It allows us to amplify the create that is happening. It allows us to have a larger and more authentic audience base. 

"Let's put the emphasis for students to be creates of content rather than just consumers." (Dorothy Burt) 

Multimodal (Different modes of communicating information) 

Looking at engaging and empowering students with multiple modes of communication. For example: watch a movie, looking at a diagram, reading a text all on the same concept. Students choice in how they would like to access the information for learning. 

- The hook. Giving students a preview of the content in an exciting way like a 'window dressing' for what they will be learning. 
- Using sight, sound and motion to engage (Sisomo - Kevin Roberts) 
-  Immersion assemblies at Point England - a way to hook students into the topic of the term. 

Once you have hooked them teach them. Think of using interesting texts and pushing the learning further. You could also show differing perspectives on an issue. 
This relates to the work Woolf Fisher have done around "Wide & Deep" or "T-Shaped Literacy". 


Overall a really cool day of sharing, collaborating and recapturing the amazing power of Learn, Create, Share for empowered, connected, ubiquitous and visible learning. 

DFI: Core Business (Groups, Docs, Drive)

Today I got the amazing opportunity to attend the second DFI in our cluster. This is the first of 9 sessions that I will be attending & supporting this term. It was awesome to refresh some old learning, rethink some current learning and create some new learning. 

The opening messages were very positive and it was great to hear the origin story of Manaiakalani again. Each time I hear it I seem to take away something different, today it was how I could use the literacy circle to clearly show to the junior teachers how Learn, Create, Share fits into what they are already doing in their classes. 

Then we got the chance to focus in on groups - something I know about but haven't really been using at all. Through this session I set up a group for our School Leaders, it is going to be great to be able to track all of the messages in one easy spot and for everyone to be able to include everyone in every file through a quick shared email address. It was even better to have some leaders in the room learning about google groups and what they mean! 

Moving on to docs Gerhard & Mark did a great job of walking us through the different features of headings, voice typing, links, adding extensions and commenting. In this session we also looked at drive and chrome. I think it was really useful for most people to learn about the different people in the chrome browser rather than using the same window for different accounts. 

I think the statement that resonated with me the most is when Gerhard spoke about how improving workflow by 30 seconds here and there could add up to 5 minutes a day. This could mean you get to have or finish that cup of coffee or be able to spend an extra 5 minutes with your family. 

I also really appreciated being shown a website that removes the background of an image! This is something I was looking for, so finding this is great - Remove.bg

Here is a photo of us all - excited to get to know everyone a bit better. The connections across two clusters are going to be really powerful. 

Reflecting on Reading - Manaiakalani Hui End of Term 2

At the end of each Term I am fortunate enough to head back to Auckland to learn and collaborate with Facilitators from across New Zealand. Last Term we had the amazing opportunity to hear from Dr Rebecca Jenson about Reading. 

The session began with us discussing what we do in Writing that had lead to acceleration across all cohorts, all over New Zealand. We came to an agreement that some of the core things our teachers do in Writing are provide milage, authentic audience, genuine purpose for reading, and timely feedback. This is also peered with clear teacher understanding of levels and what each level looks like. 
We were then challenged to think about Reading. What can we do in reading, that we are already doing in writing that may lead to it's acceleration? How do we use libraries? How do reading sessions run? Are we using any of the digital tools to support reading (think turning captions on youtube, using talk to text and then re-reading to increase fluency)? 
All of us agreed that there is more we could and should be doing. 

We then moved on to the difference between engagement and motivation. Here are some slides that helped break it down (sourced from Rebecca's Slide Deck). 
Motivation is internal drivers - the why of reading.

Engagement is the ‘act’ of reading to achieve something. 

Motivation does not predict reading achievement however engagement does. 

Classroom practice and conditions impact motivations to read, which in turn impact behavioral engagement and dedication in reading. These latter processes, behavioral engagement and dedication, ultimately predict reading competence (Nauman, 2016).

A hook for reading gets the engagement and leads to increased motivation and reading achievement. This has huge relevance especially culturally, it is critical for engagement.

Some core messages from Rebecca are:
You are not teaching the text you are teaching the reader.
Teachers need to empower students to know that they are correct on their own without the
teacher confirming. 

Do not over help, prepare the student for when the teacher is not there.
e.g. As a learner when I come up to a problem I need to know multiple ways how to solve it - I also need to be aware when I have not solved it and also when I have. I need to be able to monitor myself. 
As a teacher say what are you going to try? Before saying what to try. 
You know what to try, go try it 

We need to be teaching that it can be uncomfortable when you are learning. 

The model for how to get reading happening - classroom processes
You layer your understanding of something by reading it in multiple places, multiple perspectives and with multiple modes. 

Book Introductions / The Hook
A student should know ...
is there a reason to dedicate my time to reading this text? 
why should I read this text? 
am I being persuaded with the introduction? Or manipulated by the book cover? 

Depth of theme and universality is important to the introduction of why a student should read a text. 

A high quality environment for reading looks like this: 

A metacognitive reader will know when they have lost the plot and re-read. They will know when they don’t know. Most readers need to be taught this! (When they lose the plot - when they don’t know). 

A strategic reader in a text will know when they have come across something that changes their prior knowledge. A change in understanding that blows their mind, that they become engaged with and want to discuss and share with others. 

Not all reading is sitting in front of the teacher in a reading group. 
In a reading group you are diving deep, when the students are not with you they are wide reading. 
What a reading programme that reflects this looks like:

We then tried to find evidence of Reading programmes that reflected this on Sites across the Clusters. We found that there was something missing about the love of reading… no pull or excitement - this perhaps was because there was no evidence of the hook.

I came back to Christchurch and reflected on this some more... I met with a couple of teams to discuss what their reading programme looked like, how we could show what they do to hook the students and if we could improve it to include some of the core things we do in Writing.
I am really excited to see how the changes in the programme impact the learners this term. Wigram & Yaldhurst - who have now included a why to their site (check out their links).

We can borrow from teachers who are doing the right thing all over the place and use this as examples for teachers who are new or learning. Do you have any evidence of a great Class Site for Reading?

Keynote address: Wiring a child’s brain for lifelong success - Laura Justice

I was fortunate enough to attend the Child Well-being Research Symposium last week.

(Handout with abstracts)

There were many interesting sessions shared and I will work on posting up the most engaging over the next week.

The first session was a keynote from Laura Justice a professor at Ohio State University - I found it really refreshing and it reminded me of a lot of the work I had looked into way back when I was at University 8 years ago! Here is a link to her presentation.

The first part of the session looked at Neuroscience. In particular how the brain forms and develops. Each part of the brain is relative to a function - Rational thinking comes from the frontal lobe, Temporal lobe = speech and language features etc. Pathways between and within these lobes are built over time & experience. This means that society has to do the work to build these pathways and how these pathways are formed is important to think about. The word that is used for this process is Synaptogenesis - 2 base words 'synapsis' the connection between two neurons and 'genesis' to bring life/beginning.
An experience causes the pathway between neurons. Meaning that experience-expectant plasticity = synaptogenesis. Research shows that the peak period of plasticity is 7/13years ish. Here is a picture of the process:
Justice mentioned that the most important message she hoped we left the lesson was to always remember that a young child’s brain is much more robust and open to change than ours and therefore you should never underestimate them or what they are capable of.

Another strong message from this keynote was that:
"The environment matters more for certain skills than genes - especially ‘kindergarten readiness skills’."

High quality experiences (nurture) are crucial for buffering the effects of early adversity on the child’s brain.
Meaning that quality early care and education promotes resilience in children, offers a positive offset to challenges.
The second aspect of the keynote was looking at the acquisition of vocabulary, known as Linguistics.

Vocabulary is the basis of a number of things - reading, pro-social behaviours, math, world knowledge and computational thinking just to name a few. It is a key readiness skill and is the foundation for the majority of the curriculum.

Vocabulary is an ‘emergent structure’ it depends on the experiences that you have and the language that you know. The visual representation she shared for this was the creation of an ant hill - something that evolves over time, no two people's vocabulary is the same.

The sensitive period for vocabulary development is age 0-5. Having a good vocabulary is crucial for meeting your needs and wants.
‘Achievement gaps’ (or better-worded opportunity gaps) in vocab are largely a product of experience: the hardware is there, the input needs experiences.
We should be looking further into what it means to know a word.
A word in the lexicon means that the student knows - what it means, how it sounds, how it is spelled, how to use it grammatically, and whether affixes be added to it.

What does it take to know a word deeply? Repeated exposures that are highly informative

The message given was that classrooms should be noisy because the hardware is in place (experience-expectant plasticity) what is needed is input.

Finally, Justice spoke on her ideas around Education.
Language acquisition in the early years is dependent on interactions with others.
Expressions, gestures, intonation, pauses, and loudness provide important cues for learning.

Joint attention - adult and child sharing the same experience is crucial to language development.
In her keynote Justice defined this like a game of ping-pong which involves a serve and return - back and forth = one turn. The completion of a turn develops the brain circuitry/pathways.
The serve is known as a communicative bid (an effort to start the game). Here are some examples:

The adults serve starts and the adults serve is always contingent on the child’s return.
Meaning that the adult is following the child’s focus.
The message from researchers is that IT MUST LAST 5 TURNS.

Interestingly classrooms conversations (cabell, justice et al., 2015). Looking at conversations in small group settings and found that the average length of a conversation is 4 turns. With 50% under 4 turns, 50% over 4 turns and 1:10 conversations was 10+ turns.
Justice put a warning in play - be careful about play based conversations - these need to be supporting long conversations and the evidence from this study show it is not happening currently.
Another reason being that from a very early age children prefer to play with children who have the same language skills as them. And what we need to do is disrupt this.
One solution could be "Bug in the ear" coaching - providing cues to the teacher - to guide conversations.
For ESOL students we should be providing the same opportunities as other students. The serve and return might look a little different, it could be gestural or physical. These students can benefit from exposure to sophisticated language. Instead of us simplifying what we are saying the students will strip down the language to where they are at the moment.

In our settings, we should be designing strategies for implementing to monitor each child’s experiences on these 5 serves.
Exposure to extended conversations are really important.

Overall, I found this session was one of my favourites from the two days. I enjoyed the messages around not underestimating children and also around the importance of developing vocabulary early. I found that this session linked nicely to the learning I have done and the work we do with Manaiakalani.
I would like to read more around the "5 turns" and what evidence supports this - so if you have any links please feel free to leave them in a comment!

First PLD Session of 2019! - PLG Groups: Why These Are Effective for Professional Learning.

Welcome back! 2019 has started with a hiss and a roar and I am super excited about all of the cool initiatives we have started this term! On Tuesday I was invited to attend a session with the PLG Leaders at Hornby High run by Deirde McCracken. This was a great experience and I look forward to working with Deirde in a larger sense over the year.

The first part of the session was looking at professional learning groups and the research behind why we chose to learn in this way. The information we looked at was from: The Ten Tenets of Collaborative Professionalism, AITSL: Professional Learning communities and The Adaptive School: Developing & Facilitating Collaborative Groups (2018).

My biggest take aways from this session were:
- Collaboration is the key and we need to learn how to do it well as professionals
- We need more open, honest and reflective dialogue with our colleagues
-"difference, debate and disagreement are necessary for improvement"
- our main goal is collaborative professionalism

Our 'homework' was to look through the agenda and come up with an outline for future PLG meetings. This involves looking at aims, principals and dialogue protocol. I am really excited about working in a more guided and driven PLG group. I will keep you up to date with all of the other learnings... along the way.

Week 32 / Activity 8 - A Change for the Better.

Activity 8: Key change in my professional practice

We are tasked to: 
Create a reflective journal entry in which you reflect on your personal 32 week learning journey and critically evaluate ONE key change in your own professional practice in relation to either any ONE of the themes. Then share your plans/dreams for your future professional development or your future practice.  

For this task I chose to use Rolfe’s model of reflection and... Google Slides! (As per my other posts). 

My final post for Mindlab... at this stage. 
This whakatauki comes to mind... 
"Ehara taku toa, he takitahi, he toa takitini." My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective.
Thank you to all those who have supported me on this journey.

DFI: Computational Thinking

OMG Tech - Led by Kawana  Link to their Site  (lesson plans and ideas!) Hook - The sorting algorithm, find a number, then go through the ...