Friday, 15 April 2016

Creating a site

Team 4's inquiry topic for term 3 is Comic and Sequential Art. I decided to create an exploration site for this inquiry. It was important to us to be able to give students a safe, engaging, and age-appropriate place to explore comic art. 

The process began with a pen-to-paper plan of how the site would work. I planned page layouts as well as flow between different pages. Once this was done, I began to plan the design of my site. My first design looked like this: 

After a discussion with my team, it was decided that this did not look like a comic, not did it engage learners in wanting to pick up a comic and read it. Therefore, I recreated the design and came up with this:

The idea behind the home page of the site was to lead students through various areas of comic and sequential art, provide students with a place to read comics, and links for teachers to the NZ curriculum.
Once the formatting of the site was completed, one of my colleagues helped me populate the site with material. We added an image attribution section to the footer of each page to acknowledge images used. 

The site very much became a 'site in progress' with the idea that it would be added to during the term. It was not used very much, however this was partially due to learning being added to our team site which the students are confident navigating in order to access their learning. Instead, the site was used on several occasions, as an extended text to give students choice in their learning. xxx

Creating this site was valuable as it allowed me to think carefully about, and reflect on what makes a digital learning space engaging and easily accessible for students. I was also able to develop confidence in using HTML to personalise the site. In my future practice, I will be able to use these developing skills to create sites which students can be directed to for their learning. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

End of Term 1 reflection: Inquiry

My inquiry is about using formative data to determine next steps to focus on in dialogic discussions during guided reading.

During term 1, I found that I need to continue developing learners' abilities to think critically and deeply about texts. I also need to continue developing learners ability to recognise and make sense of specialised vocabulary.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Are we sharing our learning enough?

This question really challenged my thinking about how I am encouraging the 'share' element of 'learn-create-share' with my learners, in a quantitative sense.

Our learners tend to share at least one digital learning object (DLO) a week each in maths, reading, and writing. While some of our learners achieve this from week to week, in reality, this does not always happen for many of our learners.

Example of one of the learning experiences (learn-create-share) I have planned. Click the example to visit our team site for more examples!

I need to look at why this is. How can we help some of our learners to understand the purpose of 'share'? I have come to understand the importance of encouraging our learners to share anything and everything which they have learned or created at school and beyond.

In discussion with my colleagues, I have reflected on sharing in the classroom and have come to realise that three blog posts a week (if we are lucky) is not enough sharing for our learners. Our tamariki should be learning something new every day. Anything they learn is worthy of being shared. So how do we manage our time so learners can share their learning within the school day but not rush their learning? Do we want high quality or high quantity? What is more important? Is it possible to have both? Is it better to have learners share one piece of learning a day (which may not include such a deep level of thinking) or three pieces of learning a week (which may be of higher quality and with a deeper level of thinking)?

These are all questions I hope to develop an understanding to and confidence in, through continuing to reflect on my practice.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Building a site

Yesterday, we focused on building a collaborative site. The site is a resource for teaching current events from year 2 to year 9.

This is the home page design of our site, which was designed by +Stephanie Peck:

Each page on the site has been designed by a different MDTA teacher. The page I designed was developed with year 5/6 in mind, however it could easily be adapted for use with other year levels. The current event I focused on was the Hanmer Springs fire from earlier in the year. Check it out by clicking the screenshot below!

When reflecting on and discussing my site page with my colleagues, we noted a lack of a hook to engage learners' in the learning experience. This initiated me to think about how I hook my learners into their learning in the classroom. I don't feel like I am managing to effectively hook my learners into their learning yet. Therefore, during my planning, I need to be actively thinking of engaging hooks which I can use to introduce my learners to new learning experiences. I am in the process of putting the finishing touches on this page by including an effective hook!

Through developing this current events page for our collaborative site, I have become more confident in site building, learned some essential elements of HTML, and now feel excited and confident about developing my own site. I have also been able to think about the importance of developing engaging learning experiences for my learners, and have reflected on how I can do this better in the future to improve the quality of learning for my learners!