Thursday, 30 April 2015

Heights Reflection 2

Second week of allocated time to reflect.

Think I've sorted out 2 of my Y11 inquiry students because our amazing TA Marie works with them one on one and now I have more time to work with the rest of the class.

Yesterday we went over essay structure and breaking down essay questions. I told them that it's going to be easy at this point to see who has been developing their own analysis at this point about their novels and who haven't initiated contact with the characters or themes. Why? Because the students that have been doing the required analysis will breeze through essay question after essay question.

I have a weird idea that I might try this week - start each day with a new essay question and they need to develop main points, find keywords and phrases as well as use the TAKO structure to develop a new intro each day.

I truly believe that by having a strong intro you actually can't go wrong in the essay paragraphs. Because if you have clearly laid out what you will be talking about -your three main points - then it's quite easy to keep coming back to your intro to see what you're talking about next.

The problem I see a lot of the time is students who just start writing and don't like generating ideas or brainstorming. I might also try out +SteveMouldey's (@GeoMouldey) suggestion about idea generating and then choosing the best 3 or 4 ideas to build on.

When I was at school (old kuia in me haha) we were taught brainstorming and mind gym and deBono's hats. There was a lot of effort put into teaching us HOW to think and that thinking was BETTER usually than the end result. Because thinking develops into good practice eventually anyway... if you've thought through the issue enough anyway...

I've continued to do this with my Y11s. I worry that I haven't done enough SOLO scaffolding with them and that I've let them and encouraged them to work at their own pace. I think today I'll get their books in and do a quick check over.

Some students have a really strong fixed mindset that we need to build up into growth mindsets. It's frustrating because the inquiry students need more awhi one on one and with my individualised programme - there is more time - but I still feel it isn't an effective use of my time monitoring and circling and seeing if they need help. Maybe I need to make some sort of system on the whiteboard or just trust that they'll ask for help when they need it.

What I'd like to do is completely flip my class. Yes I keep saying it and yes eventually it will happen.

Have been reading two... maybe three flip your classroom type books and they've really begun to change my own mindset and also enable me to redefine what a flipped classroom actually looks and feels like.

Tweeting Troy Cockrum the other day was probably one of the best moments because he offered me advice and ideas about our Evolving at Heights space and they're really great ideas. I just need to implement them.

Now that we have an online space - I need to create some sort of latest activity link because it's becoming difficult to keep track of what's been done and who's working on what. The WB grids have been helping but I need to make a more clearer way to see what they've been doing and where - maybe use ExitTicket?? Or Google Forms?

What I probably need to do is set up that lesson by lesson table that Troy suggested because then at least on the new Google Doc for each lesson - there would be links to the ExitTicket and also links for learning etc on there. Would also make the transition to flipped learning faster too. It's always systems and processes for me.

For Y12 - today we should all be onto the analysis of their books. Because they're fast learners I'll be working at their pace and we'll be analysing the texts fast so that we have plenty of time to develop their overall analysis in their essays prior to the coming mid term exams.

My inquiry students are working individually, developing knowledge of using GDocs with me and completing work. Some will be coming to lunch this arvo. I like that I chose Thursday as tutorial time because it's the lunch right after the Y12 class.

My other Y12A class have just finished watching the Blindside and have been given three tasks to complete by the end of the week - overall summary of the film, what links they can make between the characters and also what themes are overriding in Mike's life.

We'll continue working on that today.

My Y10 Sost class blows my mind every lesson. Yesterday one of my students P burst into tears after looking at pictures of starving children in Africa as part of her research on her chosen UDHR article. She looked at me and said, "We need to do something!" And so her passion project has begun. Love it. Social change in action is powerful and it doesn't happen until you've made a personal and empathetic connection with it.

My Y10 English class have continued work on their Static Images - we're building on their prior knowledge of techniques as well as their work from last year.

They were given three options as well:
1) Social issue
2) Music CD cover or Artist Tour Poster
3) Company Campaign

And yes - it's noisy and yes it's a little all over the place - but there is real learning happening. Students are showing their understanding of the techniques and showing it in their drafts. Hopefully they'll be finished their good copies by the end of the week (am most likely dreaming haha.) More likely finished by Wed next week.

Am so grateful for our TA Ria because she works with the group of boys that are often off task and by helping them stay o  task, building on their knowledge, pushing them to develop stronger drafts has enabled me to help the rest of the class.

So that's this week so far! More to write soon. Off to school I go :)