Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Kanban Boards and Building Self-Management Skills

Quite a few weeks ago, we were taught at the Mindlab about Kanban and Flow. With any good project, you need to be self-reliant and more importantly have good time management skills.

With teenagers, the struggle to find balance with all things is massive. They feel pressured, lose track of time and will prioritise socialising above all else.

So I tried using Kanban with my Y12 (Pink) class. This class has been studying a novel for the last few weeks. Their novels were self chosen from a selection I provided with similar themes and issues for characters. Some students chose their own text and are still maintaining the mileage and focus around analysis needed. Without too much help from me, as all I did was read the blurbs, explain the books a bit and the characters, the students all found books that they wanted to read.

And read they have! This class is super happy to just spend the lesson reading. In fact, I think because I've allowed them this time in class, they've been able to get through more than possible due to the fact that they're just so busy at home to read.

There have been students in this class where reading was a real struggle. They've been able to conquer this and have nearly finished their books. The act of choosing their own novels may have helped this.

Back to Kanban.

A few weeks ago I created Y12 Lit Club. In order to continue using Literature Circles like last year, I knew I needed more focus, more structured analysis. As a base to this analysis I created Lit Club. 30-33 questions about their novels, characters, themes, settings, authors intention etc.

Using Lit club - students got into their choice of book groups, and single books in the singles group. Basic discussions ensued. Maybe more focussed group work needed here as there wasn't much discussion by some groups and more reading done (not that I'm knocking the students wanting to read!!).

The next day we began creating the Kanban boards. Using coloured paper, students drew up three columns like this:
(Insert google doc of kanban)

On the back of the Lit Club analysis - I created some Must Do's, Should Do's and Can Do suggestions for their Kanban boards. While only suggestions, I reminded my students that the things in the Must Do category actually did need to be done.

The rule about Kanban is that there is only ever four PostIts on the To Do pile. Four because it's manageable. You can have as many as you need in Doing - however I think working on three at once works better - and once the task is completed, they can then move it to the Done pile.

Having the tactile version is helpful as a beginner. I added a Trello board to the Kanban suggestion page too, but none have used it yet.

We've updated the Kanban boards a couple of times now - some have finished the book and are looking to work on analysis. I used the film study worksheets I made last year for the Walter Mitty and Gone Girl booklet and made a blank novel study booklet for students.

Am giving out these booklets today. Some students prefer tactile learning and some more digital. So options are there for them.

Hopefully these help to guide them further. They're only small booklets - about 9 pages long (double sided) and shouldn't take too long to fill in.

More importantly, I added the written text essay questions and an essay scaffold too at the back.

In the next two weeks we need to do more analysis, write a piece of creative writing and prep for essays for next term's exam. Time is slipping away. Am finding Google Classroom very useful. But the issue is that not all students have GC on their phones yet. To ensure ubiquitous learning is happening, I need to make it more fun and more interesting and worthwhile of their time. Maybe they can be in charge of the website redesign?

I began Kanban boards with my Y11s yesterday which went rather well. A few students not as focussed as the rest - and I don't think I explained Kanban as well as I did with the Y12s. Regardless, we got there in the end.

Same as the Y12s, the Y11s have self-chosen their texts. This year with less selection. Last year I offered five books. It was too crazy and not manageable. This year only three. There are clear groups of those who chose 'The Giver', 'Divergent' and 'The Knife of Never Letting Go'.

Last night I created a Y11 version of the Lit Club (same as the Y12 one...but with Y11 on it - just for those students yesterday who noticed the Y12 heading while using the lit club sheets) and looking at the Kanban board suggestions - began to identify areas that need working on.

I think because I started with Kanban first off this time, it may have a different path than the Y12s. Regardless, the journey will be similar. With the Y11s this next two weeks - we need to do analysis and static images too.

Last night I also found another (possibly better) version of Kanban which is done digitally. It was in the Chrome Web Store and called Kanban-chi. I'll add the direct link later.

On a side note - I've been forgetting to add Creative Commons licenses on what I'm creating for students. I fixed it up last night. I want to see if I can make it a default for all docs I make in Google Docs. Even though our school is not yet using Creative Commons as a whole, eventually we may - and by that time I'll have all my resources sorted.

Looking forward to tonight's elearning session. Will see who turns up and how we go.