Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Food For Thought

Professional Inquiry: 

When I received my students this year, I found that they had little or no reading strategies.  I gathered this from listening to them during the guided reading lessons, running records (comprehension), and the STAR and e-AsTTle scores for February 2017.  By the end of term 1, I knew that I would be attending an intensive PLD in using digital devices in the classroom in term 2.  Keeping this in mind, I concluded that it was important to focus on improving students reading strategies through DLO’s in my teaching inquiry.

I formulated my Teaching Inquiry to be:

To investigate the effect of using digital learning objects (DLO’S) to improve students reading with their understanding of making meaning.

As the digital age increasingly becomes the norm, integrating technology with learning is the reality. Aligning the literacy pedagogy with 1:1 digital learning is therefore a necessary step in the evolution of education in New Zealand. With the development of technology in education comes new opportunities for literacy through comprehension, sources of information in relation to comprehension, the use of programs to extend activities and comprehension tasks, and experiences children are prone to. These opportunities can provide children with an array of new and exciting methods to improve their literacy skills.

So The Plan Of Action...

I have put a huge emphasis on working around the use of my class site, digital tools and online programs as a way of bringing digital learning into my literacy program in a more prominent manor.

Activities such as 'word study' allow the children to use the internet to source additional information that will improve their understanding of keywords learned through the week. By having access to the online resources and tools, students are able to input a visual and verbal representation of the words, and then create a context for the word all in one exercise/on one document - something that would either not be possible, or a very time-consuming activity without digital technology.

Results have shown growth in students learning through the use of digital tools in cohesion with reading each term.

Friday, June 30, 2017

All Good Things Must Come To An End!

But Why Must It End?

Sadly the last session with the newly named Digital Fluency Intensive crew has ended. I have taken on board a wealth of knowledge under great leadership, and have acquired skills and understanding that I can confidently implement in my teaching practice henceforth.

On an even more positive note, I'm delighted to announce the passing of my Level 1 Google For Education Exam! Wohoo! (Thanks to Dorothy and James and their influence over my learning the past 9 weeks I actually found the exam fairly easy!)

To answer my own question 'why must it end?' - doesn't! Manaiakalani have an abundance of opportunities for teachers wanting to make more of an impact in the education world, opportunities that I for one will be snapping up! As for my learning and development, this is just the beginning...

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Penultimate Session!

Are We Empowered?

This mornings session was all about Empowerment - a core value of Manaiakalani, and the levels of empowerment evident in our settings. Empowerment not only of ourselves as educators and the freedom we have to be creative, innovative, and original with our teaching practice, but also empowerment of the students themselves - making sure they have a voice to be heard and choices about what they learn and how. 

Definitely something to consider when deciding what kind of teacher you wish to be and how you can make a change...

Cleaning Up!

As the course comes to an end we revisit our class sites and up the appeal! My class site had a complete makeover using all the tips and tricks i've learned over the weeks - from page layout and organisation to HTML and image-mapping, this version of the site is my latest masterpiece!

New header more child-friendly and appealing the young eye
Revamped the button colours to match the header

Getting that HTML to make navigating the site a breeze!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Revisiting Site Development

Site Building for the HTML Experts


In today's session I boosted my site building game executing 'image mapping' - a setup that allows you to set your site up with links for buttons and images but not open those links in a new tab like the traditional 'transparent shape' setup forces you to do. 

Knowing the in's and out's of HTML will prop your site building skills up there with designers and ensure your class site or professional blog has never looked so good! 

Pixl Editor

Using a program like Pixlr will allow you to find the coordinates for the shape you want to link. 

Use the navigator to find the coordinates of the shape, button, or image you wish to map.

The end result, although unfinished, is coming along nicely and looking a lot more professional that previously! Definitely a process i will be using to update my class site and getting rid of all those pesky tabs! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Digital Tools - Session 4


Here's a fantastic tool for recording! Screencastify is a chrome extension that enables you to record the activity on your screen while recording a commentary with video (not compulsory for those a little camera shy!) This would be a fantastic tool for recording feedback to students, setting up tasks for those capable and independent students to follow, or make a tutorial (eg. how to use a digital tool) for students to follow. 

Here's a small trial run explaining the basics for producing quality feedback on a blog post showing the tools mechanics and functionality! Fluency and confidence will come with a bit of practice!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kahn Academy

Stumbled across this TED Talk whilst browsing for inspiration. Kahn Academy is an online 'coach' that gives students free access to tuition in many subjects - covering most of those subjects in depth, and tracks their progress. The program follows a step process where the learner begins by watching a video explaining the strategy or idea, and follows up with an activity that challenges the learner to practice the strategy as a way of enabling the teacher to devote 100% of his/her time to 'roaming' the class and providing assistance. Something to think about as the digital world becomes more prominent in education.

Website here: 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Getting the know-how to teach - Session 1

Kicked of session 1 with unpacking google docs. If you don’t currently use the below apps or extensions I recommend them as they are useful tools to assist student learning. Favourite would have to be docutube! It allows your students to play youtube videos from a link with the availability of recommended videos or autoplay. This means they stay focused!!