I have introduced a different format of reading contract. It made a small difference to students as they had all their information there in front of them, except that which they were required to do AFTER seeing me for their lesson. 

There was a definite improvement in student engagement, but reading is an area I am using ICT in a minimal fashion. We are currently studying narratives in writing (consequently we are focussing on them in reading as well). 

I am a big believer that ICT should not be used for the sake of it, but I am certain that I could better enhance student learning through ICT. 

One of my biggest issues is getting students to revisit a text multiple times: they just lose interest. Clearly this is a praxis issue. I am failing to engage them in the examination of texts. 

How can ICT be used to enhance this

We are working on summarising in my two comprehension groups. This ties in perfectly with creating comics.

Students could complete a variety of summarising tasks which require them to work as a team to achieve this. 

  • Create a movie of the story (taking a section in pairs/threes)
  • Retell it using various multi-media
  • Create various alternate endings. Students could script a ‘what if’ scenario and then design an alternate ending which they conclude in some form or another. 
  • Partners work to create a comic
  • Focus on an aspect of the text each and represent that in some fashion (e.g. setting/character)

How will you measure success? 

The number of complaints and ‘can we read a different one’ statements. Track these over a period of three weeks to see if they will reduce. 

Question: will this inform their writing skills? 


Settle-petal or your brain will explode (but the world won’t)

Settle petal. A phrase I use far too often when someone needs to calm down. Right now is a personal ‘settle-petal’ moment. 

I have a heap of new learning which I wish to implement in my classroom. I have just made a substantial change to my classroom programme in writing. I should be content with that but am not (and can see areas of tweaking to be done within writing). 

I want to try the flipped classroom model for maths and writing and reading. I honestly think that I am taking on too much in my approach to this. 

Consequently I am going to begin the flipped classroom thing for maths. I have decided that I need to limit it to one group initially or it will become something unmanageable. I will also try having a student film the maths lesson so that it can be viewed again during the independent session. 

Let’s rewind. What do the students need? What will best suit their learning needs? Continue reading

Follow-up to SET readings

Just found these thoughts hidden on a sticky note on my computer. Good reflection questions. I wonder how I will respond to them in five weeks.

Critical analysis of existing discourses and how they are shaping your classroom key

Education is being steered by the notion of future-focus

Knowledge creation emphasised: but what is this and how does this marry with the expectations upon us as teachers?

How can our inquiries and PLD be better directed to support student learning and our own development as critically thinking individuals?

Follow up to new writing programme

After a week of it I am pleasantly suprised at the results & the hugely improved engagement levels. It is clear that a number of the students have had limited exposure to ‘comics’ and are unclear on the idea of using pictures to convey additional information to the limited text included there.

I am also thinking that the group working ‘in books’ should be my focus group, despite them being of mixed abilities and having different individual foci. I will trial this next week and then cement my decision during week 3.

There is one student who was so motivated by these writing sessions that it was repeatedly talked about at home!

Of consideration is a cross-school moderation session which all students will need to be familiar with the traditional narrative written form.

Challenged thinking

I am presently working my way through the latest SET magazine: Set: Future Education Special Issue No 1 2014. It is a great NZ magazine that contains excellent research. 

My shortnotes

Anyway, the theme of this one is future education. Over and over again it has challenged me about what constitutes future education, but more so how the existing discourses around future education are shaping our classrooms.  Continue reading

Exciting times.

As a teacher who loves ICT and the possibilities that are hiding within it, there is very little more exciting than a new piece of tech that turns out to do more than what you expected. 

I just got my new TELA laptop (and for those of you who are not NZ teachers: All public school teachers in NZ are provided with a laptop by the school they work for (whilst they’re there). These laptops are generally leased through TELA on a 3 year cycle). 

Anyway. My TELA is a Mac. It is shiny and silver. My boss kindly put on an iPad mirroring programme: reflector. It is brilliant. Forget getting an apple TV. I can just use my new computer!!!!! I can mirror, then record ipads. Multiple students can (allegedly) mirror their device simultaneously. Think of the reflection possibilities, the tutorial creation probabilities…the everything possibilities and the ability to demonstrate from here there and everywhere!!!! I am super excited. Super excited. 

(Excuse the grammar: at times like this excitement supersedes quality writing).