Monday, 18 May 2015

Google Apps for Education

This year we have moved to Google Apps for Education. All children have a Personal Learning Space on Google Drive and all classes have a blog. 

Katie and Clive are also trialling Google Classroom and the children in GRi11 have their own blog. As part of this learning, the children have also developed their understanding of Digital Citizenship. It has been very exciting to see how the children in GRi11 have significantly increased their ability to use Google Apps since the start of the year. The majority of the children now easily: 
  • Log in to 'Drive'.
  • Create new folders, docs, slides etc.
  • Share docs.
  • Upload shortened URLs to the class Fast Track.
  • Post on their blog.
  • Comment on others' learning.  
All of this has taken a considerable amount of time (and some very patient teachers) however the children are now well set up to use these tools and skills to support their learning for the rest of the year.  One of the biggest issues we face is the difference between using Goggle Apps on a computer compared to on an iPad.  The majority of our BYO devices are iPads so these issues need to be worked through on a daily basis.

Clive and Katie attended the Google Apps for Education Summit in Auckland at the end of the Term One holidays.  They returned inspired and full of lots of new ideas!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Agency Co-construction in GRi11

Clive and Katie also co-constructed their agency progression in Term Two. During our visit to Russell Street School they shared how they used the 'Stuck on an Escalator' clip to start this conversation with their children. Katie and Clive asked the children to watch this clip and complete a 'See-Think-Wonder' in small groups. The children actively discussed the messages from the clip and were then challenged to make links between this clip and their learning. For example: If you get stuck on the escalator sometimes, what might learning look like for you?

Their goal was to develop criteria for three stages:

  • Agency 
  • Self-managing 
  • Guided 
Up until this point, they had had many conversations about 'managing self' so they knew the children should be able to co-construct the indicators for the first two stages.  To start developing some ideas for 'agency' they asked "Where to next for learning in GRi11?"

Some of the resources that we used to develop our understanding of agency can be found on the Core Education Website.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Tracking Learning and Learning Conversations

One of the biggest challenges Clive and Katie were having in the classroom was keeping track of learning and learning conversations. In a traditional classroom programme, all children do the same learning task at the same time.  In GRi11 the children are taking responsibility for managing their learning by selecting which learning task to complete, when, where and with who in the areas of literacy and our integrated unit.

Some of the issues:
  • Who has completed what tasks?
  • How can we easily access the children's learning without needing to search through their 'Drive' or books?
  • Who has had a writing conference? When?
  • Where can we record the children's next steps so that it is easy to view at a later date when we are planning what workshops to offer?
  • Which groups have had a meeting about their inquiry? Where are they at?
  • Where can we record anecdotal comments?
Answer: Fast Track!  

Katie and Clive used Google Sheets to create a spreadsheet that allowed them to address many of the issues above.  This idea was based on examples we had seen at Point England School and Russell Street School.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

12 Weeks in Pot of Gold

In Week Four, John and Kristen shared their presentation '12 Weeks in Pot of Gold - An Unexpected Journey.' They explained how they were working towards developing "a community in which all learners thrive and take responsibility for their own learning."

Friday, 8 May 2015

ELS Presentation

In Week Two, Clive and Katie shared aspects of their 2015 learning journey in GRi11. They are using the term 'Empowering Learning Space' instead of 'Modern Learning Environment'. "We believe that we are creating a space that empowers children to learn and manage themselves."

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Integration in Action Presentation

At our Syndicate Meeting in Week One, we discussed our model for curriculum integration and our integration backstory. As a team, we have two beginning teachers, three teachers who have been teaching for less than five years, and three teachers who have been teaching at College Street for more than five years. This discussion allowed our teachers to understand the journey that we have been on over the last 12 years and why some of the changes have been made along the way.