Friday, 15 August 2014

#Edchatnz - so what?

The night before the #Edchatnz conference I was a ball of energy, with a hint of nerves! I was presenting for Kidsedchatnz and my brain was racing as I wondered what the next two days would bring. Last night was a complete contrast, the realisation that Friday would be 1 week on from was quite a comedown, there would be no F2F with my PLN no, no passionate learners sharing their knowledge, no hanging out with some of the most amazing teachers.

We all knew that taking this conference home , continuing the revolution, was a large task. After 4 days, I know I've achieved a lot.

I've purchased "Once Upon A Time". This is a storytelling game recommended by @gingamusings. We were investigating narrative storywriting, its been a tad silo but I'd been using context to make it engaging with lots of minecraft, Call of Duty, visual prompts from Write About This on Pinterest and plenty of free choice. But this week, we've added "Once Upon A Time" to the mix, as well as StoryCubes (Verbs) and Scrabble.

  • Why? Oral Language is the foundation of story telling, some of my kids need help just getting their story out, others need to work on the flow/structure and for some just thinking about vocab and spelling is a big step. Its been full of "buzz" this week.

Collaborative writing: Having played "Once Upon A Time", 3 of my girls wrote a collaborative recount of their experience on GoogleDocs. We also took part in a small collaborative task started by @PascalDresse a round robin story using GoogleDocs, 10 classes writing 1 sentence each. I've posted more about this elsewhere.

  • Why? The girls wanted to share something about Once Upon A Time and they asked - I knew they would be writing, in terms of Key Competencies alone I was happy with this. 10 Sentence story children were all chosen as they have problems with stories flowing.
Choice: We had the computers for two sessions, 1 each for Maths & literacy. During Maths I took a risk with the blank canvas & conveyed that to the children. I asked each of them to write their learning outcome for the lesson, they shared this with me through Socrative where I was able to download the spreadsheet of responses. Each child then attempted to learn using their own methods with the computer, I had kids visiting lots of sites for strong math games (with their goals in mind), kids on Khan Academy and other YouTube videos. All were engaged and most confessed they had actually made progress towards their learning goal. The literacy session was much the same, children spent their time blogging, publishing, commenting, creating & sharing.
  • Why? This was a great chance to try the blank canvas for me but for the kids I know that everyone of them has different learning needs in maths, this was a chance to personalise the learning. I viewed it as a success.
Sharing @CaroBush laughed at my gobsmacked look as Pam Hook shared with us during Edchatnz. I've shown several people the Rubric Generators on Pam's site they've given me the same look.

  • Why? Because some of our mapping meetings have tedious merry-go-round conversations about what skill or verb should be included because some are too hard for different levels. SOLO and the rubric generators makes this argument go away!

Our principal was talking about digital learning, professional development and shifting your thinking. A great discussion and was supplemented with a model outlining reluctance through to innovators. I was asked to add my thoughts. I talked about three things: What, How, & Why. It's easy to find a new toy/gadget/app to play with but that it is understanding Why you have included it in your learning experience that is the real question.

  • Why? It should be central to your thinking in all planning. Why does the student need this tool, this experience, what will be the outcome for their learning.

I've purchased the book Key Competencies the first book recommended by @Edubookchatnz which was launched at #Edchatnz, I didn't go to the session but I am definitely keen to take part in this awesome journey. They're recommending professional reading and providing a chat to share the learning, consider it an online book club for teacher twitter geeks like me.
  • Why? Because professional reading is an important method to improve my teaching & professional practice.

Friday afternoon, @MrRuddtheTeachr and I are providing some PD on collaboration, connection & constant learning (aka TWITTER). I am a huge advocate of Twitter as a teacher & in the class and we also have 5-6 who are on Twitter but not very active, some are eggs because they don't have profiles & some chicks as they're not very active tweeters. But most are real eggs, they're not even on twitter. Its time for some to change that.

  • Why? Connection, collaboration, constant learning, PLN, need I go on?
1 week on, I'm feeling pretty relaxed about continuing the revolution and most importantly that I've truly engaged with the Professional Development I got at #Edchatnz

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