Monday, 19 August 2019

Inquiry Update - Week 5, Term 3

Inquiry Focus: To improve oral language skills and critical thinking skills.

Four weeks have gone by in Term 3, and it feels like the Extension group have covered a lot of ground. Yet I also feel like not enough has been achieved.

This term all classes have a movie due for the upcoming Manaiakalani Film Festival. Both Extension groups have now planned their movie. Filming will hopefully begin sometime this week for the Year 5&6 group. The Year 7&8 group will be busy for the next couple of weeks planning, scripting and filming their movies for 'The Outlook for Someday' movie competition about 'Sustainability'.

Last week the Year 7&8 Extension group were lucky enough to attend our third trip to KPMG (Manaiakalani Sponsors) on Thursday. This included a visit to Sustainable Coastlines which is an organisation committed to raising awareness about the impact of pollution on our oceans, rivers and lakes.

It's been a busy term so far, and there is still more to look forward to later in the term.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Year 5&6 Paideia Seminar Term 1

The first Paideia Seminar for the Year 5&6 Extension group was held last week. It was postponed last term due to some students being involved in sports championship playoffs. The topic was around the theme of Eels, Maramataka (Maori Lunar Calendar) and the issue of pollution.

The outcome was typical of past experiences. The students were shy to share ideas at the start. They Year 5 students were more reluctant than the Year 6 students who had a year of experience in comparison.

Half of the Year 5 group only spoke once with some prompting and encouragement. A couple of Year 5s spoke more than 5 times. The Year 6 group were more confident and dominated the conversations.

Most responses consisted of the students responding to a question that was asked by the teacher. Only in the second half of the seminar did the students tend to piggy back off the ideas of others and begin to expand on their own statement.

Next steps: 
- Provide strategies and opportunities for the Year 5 students and some of our Year 6 students to build their confidence and increase their level of participation.
- Provide more resources and tasks around speaking, listening and thinking e.g. more tasks where students have to research a topic and then present to the class.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Term 1 Inquiry Reflection

This is my Inquiry Reflection for Term 1. We met in our Inquiry groups during our staff meeting to share our reflections on our Inquiry journeys so far.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Year 5&6 Extension visit to Eel tank with Mr Vogt

The Year 5&6 Extension group was very lucky to have visits from two eel experts Dave Cooper and Mahu (Ngati Paoa) this term. We are grateful to Mr Vogt for organising these visits as it relates to our inquiry for the term. Mr Vogt was also present for both visits to introduce our guests and to help direct student learning. The visit to our school eel tank was definitely a highlight for the Extension group.

This movie shows highlights from the Year 5&6 Extension group visit to the eel tank for the second time this term with Mr Vogt and Mahu.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Year 5&6 Extension visit from Dave Cooper

The Year 5&6 Extension group had the privilege of having eel expert Dave Cooper visit us during the week. Dave shared his knowledge about Longfin Eels and how they migrate over long distances (Pacific Ocean near Tonga) to spawn before dying. The students had the opportunity to ask lots of questions and found out some interesting information about eels.

Monday, 4 March 2019

My Inquiry in 2019

This year the core learning area that I am inquiring into is Reading. Language acquisition is the lens that I intend to use. My main goal is to focus on exploring the use of a range of strategies to extend reading and critical thinking skills. I am also interested in finding out more about how elements of gamification can help to improve student learning and engagement.

I'd like to find out more about how gamification can help students to learn more about challenging topics (social, historical, political) e.g. the Treaty of Waitangi. I'm interested in using online games to boost learning and engagement. I'd also like for the students to create their own digital games to help others.

I will continue to use Paideia seminars, blogging, student DLO’s and presentations as a way to assess learning, language acquisition and critical thinking skills

Year 5&6 Extension: Term 1 focus on Eels and Maramataka

So far we have had a visit from Dave Cooper an eel expert. We have visited the eel tank and have started animations based on Maramataka (Maori Lunar Calendar) and eels. The students have also been introduced to the Paideia method (Socratic discussions).

Year 7&8 Extension: Term 1 focus on Gamification and the Treaty of Waitangi

So far we have explored some of the issues surrounding the signing of the Treaty. The students will be using the technology design process to design a prototype of an educational game (digital or non-digital) based on the Treaty of Waitangi.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Final Inquiry Reflection 2018

Last week the final Paideia seminars took place for the Year 5&6 and Year 7&8 Extension groups. The Y5&6 seminar took place on Tuesday afternoon and the Y7&8 seminar took place the following morning on the Wednesday.

The provocative statement put to the students was: 'The Arts are just as important as academic subjects'. It was quite interesting to hear their viewpoints based on this provocative statement. Many decided that academic subjects such as reading and maths were more important than the arts. Some argued that reading is the most important subject because it helps with all subjects. Some said that the arts should be optional. Others said that the arts are important for giving students who are not good at reading or maths the chance to express themselves. The variety of opinions was interesting. There was no dominant thinking (agree or disagree) towards or against the statement.

I was impressed with the way in which the Year 5&6 students were engaged with the discussions. Most students were able to express their thoughts and opinions with the group. Most were able to build on the ideas of others which demonstrated that they were actually listening to what was being said.

It was a different story with the Year 7&8 group. It was quite difficult to get half of the group to engage properly with the discussions. Quite a few were reluctant to share. I think that I made the mistake of holding the seminar in class. There were no stand alone tables so the students sat on their chairs facing each other. The students had also completed quite a complex task before hand, so in hindsight it was probably not a good idea to hold our seminar straight after.

Overall, I am happy with the way that the Paideia seminars have panned out. We didn't have any in Term 1 due to the lack of time and due to our FiaFia event. I do feel that it's still something that needs to be pursued next year because it does give our students the chance to improve their critical thinking skills and communication skills.