Thursday, 27 July 2017

Second Paideia Seminar Reflection

Paideia Seminar Term 2: Year 5 & 6 Extension

Today we held our second Paideia Seminar for our Year 5 & 6 Extension students. The students had plenty of support during the lead up to this seminar. Throughout term they continued to practice how to disagree agreeably, listen to what others had to say and think about how to share their ideas based around an issue. The main topic was based around our school wide theme for the term - ‘Now That’s Thinking’ and about the impact of technology on our lives.

During the term the students practiced arguing their point of view about an issue. Once again we were lucky to have the guidance and support of Anne Sinclair who helped throughout the term. The main task in Term 2 was to create a mini production. The students were put into 5 main groups: Script writers, set/background designers, dancers, costume designers, and light and sound team.

Each team collaborated and contributed to the creation of the production. They also researched about an aspect relating to their group focus e.g. history sewing machines, dancing, and set designs. They began to see how the development of innovative technologies has changed the way things are done over time e.g. digital technology now means that music and set designs can now be digitally created. The students then participated in the mini production in front of the school at the end of the term.

Today’s panel discussion was the culmination of the students research and work around the issue of collaboration and technology. Once again a room was setup to create the atmosphere of a conference. Students in each group received lollies as a form of token. Each student could eat a lolly once they had shared their thoughts. Everyone was encouraged to speak, share and respond.

I noticed that the students were quite shy to begin with. Further into the seminar the students began to gain confidence and were more willing to participate and speak up. One student in particular needed to be reminded to let others speak as this person tended to dominate the conversations.

Overall I think that the seminar was very successful. I am proud of what the students have achieved. It reinforced the knowledge that we have some very bright students in this group. However a couple of students still need to learn how to listen and give others a chance to share. A few students also need to be more prepared, or have more courage to share their ideas.

Our reflection will look at:
  1. How are we going?
  2. What worked well?
  3. Where are we going?  
  4. What could we improve?
  5. Where to next?

For a first time in Stage 1 of the Paideia Seminar the students did so well. We can ask them these questions as well and also what they would like to see and what ‘rules’ we could use, eg:
  • Only one person talks at a time
  • Respect the speaker
  • Give others a chance to speak
  • Look at the person you are talking to or asking a question of
  • Say their name when you ask them a question or challenge an idea
  • Be supportive of others and help them to participate
  • Be prepared
  • Expand on the discussion ideas next time using the prompts
  • Extend the discussion

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Beat the Goalie Game on Scratch - Reflection

First the students were shown the game (Beat the Goalie) on Scratch without the lines of code. They were asked to think about how they would go about recreating the game to replicate the original. Students had to think about how to create the lines of code to recreate the game so that it looked the same and had the same instructions. Because they were already experienced with using the Scratch programme they were automatically able to create 2 sprites and a background quite quickly.

Each student had access to an imac. By working individually rather than in groups I could clearly see who could manage with this task independently and who struggled. Instructions and hints to possible lines of code to be used was shared with the students, but most seemed to be able to go ahead and create the code (or at least experiment) without the instructions.

By the end of the session, two thirds of the class managed to get to the end of game within an hour. Zoe (from OMGTech) challenged them further to create a two player game. Instead of random movement of the goalie (or a stationary one), code was needed to control the goalie instead using the arrow keys. Just over half the class were able to achieve this independently.

This was a really good task to test the skills of the students. It is not a task that I would start with early in the year with students who are new to coding. This task tested the skills that had been learnt over the last two terms. It was reassuring to see that most of the students had the skills to achieve level 4 of the new digital curriculum.

Beat the Goalie Game snippets from SchoolTV on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Reflection about Fake News Inquiry Enactment

Fake News Inquiry Enactment 1-oz-silver-kraken-round-obv.jpg
Search for the Kraken on the internet.   
    • Decide: Is the Kraken real, imaginary, or something in between?
    • How do you know?
    • Why might it be important to be able to figure this sort of thing out?

This was another opportunity to practice the Paideia method leading up to our seminar. Students were instructed to search for the ‘Kraken’ and decide whether it was real or not. Students took sides and interestingly enough there were a couple of groups who thought it was either real, fake, and/or something in between.
The process of making a decision based on evidence or lack of evidence found on the internet (or from personal general knowledge) was encouraged. Through discussion, students were asked to justify their positions based on their findings. There were interesting and plausible answers for and against the existence of the Kraken.
Students questioned the reliability of the internet and the lack of concrete evidence. Others made comparisons to dinosaur fossils and the possibility that the Kraken may have existed as a type of ancient species. Regardless of their positions, the students continued to practice how to listen to others, build on the ideas of others and argue their point of view backed by evidence.

Paideia Practice The Kraken July 2017 snippets from SchoolTV on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Back in da Day Reflection

The production was performed on Tuesday the 27th of June. We had our final dress rehearsal on the Saturday just before the production. A third of the students couldn’t make it (6 out of 18) which made things a little difficult, but we had a good run through of the show including the backdrops and sound. Anne Sinclair and I took care of the cast, while Mr Jacobsen took care of the sound, microphones and headsets.

I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be ready for the Tuesday show as several students still didn’t know their lines and were reading off the scripts. We tried again to practice on Monday during our lunchtime. There were still a few hiccups and I was feeling quite nervous. Mr Somerville was on hand to provide support. Then on the Tuesday morning, we found out that three students were absent. Luckily three students filled in for the absent students. One student had covered someone else’s part on Saturday, another learnt his lines the day before and one even took over someone’s part an hour before the show.

Showtime. We had one last run through during lunchtime but it was still a little nerve wracking thinking about the issues that we had. Soon 2:00pm went by and the hall started to fill up with teachers, parents and classes.

During the show I watched from the back of the hall as I was filming it, so I could see the whole production in action. It took about half an hour and by the end of the show I was so relieved as the students had put on an incredible performance considering the lack of time to practice and learn lines, the absent actors, and other dramas along the way.

I couldn’t even pick out my highlight as I loved every bit of it. We had students who were so shy but had stepped up, learnt their lines and shone. The actors and dancers were amazing. The students had actually put in an incredible amount of work to produce the show to the level that they had.

Mr Burt congratulated the students for their awesome performance. I think by this stage I was too emotional to speak. I was so proud of all of the Year 5 & 6 Extension group who had just performed. But I was especially proud of the fact that the whole school had come along to support us. As I looked out into the crowd I could see a sea of red and black. There were parents sitting proudly in the back rows. Teachers were smiling. I was literally holding back tears thinking how lucky I was to be part of an amazing school. Not only were the students given the opportunity to shine and perform in front of their peers, but the whole school was there to support us. That’s what made it all worth it.

Year 5 & 6 Extension mini-Production: Back in da Day

On Tuesday the 27th June, the Year 5 & 6 Extension group performed their mini-production called ‘Back in da Day’ in front of the whole school. The students collaborated to put this production together. They were placed into 5 main groups: Script writers, Costume and Makeup designers, Background and set designers, Light and sound, Actors and Dancers. Of course the jobs of some of these groups overlapped during the term.

The theme was based on this term’s school wide theme around technology. This was incorporated into the script quite cleverly by the students. The story is set in the current day where a group of children spend quite a bit of time on electronic devices and games. The children grumble about how the adults in their lives seem to hold them back from their game time. Bethan (Year 6) performs a solo that she wrote about the unfairness of it all. Then they stumble upon a mysterious device that transports/teleports them into another time period.

In the Pacific Setting, the students discover that they are no longer at home and struggle to communicate with the locals. A pacific style dance item is performed. Later the students are teleported again, this time to a time in the 1960s. A brief movie plays which shows snapshots of images and icons from the 60s. They children discover that they have been transported to the family home in the 60s and they meet their grandmother when she was a child.


During the 60s item the dancers perform to ‘Chubby Checker - Let’s do the Twist’ song. Then Zaeeda (Year 5) performs her solo that she wrote. The children are then transported into the future. Here they see things that they have never seen before. They meet a human who owns an advanced personal robot and find out what life is like in the future. Then a futuristic dance item is performed, followed by a solo item from Marika (Year 5) who wrote her own song.

Finally the children are transported back to the present and realise that there is more to life than just playing on their electronic devices. Quality time with friends and family is important even though technology can help with their learning.