Elisabetta's Reflections as an Educator!

Words from a very wise woman!

Web 2.0 Online Course

October30

MODULE 2

Learning Objectives for Module 2:

  1. Learn about blogs.
  2. Create your own blog and add your learning reflections in Module 1.
  3. Add your details and blog URL to the list of Blogs.
  4. Find out more about the educational use of blogs.
  5. Learn how teachers use Twitter in the classroom.
  6. Create a blog entry about your learning experiences in this module.

Module 2 was pretty easy to complete! We as a staff had to create our own professional blogs to record our PART (Professional Action Research Team findings as well as any external Professional Learning that was undertaken. For me, I have really enjoyed seeing my students using online tools to publish their work and give each other feedback. I have also enjoyed publishing my own findings through this course, as well as external PL that I have attended. I don’t have all the answers, but I do enjoy collaborating with others and finding new and exciting tools to use.

Attending Techie Brekie has also been a highlight. Our Learning and Teaching Coordinator (Rebecca) has lead us through some new tools and how to embed them within our own blogs as well as with students in our communities. I have been able to create a link for Google Translator widget onto my blog which is fantastic. This means that everyone will be able to access my blog in their preferred language; including my relatives in Italy!

At the beginning of the year, we began with a Community blog 5/6 level which was great. We wanted to see what would happen to students learning when they published or shared online. Basically, we wanted to see if publishing online made a difference to the quality of their learning. It was awesome; students had a real purpose and audience to publish online. This gave their work authenticity and challenged them as well. Not long after we set this up, we realised our students were ready for their own individual blogs. So, together with my team teaching buddies; Rebecca and Jacqueline we set them up. What a difference it has made! Students that would normally not respond in a community set up are blogging nonstop. They have a real purpose and audience for their work, commenting and publishing.

I did sign up to Twitter a couple of years ago. However, I am not really proficient in utilizing it to its full potential. I know of other staff members who utilize it daily and find great resources shared. This is something that I would like to look into further. Being able to create a link for twitter on my blog is the first step and then ensuring I look at it daily. So many great resources…I just need to manage them in a way that I find useful and practical!

PARTS 2013 REFLECTIONS

October9

Action Research Reflection Questions:

1. What was the main focus and purpose of this action research project?

The main focus of my action research was centred on our Year Levels focus question: What happens to student learning when they publish/share online? Our aim was to see what happens to student learning when they publish on the blog.

2. Did you achieve the intended purpose and how do you know? If not, why not?

I believe 5/6 SG went above and beyond our initial expectations. We began by implementing Author Think process in writing and publishing a Powerful Paragraph on the Level Blog. Students were asked to publish this in order to give and receive feedback. We then spent time looking at them and deciding whether we had made a difference nor not. Following this, we realised we needed our own class blogs and perhaps redoing the Powerful Paragraph again. This certainly made a difference because students had an audience and real authentic purpose for publishing and giving and receiving feedback. This was powerful and my thinking completely changed, just how much? Massively!

3. What were the most important things you learned about:

a. The focus of your action research?

Where do I begin? Firstly, I learnt that it is important to always try new things and not stay stagnant because it’s easier or what we know. I’ve always found that anything to do with ICT, then students would be engaged and blogging was an area that was truly worth considering as a platform for publishing. The students were so engaged, connected and  really focus on the quality of what they publish.

b. Your own professional learning needs? (what did you need to know for this action research?)

As educators, we need to let go of what is familiar to us and embrace what the future holds for our students TODAY! So keeping abreast of the latest Web2 tools has certainly given me new learning’s to utilise when working on blogs. Visiting other educator’s blogs has really been supportive because it gave me other options and/or ideas. Also, working with Rebecca Gage has also been significant because we both share the students.

c. How will your findings influence your own and others future classroom practice?

I feel that my findings have already had an influence on those around me. I feel so excited and empowered when I see my students engaged and empowered with having their own blogs!  I am extremely excited to see what will come of their blogs! I’m looking forward to now seeing connections with the outside world from parents, students, staff and even other schools.

4. Which, if any, parts of the action research posed problems?

I believe the time we wasted discussing the actual focus question, in regards to interpretation wasted valuable time. It wasn’t until we met with Rebecca, we realised that this project had a focus question for all, but every community has diverse students. I also need to keep furthering my skills in Web2 tools.

5. How often did you read blogs of other members of your team?

Honestly speaking, I didn’t connect with others blogs a great deal. I found I was time poor with my many different hats….not that this is an excuse. However, when I did find time I really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts and how their PARTS journey was going. I also enjoyed reading about staffs reflections when posting about PD’s they attended.

6. How did you find the process of documenting your actions, learning’s and reflections on the blog?

I really enjoyed posting my reflections and learning’s on my blog.  I am a big believer that if we want to prepare our students for their ever changing world, we need to know and be part of it! I’ve thoroughly loved recording my thinking and processing.

7. What new professional learning needs emerged for you from the experience of this action research? How will you meet these learning needs?

Like I mentioned above, I am looking forward to furthering my skills and understandings about Web 2 tools. Being part of the Web2 course has been outstanding and I am learning so many new tools that can be utilised for working with students and myself.  I will certainly continue to visit other peoples blogs and be part of the student blogging challenge! With this, I will need to be far more involved! Rebecca help?

8. Reflect on the changes we have made to PARTS:

a. Use of the blog:

 I strongly feel that documenting your learning’s and reflections via the blog has been a real positive. It’s a great way to celebrate and acknowledge all we do as educators!

b. Removing the Considering Evidence Protocol:

I am very familiar with the Considering Evidence Protocol and have be involved with it many times throughout the years. I feel it is time for our school to really investigate other ways of considering evidence.

 9. How would you improve our PARTS process?

I have really enjoyed our PARTS process this year. I feel you need another year to really find out what needs improving.

 

WEB 2.0 Online Course

September4

MODULE 1

I recently signed up to the Web 2.0 course and have worked through the first Module. I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the first Module. This course is a great chance for me to build on my repertoire of tools to support further engagement for the Students I teach or should I say, learn with!

Learning and teaching Years 5 and 6 have really helped me expand my ICT skills through the use of many tools. The last few years I have been really focusing on building my blogging skills.  I set up my very own blog this year; ‘Elisabetta’s Reflections as an Educator’. It has been wonderful for reflecting on my journey in regards to our schools vision of PARTS (Professional Action Research Team).  Each week I post a reflection of where I am at in regards to our team’s research question: What happens to student learning when they publish/share online?

What I have come to realise this term is that when students know they have an audience for their learning outside of school, I have been successful in making their learning relevant, purposeful, and important and that they matter! As a learner myself, I find this very rewarding and nurturing of all I am doing to introduce and model tools that are   making a difference to these students learning in a 21st Century!

It’s now time for me to continue to build on my understandings and repertoire of tools to keep up this great learning and teaching.

So, what comes to mind when I think of Web 2.0? Here a few words…..

This course is certainly helping to build up my understandings and repertoire. Some of the tools are certainly familiar to me as I have used them in some way. For example:

–         Twitter for keeping abreast of ICT tools and programs

–         Wordle for creating aggregation of text

–         Vimeo for photos of students work

–         Google Forms to collect data

–         Wallwisher (Padlet) to collect feedback from students

–         Prezi for presenting slideshows of work

Even though I am familiar with some tools and proficient in others, Module 1 certainly opened up great discussions about the positivity of our virtual world, but also the healthy balance for the Students we teach and learn with.  The YouTube clips in Module 1 opened up my eyes to the shift of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. How quickly tools can change and become readily available for all at the click of a button. Information is so easily accessible and free! Why do we need to sit in a lecture, classroom or office? Everything is readily available through the virtual world. It is a little scary, but I feel I need to best equip myself so that I can model, teach and learn alongside my Students so they can be the best they possibly can be in the 21st Century.

I feel I am certainly well and truly on the way with all my understandings and skills. Blogging has definitely opened up lots of possibilities, for not only me, but the students. The tools, understandings and skills I work with and present to the students within my environment are going to really support them in the online world that faces them.

Whilst the virtual world can be scary and have a dark side, I need to remember that a healthy balance is required. I also need to be aware of the negativity and not let this deter my learning and teaching for the students within my care.  I need to remember to teach them for their future, not my past!

When I look back at my Wordle (above), I notice all the words that I identified before my post…..are positive! I choose to be open and ready for what the online world has to offer and remind myself of the understandings, skills and tools my students will know for their amazing and exciting future ahead.

 

 

 

 

PARTS PERFECTION!

August21

Ok…..so let me take you back to my very first post about our Research Project:

May 7

I am looking forward to working with my team: Jacqueline, Maria.P, Vicki and Nan for the 2013 PARTS Research Project. Our focus question is:

What happens to student learning when they publish/share online?

We began working excitedly on implementing Author Think process in writing and publishing a Powerful Paragraph on the Level Blog. Students were asked to publish this in order to give and receive feedback. We then spent time looking at them and deciding whether we had made a difference nor not. Following this, we realised we needed our own class blogs and perhaps redoing the Powerful Paragraph again. This certainly didn’t really sit right with me, because I felt that the minute students published it on the blog…..it made a huge difference to their learning. Students had an audience and real authentic purpose for publishing and giving and receiving feedback. This was powerful and my thinking completely changed, just how much? Massively.

WOW! It changed…… ALOT! In a short space of time I have come to realise that we are far beyond our research question….no longer do we have a Level blog or 5/6 blog, BUT today we launched a blog for each and everyone one of our students.

I’m so excited because I have come to realise that our students are so ready to manage their own blog to share their learning. When I think back to our research question and reflect back to what happened when they published that first piece of writing…..I am blown away! That one piece opened up the world to not just myself, but our students!

Why did I wait so long for them to set up their own blog?

As educators, we need to let go of what is familiar to us and embrace what the future holds for our students TODAY! We need to support them for the future NOT our past. I feel so excited and empowered to see what our students will achieve with having their own blogs! Of course, they will still be managed by myself, but the power that each and every one of them will have to share their learnings, passions, intentions and interests is so amazingly powerful. I for one, am extremely excited to see what will come of their blogs! I’m looking forward to seeing connections with the outside world from parents, students, staff and even other schools.

Let the journey begin!

Introducing 5/6 SG Blog!

August7

This afternoon, we worked on setting up our 56sg blog.  We set up out pages, mainly focusing on Blog Guidelines and Commenting. This allows the students to see what is expected of them when using this collaborative blog. It also explains and gives students guidelines on how to give each other feedback in a positive and constructive way.

 

I’m excited because to me having a class blog means students can really focus on what is happening with their learning and seeking outside feedback! It also helps them to make the connection with publishing online in all areas of learning!

 

So, why blog? To me, blogging is about:

  • what’s going on in our classroom
  • a way to showcase students learning, for example: writing, art, excursions, music, things happening in the world etc.
  • a place for students to individually express themselves
  • a collection of links to other sites to support students learning
  • a  place to talk about students learning with each other,  family and students around the world
  • a place to receive affirmations, feedback, ideas etc.

 

PARTS REVELATION!

July31

Thanks to some recent feedback from Rebecca I have really been thinking…….I took on board the reminder to go back and really check our research question……

What happens to student learning when they publish / share online?

I’m now rethinking, Am I  allowing my students to publish in other areas of learning? In my last post I stated that my next step was to get the students to repeat the writing activity without as much instruction. this would great if our research question was related to just writing! but its not…….I have come to realsie that students do not need to do another piece of writing because they are already using the Senior blog to publish in other areas Of their learning.

Obviously my students are clearly telling me that they are capable and publishing in other areas of learning NOT just in writing. What I’m now starting to realise is that if my students are posting and publishing work samples, videos of learning ……they are perhaps ready for their own individual blogs where they can really share their learning journey. Why am I stopping them, when they are ready and showing this? How do I know?

This week I set a Maths task for 2 of my groups and it was completely independent and to their point of need. They had to follow the task card which clearly asked them to share their learning about Mental Maths strategies when adding and subtracting. Students were to use any form to record their thinking and learning. Most of them chose the program Show Me. They were asked to email the task or place it in Box. What I noticed was that they emailed me and posted it on the blog, This was great.

Students who posted their learning online, really highlighted where they saw a real need for feedback and sharing of learning! So, the question remains why am I waiting? It’s time to be pro-active!

 

PARTS …… NEXT STEP!

July30

Over the past few weeks, I have been going into the Blog to see if students are still posting their new and improved ‘Powerful Paragraphs’. It’s seems that they are and it’s wonderful to see the new and improved ‘Powerful Paragraphs’ the students have been completing. The feedback that they have given each other is certainly evident in some of the     ‘Powerful Paragraphs’ because they have really taken on board the ideas and improvements. For some students, however, they are still in the process of improving and I have no doubt what so ever that they will post when they are ready.
What I have come to realise though, is that I need to re do this process with another piece of work, but not focus so much on the ‘Authorthink’ process. I would rather invite students to publish a piece of writing on the blog, once they are finished! However, I will not remind the students about editing their draft because I should see a difference once they post on the blog; particularly the difference in audience.  What does concern me though is our PARTS question….does publishing online really improve students learning or just publishing skills?

I guess the quote that I stumbled upon will really reflect this next step in my PARTS Project. Once students see the connection of an outside audience, they will truly see their work as relevant, important and purposeful!

So, together as a community, we will go through the process of the ‘Powerful Paragraph’ again, but without the instructions or reminders. This will show me which students will be able to think about their audience from the beginning and follow the actual ‘Aothorthink’ process to its truest form and which students don’t! The students that don’t follow the process are the ones that clearly need to further work on the process and will not make connections between their work and the audience!

PARTS Learning Walk

June5

Learning Walk…..

RATIONALE:

  • Teaching is a public service and teachers learn best when they work collaboratively and share their experiences.

OBJECTIVE:

  • To ensure that student’s learning needs are at the centre of our teaching
  • To support each other as educators
  • To identify good practice and share it with colleagues
  • To encourage teachers to see themselves as learners
  • To provide opportunities to give feedback
  • To promote reflection on our practice
  • To collect evidence of school effectiveness in terms of students achieving their potential

My learning walk took place yesterday…. first hour of the day! Did I prepare myself for it? NO! I continued to plan with my community buddy, Jacqui like we do every fortnight. Our maths session began with a quick warm up that involved the students to turn and talk. This was great because I was then able to see and hear what students had taken from the previous day. Our focus for maths is Fractions. So many different learning intentions involved and students were able to recap on what we had talked about the day prior. Following this, the students then broke up into their maths groups and went off to work independently.

GROUPS WERE:

  • Teacher focus group: learning intention was to order fractions
  • Khan Academy: learning intention was to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators
  • StudyLadder: learning intention was to add and subtract fractions with like dominators
  • Pie In The Sky: learning intention was to play the game and learn strategies to find equivalent fractions

 

Students were able to articulate their learning intentions and are asked to refer to them in their 3 C’s journal.

The session was great and the feedback was warm and affirming….. But, why do I feel like I didn’t do enough? I’m left wondering did I explain the task card clearly? Did I use the language of learning intentions consistently? Am I catering to every students need?

As an educator, I put too much pressure on myself! I need to trust in what I know and have set for each and every student in my home group. I need to have more belief in what I am delivering because at the end of the day…I am seeing results and this is affirming. So, I will look back at my feedback and smile…because I am doing a brilliant job!

ICTEV 2013 Conference ‘It Takes A Village’

June5

On Saturday 25th May I attended the ICTEV Conference which was held at Melbourne Grammar School, with the theme ‘It Takes A Village’. It was a full day conference. As teachers we are part of the greater picture of global learning. ICT has had a big impact on the ability to share, communicate and collaborate. Together we can help promote and tell stories of our teaching, our crafts, our innovations, the successes and challenges.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to attend various workshops run by passionate educators who wanted to share their story. I attended 9 different sessions:

–          The Living Knowledge Village

–          Taking It Global – Developing Global Competence

–          Engage Your Personal learning Network

–          #saw24 Skype Around The World in 24 Hours

–          Trusting Technology: Robots, Community and Learning

–          IT Is a Real Life Learning Experience

–          ICT in Primary School Art

–          The Student Conference Series: Connecting Student Passions

–          Be Part of a Learning Community, but Only If You Want To!

All the above sessions were great and well presented; however, it was very clear to see just how far advanced my teaching style is! I found it reaffirming that what I picked up from each session is what I have been fortunate enough to be implementing for the past 4-5 years.

I really enjoyed attending and hearing passionate teachers sharing their teaching, craft, innovation, successes and challenges. I feel as educators, we don’t share our stories enough with each other! We need to be constantly sharing and collaborating what we trial and succeed in, but also what we find challenging and frustrating! I urge teachers to get on board and share their stories so that other educators can see and acknowledge what is happening! Celebrate!

Week 6 to 9 PARTS Task

May15

First Draft 

Week 6

Tasks: powerful Paragraph using a picture prompt from ‘Google’ images and ‘Picture Perfect Writing Prompts’.

1. Challenge – option of selecting a picture with a set task or working independently.

2. Independent – picture prompt with matching written task already set.

3. Support – using a picture prompt and working through it verbally using the ‘Writers Notebook’ process (Think/Feel/See and Wonder).

 

Week 7

  • Work through the ‘Author Think’ process with students based on their Powerful Paragraph.
  • Model a Powerful Paragraph with students and use the ‘Author Think’ process.
  • Ensure students have their own copy with correct colour code for each section.
Week 8
  • Importance of feedback.
  • Brainstorm with students a variety of ways used to gather feedback (Try to focus on Blog).
  • Students post questions about their Powerful Paragraph to be answered by outside sources.
  • Students create a post for the Level Blog of their Powerful Paragraph To receive feedback from outside sources (Quad Blogging).

 

Week 9

  • Students reflect on feedback provided from their post on the blog of their Powerful Paragraph.
  • Students make changes based on feedback received.
Reflection: Student survey on motivation and feelings towards writing and questionnaires.
Evidence: Feedback provided from outside sources in their Powerful Paragraph (Screen shots if using iPads or ScreenShot when using Laptops).
Wednesday 29th May 2013
As a level we have decided to publish another sample of students work online other than writing. We will be looking at publishing something to do with our Inquiry unit which is based on ‘States of Matter’ with a media perspective.
Possible ideas might be creating an advertisement to persuade guest (staff and parents) to select their menu. Groups will need to really think about what they place in their advertisement to make it appealing and stand out from all the others. Students will need to use a variety of forms to publish their menu.
Students advertisements will be publishing on the level blog ready to receive feedback.

 

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