Walk the Talk

 Walk the Talk at Ardmore Walk the talk at Alfriston Walk the talk at Clevedon

Day by Day account of my Walk the talk at Clevedon
I taught for 2 weeks in a Year 5/6 e-Learning classroom May 2013. Teachers came from all over Auckland and observed me 'Walking the Talk' for 2 weeks. This was an opportunity for teachers to see e-Learning in action. Rachael and Rebecca (the classroom teachers) and I, have been working closely together developing the classroom e-Learning environment. This is what happened in the classroom
Day One
Today was my first day in Room 7 a year 5/6 classroom 1-1 iPad class. They also have 6 laptops, 3 standalones, one projector and one tv with an Apple TV box. I am going to be working with them for 2 weeks and from the 3rd day, teachers from all over Auckland will be coming for a look.

There was great excitement as new furniture had arrived! Once they had all settled down I introduced them to the wiki I had made that was going to be the portal for all their learning.
Walk the Talk

The hardest part of the day was getting the students to download the various Google Docs to their iPads. I hadn't been able to set up Teacher Dashboard yet or get access to the students accounts, which would have allowed me to send the documents en masse to all of the students and place them in the correct folders. As it was, it was good exercise for them to learn how to download, make a copy, rename and put into the correct folders ready for the day tomorrow.

During Writing time I worked with a couple of groups showing them how to download their Inspiration mindmap 'Narrative Writing Framework' ready for tomorrow and they then went on and taught others in the class.

During reading time, I showed them their 'ongoing' tasks.
Chapter Title assignment 
this is where they have to predict what they think the chapter is about, once they have read the chapter, they then need to do an adjustment.
There has been some difficulty with students' parents downloading the books for Kindle. I have worked out if you set up new account with Amazon and then try to find book you want to download, it either will not be found or will say that title is unavailable. Once you add your credit
card details, it seems to open up to most books.

Vocab Log As the students read through the chapter, they highlight the words they don't know and then add them to their vocab log, writing dictionary meanings and writing sentences with the words in context.

The students were quite good at downloading links, making copies and saving in folders at this stage. Once they had done that, they were able to have a look around the maths wiki page.

Now that students have all the documents we need, we should be able to start the full programme tomorrow.

Day Two

I had a wonderful day with the children in Room 7 today. A few were away at soccer all day, so they will have to catch up tomorrow. It was great to see the students starting to get into the activities and being excited about their learning. I was impressed to see several children who organised their iPads so that the work they do for me (Google Docs etc) are saved as a Bookmark to Home screen and then organised into a folder. One child even calls his folder 'Jacqui Sharp' and is quite proud of his organisation.
We talked about introductions and setting the scene for writing and I demonstrated using the Narrative framework. Students will use this as their drafting template and when it is finished they will share and open in Pages for crafting and editing. I managed to see all of the writing groups at different times to show them their assessment.
Before they are ready to conference with me they have to have looked at the 'Have I...' table and check off that they have attempted or achieved all of the goals.

Reading time was fun as now we are starting to look at each chapter of their books and discuss them. Most students have started their Chapter Title assignment  and their Vocab Log We have discovered that Google Spreadsheets on iPads are a little tricky to do, so some of the children have been going onto the computers and laptops to fill in that information. Tables on Google Docs are problematic as well, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. They can be still quite fiddly so some children have reverted to laptops as well.

We started with the Shape Workshop with maths, I called one group up with their maths books and the rest chose from their Geometry Tasks.

It was interesting to see which activities they have gone for. I will blog more about this and have some photos over the next few days.
For the iPads I recommended these maths apps

Geoboard (Free)
Maths app for Geometry
Maths app for Geometry, tangrams
ScreenChomp (Free)
Whiteboard app that will be used for maths
iOrnament (Free)
Maths app for tessellation
The iOrnament app has been a huge success and several students are creating the most amazing tessellations and patterns. A couple of them have asked if they can create a presentation of their best creations. Some other students are enjoying the Geoboard app and have started taking screen captures of their designs as well.

We started our Inquiry Unit today 'Ancient Civilisations'. The big questions are
What systems were developed by past civilisations?
What legacies have past civilisations left behind?
What connections are there between the past and present?
The focus question I gave them today was

And I gave them a choice of how they wanted to mindmap their ideas
Work on a Fact Recall with 3 others

You can use
  • Post its
  • Inspiration & TV
  • Large paper and coloured pens
  • Popplet on laptops

These students already have an excellent background in mindmapping and working together and soon there was a wonderful buzz happening in the room. Some needed to be reminded about what the question was, but were soon back on track. It was fabulous to see how they were using the tools they needed as they needed them.

3 of the groups decided they wanted to use Large paper and coloured pens. They used their iPads to refer to the questions, to look up definitions and to find information. Several got the books from the display and were using those as well.

There was only one technical glitch in the day. The internet went down for about half an hour. The projector is wireless so we couldn't use that or the Apple TV. We couldn't use Google Docs but as one of the students said 'It doesn't matter, we are working on Inspiration so we don't need the internet!' So we survived after all!

Day Three
It was another great day in Room 7 today. I was so involved with the children that I forgot to take photos except for the few below during one session.
This was the first day that teachers came to visit. The children rose to the challenge and enjoyed talking about their learning with the visitors. The students who were out at soccer yesterday had a bit of catching up to do, but the other children helped them to find their way.

I have been using Class Dojo with the students. It is a behaviour modification programme, but I am mainly using it to make sure that I don't miss out talking to or acknowledging students, which is easy to do if they are very quiet and don't do anything for you to notice them.
It has worked extremely well for some students who enjoy seeing their number of points increase and work hard to attain them.

I added the 'participation' one today to help some students who needed to concentrate on developing their participation skills. It worked beautifully!
Clevedon School works on a different value each week so I have added 'Unity' for this week and 'Understanding' for next week.

Students are gradually understanding the Writing Charts of Drafting, Proof Editing, Conferencing and Publishing. They know not to put themselves on Conferencing if they haven't checked off their 'Have I...' chart. And they are learning very quickly that if I see any missing punctuation they have to leave the Conferencing group immediately and work on it.
This was the first time I worked with a conferencing group using the Apple TV and TV set. It was perfect for the job. Students were able to mirror their work to the TV, and the other children were able to peer edit it for them with a little input from me. I had their group learning intentions and success criteria in front of me and was able to keep referring students to what they had to concentrate on.
I worked with a couple of writing groups as well and could see that we all need to work on developing our sentences!

Students were all engaged and on task during reading time, even the ones who were away yesterday. They are enjoying using the Kindle app and are starting to understand how it can help them to read. Some of the students hadn't downloaded the Dictionary but once they did that they could see how it would help them to decipher words and understand what they were reading.

Another use that I came up with was when we were looking at their Vocab Logs, we could search for the word they had chosen, which would show the passage it came from and then we could click on the passage and it would open to the page so we could read the word in context! Brilliant! They found that very helpful!

I had that classic moment that all teachers have on regular basis where your technology fails you, and
 you have to leave what you thought you were going to do and move onto something else. I am using Mathletics and Studyladder as teaching tools. My link to the Mathletics failed me, so after writing this post that is my next task to fix the problem!
Students were able to work independently on their own choices of tasks.

Some were making nets, some doing worksheets, some doing geometry games on the computer, some working in their maths books.

I held a quick '2D Shape Animal' Workshop where I showed them how you could use the shapes in the Keynote app to make animals. Once I showed them how to colour, resize, flip, translate, rotate (spot the maths language there!) move behind and front,  that took probably less then 5 minutes. I left them to it! A few minutes later one of them came up to show me how rotating the green circle on the Pentagon shape made Hexagons, Octagons etc (more maths language!). They carried on making
those and saved them to be printed out. I had one girl who was working on other activities come up and ask me 'If I didn't come to the '2D Shape Animal workshop, could I still do the animal shape activity?' Of course I said yes, because I knew a few students were watching and those that weren't saw what the others had produced and asked them to show them how to do it. Students teaching students...my job is done!

I had a breakthrough with the Inquiry unit today. I saw students looking at their large mindmap and then looking at their Inquiry doc to see if they had answered all of the questions (unprompted!).

It was a very loud noisy afternoon with Inquiry. But all of the students were engaged and 'participating' and on the whole have done very well with their mindmaps. Photos will follow this week. I will be doing quite a bit of work scaffolding and teaching them research skills as the weeks progress.

Day Four

Another great day today where the students are starting to move with the flow. Almost all of the  students can find their Google Docs fairly quickly and their organisation skills are developing well.

We looked at Telescopic text to begin with as most of the students need to develop their sentences and expand them. The students were amazed at how 'I made tea' turned into a full story all about tea. We had a quick look at expanding one of the sentences from our story using the Telescopic text Writing page. I am turning this into a group activity for tomorrow. I will give them all the same sentence and turn it into a challenge. There are 9 computers which will allow 3 students to each computer.
One of the students finished her writing today so she was able to publish it to our Myths and Legends blog.

  The clipart she has used comes from the fantastic mrdonn.org website which is full of wonderful resources and free clipart for children. Eventually students will start creating their own clipart. They have learned how to create clipart using Keynote on the iPad and at the end of each day I give them a quick 5 minutes lesson on how to draw cartoons. I use 'How to Draw Cartoons' by Brian Platt ($2.99
Kindle on amazon.com)

This photo shows the students peer editing using the TV and AppleTV. They have mirrored their iPads to screen.
They also discovered to their amazement that they could mirror their mac laptops and iMac as well!

The students are enjoying all 4 books and are making slow progress through them. Having to write up their vocab log and prediction mindmap has slowed them down, but once they have mastered these they will be able to get onto the other activities. It is quite clear that a lot of the class need to work on vocab and the vocab log is making that very apparent! I make the vocab log a focus when the students join me for their group time, and they all participate in helping each other making sense of the words. Using the Kindle 'search' tool (I spoke about this in detail in my last post) that brings up where the word is in context and then tapping on the word to get the dictionary is starting to help them in deciphering meaning.

Some of the student work is starting to come through now, and they are making nets, doing worksheets, playing maths games and doing a little book work. In their group work we will revisit and look at if they are choosing all the fun games or choosing activities that fit their learning goals.
A couple of boys have discovered that they could draw using the isometric paper.

Here are some of the Shape animals they have made

Looking ahead to what the students might want to do with their Inquiry, I asked some of the boys to make Pyramids in Minecraft. Some of them already had, but very happily went ahead and made some more. I was amazed at how articulate they were when they were showing me what they made, how they made it and how to navigate through the chambers and tunnels. I am quite excited about what they will come up with once they know more about the systems of their chosen Ancient Civilisation.

Day Five

Five days have gone past so fast and I am half way through my time at Clevedon. We have had lots more visitors today and the students were only to happy to share their learning with them. Quite a few of the boys are coming everyday with their new 'Ancient Civilisations' minecraft creations. They very proudly showed the visiting teachers some of their ideas. It was lovely to see how interested and excited the other children were as the minecraft students presented via Apple TV. This example is one where the student has made a model of Poseidon in Minecraft. Below, this student is experimenting with temples. I have said to the children that they can take screen captures of their creations and use them as graphics for their publishing and presenting.

Google Teacher Dashboard
I now have access to student work through the Google Teacher Dashboard. What I really like about this is being able see all of the students work in one place, what they have updated and when!

This morning we sorted the children into groups of 3 and assigned them a computer. I set them a task of expanding the sentence 'Prince Theseus went to Crete.' They had to do this on Telescopic Text. I did use a little bribery by saying the best group writers would get five Dojo points each. They took to the task with great enthusiasm and when they shared 15 minutes later, we were amazed at the quality of writing, structure, descriptive words and thought that the students had put into their work. It was fabulous to watch the collaboration that was going on. Here is what they wrote (please bear in mind that they were not worried about spelling and punctuation so much, they were trying to get their ideas down)

The students are using the dictionaries within the Kindle app more often now for helping them to find meaning. The Vocab Log is working well, as I am using it as a teaching tool. I put ? next to the words that students have made an incorrect sentence or meaning and we look it up in the 'search' on the  Kindle app, look at the word in context and then look at the meaning and decipher what it means in the story.

The independent workshops are starting to work better, but I think in future I would not try to use Mathletics, Studyladder and Rainforest Maths for collaborative work. The activities themselves are great and fit right in with our NZ maths but are too hard too navigate to in a group situation. They will have to continue to be used as independent activities with individual sign ins. The students enjoy the workshops and is one of the noisiest parts of the classroom as they all chime in at the same time calling the answers. The best way I have found to use this workshop is to start it off myself, leave them to carry on and go back to set up for the next slide when they are ready. Other workshops I have made for other strands go straight to other websites with no logins or sign ins, so students can work collaboratively through the workshops without a teacher.

Today we recapped on yesterdays 'Fact Recall' and what students knew about Ancient Rome and they had to do a 'Finding Keywords' for their mini inquiry on 'What were the systems the Ancient Romans invented?'
I talked about Keywords and what they were. I will be using the following slideshow to teach research skills to the students.

Day Six
Another busy day with excited, motivated students.

After talking about Vivid Verbs in writing, the children set to their work. A few students have started on their second story and lots are ready to conference and publish. Several have posted to the 'Myths and Legends blog' and some are working on Book Creator. Here is one example of a finished book.

We had an internet outage for about 15 minutes today, but students were able to carry on with non digital activities or ones on the iPad or computer that do not need internet. One of the activities was to make Maori patterns (tessellations). I had suggested some programmes students could use, but I had one student come up and show me how he had used the iOrnament app for his patterns.
Pretty Good I thought!

Part of the research process today was to find resources on the 'systems' of Rome and note down titles, authors, page numbers and URLs if they are from the Internet. It was interesting to note that nearly all of the students went for the books first rather than the websites. Most of the students used Notability to store their references.

Day Seven

Students are using the Writing task boards well. Some of the students are on their second round of writing stories. When it comes to publishing, they are loving the choices they have.
Several more children were publishing today. They really like using Book Creator. I reminded them that they could create their own graphics while they were waiting to conference with me which means they can use Sketchup, Minecraft, Pages shapes or any app they have on their iPads.

Students are now starting to get into the habit of checking their Writing Assessment Doc when they are proofreading their writing.

The Apple TV and the TV screen has been a fabulous teaching station. I have really enjoyed working with the Kindle App and it has proved to be an invaluable teaching tool.  Many of the teachers who have observed me teaching have been able to see the worth of the application. The students love it as well, they like being able to highlight words and sentences, find dictionary meanings instantly and write notes.
One of the activities I have set up for the Artemis Fowl Book, was to set up a Gnomish (Gnommish) book in Google Presentation called 'Our Fairy Book. Students can click on the link and they can add their messages. The first student added their message today.

I was moving around and talking to students during Maths time. The question I was asking was 'What have you learned today?' This student was able to tell me that his 'Position and Orientation' task was quite difficult until he worked out what the x and y axis meant and that he had to search in a different way that was not obvious. You have to love it when students work things out for themselves.
I had a teacher today say 'How do you keep ahead of the kids?' My reply was "why do I need to?' I used Minecraft as an example. Students are able to create their graphics and later their Ancient Civilisation worlds. I don't know how to do it, as long as they can explain to me the 'what and why' I am happy for them to use the app.

Students were starting to copy information today. We talked about referencing books, websites, movies etc using Notability, Evernote or Notes. I demonstrated how to take notes through a movie clip... play, pause, type, play. By the end of the session, students were very conscious of the importance of referencing where they got information from. Next, they will be looking at how to turn that information into their own words.
Day Eight
What I have particularly enjoyed in my time at Clevedon,  is having the opportunities to look at how children learn, identify what are some of the difficulties they have and thinking about the 'what' and 'how' I can assist them. An example is using the Telescopic Text last Friday which has helped the students to think about expanding their sentences using more adjectives and verbs. Some students are having difficulties sequencing their myths and legends so tomorrow I am going to get them to screen shot or copy the text from an original myth, insert into Notability and let them use the highlighting and pen tools to identify all the different parts of the structure of the story, then they will use the Narrative Framework to plan their writing.

This student is reading her next Myth and 'writing' down the facts/information on a piece of paper!

Most of the students like to publish their work in Book Creator, but from tomorrow I am going to introduce them to more ways. I am going to take one students piece of writing and present it in several different ways. As they decide what they want to use, I will only show those students how to get started and they will become my teachers for the rest of the other children when they are ready to learn how to do it.

I really think the Kindle App has been a huge success for reading. Gradually students are starting to use the dictionary within the app to help them to decipher meaning and how it fits into the context of the sentence. They are also being exposed to the 'there is more than one meaning for that word'. They read the meaning then look to see if it fits in the context of the story, if it doesn't then read the next definition etc.
I showed one student today how to take notes within the story and then she went on to share with the rest of the group. They are expected to come with some notes on the next chapter when we have our novel study group meeting.

Rebecca, the teacher of the class, started the Transformation Workshop using the projector with the group of students who had identified as their learning goals 'translation, rotation and reflection. It wasn't long before she was able to leave them to carry on as they were managing their learning well, working together as a collaborative group. She was then able to move around the class working with individuals and small groups, whilst still being able to keep an eye on the Transformation Group.

I ran a voluntary 'Tessellation with Pages' group (instructions in above Workshop) Those students that attended learned how to translate, rotate, flip, duplicate etc in Pages on their iPads. Their task is to see how many shapes they can get to tessellate with each other. They can use the computers as well which will give them more choices. On Friday I will show them how they can draw their own shapes and tessellate them as well using Escher Images as examples.

Most of the students are able to collect their information, reference it and store it in Notability.

A few are more excited by the prospect of presenting their work in which ever way they would like...mostly Minecraft! I have said to them that they have to collect all information first, and then tell me how they are going to be able to present this in a way, that will inform viewers about 'What were the Systems Ancient Romans invented?' One child has started in Minecraft by creating his drainage system with sign posts that give you the information about how it was done!

Day Nine

I tried out a couple of new ideas today with the students. I noticed that some of the students were having problems sequencing in order and identifying the main points in a story. I ran a workshop session where they copied the story Dionysus and Ariadne from the website and pasted into Notability.

I then showed the Narrative Framework on the Projector which has been made in Inspiration.
I asked the students to highlight 'Who' were the main characters in Green.

They then had to highlight the 'Where', 'When' and 'What' in different colours. After that we identified what the main problem/conflict was by highlighting in red. We then went on to highlight in blue the main points in the story and finally the conclusion in a different colour. At first students wanted to highlight whole paragraphs, but after discussion we were able to identify just the main points. They can use this information to fill in their Narrative Framework. From there they can add more detail and eventually share it to Pages for final editing. A target group of children will be expected to do this every time they start writing a narrative on a new myth or legend. 
Most of the children have managed very well with all of the Google Docs in the different curriculum areas, keeping up with the work that they need to do. There is still a small group that needs a bit more structure and scaffolding. I created a new doc that we printed out and is clipped to the whiteboard. They have to get this doc and tick off the tasks they achieve and then show me at the end of that session what they have done. It will take some training and the teacher needs to be on the ball following up on these students to make sure that they are on task and making good choices about their learning.

I didn't get much of a chance to take photos today as I was busy teaching students and talking to teachers, but I was able to catch this moment...

Sometimes an iPad alone is not enough (4 devices, 2 students!)

Day Ten

Final day today! I have really enjoyed working with the children and Rebecca the teacher. It has been a great opportunity to observe the development of their learning with 1-1 iPads.

The parents came in today and were able to see the children at work. They were able to see students
  • writing in Graphic Organisers
  • editing by developing their ideas in Pages
  • proofreading by checking their learning intentions and success criteria
  • publishing in a variety of ways
  • observing the teacher as she held conferencing sessions with the students as they talked about their writing
During Reading they were able see students reading on their Kindles and interacting with the text by finding definitions and making notes. They saw students working on their iPads and computers and sometimes both at the same time. Students were working on their long term activities of 'Prediction and Adjustment, Vocab logs and then their comprehension questions and activities that were on their Reading Google Docs.

At Maths times they saw students using a variety of tools for different activities. Students were making
'nets' out of paper, deciphering tangram puzzles, designing buildings in Sketchup on computers, creating tessellations in Pages and iOrnamate, Geometry worksheets, 2D patterns in Keynote, Maths text book work and Geometry Transformation workshops through the projector.

The next steps are for the teachers to carry on with the work I have planned for the students and start to use ways to provide evidence of student learning in one place. Students can share their work with teachers and parents within the individual apps but now we are able to store the physical evidence of children's manual work. We have started looking at Evernote as a place to store student work and so far it seems to be working well. We have had some students taking photos of their 'paper nets' in Evernote and leaving a verbal comment about what they have learned and how they felt about the activity. Students who are working on Sketchup are taking close up photos of their screens and doing the same thing. One child photographed her two 3-D Worksheets and made comments about what she did wrong and what she did to fix it. Some others have sent PDF copies of their published books made in Book Creator to their Writing folder in Evernote, which means that you don't have to go through several steps to find the student's work. Teachers might decide to let students send through to Evernote some of students' final edited writing in Pages. All of that writing can still be seen in the Pages 'library' but maybe best pieces of writing could go there. The next issue of course is how do teachers keep up with the marking of this work. This could be done when teachers are working with the groups i.e. when they have conferenced in writing, the edited piece could be sent to Evernote there and then and the teacher adds their comments straight away. When students come to Maths group, they can then share the work that has been done and sent to Evernote with the group and the teacher for feedback. With reading, some of the work is completed in Google Docs and does not need to be shared back to Evernote as it is able to be easily viewed in Google Docs itself. Likewise if there has been any maths or Writing work completed in Google Docs the same would apply.

I have come away with a lot more ideas that I am going to write about and create activities for on my other wikis and blogs
In conclusion I have also been reminded of how hard teachers work 
  • catering for each individual student in their rooms 
  • the amount of preparation they do
  • the time they spend at meetings before school, lunchtimes and after school
  • doing playground duties
  • running 'extra' activities like sports and music during their lunchtimes 
  • the marking of work until late at night
  • and ultimately the teaching of children during the day
Thank you Clevedon School for allowing me to work with great teachers and fantastic students!