Monday, November 9, 2009

Presenting to staff

This afternoon I led the staff meeting sharing my E Fellowship project and getting the staff that went to ULearn 09 to share parts of the conference that really impacted on their teaching. I had to condense my project into about 40 minutes so it was very much speed presenting with no interactive hooks. I am hoping I have at least encouraged others on our staff to give online learning communities a go.
I also enjoy listening to one of our staff members who attended Helen Rennie-Youngers workshop and shared what she has done for her E Fellowship. Prior to ULearn I gave this teacher links to Helens wiki and have had lots of feedback from her about the great things she is trying.
I'm glad that this year of networking has really begun to flow through to friends and colleagues.
Bring on more e learning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What next?

What next for this term in our literacy?
I have begun introducing persuasive writing and have used an article about fishing nets and a seal tangled in them. The children have had to discuss the issues surrounding nets then complete a PMI chart. This was a great way to develop opinions for and against. The children to be able to begin developing their opinion in a written form ie letter to the editor then they tried to convince me. They had to be able to justify every reason/ opinion.
Not only have they had fun sharing their ideas but they loved being able to try and change my mind - of course I kept challenging their thinking and kept being difficult (Great fun).
I hope once our internet access at school is back online, some of the children can put their work online - perhaps you might like to challenge their thinking by posing more problems about their subject. Please keep visiting

Thank you

My class were pleased to hear that some of the delegates from ULearn 09 blogged comments and feedback about their writing. Unfortunately our school has not been able to get onto the internet over the last week due to our Brand New Learning Centre being readied for the grand opening next week. The children that have internet at home have been on line and read the comments and tried to share the feedback with the individuals, so hopefully in the next few days they will be able to get onto their stories and make the suggested changes and complete their stories. Thank you the people that did post a message.

Assessments - exemplars or observational

While my project in my opinion was very successful I had to be mindful of the fact that I needed to have some data to show progress in my students writing levels. Toward the end of the first term I asked the students to write a story with very little assistance or modelling from me. I used Level 1 and 2 narrative exemplars to level the students. I wanted to see what they were capable of and double check on my writing grouping as this was a new genre. When I assessed the students writing at the end of this project I used the same exemplars, made comparisons between their first story and their online fairytale then leveled them again. I can honestly say each child had made improvements in their writing.I guess several questions still remained "Can the students now write independently without the online feedback input? Will they be able to show improvements in their use of the surface and deeper features of writing? Both of these questions can be quantified because they can be assessed by using the exemplars and can be compared to other baseline data we have from our school wide writing assessments.Another question I have been asked to clarify is "Have the students attitudes toward writing changed - how can this be assessed?" While students attitudes are very much opinion based I have recorded anecdotal observational evidence, video interviewed a random selection of students and asked the students to complete a survey about the project.

Final project reflect part 1

During October I was able to present my project to a group of educators at the ULearn 09 Conference in Christchurch. This was a great forum to be able to share what I did, the barriers I faced and how I overcame those hurdles, plus the positive impact my project had on my class and the wider school community.I enjoyed being challenged and being asked questions about the process we went through. I found it very refreshing to get some very good feedback and some future contacts who would like to participate in future online feedback sessions with my students.It was very helpful for me being challenged about aspects of my project, such as, the length of time the blogging took, how much time the students took on the computers, how I or should I say my students achieved typing their drafts up in the class with only two computers, how I moderated the comments and will the students Year 5 and 6 teachers accomodate/ plan/ incorporate online feedback into their literacy programmes next year. All very valid and thought provoking questions which gave me the opportunity to reflect on how we as a class achieved such wide success in such a small amount of time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

U Learn 09

During the school holidays 8 of the 2009 E Fellows met in Christchurch preparing to present our projects to ULearn delegates. This was a very enjoyable time - reconnecting with such amazing teachers from all levels NE - Y13. Although Deidre Senior had presented at the Reading Conference in Queenstown we were able to hear about her workshop and how she has hopefully encouraged some more teachers to use elearning in their reading sessions back in the classroom.
Although presenting is rather nerve racking and knowing I had to fill 90 minutes, it actually went very quickly and I became more confident as timee went on. I was glad the internet was working and very impressed with the delegates that could sign into my class blog left blog messages to my students on their writing. Unfortunately for the students at present our server is being updated so they have not had the opportunity to read the messages.
Over the week I attended several workshops all of which had very interesting ideas and some very useful resources which I am aiming to work into my class programme.
ULearn is a great place for teachers to really see whats going on in classes and make new connections with the online communities which can show us ways to use ICT elearning in our classes. Thanks CORE for organising it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Reflecting on the project

I have been busy throughout Term 3. It has been about winding up my project and reflecting on the outcomes.Did my project succeed?What was the most effective part of the project and why?Did I have to change my thinking regarding my original project outline outcomes?How did the children feel about themselves and their writing ability?Did the parents/ online community take up the challenge?

I have gone into more detail on my wiki

I'm not sure that I have changed my thinking regarding the power of online feedback but like anyone in teaching I adapted my writing process to suit the students and modelled each stage. I also believe that we must take more time to teach the stages of writing including the conventions of print. I planned for the students to be creating their stories over 6-7 weeks including the visual stories. The first 3 weeks was very much immersion of fairytales, comparing modern and traditional fairytales, practising visualisation strategies of settings and characters. recreating fairytales through drama and looking at movies that have fairytale formats. I also found hooking the families by home learning fairytale surveys was informative and lots of fun. Each child was confident in sharing there family members favourite stories and characters and could explain why.I really enjoyed seeing the childrens enthusiasm towards learning about new characters and loved how they could adapt their stories to create a New Zealand setting or use of at least one native animal or mythical creature like the Taniwha.

I have spent part of Term 3 assessing the students writing and comparing it with results from the beginning of the year. I had a core group of low level writers who were predominantly low level readers as well. I would like to think that my project has impacted on the reluctant writers considering their attitude towards writing has significantly changed. I used the exemplars to help assess each part of the student writing process. The data shows all of my students have improved. The children have also made very good progress in their reading levels which again has helped with their attitude towards all areas of their learning.

At the beginning of the term the children continued to complete the writing process. They have enjoyed the project and have continued to upload their writing onto the class wiki for more feedback. Each child has created a visual story in either movie maker or photo story and recorded their stories then uploaded them onto the movies.

Interviews and Surveys
I completed several video interviews with the students, some parents and a teacher who has previously taught the children as well as been involved in adding feedback to the childrens work.I was very impressed with the children when they were interviewed because they were not given any time to write their thoughts down (as usual in teaching I had to record them during class sessions). Each child was able to articulate how they felt about feedback/ feedforward and how they benefitted from receiving it online.I am fortunate that my class have become use to being asked questions and are expected to reply with explanations and examples.

Again during parent interviews I was able to ask my parents to take a survey home and send it back to school with their child. Parent Interviews have been a fantastic forum to be able to really get the personal committment by the parents to help their children in their writing.I have to say that my parents have been very positive throughout this research project. They only want the best for their children and most have enjoyed being able to go online and become participants in their childrens learning environment. One parent said it was fantastic to see what their child had done in the class and how each draft of their writing had developed into a more visual story.

Teaching Colleagues Perspective
I have been fortunate that one of my colleagues has been followed my project and been involved in blogging the students with feedback. Jill Flemming has taught several of the children in my class in the junior school and has had several opportunities to look after my class during Term 2 and 3. She has commented on how proud and impressed she is with these children and how some of them were definitely reluctant writers and now have a positive attitude about themselves and their writing ability.Jill commented on how she has noticed a significant difference in not only the children's writing but in their ability a to share ideas, give constructive feedback and collaborate with each other to help individuals improve the task they are working on.