Friday, 9 September 2016

Film Booklets - Visual Text Analysis (The Lovely Bones, The Intouchables, The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

I feel rejuvenated. This term I've taught all new films (excepting my Y11 film study of 'V for Vendetta'..) and they've been chosen through a joint process between myself and my students. I gave each class a few options and they decided on the one they'd want to watch based on my description and the trailers we'd watched. 

This term I've used:
  • 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' directed by Stephen Chbosky
  • 'The Intouchables' directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
  • 'The Lovely Bones' directed by Peter Jackson
I've added the booklets that I created for these films and student analysis below. Each booklet has different film techniques and pictures taken from the film. Worksheets have been made by me and there are specific ones that will be constantly reworked and developed based on my student's needs. I've got Google Slides for each film as well that we've been working on as a class. I've added these as links in the titles of the films which are above the embedded booklet. Each booklet and slide deck has the creative commons licensing on - feel free to use and share alike if the worksheets I've made are of any use to you or your students :) Let me know what you think! 




Byte Sized PLD - Practical Sessions at WHHS

Next step in the eLearning PLD at Heights is creating practical hands on sessions.

After the Byte Sized PLD emails I've been sending out we were discussing how we needed to move towards more practical sessions as well as the emails.

Donella came up with the awesome idea of Byte Sized Practical and in the last week we've taken this idea and run with it. So... here's where we are now.

Sessions run by staff - for staff. Empowering on it's own and hopefully SUPER successful.

My hope is that we'll be having more people come along to these sessions in the staffroom and taking advantage of our colleagues sharing their practice. What would be even cooler is more teachers feeling confident to share their learning with staff in future sessions next term.


We don't expect staff members to sign up to these sessions - but hope that they'll pop in. Get what they need and carry on with their day.

Having these sessions in the staffroom will make it more obvious, informal and relaxed. Hopefully staff will feel more comfortable in this setting.

Having this bigger space will also mean we can have small break out spaces when needed for more in-depth discussions or collaborative group projects.

Perhaps soon we will have student sessions being run - for students by students :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Encouraging Growth in Year 9 Students

Today I had two very interesting conversations with two groups of Year 9 students.

The first conversation was out of the blue... mainly because I was so interested with their overall use of digital tools for their learning in that class (I was relieving) and asked a few questions... which turned into a very deep and meaningful provocation where we discussed the concepts around equality vs equity and how we might rethink how we are fearful of stolen property as being our main concern about going BYOD...

The questions really just began around asking if they all used the network, google docs, google classroom... whether they feel comfortable helping their teachers with digital things or their peers in class. Whether they understood the issue around why certain teachers were more unlikely to use digital tools for learning compared to other teachers. Many of these questions were ones I ask of my own colleagues when we discuss around these big issues with future focussed learning.

How cool it was to hear these students articulate their frustrations and how interesting it was to try get them to change their thinking around what it means to be truly equitable compared to equal. How there are just different starting points for most people and why this is a problem.

Without saying anything about white privilege directly - this group of students were arriculating the issues I hear often from parents and staff. Lack of access, issues around security, managing behaviour, monitoring learning and student engagement, identifying next learning steps...

If our year 9 students are significantly aware of these things... how difficult would it be to change the mindsets of their whanau, older siblings... the community.

How our students are the future.

There was one moment today when they said something about how the future generation will have to sort it out... and I said, "The future is now." With a resounding sense of awe in the classroom as if I'd just dropped the mic... I then told them my name which I hadn't done at the beginning of the lesson and then the questions began to fire rapidly from the students.

Another moment when I was describing equity vs equality... and how I used both hands - one index finger on one hand, on the other hand the other index finger, significantly lower and then the pinky finger - naturally lower... holding this formation up - reiterating that picture of the fence and the boxes... difference between the equal and equitable opportunities. I used the analogy of the fence too and being able to see over it. We used it to discuss the issue around access without ever bringing anything up around racism or discrimination... a feat in itself... and these students discussed high level issues quite easily. The kinds of questions I would like my staff at Heights to knuckle into.

The second conversation was more of a just in time korero. I was a little late heading back to class after doing marking in the staffroom and some of my students were waiting by the Y13 area. I asked them all to come over and sit on the Y13 steps. A place they're not allowed to go yet.

We discussed what a privilege it was sitting there and how we might do our work there outside (partly because I didn't have a key for that room and also because it was nice and sunny). We had three seniors with us who were waiting for me to talk with about their happiness at completing their first exam essay for our class this year.

I talked to them (once inside) about why we were ot there. How it's important to make the right decisions to follow ourselves and be the best possible us we can be rather than following others paths... I asked them why I got them out there... how it was important that they realise that they need to change their attitude to ensure they can achieve that privilege in the future. Because every single one of them can. They just need to realise that what they do and say could have an impact on their lives in the future.

Two very different conversations. Both incredibly powerful. I hope I've planted some mind seeds today. :)

In fact... I truly wish I'd recorded today's lessons... for rewindable awesomeness.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Byte Sized PLD: Powtoon and Storyboard That - Video Tutorials

This week I did a couple of hilarious video tutorials... they're rather long but I suppose they help to see just how easy they are to use.

A colleague asked me if I could do some videos on different comic making apps there are that might be useful for her students.

Here they are:

Powtoon - Video Tutorial






Storyboard That - Video Tutorial



Definitely some better tutorials out there - but these were pretty hilarious. Check them out!

Let me know what you thought of mine haha

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Byte Sized PLD: Feedback on TOD and Next Steps for eLearning

Kia ora koutou,

This week I sent out a Google Form to collect feedback from staff around the learning we did on Friday and to identify areas for next steps with our eLearning PLD at Heights. 

The questions were mainly around our staff's learning and experience during teacher only day as well as their own needs for their professional development around elearning. 


Nga mihi,

Alex

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Social Studies: Exploration and Big O.E.

After my social studies lesson today I asked two of the boys to stay back to talk about their lack of participation. We had started a new partial unit within our larger one around Exploration.

Today they were asked to become the explorers and plan their O.E. The rest of the class were crazy engaged. Thinking and dreaming big.

At the end... I asked these two boys why I wanted them to participate in this particular project... he said, "Because you want to see us succeed in life."

This. All of this. Now to get him to dream bigger than going further than Taupo and Auckland.

Byte Sized PLD: TES Teach (Formerly known as Blendspace)

Kia ora koutou,

Blendspace is a very cool tool and I was stoked to be asked by Jiji last week about the programme. He asked if I could create a video to help him learn how to use it after hearing about Blendspace at his Mindlab course. 

Blendspace is owned by TES, a UK company. It's been instrumental in my own teaching and learning. Really cool programme to help build collaboration in your departments, help get students collaborating on different ideas and concepts and ultimately an easy way for students to have a wealth of research in one place without going down too many rabbit holes on the Internet.

Here's the video tutorial I made below:


Here's the link for our TES Teach (Blendspace) board for Byte Sized PLD: Heights Edition





Let me know what you think!

Also... Last week I got an email from Amy Lin, one of the co-founders of TES Teach (formerly known as Blendspace), to update me about the new iPad app that they've created for Blendspace. It looks pretty cool from what I can tell so far! I look forward to seeing the Android version on the app store soon too. 

Their new Twitter account is @Tes_Teach so go ahead and follow them there as well. 

Ngā mihi nui ki a koe,

Alex