Challenging my teaching #hackyrclass

My first blog post on #hackyrclass – setting the scene received a tweet from @NZPEteacher asking me what my end goal is by hacking my classroom.

I have had a bit of a think about this and to be quite honest I started without having concrete, clear goals in mind. It came out of reading people’s posts and chatting with a couple of other teachers at school and the boredom that I felt with teaching the way I was.

We, predominately, use a paper workbook (that we have created as a department) and a range of individual, pair and group activities based around a Health issue / unit. I guess a lot of the content is teacher driven and involves a lot of the teacher on the stage. I have gotten bored with teaching like this and I think with what Claire Amos and everyone else involved in #hackyrclass is attempting made me feel “safe” to try something different. I have put safe in quotes as it isn’t exactly safe changing it up like teachers all over the country are with #hackyrclass but it has given me the push to step outside my comfort zone!

Coming back to the end goal, so I thought with me getting bored I am sure the students are, so I am hoping for more engagement. I am actually seeing this from most students already. I also probably need to say that a goal is that they learn what they need to about Drug Education, so as I fill the requirements of meeting the curriculum. I will need to look at this closer though. Others goals that I hope to see are higher order thinking and learning happening that is worthwhile and authentic. Getting completely away from students just filling in pages in a workbook.

I haven’t been doing much planning for the lessons. I have a loose idea of the outline for a lesson but not much structure. I think this allows for me to be more flexible and means that students are not constrained by my thinking. This isn’t the best for all students though, as some do need structure. During the lesson I am dealing with this by checking in with groups and those that are stuck or aren’t doing much I have a chat with and guide them to a point where they are keen to keep exploring ideas.

One thing I am thinking about doing, as I suggested to the class when we were discussing growth mindset, that I should let other staff in the school know what I was doing and invite them to come and visit! This rather petrifies me – so might be a good idea to run with it? I would be interested to know what others think about this idea?

where it happens

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Byte Me! New tech / computer club at school

All of this year I have been wanting to start a computer club at school. I teach at an all girls’ school and feel that it is important that there is a space for those girls who are computer geeks! Or at least interested in learning more about everything digital.

So, I finally got around to making a poster and advertising it. Had the first session last week where about 15 girls turned up (plus a few more who emailed as they couldn’t make it). This session was a brainstorm session of ideas of what they wanted to do in the club, names for the club (they come up with Byte Me -which I think is great! Our Moodle site at school is called WGC4me) and how they could contribute to the club. They had heaps of ideas from websites, making games, programming, to guest speakers they would like to get in.

I thought it would be a good idea to start with something interesting but reasonably basic, so the next session is going to be creating a website with HTML. Now the cool thing with this is that as we are a Google Apps school, not only can you use Google Drive to host websites, there is also an app in the Chrome Store called Neutron Drive, where you can edit your html files and save and your site which is updated straight away! You can also share these files with others!

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 8.55.06 pm

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You can easily change the URL that Google Drive creates at the moment but there are some work arounds I found searching on Google. However, with just getting students started I think this is going to be really cool, straight away they can have a site that they can share with others!

I am also using Neutron Drive to create and host the Byte Me website. It is going to be very basic to start with as I want the development of it to be a collaborative project that students in the club take on. Exciting!

So, what do you think? Any comments?

Also, are you a woman in the IT / digital industry that would be keen to be a guest speaker? Are you someone who could run a session in something?

 

 

#hackyrclass – setting the scene

Today was my second lesson stepping up to the #hackyrclass challenge. After reading Steve Mouldey’s blog and having a good chat with a couple of colleques last week I decided today to lay the ground work with my class. I felt I needed to make it clear to them what I was trying to do and why.

I created this Google Presentation to explain Growth Mindset and co-construction. I was intending to do enquiry learning as well but as I only came up with the idea of the presentation the period before the class I ran out of time! Whoops!

They got it! Some more then others but definitely felt they understand what I was trying to explain. Some seem really excited about – these students will really push themselves and me. Some will challenge themselves but might not go all out – they will still learn a lot and grow their own learning. Some, I think, aren’t too sure what to make of it and it will be interesting to see how they go.

What was really exciting for me was that I had a short but in-depth conversation with three students about the moral and social aspect to do with drugs / alcohol. I am excited about what learning will happen.

I also felt really uncomfortable at one point when I was talking about the growth mindset – I realise (I said to my students) that maybe what I needed to do was let the other teachers at school know what I was doing and invite them to come and visit my classroom. We will see what happens with this idea!

Pretty excited so far about #hackyrclass.

Quick #HackYrClass post

So have been watching all the tweets and blog posts following Claire Amos’s initial post about hacking your classroom.
Didn’t think I was really going to have enough time to get involved with it (madly busy learning python!) but sat down with two colleagues who are doing some hacking as well and came up with how I could do it.
I teach PE and Health and we have 1 lesson of health a week. We still use a workbook set up and I often get pretty bored taking those lessons (not sure you could really cool it teaching, maybe preaching!). So I have decided to hack my Year 10 Health class. Upcoming unit is drug education and I am throwing the book out the window.

It is great that others are blogging about what they are doing. Someone I just followed that teachers science had some good ideas which I am going to hack!
It has also been great having a couple of people at school who are keen to do this as well, as good to bounce ideas of each other

2013 Reflections

A bit of a reflection on what I got up to in 2013.

Professional goals –

Goal 1: to continue to develop my own learning of how to use Moodle so that I can support teachers in creating asynchronous learning opportunities.

Definitely did this well in 2013. I attended the NZ Moodlemoot in Hamilton in the April holidays. I took the Moodlebites for Course Designers 8 week online course. Attended the online iMoot conference – looking forward to the next one of these, great learning from all over the world. And I also was a participant in the Learn Moodle MOOC.

I have worked with a lot of staff over the year to help them implement their teaching and learning ideas using Moodle.

In 2014 I am looking forward to working with Moodle 2.6 (as we upgraded at the end of 2013) and using badges! However, I know that I need to work on looking at the effective pedagogy and not just getting focused on giving out badges just for the sake of it. I am planning on trying to have our Year 9 Health content all online and not using a paper workbook. I have been collecting information about learning and instructional design plus gamification to help me with this, as I also want to make the Health content more engaging.

Goal 2: develop and implement a Project Based Learning unit for Year 10 Shaping Up (Inner Beauty? Lets get real!) that helps develop critical thinking.

The unit ended up being called ‘What Matters Most…is what you think of yourself’ – shortened to What Matters Most (see previous posts) It was a huge step out of my comfort zone with my teaching and took a lot of time to set up but so worth the effort!! I am planning on using it again this year with some changes to it following great feedback my students and I received. I will think about how I might be able to do something similar with other units in our junior health courses this year.

Goal 3: learn and use iPad as a effective teaching and learning tool in Physical Education.

This didn’t really happen last year. This maybe due to not having enough iPads or not putting the time aside to think about how to use them effectively in class. What I did get happening in my Year 9 class was students using their own devices more for the creation of content. I would like to build on this in 2014.

What I have done in 2013 is used the iPad for my own uses very effectively. I find some of the apps on it great for planning and I have reduced down the amount of paper I use.

Ideas for 2014

With my senior Year 12 Sports Studies class I would really like to utilise Google Apps a lot more, particularly to make it easier for them to record information. For Social Responsibility, I would like to set up a form for them to enter in their reflections and have something like a rating system, so it is really easy for them to do, so they can do it on their phone for example and it collates it all.

I would also like to use Google Apps for all of the written assessments as I think this made a difference to my ability to give constructive and timely feedback. I don’t think all the students particularly like it but I think overall it was more effective then a written report on paper.

For Digital Technology, I am planning on using Scratch in 9DT. I would like to have two topics, one on computer science – ie Scratch, and the other on digital media – which I think I will stick with Photoshop and Pixlr and have the students creating a digital poster. What I need to work on is creating units where the students have stakeholders outside of the classroom.

Then there is Year 12 Digital Technology! There will be lots of learning going on with this, php, MySQL, programming, Python!!

So, roll on 2014 and the joys that it is going to provide!

What do a mohawk and making connections have in common?

On the 23rd of October I took part in the Canteen Headshave that had been organised by our head and deputy head girl. It took place in the school hall with quite a few students and teachers watching.

There were 8 students that had ALL of their hair shaved off and they all had long hair! Big ups to them, as I can’t imagine what it would be like to shave all your hair off at 15, beginning in an all girls’ school (I have had short hair forever and went to a co-ed secondary school). They also had number 0’s, I only went to a number 1. There was also one other teacher that joined in.

I got the hairdresser to shave mine like a mohawk with the intention that it would all come off but on the spur of the moment I took hold of the mic and said to all the students “If you can raise $100 by the time Mr Dixon gets his head shaved I will keep the mohawk for a week!”. Mr Dixon was just about to have his started so I thought I was pretty safe. How wrong was I! About $150 in less then 5 minutes.

Mohawk 1

So, a mohawk at school for a week! Plus, one of the hairdressers had colour hair chalk and about 4 students jumped at the opportunity to let their creative talents loose on my head!

mohawk chalk

It was really cool participating in this event and helping raise money for Canteen but I got heaps more out of it. I made connections with students.

Even with students that I have never taught, I now have a connection. Walking around school with a mohawk is a bit unusual and when students saw me with my mohawk and knowing why I had it (although some didn’t know) they would smile at me or make some positive comment. Students who I didn’t know giving me a little smile and me smiling back, that is a connection, a little connection but worth a lot.

Which links in nicely to this from Justin Tarte’s blog:

We can’t accept that our content is more important than the relationships we establish with our students. It is with almost absolute certainty that students won’t care about your content if they don’t care about you. Develop strong relationships to truly bring your content to life for your students.

http://www.justintarte.com/2013/10/8-things-we-cant-accept-in-education.html

Teaching, to me, is more then the content I teach. It is about the students, it is about the relationships we as people have with them. It is about being positive role models for the young people I see every day. What I do, how I behave, how I care, what I say does make a difference – what I teach, not so much.

mohawk

He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!

Feedback please! What Matters Most – Project Based Learning unit

Your feedback please! (Feedback from students welcome!)

My students are down to the business end of the their project based learning project (see previous posts)! They have (pretty) much completed them and are looking for feedback from a range of audiences. So, if you have a spare minute or ten my students and I would greatly appreciate any constructive feedback.

There are six projects below so far. (Note: looking to reflect on this by Monday 2nd December)

1. What Matters Most- The message young girls need to receive

2. Our Health Project

Our Health Project

3. What is true beauty?

4. Health and Beauty

 

5. What Matters Most

Beauty and Health Poster

6. “How can we help the next generation…”

7. HEALTH AND BEAUTY