Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Students map and plan the new learning environment at St Joseph's Oamaru

Our year 7s mapped out our learning environment as it stands now.  They looked at all the things they need to do when they're learning and decided how we could use our space to meet these needs.  These maps are on paper and annotated with Thinglink.

Tannah's version of our learning environment

Tim and Saluni's version of our learning environment :

Makeisha and Alyssa's version Maria's version Aarran's version

Our Learning Environment Modeled in Minecraft

Our year 7s mapped out our learning environment as it stands now.  They looked at all the things they need to do when they're learning and decided how we could use our space to meet these needs.  The environment is modeled using Minecraft.

Zach, Maddison, Nina, Ardan, Tess, Siva:

Ben, Jordan, Abigail, Joel, Tyler:

Laura, Daniel Mannix, Charlie:

A machine for learning part 2

The next step in our "Machine or Learning" inquiry (see Machine for Learning, previous post) was to map what we already have.  In term 3 children mapped our intermediate department and although it was very good, it didn't look quite right because it wasn't to scale.  This term the children measured our spaces accurately and decided on a scale so that they could model the space.  Fifteen children chose to work in three groups sharing Minecraft worlds to model the building.  The remaining children looked at other 3D modelling tools and in the end they have drawn a 2D paper plan.

The next step will be to make recommendations for how our space can be improved for the type of learning the children have already identified.

A machine for learning

(thanks to Mark Osbourne for sharing the term: Machine for Learning, and the link he made to le Coubousier, which we’ve used in our inquiry - environments for learning)         
St Joseph’s Year 7 students consider what their learning is actually like and what ideal spaces for this could be like - this is a brainstorm from the whole class in a shared Google doc (it is not crafted writing).     

concentrate and communicate with others
listen and discuss your ideas with the people
being on task and giving 100% and not giving up
sitting down somewhere and listening to each others ideas
we learn from our mistakes
we debate and share our ideas we take notes and learn from what others have learnt as well
put your heads together and discuss ideas with each other.
we think that its import to participate  and contribute ideas even if its wrong
we share our ideas, discuss our options and our needs and also relate to others, listen, focus, look, think, come up with new ideas,   
we like to talk and  listen to each other….and be good friends
think, discuss, sing, we argue, we work with others, we get things wrong, we get to try new things.
get confused but work it out
understand others.
we talk to others and ask for advice for good ideas to make our work even better
we help with problems and answer things
we talk together and help each other to get the job done
we get to choose our working space.
we discuss our ideas.
share our ideas.
we get  to  debate
we work quietly
we learn from our mistakes
we concentrate

We use MINECRAFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
to try to answer a problem.

talking sometimes helps if it is on task!
say what we want to

we help people that need help at the moment when they are  stuck

enjoy and get new knowledge
do acting, have debates, songs, learn new things and new instruments or activities

make sure that everyone is joining in the convo and that people are included in it.
Also to encourage others to give 100% and to not give up.
Learn to accept a mistake, Good attitude

listen, discuss, read, write, search, explore, trial and error, make new options, design new things, brainstorm, invent, create, concentrate, play games, field trips, writing
we can read, write, do pe ,E.O.T.C, camps, maths,search, new things, discuss between  us, brainstorm, make mistakes and try again and again,
listen, stay on task, do field trips

watching other people  
learning new ideas and facts.
writing songs
silence and concentration, watching and learning from mistakes learning from elders...
singing-writing songs debates

performances , plays , silent working or dramas
different types of formal writing
arts and stuff,

crafting your imagination stories and making it better.

try over again, learn from others, songs and  performances, being silent              
we think create, communicate, share, learn

We can make everyone happy to learn
sitting facing each other at the same level (communicating)

peaceful and secure, fancy, computers,

taking turns talking

have our own little bubble to work in

we work together as a team and sensibly share our ideas

man’s cave and a girl hangout room for year 7s and 8s

change resource room into music room for intermediate department

gym for senior school

whole school computer room to work in quietly

having your own office or bubble to stay in but still communicate with each other
or talking . having a quiet space for yourself or others’ private spaces

have a musical room where people can sing and learn instruments.
a game room-a man cave for boys and a girl’s room.
dancing room where their dancing can express their feelings.
sports room where people can have fun and play with other people

we could have a couple of cubicles
we could use so that we could have our own space and we could work quietly.

we could split a room into a couple of spaces that are soundproof and will not bother anyone else!

we work as a  team       

you get more action and ideas
and information.You have more fun talking to your your friends.

in a place where you can concentrate.

Its interesting - you write a lot about collaborative learning how we can learn from each other and through discussion.  At the same time you say that its important to have your own space where you can be quiet.  You show this because when we have a lot of space upstairs, you spread out and fill it all and you still stay on task and do all the things you wrote in column 1.

When you make your recommendations for what we can do with our spaces, please think about how we can use what we have to make all these things happen.  LFR

What different learning styles are there?

watching other people  
learning new ideas and facts.
writing songs
silence and concentration, watching and learning from mistakes learning from elders...
singing-writing songs debates

performances , plays , silent working or dramas
different types of formal writing
arts and stuff,

crafting your imagination stories and making it better.

try over again, learn from others, songs and  performances, being silent              
we think create,communicate,share,learn

We can make everyone happy to learn

We stay on task and brainstorm as many ideas we can think of. We also participate and contribute many ideas. We do the learning properly we listen so we know what to do. When we don't understand we ask the teacher for help

Monday, March 16, 2015

Action Research

Action Research into Digital Learning

Action research was carried out during 2013 at St Joseph's School Oamaru.
These conclusions are based on:
Digital Action Research 1 - using online videos to support maths teaching and SOLO
 for thinking development
Action Research 2 - does the motivation of choosing own project and pathway help inconsistent writers 
produce more consistent writing
Digital Action Research 3 - does the teacher as "guide on the side" help to improve
learning outcomes in children's own choice projects?

Action Research 1, 2013


YouTube Video


YouTube Video


YouTube Video


YouTube Video


 Manuka students sharing their understandings - private content

 Create two different word problems involving mixed numbers and improper fractions.  The answer to both problems must be:

            4/5You can write the two problems on your wikipage

Action Research 2, 2013

Of the 5 boys in question, one was particularly motivated by his project and was self managing, reflective and innovative throughout the project.  Although usually, he does not go out of his way to get his writing to a sufficient standard, on this occasion he made the effort to review his writing with a view to reaching the standard in content and structure as well as language and surface features.  He did reach the standard.

Three of the remaining boys showed writing in the same time period which met the standard.  Although motivated by their projects, no-one else was sufficiently motivated to improve their writing, during the project.  Actually, writing is not normally too much of a difficulty as the students know their rubric and clearly know what they have to do to achieve and most will make the effort to make that happen.  On this occasion, if anything, they were less motivated to write to a good standard.  This observation led to the next part of the action research which can be seen on action research 3.

Action Research 3, 2013

Initial observations:
Children were allowed to take breaks during the project when they needed them - instead of asking for more breaks, many chose to stay in at their playtimes to work - this indicates they were engaged and interested in their projects.

All children negotiated useful learning goals which covered the core curriculum.
They were using technology to support their learning in a variety of areas and some chose not to use digital technology.  Some children listened to music as they worked and were reluctant to stop working.  Eating was happening but not getting in the way.  At this stage there was high productivity and engagement.
Lots was happening at this stage: researching, practising, investigating and progress seemed very positive.  Incidental reading and writing was of a good standard.
The children were engaged in their projects and performing well in the mode of gathering information / doing the project.  They are very comfortable with this mode of operation and in a more teacher-directed environment they are usually scaffolded to take more steps to add depth and "so what?" to their learning.
Further observations:
The children did not seem to realise when they had reached the end of this cycle and at this stage they began to become aimless.  They needed direction to begin to synthesis, analyse or evaluate their progress.  Most children barely responded to feedback, only doing a minimal amount so they could move on to "presenting."  In a normal class situation I would have brought this back for some whole class teaching and guided them in specific process but I was still wanting to see how the motivation of their own interest would help them push for achievement.
Many children used their time very unwisely at the end and did not finish their projects to a high standard.
The project was divided into sections and achievement points awarded per level.

The total possible points was 12.  I made an OTJ on each child as to whether they were in general above, at, below or well below the overall year 7 level.
      OTJ           Average score
 Above     6.4
 At 6
 Below 8.4
 Well Below 10
Possibly the sample was too small to make generalisations.  However there was a similar pattern for the "above" children in their science fair work.  
The children "well below" showed the highest levels of concentration, commitment, self management and willingness to accommodate feedback ie qualities of 21 century learners.
The children "above" on the whole did not make meaningful learning intentions and only superficially engaged with the negotiated intentions.  Similarly they only superficially engaged with cues towards deeper thinking. 
 Part of the process    Average score out of 3
 Beginning -    2     
 Middle -     
The higher average score for the middle part correlates to the observed enthusiasm and success at this stage of the project.

The difficult parts were: 
  • children owning the negotiated learning intentions - some felt this detracted from their project,
  • children doing something meaningful with their gathered resources/experiments/information,
  • quality of the product.

Many of the children saw no value in working on their projects to put in their own creativity or critical thinking.  When left to their own devices there was a very prevalent Powerpoint mentality (gather and regurgitate).  It is clear that moving beyond this, at this stage, for these children, needs to be teacher-directed.

To become more active learners these children need to see achievement in terms of their learning agency and cognitive engagement.  E.g. an active learner considers and responds to feedback and shows how they have integrated this into their work.

I believe we could look at this as a whole school and see what sort of progressions we can put in place to grow more active learners.  For my own class this project has shown me that the children are comfortable with the researching/gathering phase and a lot of reading learning has taken place to make this happen.  In their next project, I am going to provide these children with information and scaffold two relational thinking processes to help them handle the information.

This video shows the students' self-evaluations and some of their reflections on the project.  It is a private video and St Joseph's staff can view it by emailing me for a link.

SOLO Development 2013, St Joseph's School Oamaru

There is a saying, "Knowledge is power."  That used to be true when only certain people in certain situations had access to knowledge.  It is no longer true.  Knowledge is freely available through the Internet.  It is no longer a significant currency.

What matters now is what you do with knowledge, how you gather, analyse, create and evaluate.  What difference does it make?  This is why we have been working with a cognitive taxonomy - a way of helping our students get beyond the facts and opinions.

It doesn't really matter what taxonomy we use as long as we are consistently and systematically challenging our students to go beyond.  This page shares some of the things we have done with the SOLO taxonomy in Religious Education in 2013.

Some comparisons (relational thinking) from year 1:
Some extended abstract thinking from our year 8s:

This You Tube Video shows some of the extended abstract work our intermediate students did about what it means to be like Jesus in our world today.  They looked at peaceful ways people can protest about injustice and one of these was by using protest songs.  So we learnt to play and sing a protest song.

Year 7s think about their Young Vinnies community visits:

The Terrific Thursday's group is our New Entrant class and our visiting 4 year olds.

YEAR 6 - extended abstract questions about the God of the Old Testament

Why does God of the Old Testament change?
Why would God ask them to sacrifice and kill animals when he created them?