Thursday, 28 August 2014

End of Term 3 Discoveries!

It is term three, I have taught for three years exactly, and only up until now have a really, truly, grasped the concept of ‘high order thinking’ and ‘creating to learn’. 

Embarrassing or exciting? Both, definitely both. 

Since Manaiakalani have employed researchers to study the effectiveness of our teachers to engage, motivate and accelerate, we have been given many recommendations to promote high order thinking and cognitive engagement. However, the hardest part for me on this journey was discovering HOW and WHAT it looks like in my classroom!

Over a course of only a few days all of the pieces of the puzzle have started to come together. Just this week I have heard and spoken to three amazing educators, who have helped me to see the light! 

So, I am going to try summarise what switched on the old light bulb… 

Last Friday - Rebecca Jesson Manaiakalani Hui 2014
Rebecca spoke about effective teachers of writing and compared the successful case study teachers, against the others. 

This is what was evident with those case study teachers with high order thinking and cognitive engagement in their classrooms; students have plenty of opportunity to create to learn, discussions with students are rich, digital learning objects focus on synthesising and creating new concepts.  

Wednesday - Kyla Hansell Tamaki Primary
Kyla based her toolkit around the SMAR model. This model explores four levels that determine how you are using the affordances of technology in your classroom. Are you making digital worksheet controlled by the teacher that requires low ordering thinking skills? Or are you providing your learners with opportunities to create to learn that is driven by them?

Thursday - Janine Tito Pt England School
I was speaking to a colleague about how I was exploring Blooms taxonomy in my classroom, when a another teacher overheard. Turns our that one of our very own teachers, taught for two years in a fully funded program that revolved around Blooms taxonmy. She shared resources, ideas and knowledge that got my brain ticking! 

Friday - Dorothy & Fiona Manaiakalani Education Trust
Dorothy and Fiona led some awesome professional development during out third digital immersion day. Here are some points that stood out for me: 

  • A DLO or digital learning object = teaches people something in more than one sense - e.g. site, sound, motion, listening
  • Using a new concept to create  and synthesis - sharing the child's knowledge
  • Instead of: “Here’s everything I know about x” focus on: “Here is everything you need to know about x” 
  • When the learning is clear, then and creation is clear!

It has been an amazing week full of questions, thinking and reflecting! Imagine if I was away? :)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Effective teaching of writing in Manaiakalani

This morning I had the pleasure of listening to Rebecca Jesson speak at the Manaiakalani Hui 2014. She spoke about effective teaching of writing in Manaiakalani following six case study teachers.

This is what was evident with those case study teachers with high order thinking and cognitive engagement in their classrooms; student had plenty of opportunity to create to learn, discussions with students were rich, digital learning objects focus on synthesising and creating new concepts.

Have a look at the presentation to see more!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Effective Questioning - Trevor Bond

Effective questioning from EDtalks on Vimeo

Effective questioning -  27/09/2012

Trevor Bond, a consultant working within New Zealand schools, discusses one of his passions 'questioning'. He sees questioning as being central to thinking and learning. Trevor believes that we must go beyond just talking to our students about 'open' and 'closed' questions. He states that a good question is the one that gives you the answer.

Main points

  • Thinking is a process of questioning
  • Not teacher questioning, but learner questioning

Two types of thinking:

  • Sub-conscious - when we are not aware
  • Conscious - deliberately set out to make a decision, think about something so we can come to an end point

The whole thinking process, is asking and answering questions in our heads.

For example: Analysis - asking questions that compare and contrast. Decisions - asking ourselves questions, and finding answers.

  • All revolves about asking and answering questions.
  • Questions - prime intellectual tool - what aren’t we teaching kids to question better? - Neil Postman
  • Questioning central to thinking

Thinking = Questioning

Internal and external questions:

  • Internal - un-asked, cognitive, un-expressed
  • External - expressed questions, to bring information, to fill in gaps, inform thinking.

Open and closed questions are not enough - we need to look at core skills that we use as questioners.

As adults we use them subconsciously - need to teach the kids the strategies and skills we use to ask and answer questions. Thinking/questioning process.

Facilitate and teach kids to become effective questioners.

So what is it that we do as effective questioners?

  1.  We identify the need - how can you ask a relevant question when you don’t know what the need is?
  2.  We identify the contextual vocabulary - how can you express the question if you don’t have the vocabulary? How can you understand the context if you don’t have vocabulary ?

Teach children, within a context or problem to:

  • Identify the need
  • Identify what they know,what they don’t know
  • Along with contextual vocab to ask questions = effective questioner.

Frame a range of question types - fallacy “open are better than closed”. Nothing wrong with closed questions. A good question is the one that gets you the answer you need.

Stay away from who, what, when, where, why, which, how? Don’t leave kids out from asking good questions.

Teach children, within a context or problem to:

  • Change and modify questions, until they find the way to answer their questions
  • Embed keywords and questions
  • Be persist until they find the answers

Create situations where the children need to ask questions to help them to solve the end point - then facilitate and support them.

If we really work on our children’s questioning ability, we are working at the foundation of thinking skills, foundation of reading comprehension skills, foundation at learning skills.

Go and help your kids to be effective questioners!

- Trevor Bond 2012

A picture is worth a thousand thoughts: inquiry with Bloom's taxonomy

This is a great example that show the different of levels of questioning/thinking when inquiring into a photograph.