Thursday, June 16, 2016

Making Meaning & Applying Understanding

Stonefields School Visit Reflection:
This term as a whole staff we had the opportunity to visit Stonefields school to observe and learning about their learning frameworks. It was a fascinating visit getting to experience a totally different environment and taking the opportunity to reflect on my own practice.

One of the major reflection points that stood out to me was their learning process and how could I integrate this to my reading practice. In my practice I identified that during my reading group discussions I spend a lot of time building knowledge but not really any other the other blocks. Then the majority of my follow-up activities would fall within the making meaning block. But I don't really ever get the apply understanding block within my reading programme. When discuss this as a team it was interesting identifying that our often our students actually struggle answering questions during their reading that require them to apply knowledge to rather than simply retell knowledge. From this reflection I want to explore specifically within my direct teacher instruction time but also within my tasks how I start integrating this learning around applying knowledge.

For my inquiry focus group I have designed a lesson around these three blocks. In this lesson we will look at how characters have different viewpoints on the same situation. Then we will analyse how people all value things differently. From this we will then apply this understanding into a wider world context of valuing water. We will learn and understand how people in our world (including ourselves) value water differently.
I have explicitly stated each of the three blocks to help give the lesson focus:
  • Build knowledge: Understand how and why characters have different viewpoints.
  • Make Meaning: People value things differently (analyse)
  • Apply understanding: How is water valued differently in the world (justify).
I hope that from this lesson students will be able take the knowledge that they learn and then apply it to a wider world context. I am also wanting to design an activity where they have to present their understanding of how people value water differently.

See here for Lesson Planning: Drones Term 2 and for student task: Did you shake your tail feathers?

Some other reflection notes from this visit:

  • If we make our students struggle then will they gain a better growth mindset.
  • In teacher groups are we giving students enough of a scope to grow therefore I need to ensure that I don't limit them yet at the same time make it achievable.
  • Use padlets to get students to share their thinking of a text.
  • I need to get my students to have an attitude of being able to be in the pit (stuck) and know what to do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ideas ideas ideas

As a staff we got the opportunity to meet together to hear about each other's inquiries then share with them some ideas. This was really valuable for me as I was able to hear from teachers who teach in the junior school and have students at a similar level.

A few ideas from this session are:
1. Word Families
- In order to help students with their understanding of words they could form word families. Specifically get them to make word that rhyme.
- Get a physical magnetic alphabet board and allow students time to play and explore words.

2. Memory Games
- To help students with remembering words set students up with memory games where they will have to use words repeatedly. Students need lots of revision before they will actually remember words when they see them in a new context, so this could be a good way of getting repetition.

3. Explain Everything
- To help students with sound knowledge use some of the ready made Explain Everythings to give students practice with their sounds.