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Photography Workshops @ Kimihia Yr 5 - 8 (Amy :)
We had a group of students interested in visual art and design so we provided a photography group every monday afternoon for a term. The students focussed on developing the fundamental skills of photography including, framing, light, patterns and using angles to communicate an idea effectively. Thie powerpoint shows their first attempts at completing set tasks, with feedback from other students. As the term went on they really improved by observing other's work and offering ideas and feedback to each other.

November 2011 Visual Thesaurus-Sally @ Morrinsville Intermediate

We have been using Visual Thesaurus, an on-line service that is excellent for using with writing and vocab. work. There is a free trial version then you have to pay for it. I have used it with poetry writing and found it an excellent tool, as it gives a fantastic range of words related to the word you are looking for synonyms for. There is a motivational aspect that helps keep students interested, as the way the tool moves and adds words looks cool.

Below is a short You Tube clip demonstrating it.

There are some free versions of similar software. One is called Snappy Words

St Joes - Using Prezi to Communicate Ideas Around "Defining our Culture" - Yr 6& 7

My students went through an inquiry unit focused on unpacking the value of contributions to a societyfrom a variety of cultures. We had gone through the 'saturation' stage and had had some great and heated discussion around what we knew about cultures - particularly , exploring their sterotypical views of cultures. This inquiry morped into "how we interact with other cultures and what benefits we each (a variety of cultures) bring to New Zealand. This is a great topic to explore with students of this age and rich learning occurred at each level along the continuum. At the start it was evident that students had fixed and closed minded views exhibiting little thought, and towards the end of the inquiry it was obvious to see changes in thinking and curiousity about ALL the cultures that contributed to NZ and the effect and overall value of each one - although this was more evident in the discussions than in the written explanations .

Planning >

The students worked in groups using only the "Encyclopaedia of NZ" website to develop their research skills (for this task I found only one site was best as there was sufficient accurate reading material in there ) . I used 8 questions to focus the learning (see planning doc) and after completing the presentation task, the students reflected on their changes in thinking in their learning logs. Students shared their presentation in their blogs so other students and their parents can view. Most students used Prezis as a Mindmapping Tools to communicate their ideas and answer the set questions. Once these were complete we used them to provoke discussion and evaluate, and build on, their initial responses. NOTE: I've decided to hone my use of Graphic Organisers and focus on using LESS - well.

BLOG USE: I have 8 students without home internet access and have found it frustrating, in the extreme trying to get parent support for the feedback in our online sites. The BLOGs have been most effective as an opportunity for students to view each other's work, and give verbal affirmation and feedback.
Thomas' Blog - Go here to see an example of work on America - http://www.tomvoid.blogspot.com and http://aidan-says.blogspot.com
Student's Reflections on their learning are such an important part of the learning process - my students prefer to add their thoughts in their personal , private "Learning Logs" but I've added an excerpt below.
Aidan's Reflection
" I found using a Prezi wasn't effective for my work because it kept zooming out, so I used a powerpoint to share my learning . It was like a mindmap showing what I'd learnt about the Filipino culture. Lots of the Filipino immigrants were highly skilled like Doctors, and I didn't know that before. The problem is their qualifications weren't recognised here even though they were highly intelligent and skilled people so some families had to do less skilled work, like driving taxis - even though they were a Brain Surgeon. I had open views to start with but it made lots of people realise that not all immigrants come with nothing to add to NZ. My group think we could be using all these skills and not worrying so much about new people taking Kiwi jobs !!!"

Prezi example showing group's initial thinking.

November 2011 Finding the Right Tool for the Job-Terry Casey Morrinsville Intermediate

I have been experimenting with practical ways to use video to record everyday examples of students learning. On the way to success I have learnt so valuable lessons. #1 just because you have a broad range of technical options ay your disposal, doesn't mean that they are the best way to efficiently & practically go about a task. This short video explains my point, as I went about trying to use all of sorts of technical trickery to record students doing Maths and ended up finding out that the pen (vivid) is mightier than the processor (computer, interactive whiteboard, fancy software etc etc etc.).

Maths Explanations - Demonstrating strategies

Below is an example of the students video learning in maths. Great way to determine the depth of a student's understanding and application !

Huntly Primary – Seniors
In term 3 we trialled some whole school planning around the Concept of Heroes – to help our students identify valuable human virtues and understand how these might be adapted and applied to their own lives, particularly behaviours and personal choices.
We developed a wiki site as a base to share resources and the work student’s produced in the process of their learning. As we’ve had such an intake of new staff we decided this was a great learning opportunity before venturing back into individual class sites.

Whole School Unit Plan – Planning and Learning Objectives
Assessment Rubric Examples
Wiki site – Base for sharing resources and student work

Huntly Primary – Seniors
I’m new to Huntly Primary and have had a huge learning journey this year. One of the highlights was working with my students on our "Huntly – Heroes" Unit of work in Term 3.
The students were engaged in learning about real people and fascinated by the heroic acts they had experienced, in particular – heroes of THEIR OWN age as this had real meaning for them. We planned the unit as a whole staff but specific tasks were relevant to each class and level.
Below is an example of the reading task - with appropriate links provided for students.

One particularly successful task set for year 6, 7 &8 was to read about, evaluate and make a decision about which hero they valued the most – based on the qualities they possessed. They then used these skills to research and present information on a chosen hero to convince others to vote for them, as one of the TOP 3 (using a 4 page powerpoint format).
Below are two examples of student work - a range of others can be found on our class page.

October 2011-Morrinsville Intermediate-Using Photo story 3 for Historical timelines

I had identified a group of students who struggled to achieve quality finished products when undertaking inquiry work (in terms of superficial content, high degree of cut and paste and limited understanding of concepts). I elected to work with them as a group during our focus on Prejudice. We decided to create a digital story that recounted the events surrounding the Jewish Holocaust. My focus for the group was how to use advanced Google search techniques to locate specific information regarding the time frame each student was asked to cover. Working one on one, I helped the students locate 3 photos and information that was pertinent to the image. The information was recorded in note form and I helped each student write a script, so that they could then record it using MS Photo story 3. Collectively the group was able to produce a sophisticated end product and in the process achieved a greater understanding of how to search for information and use it in a way that showed they had gained an understanding of it.
I had many discussions and 'lightbulb' moments with students as they realised the extent to which the Nazi's mistreated others and the depths of their inhumanity.
(this is a screen shot of the story, which is hosted on our Ultranet).


Kimihia School Reading Programme - year 7/8 classes.
Our overview is set each year and from that we then plan our reading programmes using a range of guided, reciprocal and shared approaches to meet students needs. The children are grouped according to needs.
For Example:
Learning Intention: WALT write a summary from the main ideas of the text
Success Criteria (student generated)
  • main ideas are recapped
  • must only state main ideas
  • brief idea of what the test is about
  • don't repeat information

We then looked at a piece of text and the children highlighted key words/statements and then wrote a summary as a group on the IWB. They then read the first few pages of the text and as they read they noted the main points/ideas and recorded these.

Another example is the use of learning contracts in reading that children work on when not with the teacher. These contracts relate to the text they are working on and have activities that link to the learning intention as well as provide practice/revision of previously taught strategies and word work.

Student Reflections:
"Our contracts have cloze texts, synonym work, dictionary work, visualisation tasks etc to help extend our vocab and comprehension, they help keep us focused."

Teacher Reflections:
  • "The IWB has allowed our "learning intention book" to become much more of a working document as all the children can see it easily, it is accessible and the children can share their ideas and add discussion points quickly to the flip chart. The flip charts are saved so the group can easily refer back to previous work and identify next steps with that particular learning intention".
  • "I have found that creating the contracts for the reading groups has allowed me to focus explicitly on the groups learning needs and it makes sure I remember to include revision activities for the children - also, a reliever can easily continue my reading programme if I am not in the class so that no learning opportunity is wasted".