Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tips for Autism course

Last week over 3 days I was lucky enough to attend the ‘Tips for Autism’ course. I came away each day with a deeper understanding of autism and what life would be like for a child or adult with autism.
The course required you to be in teams for the child who you were working with. My team included the child’s mother, the teacher aide, the rtlb, SENCO and myself. This was of great benefit because it allowed me to see what the child was like in many different settings and what I could do to help support the learning of this child.
The three main things I came away with from the course were:
  • Autism is something the child has, it does not mean that the personality of the child is defined by this. A child can still be shy or the class clown.
  • Social skills are the main thing students with autism need to develop. Video’s modelling behaviour help to give the child strategies for when they are in a similar position. However, just because a child has seen a video does not mean they can transfer this knowledge by themselves.
  • Behaviour management needs to have rules and the child needs to understand what they need to do to be at each level.
I have already actioned the behaviour chart in my room - with the class coming up and placing behaviours at each level. The next step is to start filming social behaviours that I would like to see the student showing and spending some time creating a visual display as well as a social story to help support this.
I would also like to work with some older students to set up a ‘play’ learning video for each assembly. This would model for all students things like: playing tag, what to do when someone says you can’t play, what to do if someone asks to play, how to ask someone to play with you etc. I think this would benefit a whole range of students not just the one I went on the course to support.
I have a lot of ideas to implement because of this course. The support of my team will allow the student and myself to be successful in creating the best learning environment.
- Kelsey Morgan

Monday, 24 August 2015

The politics of collaborative expertise- John Hattie- June 2015

A great article that looks at the type of education system we should be focusing on.  I really liked his idea of getting a shared understanding of what a years progress looks like. "A years progress for a years input"

The Politics of collaborative expertise

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Manaiakalani Reflection

Learn      Create      Share

Last week's inspiring trip to Auckland, visiting Point England School and Panmure Bridge School, has promoted a hive of reflection and discussion amongst staff at Gilberthorpe. I feel really fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take part in this Professional Development and am grateful to Andrew and the Board of Trustees for making the experience possible. 

I struggle to conclude on the most worth while part of our visit. The opening presentations, delivered by students from the cluster, set the tone for what we could expect to see in our school visits; the openness of the teachers, who shared their practice with us, gave us insight to the posibilities of teaching in a digital and collaborative environment. While discussions with staff and children at each of the schools allowed us to see the learning in action. The whole experience was enjoyable, thought provoking and inspirational from beginning to end. 

I will admit that going into this venture I had my doubts and concerns about what the reality of digital learning might look like. Picture a typical cafe scene, with groups of friends engrossed in their smart phones, completely disengaged with to the world and people around them. I didn't want to see a classroom replica of this. To the contrary, in both schools we saw a variety of PE, Sport, Arts and values related programs occurring alongside, and sometimes integrated with, their digital learning. Children left their devices, as they would their text book, inside while they went out to play and children still discussed and collaborated orally during class. It struck me that all the children I spoke with recognised their device as a tool. A tool, not a toy. A tool that was superior to pen and paper (and yes they could justify why it was so). A tool that enabled them to create work they were immensely proud of. A tool that permitted them to share their learning on a worldwide platform. 

The key messages I took away from the experience are:
  • It is the quality of teaching that makes the difference, not the introduction of technology. 
  • As educators we owe it to our learners to be proficient in the digital skills of the 21st Century. 
  • Technology generates possibilities for learning that can not be replicated by alternative means. 
This visit just so happened to coincide with the arrival of our new iPads in Tawa class making our ratio now 2:1. This allowed me to start trialing and implementing things I had seen within the Manaiakalani Cluster straight away. My first step was to remove all educational games from the devices (this leaves Book Creator, Comic Life and Draw and Show in addition to Google Drive and a link to the Tawa Blog). I anticipated an outcry from the children, but instead I observed a dramatic increase in the amount of writing happening during Action Stations. My second goal was to transfer to a digital modelling book. My Cylinders Numeracy group enjoyed their first lesson with a digital modelling book on Google Slides today and I can see strong advantages to having this data accessable on any devise anywhere and by any person. The modelling book can be shared with the learners themselves and with their parents to view any place any time. 

A huge thank you to Dorothy, Richard, Russell and all the staff and children at Point England and Panmure Bridge. You were all so welcoming of us in your schools and the time you took to share your journey and learning with us is much appreciated and valued. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Gilberthorpe heads to the big smoke- Manaiakalani visit August 2015

Kia ora koutou

This week I had the pleasure of travelling to Auckland with 4 of our staff to visit the Manaiakalani cluster of schools in Tamaki,  Auckland.
What a rewarding visit!, a visit that has thrown up as many questions as it did answers!
It was a very rewarding couple of days and the time spent with staff was a lot of fun.  The rich discussion that also eventuated was gold!

The purpose of this visit was to familiarise ourselves further with the pedagogy being utilised by schools in the Manaiakalani cluster, we have four of our staff who had not yet visited the schools and it was essential that they all see what is possible.
We visited two schools Point England and also Panmure Bridge and both of these schools can be , and indeed are, very proud of what they are achieving. It was a pleasure listening to students from across 6 or 7 schools sharing some of their learning.  Talking with Dorothy Burt- The Manaiakalani outreach programme leader, Her husband Russell Burt- Principal of Point England school and Richard Johnston- Principal of Panmure bridge school provided fantastic insight into the journey they have all been on.  We were all very grateful for the time they (and several of their staff)  took to chat with us.  I took a huge amount from these discussions.

The cluster is based around the use of a learn, create and share structure that promotes anywhere, anytime learning. The use of technology is essential in supporting this.  Every student from Year 4-8 and 9-13 for that matter has their own device, through a lease to own system.  Students have ultimately replaced pen and paper with Google chromebooks and Ipads. Chromebooks being used in years 4 up and ipads within the junior school( Year 1-3).  The progress being made by students is accelerated and engagement levels are quite frankly, incredible.
Students are proud of their learning, they collaborate with each other both personally and in a digital world.  They can articulate their learning. They are confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners!

Teachers use google sites as a way of sharing learning and planning with the students, the default is that all information is public and planning by staff and activities for students is all visible and available anywhere, anytime by anyone.
There is some much more to learn and our journey on the outreach programme has just begun.

I loved one of Dorothy Burt’s quotes- “access to technology has changed our children’s lives”

Naturally, the next step for us here at Gilberthorpe is to consider what we are seeing, learning about and discovering and discuss how it fits with where we see ourselves heading.  With a rebuild happening, this time next year we will likely be in new environments.

How will these be organised?
Who will teach with who?
How will ensure that learning is personalised?
Which ways will we gather data and use this effectively?
How will we share what we are learning with our community?
How can we design our curriculum so that it is highly engaging, purposeful and is helping prepare our students for a rapidly changing future?
What structures will we put in place to ensure that our use of technology is highly effective?
Do our decisions match our vision for learning?  Does it fit with our pedagogy?

Regardless of what technology is being used or how the environments are set up, one thing most educators would agree on, is that it is the teacher in front of the students that has the greatest effect (Hattie’s research supports this).  We must ensure that staff are well supported through these developments to ensure that what they are delivering to our students in the precious time that we have them is highly effective.  High quality professional learning is essential.  Our vision and our pedagogy drives what we do, let’s keep that at the forefront while we move through this incredibly exciting time!  The best device in the world will amount to little if its use is ineffective and a high quality teacher will get results by teaching in a garage if need be (but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that :-)

Stay tuned for what happens next….

Graph showing the accelerated progress the entire cluster of schools is making in writing.