Thursday, May 21, 2009

using a managed learning environment

We have just started our MLE at school. The Head of ICT has trialled it and most of the students now know about it and how to use it. It has the features you'd expect like lesson pages with lesson objectives and also a 'hand in' box for homework or classwork.

My class enjoyed the creativity of the last session and actually asked if they could use the MLE to hand it it! So I have taken the plunge and created the appropriate page. We'll see how that goes after the mid term break next week.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ideas for Year 10 now - the Metric system and photo storyboards

So Year 11 come to the end of their course. I still have a Year 10 class and need to engage them more fully with leading their own learning. I decided to take one of the literacy ideas fro Ideas To Inspire (see link on left) and try it out with a Maths class.

So this afternoon, we will plan and then after the holiday, I'll have a go at putting it into action. What I want them to do is to do a photo storyboard about the metric system. I have a feeling they will need quite a bit of guidance on how to structure this. Watch this space (if you're interested that is.....).

Monday, May 18, 2009

almost the end - this year

My current Year 11 had paper 1 today (for non-UK readers this is a Big Deal, they are 16 and then they decide whether or not to go on for 2 more years before University). 4 more lessons and a week's mid term break (aaarrrgh - timing) then paper 2.

It was a good paper but let's see what happens next. Again, for non-UK, the papers are externally set and unseen by teachers until the day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

getting started

First off, I am going to copy and paste some blog posts from H809-JM in here just to set the scene.

31st March
more twittering and networking
This is a nice link about why teachers should use twitter and this is a nice one about social networking - I haven't really tried it yet though .....

13th April
Twitter Backchannels
From Twitter @hrheingold Professor uses Twitter as backchannel in class gives me an idea for my GCSE Maths class.As they are minors I don't feel they should use twitter in class - or at least I shouldn't encourage it. Anyway they are not allowed mobile phones so it would be difficult.However, they have a private wiki which we already use mainly for homework and revision for exams.I am going to have a page (or maybe a series of pages, depending how it goes) which I will have up on screen with link to internet during class. Whilst they are working independently to solve Maths problems, I will invite them to come up to the front whenever the whim takes them and they can type up a question for me, a hint for each other or just "help I'm stuck".I am going to try this next term when we have a mock Ofsted - hah! why not? risk taking is the *in* thing. I'll let you know, it may be yet another of my doomed experiments but if you don't try ....

22nd April
using the twitter type idea with GCSE students
As I said in last blog post, I don't feel I can actively encourage twitter with minors (ethical issues here).So I had the first try today of just putting a page on private wiki up on the interactive white board and they came up and typed what they usually whisper to each othere.g. how do you do ratio?start by adding the numbersand so onIt went really really well - and is now stored on wiki for revsion purposes as wellmock Ofsted tomorrow - let's see what they make of it .....

23rd April
Guess what? The mock Ofsted team did not visit me! Never mind it was a FANTASTIC lesson. We had audio, visual and kinaesthetic learning, used the IWB idea I mentioned before and looked at how neuro-synapses help us learn - also they agreed that they knew more about vectors at the end than at the beginning - all in 50 mins!
SF Gate
You might find this link of interest: SF Gate I work in a UK High School and although many of my students do use Twitter and Facebook I don't feel that parents will necessarily want me to encourage this. So I have started a private wiki with them (about 8 months ago now). I recently thought more about the idea of getting 15 year olds to pay attention to one another as well as they pay attention to me. So *borrowing* an idea from Twitter, I have trialled putting the wiki on the Interactive White Board. Whilst working on individual Maths problems, they can come up any time and type on the screen. Sometimes they just put "help" other times, they give each other hints or ask direct questions. Not only have they started to respect one another more, they are actually more focused on the task in hand with hardly any off task chatter (in fact none at all!).hrheingold4/22/2009 1:48:45 PMI love your example, janshs. And I'm always interested in learning what other exercises and strategies work for people -- educators and others. So much of the social aspect of learning is absent from standard stand-and-deliver-the-facts methodology of teaching, and, if anything, learning and constructing meaning are increasingly social. I'll talk about credibility in a later blog post. Some evidence seems to indicate that assessing the credibility of web information is social -- that is, we turn to our trusted networks to find out what is bogus and what is not. Those of us who test online claims at all -- too many don't. But critical thinking is another missing element from much of today's pedagogy that I hope to address in a future post.

26th April

Effective classrooms
"Effective schools are full of effective classrooms"But what makes an effective classroom? What does an outstanding lesson look like? It's not about what the teacher does - it is about what and how the students learn. This must be true at all ages although the list below is more geared to High School.
Here are some ideas:-
· probing questions - not just answering the question for them, really getting them to think (metacognition)
· students keeping learning jorurnals
· collaborative learning
· scaffolded learning
· good rapport
· not escalating too quickly up the sanctions scale
· evidence of Asessment for Learning
· lesson objectives phrased as questions
· differentiation - target students
· pace - don't take 15 minutes on starter
· make sure students know how to improve
· try to move away from stand and deliver
· try to avoid too much copying
· use display as teaching tool
· make good use of diagnostic marking
· use the traffic lights cards in the student planners to demonstrate understanding and evaluate lessons
· think of innovative ways to use the Interactive White Board - see earlier blog
· consider using social media netowrks
· consider using neuroscience ideas in the class room
reflection and collaboration in learning - in practice
I have been thinking for some time about the nature of collaborative learning at all ages and stages. The wiki that I have been championing for my school staff for about 8 months now has had quite a different outcome (so far) to the one for my GCSE students - started around the same time. The one for my MA students has been different again.Staff wikimainly publishing and lurking going on here, see below for what I intend to do about thisGCSE wikiagain, lots of publishing BUT the recent addtion of the page called "hey! don't pass notes in class!" has been a major turnaround because they are now really collaborating in their learning in class time and to some degree with their assignments as wellMA wikiquestions asked of one another has made this more collaborative in nature from the outset, with students eager to help each other and to discuss openly, however, room for improvement, again see below.Linking to my last post about theories of learning, and to Howard Rheingold's SFGate (see earlier blog post) and his ideas about attention literacy, I think that the next stage for the staff wiki and the MA wiki is to actually get participants to start blogging themselves and to link this in to the 'master wiki' or 'master blog'. I'd like to use twitter for this as well.For the MA wiki, I will start this with the next cohort in September since the current one are nearing the end of the module.For the staff wiki, am starting tomorrow! There are four newly Qualified Teachers who have to produce some action research as part of their assessment. Tomorrow I am running a session with them on how to undertake this project. I am going to ask them to blog their progress and use collaborative reflective writing to put it all together. if this goes well, I will also approach just a few more experienced staff and ask them to blog risk taking lessons 9with videos perhaps) and again to put together some collaborative reflective writing.Watch this space.

2nd May
Catch up on how my GCSE maths group are doing
With just two school weeks left until their first paper, I'm not sure who is more nervous - them or me. After 31 years, I still feel the same!Anyway, the idea of using the wiki page on the white board for them to type questions and hints to one another is going really well. Just wish I had thought of this years ago - thank you Twitter!I have also devised two sides of A4 with 'sticky note' sized messages with the facts I expect them to need to 'learn'. The idea is that they keep eliminating stuff that they feel confident with until they are left with about five facts to remember overnight before the exam - or less hopefully!I've also posted their sheets on their wiki but here they are in case anyone is interested. I'm afraid that some of the language is esoteric as it relates to how I explain things but lots will be familiar to anyone. (It's not the A* stuff by the way.)click to enlargeI forgot their trigonometry rap so that is separateSOHCAHTOA is a very strange landIn right angled triangles everyone must stand.Here comes that hypotenuse againIt's the longest side, remember that my friend.Nothing written on it? Then you mus use tan.The other two are harder make the sign with your hand.Nothing on the free side? Then use must use cos.If there is then use sin and don't ask 'because'.If the angle is known and x is on the topJust multiply it out and then you can stop.If the angle is known and x is on the bottomFlip them over and divide - nothing can stop 'em.Finally remember if the angle is not knownDivide, use shift, and the answer will be shown.The Saturday just before the exam, we'll have a three hour revision session in school too - not sure what more I can do now.....

4th and 5th May
an exchange on Twitterhrheingold@Janshs Maybe even more important -- how can teachers induce the right questions from students? In particular, how to start out that way?@hrheingold sometimes think it's partly to do w/ building trust & culture where OK 2 say teacher doesn't know everything; culture of explorehrheingold@Janshs Absolutely - the fear of letting students know that one doesn't know everything is paralyzing for a teacher@hrheingold I found Perry's "positions of intell'l develop't" good: once jump 2 realis'm that teachers don't know all- independent learners@rheingold Perry is old though 1970 but still interestinghrheingoldFirst Day Questions for the Learner-Centered Classroom:
Monday, May 4, 2009
just reflecting on how students can be guided
I was just using Twitter to do some ‘thinking out loud’:-what makes my heart sink? "will this be on the test?" how do we encourage metacognition in subjects like Maths?perhaps the answer to my question is (at least) two fold: questioning to develop thinking, collaborative learning through web 2.0 ideasI am just thinking - it's all about getting young students to ask, listen to and answer each other's questionI have been getting my young students to use learning journals for a few years now; now I want to move into collaborative LJs using wikisit's all about @mwesch and 'asking the right question' and @hrheingold attention literacyI think the idea of using the wiki page on the interactive whiteboard that I've been trialling is a way forward to develop focused dialogue