Tag Archives: Nina Davis

Part 4: Working with Mark (Year 10) to Be a Better Writer (BABW): Preparing for Year 10 & Year 11 Exams Using Steve Peha’s What? Why? How? – Creating a Logical Answer to an Essay Question Technique/Strategy.

In Australia, students are nearing the end of their school year. Secondary students are sitting a range of examinations or tests over the coming weeks. Mark is in Year 10, but like many students he is doing one Year 11 subject.  This subject is part of our Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and preparing for these assessments can be challenging.

Mark and I are using Be a Better Writer (BABW) by Steve Peha as our guide. I love the fact that Steve’s book can be in the hands of the student and teacher. I call this being able to cross borders. Mark and I have been exploring techniques.

‘Techniques are simple activities that help you do complicated things faster and easier.’ Steve Peha

Our focus has been centred on Creating a Logical Answer to an Easy Question (BABWp8) to

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We’re using Steve’s What? Why? How? – simple! After reading the background information we reviewed Steve’s example. The example in BABW is about the American presidential system. This was not an issue for us because any example text could be substituted. 20161031_111539.jpg

Text Example BABW: A candidate may lose a presidential election even if he or she receives the most votes. How is this possible?

What? Why? How? is an organisation tool. It provides a framework for a logical response. After completing Steve’s example, Mark and I posed an essay question related to his course content.

Aristotle believes that beauty is in the form. How is this connected to Art?

Mark completed the What? Why? How? quickly which gave him an organisational structure for his response, something he was grappling with. What’s also very special is seeing Mark’s confidence grow!

Teachers want ‘a logical presentation of accurate information.’  Steve Peha

Finally, this technique/strategy has a hidden strength:

T0 complete this strategy you have to unpack, understand and answer the question!

Cheers Nina

 

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Nelson Literacy Directions Comprehension Years 3-6 Sample: Planning Reading Comprehension- Example and some questions answered!

This post has been written to answer specific questions I’ve been receiving, so I thought I’d share some ideas I’ve collected here….

Each day I’m learning something different about this resource. It’s like peeling the skin off an orange and pulling apart the segments. (What strategy?)

Explicit Teaching: Learners need substantial guidance. Below is an example of how NLDC Digital Texts for Box 5 can be planned across the year, linking the 6 comprehension skills, focus reading strategies and different text types.

First: Gather data – PM Benchmark RAR – Use Software to expedite analysis

Lesson Structure

WHOLE – Launch / Whole Class Focus

PART – Modelled / Guided/ Reciprocal Teaching /Independent Reading/ Read Aloud / Literature Circles

WHOLE – Reflection / Sharing

NLD Comprehension Box 5 example to get us thinking… ????????????????????????????????????

Term 1. Whole Class focus

EXPILICIT TEACHING OF:-

Text Type: Narrative (imaginative)

Focus Skill: Making Inferences

Comprehension Strategies Focus: Cause & Effect, Figurative Language, Main Points & Bigger Ideas & Problem/Solution

Digital Text: Amy’s Brainwave (You’ll be using other supporting texts e.g. Big Books as well )

Term Planning Outline: Text Type, Reading Skill & Comprehension Strategies Example

Term 1: Text Type Focus for Reading and Writing – Narrative

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Assessment of students: Benchmark recommendations for future learning – form groups of students with similar reading ability and learning goals.

Example Group Spread: Assessed for Guided Reading – NLD9/10 These levels are correlated to PM Levels and Reading Ages

 Example Below – Part: Guided Reading- Text Selection: Reading Age 10.1-10.3

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To add to the mix there is the NLD Directions Exemplar Cards and Big Books, levelled novels and Guided Reading Card box sets.

Hope this helps! Any thoughts?

Cheers Nina

 

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IB-PYP: Maps – Gathering prior knowledge: Show me the way to your home from school. What did I learn? I should have known more about this student!

We’re learning about maps so I asked my students to show their way home from school. They could choose how they would show their journey. One of my students started drawing…. What did I learn? I know that how we ask children to show what they know is incredibly important and when gathering prior knowledge we can’t assume what a child knows. One of my very quiet 7 year old students started drawing their map.

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Can I find the way to my student’s home? YES How did this student know what they know? Would I have discovered what I now know about this student and their thinking if I’d presented my initial question a different way? QUESTIONS!

Cheers Nina

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The IB – PYP: That’s where we’ll hang our hat! Part 1 – At the grass roots…

This is the year of the circle.

My father always said children need something to hang their hat on and something bigger than them.

So what does this mean in terms of learning? Schools are our young peoples’ community, something bigger than them and where they can hang their hat. Primary schools exist for young learners, but they are also children (so keep that thought). A school has a greater responsibility than just teaching the 3Rs. Schools are where our young people learn about relationships, community and develop a sense of self.

My school is an IB-PYP school. So why be an IB school? It’s a question I’ve thought about for some time and relates to what my father told me. Children need something greater than themselves and so does a school! Schools are an important part of their local community, but where does a school hang its hat and be part of something bigger than it?

Example 1. Developing a sense of community: The IB Learner Profile.

The IB has developed a framework known as the Learner Profile. The Learner Profile relates to all learners, teachers, administrators and wider community members. The IB Learner Profile recognizes the broad needs of young learners and young people across the world.

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Let’s take a look at the IB – PYP at the grass roots – my Australian Year 1-2 classroom…

Example 2. Developing a sense of community: Being part of something bigger.

My students understand that we are a team and being part of a team has associated responsibilities. Our team is part of the school community, local community, government education system and IB World Community. Young learners (6, 7 & 8 year olds) need to grow their understanding of responsibility by being part of a community and the classroom is where they start.

Two Simple Diagrams:

Two simple diagrams underpin my students’ learning about being part of a team and managing relationships.  I bring everything back to the IB Learner Profile and attitudes. The picture below is our Learner Profile circle and ‘working wall’.

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The learner Profile represents our classroom essential agreements. My students know that as learners we make mistakes and learn from them, however, they also understand that being a member of the team is about demonstrating the Learner Profile through our actions. The Learner Profile is part of our daily learning. It’s not just a pretty display, it is a living and growing record of our growth as learners and young people.

Diagram One: The Team Circle

Sometimes someone may not have exhibited the Learner Profile and as a consequence moves to the side of the team. The young learner then has to develop the trust of the team to move back. Being a member of the team is very important to these young learners and they are incredibly supportive of each other. It has become a very positive approach to classroom management. It would require another post to explain how students learning self management is powerful for their confidence and learning.

Diagram two: Friendships and relationships

This one was developed to show how ‘he said, she said’ works. Two friends have an argument and involve others and rarely, but sometimes parents get involved. However, by the time the two best friends have sorted their differences, the outside circles are still arguing! This is where we learn CHOICE and my students are now thinking about the choices they make. They will help sort out problems but rarely become part of the problem. They are incredibly mature and honest! Simple diagrams but visible…

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Cheers Nina

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Self Portraits created by 6, 7 & a few 8 year old children in Australia

Our Visual Arts program is valued by our community. The array of creative experiences our students receive is wonderful. It’s fairly obvious when looking at my blog that I believe providing many opportunities for children to create is essential in a balanced teaching program.

I really enjoy seeing what my students are doing in Visual Arts and this week I decided to share their creations with my readers.

Self Portraits

Step 1: Children are photographed.

Step 2: Children put a tracing sheet on their photo and trace their features using a black pen.

Step 3: Children put a sheet over their traced portrait and use artist charcoal to trace their portrait. Smudging techniques are used to create shadows and highlight facial features.

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These are very young artists!

Cheers Nina

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2011 – Me, Australian teacher, the constructivist, learner, seeker of answers and maker of questions – One year on….

And there goes another year! I’ve had many emails and best wishes from colleagues locally, across Australia and globally. The end of the school year in Australia is frantic with not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Hence, my lack of posts….

I hope everyone who reads my blog has had a wonderful year and put a ‘feather in the back of a colleague so they can fly’…. and have been ‘courageous’. (Anthony Semann)

I find it interesting that so many people read this post each year and look forward to my reflections of ‘my year that was’. 2011 has been my year of challenge, watching my son navigate his final year of school, and for a constructivist and IB educator, I question the purpose of these final years. Jenny Luca wrote an excellent post airing her thoughts. Well written Jenny! And just so you all know I have ‘dibs’ on 2012, it’s my year, but I’m happy to share!

As a constructivist I can look back, learn from, move forward, improve, and re-learn. Experiences (good and not so good) are gifts and should be treated as such. Experience and constructive feedback is important for educators, for people and for the children we teach. Admitting you don’t always have the answers and exploring to find answers is part of education and life. Being a learner is important to me, as it allows for foibles and that’s important.

The world lost a ‘new age philosopher’ this year in Steve Jobs. I’ve read much about his life and have selected the following quote…. Reflection, personal and professional growth is important!

I’ve adopted Steve’s attitude to life, professional and personal as my mantra for 2012.

‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.’  Steve Jobs 2005

With the support of my school, my Teacher Professional Leave (TPL) partner and I have continued to research ‘best practice’. Being able to spread our allocated professional development days over what will be three years has meant our professional development has been relevant to what we now know, and what we need to learn. When you start a project such as ours ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. Research and discussion has led us to be knowledgeable about what we don’t know. And that’s a great place to be…. we’re still in the learner’s seat.

The Instructional Rounds ning is active and has continued to grow. This space has now 291 members from across the globe. Collaboration and connections are being made throughout the world within the ning.  Education has no borders, wherever we are on the planet, educators are working to engage and provide students with the life and learning skills to navigate this century.

This year I completed the Leadership for Community Engagement Program as a member of the region pilot group. An opportunity to learn from, and listen to leaders in a small forum from different fields was something built into the program which many of us wouldn’t normally have exposure to. These leaders talked about building the capacity of others, being open to new ideas and courageous when undertaking change. The accompanying project completed has led to a new model for one aspect of community education in my school. I’m providing links within this post, if you’d like to read about the project.

Continuing to refine and develop new or improve existing teaching strategies has continued in 2011, with excellent results. Recognising education is about relationships, whether it’s with students, parents or peers and intrinsic for effective constructive feedback. An exploration of educational feedback will be a priority for 2012.

My Blog: Writing my blog is cathartic and my space to reflect, share,  connect and learn from others. This post is an opportunity for me to thank my colleagues for sharing here or on the web in one of the growing forms of on-line connectors.

Yearly Stats not reported by WordPress:

Videos:

Instructional Rounds SMR Pilot – 843 views

Instructional Rounds Part 1 – 1302 views

Instructional Rounds Part 2 – 527 views

Slideshare:

Central Peninsula Instructional Rounds Evaluation – 535 views

Preparing Staff for Instructional Rounds – 3210 views

Finally, thank you for your comments, emails and support in 2011. I wish everyone a well-managed and successful 2012 – ‘Stay hungry. Stay Foolish’.

‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’  Steve Jobs 2005

Cheers Nina

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