Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Erika's maths wiki

Erika has started a wiki with Dave. She has been uploading videos of her students demonstrating number strategies to share with parents what the students are learning at school and help parents understand the focus on strategies rather than knowing the answer.

We added some games to the website which complemented the strategies Erika's students were demonstrating and explaining. She has only just started to add these as it is a lot of work for her five year olds. One of the senior classes is also developing a wiki of mathematic strategies, so hopefully some older children will be able to help Erika out with the videoing. We talked about perhaps setting her resource room up as a little recording studio and having a 'recording in process' sign on the door. It's hard to find a quite time to record with very young children, there is no such thing as silent reading.

Clemency is ready to Podcast

Clemency has been using her blog to keep in touch with her class while she was overseas recently. Now that she is back she is ready to get the class blogging. When I visited last she was considering podcasting. She thought using audio blogging might be more engaging for the children and make it easier for them to report the class news without having to worry about the writing of their message as much as the message itself.

I said I would send a few examples from our cluster and of other schools podcasts. Clemency wants to have a class jingle at the beginning of each class news report. She is going to experiment with Garageband on her mac and during my next visit we will go through the process of uploading audio to her blog with podbean.

This is Petra's class blog and podcasts from George Street Normal School. You have to scroll down a little past all of the other exciting things they have been doing.

Click here to go to the cluster wiki's resource page on podcasting.
Point England School are serious podcasters.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stacy is online

Stacy at Outram has been using a word document with some games hyperlinked to it to help her class navigate the web during reading time.

Last time I visited she didn't feel ready to undertake a wiki so thought she could learn to hyperlink in a document and understand this process and get this up and running in the class, sorting out the practical classroom problems and then going on to a wiki later. So she has a wiki and I think a lot more confidence in her knowledge and ability using technology.

She has been having some difficulty with some websites. She has been using them to reinforce phonics and spelling type teaching in her class and many of the games audio has been recorded with accents that change the vowel sound. We found a few more sites that she could use.
We also talked about the students using the digital camera to collect picture of objects which represent a target sound and displaying these in Comic Life projects on the wiki. I have sent her some examples of this on Margie (GSNS) and St Leonard's Junior wikis.

I am hoping to get back to help Stacy transfer her links from her document to her wikispace and putting some pictures into her wiki to represent her links and make her wiki look flash.
The main benefit of a wiki over a document is that it is portable, anywhere you have the internet you just put in the wiki address and up pops your wiki, at home, at the library, on school trips, holidays, snow days, any classroom. This is the really advantage that Stacy will now have.

Managing a wiki once you've made it.

Lynda has made her maths wiki during one of her CRT days. It was all finished, we just added a few touches. Making sure that the children had pictures they could click on to represent their maths groups, as many of Lynda's NE class members are beginning readers.

We also put some picture of her class during mathematics time on the wiki to personalise it. Then we went over to Lynda's class and made her classroom computers homepage the class wiki, and put some links in the toolbar of the internet browser of her classroom computer so that the children could get straight back to their wiki if they get stuck in a game or a bit lost online.

We also looked at the resources that Lynda could use that you can download from the cluster wiki to support managing you computers in the classroom. There are posters and help signs etc made up, these will save Lynda having to dream and type these up. There are lots of tips on this page for managing computers in the classroom to make you life easier and the classroom a little quieter.

Moving forward with a wiki.

Kerry and Janferie have put their action research projects together which is very sensible since they share the same classroom.

We went over some of their questions and reviewed a few things that they say they were not ready for last time. This is a very important point when trying new things, you need to be ready to take them on. That is why frequent efforts to do things rather than putting in great chunks of time tend to work better when you are doing something new.

Just like anything learning to build a great class wiki takes time and you do go through a period when things feel more annoying than worthwhile, but the more you preserver the easier it does become. While we were focusing on all of the next things they want to do, it is also a great time to celebrate what they have achieved since my last visit. I hope they had time afterwards to think about that. They could go back and read my last blog post about them.

One thing Janferie and I discussed was concepts. She explained that it is important for her to understand what she is doing and I totally agree. If you get the concepts behind what you are doing, trying to do, you tend not to need to know every little step. If you have the big picture most of the steps just make sense, they become obvious or common sense. With a bit of deduction and trial and error you can usually work out what to do. And of course frequent practice makes perfect. Janferie said last time I visited they weren't ready- now they are and I can't wait to see what they end up with.

Planning and filming video to teach Number Strategies

Sarah at Outram School has been working with the students in her class to develop a video library demonstrating number strategies to each other.
Sarah has been getting the students to learn a new strategy and then plan an instructional or demonstration video for each other to teach what they have learnt.

She has been storing these on her class wiki so that the students can continue to review their work. She says that this activity which is a part of her maths programme now as an independent activity has been a really good way of increasing students confidence and communication skills to explain their thinking and has really helped students to remember the strategies and use them.

The wiki has become a resource for the class that they can also share with parents at home. This helps to demonstrate to parents the strategies that are now a focus for students in numeracy. Many parents are still trying to understand the teaching of strategies rather than teaching pencil and paper algorithms.

The students have taken control of all of the planning and filming, Sarah just exports the video so it is a web size (small for uploading and playing back) and puts it onto the wiki.

She is developing pages for each strategy she teaches. Sarah will be sharing her work at the next Virtual Syndicate on Numeracy, but you can have a peak now by clicking here.