Beginning to flip learning

I am SO lucky! I’m at a Distance Education school where, flipped learning is pretty much the norm. However, until recently students have been asked to read long amounts of text in science.

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This is no more as far as I’m concerned.

Yesterday, the day that changed my educational future, I discovered an invaluable web tool called Video Scribe. And began making awesome looking videos instantly.

MY FIRST VIDEOSCRIBE VIDEO on SIMPLE MACHINES:

Taking advice from the greats of video lessons I made sure that it was:

  • less than 5 minutes long
  • catchy and relevant to my students
  • animated!
  • focused on lower order thinking skills (knowledge and understanding).

Enjoy the first video I produced and I will be making all my video lessons available on my website under “For Teachers“.

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Year 9 – Redesigned

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OR: I’ve just scrapped everything I’m doing this year for something WAY MORE AWESOME

There is nothing worse than attending an incredible professional development as a teacher and then carrying on with your routine as though nothing has changed.

I have decided – NOT THIS TIME!

I was absolutely determined to make use of the incredible week I had at STEMX in Canberra as soon as possible.

 

Have a look at my year plan: mushing PBL and STEM together to make one beautifully awesome educational baby.

Rough Driving Questions in the order which students will be asked to do them:

 

1) Devise a Rube Goldberg machine that takes at least 1 minute to run that, when videoed will deliver the message of “welcome to Year 9 Science”. (Audience: each other, and current Year 8s) (Approx 2 weeks)

2) How could you use what you learned at the Observatory to create a device that improves your mobile phone reception for under $20? (Audience: Observatory staff) (Approx 8 weeks)

3) Using a programming software of your choice, model aspects of ecosystem interactions in the form of a game that will be presented to primary school students in years 5 and 6. (Audience: Local primary school) (Approx 5 weeks)

4) Prototype methods of mitigating tsunamis that are triggered by the warning signs of tsunamis and design a scientific experiment to test their effectiveness. (Audience: Geoscience Australia) (Approx 5 weeks)

5) Measure the happiness and wellbeing of your local community and create a plan to improve this by 2020. (Headspace) (Approx 5 weeks)

6) Create and refine a unique recipe that utilises at least two chemical reactions with evidence of experimenting with different ingredients, proportions and cooking methodologies to produce the desired product. (Audience: local TAFE Cookery students) (Approx 7 weeks)

7) Create a piece of artwork that is based on a scientific concept that you have studied this year which incorporates the use of electrical circuits. The design must allow you to give a three minute presentation explaining how you made it and the scientific concept you are illustrating. (Audience, parents and community members) (Approx 8 weeks)

What do you think?

Stuck what to say about the Draft Earth and Environmental Science Syllabus for NSW? – here are my views

If you care about the future of English, science, mathematics or history education in NSW, you’ll make your views heard. Here is where you can do that before August 31. http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabuses/curriculum-development/senior-years.html

Read more for selected comments I made on the Draft HSC Earth Syllabus for NSW. *Caution, emotive language used.

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Rocky Biasi – Teacher Professional Learning

Rocky Biasi talked to us about “Accidental Counseling” because at one point or another, we need to respond to a person in need. We are in no way counsellors, and as teachers we know that there exist critical situations which need to go to counsellors. But your everyday situation when someone is a bit down, you as a teacher might be in a situation when you need to say the right things.

So what are they?

  • Match the person you are talking to’s level. If they are positive about their misfortune and not ready to talk about it – then it’s not your job to bring them down
  • We need the balance of conversation to be 20% focused on problem 80% focused on solution to the problem – look for the next best step.
  • Ask “scaling questions” about where they are at on a level from 0-10
  • What’s one thing I can do that would make everything else easier or unnecessary?
    • Big Picture Question: What is my ONE thing?
    • What’s my ONE thing right now?
  • Perception is reality – your perception is their reality. If you rush in to challenge that perception then you’re not listening. This goes with the concept that Gen Y do not hold the view of “absolute truth”. How do you know if you have a different mentality to Gen Y? Do you catch yourself saying “You should”? If yes, you see things in black and white. Right and wrong. And the new generation of learners don’t see things this way.
  • You need to help the person you are talking to soften their perception. If you challenge their perception outright, they will just defend it.
  • Protecting our kids from any pain or disappointment. We are reducing their resilience.
  • How would you like things to be? – Paint a picture of how you would like things to be?
  • Three process Questions:
    • How much do you want this to change? (1-10) Yes I want it to change BUT
    • How much do you think “they/ it/situation” will change? – related to external system
    • So who or what needs to change?

“Are humans wild at heart” by Bianca and Lee Hewes

hb7392Finally! An Australian Book regarding Project based learning (PBL). At the school I’m at now, we have been embarking on a PBL quest to address the rising level of students who need greater awareness on the importance of their mental health. This has been a trend increasing all over Australia and a fantastic key note I attended recently by Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg told me I wasn’t alone.

Now, the Buck Institute of Education website and the online PBL course run by Dr. Thom Markham have been fantastic in shaping my understanding of PBL. I was beginning to be confident about it and keen to implement it.

But I still felt like this wasn’t enough. I wanted an Australian example. Was that too much of an ask?

“Are humans wild at heart” was recommended to me by my wonderful friend and collaborator – Kelly Pfeiffer.

These are some notes I took while reading the book. I hope you find them useful and inspiring.

  • make a project outline using an infographic so that it is visually stimulating
  • in the students’ weekly work, we will include a self-assessment asking them to reflect on how they are progressing towards answering the Driving Question
  • In the Driving Question, it is important to have the content focus and final product within the question so students understand what they are going towards
  • Include other “need to knows” in the project outline. This comes from your syllabus documents and means that we can dictate to some degree the learning that goes on. It’s not so open ended that students are not mastering core outcomes. You’re allowed a LONG list of “need to knows”. Maybe this can be a growing list?
  • The three stages of PBL as seen by Hewes are “Discovery”, “Creation” and “Sharing”
  • Teachers need to make links to “Rockstar experts” who can either be part of the discovery stage or the assessment/ sharing stage
  • An interesting way of discovering prior knowledge is a trivia game using terms students will likely encounter in the upcoming unit
  • Celebrate peer feedback and drafts on the “Project wall”
  • You need to teach students how to self and peer assess
  • If we as a school do PBL throughout Year 9 in science, we are giving students the opportunity to excel at something – they are going to be working towards their personal best if we use the same rubrics. They should see themselves improving each time.
  • Authentic audience to present my STEM unit of work “Making a musical instrument” is music camp during Term 2 Residentials
  • It would be cool if music students had to guess what “unqiue instrument” was making that noise
  • In formative assessment make sure you acknowledge what the student has done well and their “mission” for the future
  • Instead of 21st century skills lets call them “skills for life”
  • Be careful with wording – it should be “peer feedback” rather than “peer assessment”
  • Make sure your project outline stands out from the masses of paper that they are going to receive in this unit – make it colourful
  • I love love love their 6 pointed start technique. Who, What, Why, When, How, Where?
  • Students should be able to answer the need to knows

 

 

BOSTES tips on assessment tasks

Notes I took at the Riverina Science Leadership conference regarding HSC assessment tasks as presented by the BOSTES Assessment guru

  • Students cannot get N-awarded from a course for simply not attending. As a teacher, you need to demonstrate that by not attending classes, the student is not meeting course outcomes. If they are self-sufficiently studying and submitting assessment tasks then they are meeting course requirements.
  • When a student requires an estimate as they have been unable to complete an assessment task, it is not valid to give an estimate based on other assessments that demonstrate different skills.
  • If you know a students needs a provision, you must give it as soon as you know. This may be before it gets approved by BOSTES
  • When considering modifications,think about what it is you are trying to assess and then what provisions need to be provided in order for that student to achieve the same outcome. For example, if a student was colour blind, and finding out when a colour change was occuring was essential to the assessment, you could tell them when the colour change happened, by saying now the colour has changed. Or by providing appropriate labels.
  • When planning an assessment task, think about what it is you are trying to assess and consider if you could do this in a different way.
  • Whatever you do in terms of modification, you cannot change the rigour of the task. You can’t “make it easier”. That’s not the point of modification/ reasonable adjustments.