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?
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“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.

Top HSC Exam tips from Dr. Stephen Fogwill at UTS

These are Dr. Fogwill’s top tips. He’s been an advisor to writing HSC Physics papers as well as a senior marker for many years.

Plus an all round lovely guy, willing to share his expertise with people.

  • all science students are expected to know what the gradient of a line means
  • students tended to draw trend lines incorrectly
  • students need to be prepared to answer questions on all parts of the syllabus, including the contextual outlines
  • the big mark questions are the ones that make the most difference, students need to practice how to do them
  • exam strategy: first look through and find pictures, then read through 7 mark questions, then read through the options. Finally go back and answer the multiple choice questions. It’s good to have a strategy
  • draw diagrams where possible
  • check the batteries of your calculators
  • where the paper says “do not write”, definitely do not write in that section – it will not be marked
  • in Physics and Earth, students should use the formula sheet and data sheet as a summary. Prepare your notes around it so that when you look at it in the exam it actually has more meaning because you’ve associated various sections of the course with the data provided to you
  • when considering safety in a scientific investigation make sure you look at safety specific to that investigation rather than simply wear safety glasses and have covered shoes
  • for each mandatory prac students should be able to do “VARS” which is validity, accuracy, reliability and safety as well as being able to describe the prac and general trends that were observed
  • teachers job to train students to do really good brief summary notes
  • when finished writing an answer go back and check that you’ve answered each part of the question
  • his website is hsccoach.com.au

 

 

Its STEM not STEAM. Here’s why.

STEAM

SOURCE

The reason STEM is such a big focus/ push/ buzz word right now, is not because other areas of education are less important. It has nothing to do with that.
It has everything to do with the fact that future generations have to deal with huge, global problems, that they need STEM skills to do.
As an aside, here they are* :
– Antibiotic resistance
– Climate change
– New energy sources
– Over pollution of the world
– Draughts and limited fresh water
– Over population
Instead, STEM has to do with the fact that students doing engineering courses at university are declining. These are our real world problem solvers and we are producing less of them. This may worry you. Rightly so.
STEM doesn’t mean arts and creativity is not important. On the contrary, any scientist or engineer knows that innovation requires creativity. It does mean however, that we are not talking about literary creativity here, or creativity in the arts. There are different kinds of creativity. In STEM we ask students to solve a problem. There is an absolute need for what they are to construct.
If we start using STEAM. Then why not add languages to it too? We know that speaking two languages changes the brain to be able to better adapt to problem solving and increases working memory. It also decreased problems in later life. Not to mention bilinguals have excellent cultural awareness. So we should then make it STLEAM.
Wait a second? Are we forgetting health? We cannot forget health because without proper sleep, food, exercise and mental wellbeing, we cannot call ourselves healthy human beings.
So it now has to become STLEAMP.

Can you see that it is getting a bit out of hand?
Let’s just agree that right now, there is a need for STEM students.
But we as teachers are educating the child as a whole. And we are not discounting the importance of other areas of education.

* Thank you for indulging my inbuilt scientific need to write lists