Room 21, Sunnynook School.

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My Progress towards an E-learning Community.


My Action Plan!

Creating an e-learning community within the walls of Room 21 has been challenging BUT I have certainly enjoyed the changes to my teaching practice!

I thought I would catch up with what has happened and where I am heading. (My fellow teachers: suggestions welcome!)

Where to begin... the beginning!
I have changed year levels and classroom so I felt this was a perfect opportunity to catch onto Jacqui's ideas.
Unfortunately I have one of the smallest prefabs in the school although it is filled a class of 31 wonderful year 5 and 6 students.
I started the year by making the class desks not all in groups and then shared that we are going to do things a bit differently from other classes. We talked about having only a desk tray that was completely our own and that anyone could sit and work anywhere they wanted. We set down some guidelines for working this way, including thinking about how we all learnt best and choosing the people to support our learning to sit with. The concept of sitting anywhere and not 'owning' a desk or chair, has been tricky for some but for others they relish the idea of moving somewhere different everyday . I got the class to create a desk tray name and a workplace marker so they could take that to the space that they had chosen to work at.

Gear
I was donated a couple of extra computers and I purchased some MP3 players off trade me for $10 each. I have a school camera and an OHP. I also have a mimio attached to my laptop. I set up three areas: Letters, Numbers and everything else.

Management
I have used Jacqui's ideas for managing the writing process, plus my normal reading tumble and rotation , maths tumble and ICT chain of learning. I have also a thing called 'language workshops' which students can choose to join into depending their next steps or learning goals. I also have utilised the cloak bay with publishing display folders so that students work has some where to be displayed.

How's it going?
We are lucky enough to be away on our own, so students are choosing to work outside when they can. They have utilised different ways of publishing and have enjoyed the chance to do things differently.
I have just got them all a page up on our wiki and have one use google docs to publish. We are cramped, there is no other way to describe it! On the lighter side the students have finally realised that anywhere included that big desk (teachers desk I couldn't get rid of) and I find that some will now go there for time on there own!

Where to?
I have realised that I have lots to learn: using wiki's, uploading and sharing docs, making podcasts and using cloud apps.
I also have not addressed anything to do with creating spaces... Am quite wary of the prospect as I have so little space!
I also now need to develop the students confidence to further what they do now and do more with what is available to them.

The Progress Continued... 2 nd April

Alright! I am slack at keeping this site up to date but from one teacher to another, I am blown out on the atttitude and progress of the students in my class.
Statements overheard.
: "Hey you're mucking around, you should get back onto what your meant to" from one student to another.
" Mrs G, I'm noticing G is having trouble, ok if I go and help him?"
And this week T is now going to take a lesson on what she has learnt on creating links on her wiki page.
She did and tonight I received the following: " Hello Mrs.Goldsmith! I was just wondering if I could "book-in" a lesson for class. I would like to teach the class how to make their avatar picture. May I please? Please tell me if I am allowed to and when it would happen. Thank you.
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Tory showing what she has done on her page as part of her lesson.









I have asked another school to loan a tray holder so I can get rid of desks. I have an alternative plan if that doesn't come through. Roll on school holidays so I can redesign the class.

The focus of self-management is now including a class meeting. Recently we had our Principal come and discuss issues concerning the students.
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The other cool thing is that the students are now moving their Wiki pages from being 'who am I statements' to e learning journals and adding poems and stories.

Its just cool!

5 Pin plug: Finally found a 5 point connection at JBHiFi. It was $30 told him it was for my class and I was a teacher and got a discount!

8th April A another step!
Good news people... 8 more desks have left the building! Wairau intermediate have loaned a tote tray holder so I can remove desks and have added some tables. the difference in space is amazing!

Today saw two students run lessons on avatars and using the wiki for emails. I love the way they now have ownership of this. Lots have now put links into their wiki pages and google docs is just a extension of where they publish and work.


Our Learning Space! BEFORE:
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NOW!

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Publishing display folders, helps show off kids work but saves on wall space when there is none!
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What's been happening in 21!
Update June 2011
So kicking most of the desks out has given the place a great feel. There is more space, kids work everywhere. The place has spaces that work well. The reading area is now a favourite. It has anything to do with literacy plus bean bags, a laptop printer and management boards for writing and reading.
We have a topic area and a maths space. The students love working around the small table with cushions. There is a table near the art area and a couple of large group tables. Students are making good choices about their learning and what is working for them. When they don't, I remind them that when they can't make good choices, I will help make them with them!
We have kids publishing and enjoying having choice! I have devised a sheet to out in their publishing folder, so they people can see and find there work.
I would like to get a trial group working independently with a guide and I do worry sometimes about accountability for some of the young lads, but then I find one underneath some tables in the topic area totally focused on his learning... go figure!

I relaly enjoyed our trip out together. It was inspiring but it also confirmed that what I was doing in my class was ok.
I recently hosted a cluster QLC in my classroom and was thrilled to get a email saying I had inspire this person to look at their own class space. We are hooking it up for her class to come for a visit! She wants her students to make a choice about how they learn.

The class meetings are really cool, they recently invited guests from staff to talk about issues that are important to them, (playground needing repairs and mediator issues). the class captains run them and take meeting minutes. I can only see them starting to look further into the community to take action!
Next steps in my learning: trial group for independent learning, creating management books.


Update for Term 3

September 2011

Reflection time.


It has been a busy few months, well terms actually We have hosted two student teachers. Both of who really worked well within the E Learning environment. Love sharing my teaching with others but in these circumstances it is hard to try new things. Especially while they have full control of the classroom.

Where am I at?

I don't have a desk! A new computer arrived so it just had to go to allow space for that. I now realise how much of a dumping zone it must of been! Anyhow, you can see photos on my wiki of kids now working at it or should I say under it!

The 7 computers in the class permanently are now seen as a normality and are considered as tools for learning, Students share ideas and applications they have used.
A good example would be Kerpoof: http://www.kerpoof.com. I had never used this. A student says this is neat and asks if he can use it for publishing . I say go for it. Another student creates a class account and becomes the expert. Others have a go at using this application.

Isn't that what it is all about? The locus of control shared or even squarely placed onto the students?? This is the part I love about my class. I really enjoy their ability to manage themselves and support others learning. Of course for those who read this, there is always teacher support (scaffolding) for the needs of everyone.

Tech break on Fridays works really well. I generally find that students sharing what they know brings huge buy-in from the others. On Friday, Linda shared about using the discussion tab on the wiki pages and I have been flooded with email notifications on students commenting on each others work photos etc.!
Charel showed the class how to add widgets and again presto: students are adding to their pages.

I have also noticed that they are now taking time to edit their pages for spelling errors and naturally add their work to share. For some, their pages have become E portfolios!
I have had a parent delete work!!! So we talked about that and who owns the work! the student said the the father didn't like ( a MP3 of a story the student had written! I have always seen the students pages as a way to share with the community our class work but never saw that happening.

Trying something new.

I recently observed teachers using Communities of Learning within their maths programme. this is work done by Dr Bobbie Hunter at Massey University.
I am currently reading her thesis on her study and have implemented this type of teaching with my maths programme.
I still have maths groups based around student needs on two days. Communities of learning works on students learning and sharing ideas questioning and challenging each others processes and results. The co-operative nature works well within my classroom.
The interesting thing has happened. The more skilled students are challenged not only to explain and confirm their thinking but get questions wrong and need to rethink their own learning. More on this later.

Photo booth has added an easy way for students to share their learning orally. Its easy and the class process was quick to set up. I do have trouble uploading these to the wiki pages?? Ad when I upload them to You tube they seem to go funny too. Any thoughts?

Would love to sykpe with other classes sharing work reading etc. let me now if your interested.

Term 4 and Final Summary

I had 5 weeks off this term due to the elections!
While I was off I continualy had messages form students through the Wiki message system, which allowed me to keep in touch with them

Coming back into class with only two weeks to go I have set about creating an end of year DVD ( thanks to the idea I got at our E leaning conversations). the class is excited about this and are quite content to do this while I pack up around them!

When I look over the year and what I have achieved in changing my practise I am am pleased with the steps I have made.
The class developed not only skills for the ICT tools but also the way they took control of there learning. The locus of control and the ability for them to make choices in their learning brought a huge amount of 'by in' from them.

The use of the wiki student pages was varied.
Some barely used them, (Some struggled accessing the Wiki for one reason or another) Others linked their work and created learning logs. Their pages turned to natural E portfolios to a lesser or greater degree. The techy breaks we held, where students shared their ideas and ICT skills often prompted a huge movement in changes in students Wiki pages.

I think on hindsight when I first went to Our PD session with Jackie Sharp I listened to many people talk about how it would be impossible to get the equipment and create the different spaces to learn in. I think I have proved not only to myself but to others that with small steps you cna start down the path of creating an E Learning classroom without it being treating or expensive!

I think the most important thing is being passionate about the changes you are making. The setting up of guidelines and and expectations and continually re-enforcing of the expectations of learning is vital to success.

So my set of guidelines are...
  1. Take stock of what is around the school. I found OHP's not being used.
  2. Ask. I asked a few friends to look out for computers to donate and they did turn up. Don't be afraid to use something that is slightly older or a PC if your a MAC school. Even if they are search engines for the net they are helpful!
  3. Get buy in from the students. Show your enthusiasm for what you are doing. Use the time to write your charter or class treaty to meet the needs of an E Learning classroom. Set your expectations . Let the students led the way.
  4. Take time. Lots of time! Slowly introduce how to use each piece of equipment. Find your expert for each one. ( I had one student who was a whiz using the MP3 players I had so she was the key go to girl when people got stuck)
  5. Make sure you have some basic management structures in place. ( E.g. reading rotations).
  6. Don't worry about how much ICT you have access to or how your knowledge will live up to the challenge. Things tended to have a natural growth. Children sharing their knowledge, Me? personally Goggling to solve problems for find new ideas.
  7. Find others doing the same! the network has been motivational and supportive!! Share ideas and ask for help!!!
  8. It is ok to say this is the way that will suit me or I can't go there now that would be a next step.For me this was furthering the creation of different learning spaces. I just didn't have room. I also never had a chance to develop full classroom self management, (Letting students choose when and what they do)





Kia Kaha
Viv