Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Making Mashups

Found a great song, with uplifting and positive lyrics, for children? 
Make a movie mash-up, or even better, get your students to do so themselves. 

Featured here is an example of's Hall of Fame.... 

So... just how did we do this? 
Begin with a template table with two coloumns.
One for each line of the song, the other associated to a image, similar to a storyboard.

If you use the google 'Research' tool to search images. 
Then drag and drop them into the table it creates a footnote with a link to that image. 
Once you have your images, click each footnote and save the images to your desktop. 
Finally, upload the images to your iMovie with the audio and get mashing. 

For Example....

Once getting it into iMovie, add each picture to overlay in time with the audio. We found that most images needed the 'Ken Burns' feature turned off. 

 Ken Burns is a feature when it pans and zooms on an image. Sometimes this is a useful effect, you can change the pan and zoom angle and size in the crop options, or just remove it altogether by choosing 'Fit' instead. 

A huge thanks to Petra Lawrence for her creative input in making when we made this mash-up today. 

Happy Mashing everybody. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

De Bono's 6 Thinking Hats in relation to SOLO Taxonomy

My School uses De Bono's six thinking hats to aid thinking and understanding. Children find it easy to understand and use as they can relate to the colours and hat concept. Previously, I've used SOLO taxonomy as a way to extend thinking strategies, however it can be complex to understand. 
In this simple diagram I have related SOLO taxonomy to the six thinking hats so that hopefully my learners can relate the two strategies together and develop their thinking skills. 

Reflections of a MDTA beginning teacher

This interview is my reflection on the first 6 months of being a teacher and the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy [MDTA] experience.

Process Reflection
As part of our digital teacher education we have been learning how to use iMovie, filming, importing, cutting, editing, cropping, adding sound, smooth transitions and making a (hopefully) seamless production. 
The full interview was 17 minutes of footage. This was trimmed to make four minutes, of which I then had to reduce further to 2 minutes. 
That was the easy part, trimming the footage, the difficult part was making the transitions smooth. I found that by adjusting the zoom, or overlaying footage it reduced the jarring. Finally choosing the appropriate music was really important, it needed to be positive, upbeat, but without being overpowering. As always, constructive or positive feedback is appreciated. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Taking Risks in Learning and Innovation

Risk taking is an orientation that we want our students to learn, in being creative, innovative and trying new things to expand themselves. This is one of the many things which I know as true for my learners and find that as their teacher, need to take my own advice and model such behaviour. 

In my teaching practice and in my role as an ongoing learner in post graduate education I need to develop the confidence to take risks. I could play it safe, follow the rest of the pack, and in some circumstances that is the best thing to do, it's safe. However, I don't want to be an ordinary teacher. I want to be an amazing teacher. I want to accelerate my students and I want to further myself in my own education. 

In our 740 Accelerated Learning lecture today we talked about innovation vs efficiency and being a routine expert or an adaptive expert.  An adaptive expert needs to takes risks and and tolerate ambiguity, not knowing whether something will be a success or failure. If we know that something will be successful then it's been tried and tested and not going to lead to innovation. To innovate we need to be resilient in the face of failure, learn through struggles, adapt, eventually, hopefully realising success through innovation. 

This is the own learning I need to take into consideration at the moment. Undertaking a research proposal in attempt to accelerate my learners, I am wading through a wealth of ambiguity. I have no idea if my tentative question will in fact accelerate their learning or if I can even successfully implement it in my class at this stage. How can instructional rubrics be co-created in writing to develop self-regulated learning? I am experimenting with this, with my learners at the moment and working through some of the logistics, some interactions being more successful than others. 

I wonder, how can I more explicitly model my own personal risk taking and innovation attempts that I am taking in my learning and teaching, so that my learners can themselves develop the courage and aspiration to become innovative risk takers in their learning? 

This reflection and ongoing research relates to NZ Teacher's Council Registered Teacher Criteria
12. use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice. 
        i. systematically and critically engage with evidence and professional literature to reflect on and refine practice

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Film Editing 101

In the past weeks we have been learning to storyboard, shoot, and edit films. 

Some of the key tips I learned were:

  • Never cross the line, when filming two characters talking. Instead film from the same side, but different angles. 
  • Use a variety of shots. They all have a variety of effects. 
  • Unless you are trying to make it cheesy, or it has a specific purpose, avoid the 'fancy' transitions. A simple cut between clips is what most film and tv shows use. 
  • When cutting between scenes, it's often less jarring to do so on a movement (see Breaking News 56 seconds in)
  • Use background music... it really eases any (bad) editing where it jars a little.
To make this into a reality my team of four collaborated to storyboard the storyline. This as it turns out is a really important part, to plan the scenes and shots you want to get for each before you even begin filming. 
Our team then spent 1hr filming, before individually editing in iMovie to make our own movies. This is my edit... enjoy

Promoting a collaborative supportive learning environment with understanding of how ākonga learn

This reflection related to criteria 7 and 8 of the Registered Teaching Criteria. 

Criteria 7.i. To promote a collaborative inclusive and supportive learning environment, demonstrating effective management of the learning setting which incorporates successful strategies to engage and motivate ākonga. 

Criteria 8.iii. To encourage ākonga to take responsibility for their own learning and behaviour. 

Criteria 8.iv. To assist ākonga to think critically about information and ideas and to reflect on their own learning. 

Recently, in an attempt to make students more aware of their learning outcomes and my expectations I have begun to use a variety of rubrics to aid my learners in producing quality work. Research shows me that learners are more engaged and motivated to complete a task when they believe in their capabilities (Vosniadou, 2001). I believe that engagement also occurs when students have autonomy over how and what they are learning. Moreover, Vosniadou also states that social, rather than ability grouping, has a more positive impact on learner motivation. 

Therefore during our current 'Making Waves' topic, and reading of After the Spill By Maria Gill students were given the choice from several activities to complete. 
Initially, learners read the text in their ability reading groups, scaffolding for comprehension, vocabulary and linking text with diagrams. The following day the tasks were introduced [Figure.1]

Learners then decided what task they wanted to participate in. I was pleased to note that majority went with what they were interested in, not just what their friends were doing. This showed me that they had an intrinsic thirst for knowledge on that, or were motivated by the type of task. Engagement & Motivation! 

Next, and this is where the fun really started to happen, in our social groups we worked with me, to develop our own success criteria in the form of a rubric. 
This allowed me to really get a grasp on what they were interested in, while coaxing the specific terminology words from them: identify, cause, explain, resources, describe... From here we not only created a rubric, but co-constructed what the outcome might look like. A plan! 

Following this, using their thinking and words I was able to determine the staggered levels of achievement for the rubric, under the categories that they prescribed. Throughout the development of the instructional rubric learners were contributing, excited and talking about their understandings. As I progress with these activities I aim to have my learners develop more of the levels of achievement for themselves. 

One of the key parts of this lesson which struck me, was one of my learners who was very engaged and contributing, was holding her head in her hands in despair at the end. "What is wrong?" I asked. She told me "See this is the problem, I have all these great ideas, and I get it, but then when I leave you, I forget it all!" I told her and I hope my hypothesis is correct, that the use of our co-constructed rubric will help her achieve the plan and goals she has helped to construct. 

The construction of this rubric is aiding my students to take responsibility for their learning, and reflect on it when they use it to self assess. Moreover, many of the criteria are around thinking centred criteria, things which Andrade's (2000) research recommends. 

Andrade, H. G. (February, 2000). Using Rubrics to Promote Thinking and LearningEducational Leadership. 57(5) pp.13-18 

Vosniadou, S. (2001). How Children Learn. Bellegarde, France: SADAG. Retrieved from

Observation notes received from Anne Sinclair as evidence to meeting Registered Teacher Criteria 8: 
"Relating to the akonga’s experiences so they can make connections within subject areas. By using their experiences eg. Making Waves - all can bring their own experiences to the learning and share their knowledge in a meaningful and productive way. You are constantly thinking of ways to connect the learners to the learning and you realise how important it is to provide concrete experiences to your teaching in order to demystify the learning for the class. You can see how difficult it is to move from abstract ideas without ‘seeing’ what the example looks like in real terms so the connections can be made. By using money in your Maths example you created a bridge to prior knowledge rather than just using written examples. Good to use concrete materials with these learners to give them images and more confidence to have a try at new problems. Also good to hear them talking about strategies they used and why they used them"