Tuesday, 27 September 2016

TedTalk: Super Chickens

This TEDTalk was mentioned in passing at work by Margaret Heffernan "Forget the pecking order at work". 

She presents the idea of "super chickens" making up a "super flock". We run companies and communities often via super chickens model. We have often been told the way to get ahead was to complete against each other. This often breeds friction, hostility and surpresses others. Heffernan urges us to see that there is a better was to work and live. Its through the joy of working with others, not against.

She says successful teams often have three factors - high degree of sensitivity to others, roughly equal time to hear each other and more women. The social connectedness build trust and trust builds social capital. This social capital gives momentum to ideas and building on good ideas to make them great. As she says "what happens between people counts - ideas flow and grow". This united culture of helpfulness outperforms independent intelligence and able to tackle hurdles efficiently.

I find this is a great talk. I love being part of team and never had anyone point out the benefits of production and wellbeing as well as Heffernan does. The value of the individual is so important.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Icebreaker: cup pyramid

Start of year Icebreaker I have found effective and useful in discovering more about how my advisory works as a team. 

The aim is to get 10 cups arrange in the photo below only using elastic bands, string and paperclips (optional). 

You can change the degree of difficulty by how you wan the cups staring off (up or down), and equipment (string and rubber bands attached or not). 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Design Thinking: The Hippo Roller

I saw this on Facebook and harked back to my PD on design thinking. The cation to it was "Your idea doesn't have to be complicated to be used". A new invention that fits the needs of a situation and makes beneficial impact. A great clip to show as an example of how thinking a little different and not necessarily more complicated can successful.

More information on the Hippo Water Project can be found here

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Pattern of Transformations in one lesson....Achieving the impossible!

This year we are using a new resources. It approaches and orders concepts differently than previous years. So far we have looked at linear, inverse, exponential and started looking at quadratic. The first year using a new resource always throws up its own set of little hurdles. Todays hurdle was teaching transformations in a cramped timeline.

The class started by revising homework and reviewing the types of functions we have seen and introduce the idea of a parent function.

Resource Credit: This page was copied from here - author unknown

Here we reviewed the characteristics of linear, quadratic, reciprocal, absolute and square root functions.

Each student got a blank table and series of graphs, by which they were to come up with some generalizations about how changes in the equation generated transformation of the graph. I asked them to color each function differently to make the sheet less overwhelming and draw their eyes to the transformation.

Credit: Resource adaptation from Mr Sell

This lesson worked best when all parts of the lesson were done. It was a two part lesson where the introduction and graphing was done in one (sent away to come up/finalize generalizations). Then start the next with compare and share and move into transformation of quadratic a in turning point form. 

Overall worked well :) 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Pythagoars Pile Up

I have seem the Trigonometry Pile Up activity sheet many times and stumbled upon this adaptation for Pythagoras. Its called Pythagoras Pile Up by Jan Litchenberger. Great way to practice the skills and develop visual interpretation.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Flip Video

Last week I made this video on using the calculator to find key features of a Quadratic Graph. It reminded me that I had yet to blog on such aspect of my teaching! So here we are...!

At my school we have an online platform that students can logon and get homework, class resources and extra help. We are fortunate to have document cameras at our school and with a quick free download off the suppliers site can also use them to create easy videos! NB: No Academy Award will be awarded (but I am ok with that)!

The program is as easy as click - record - save - upload. I have found the easiest way to create these movies is by using a mini whiteboard. I use this if many students need to catch up (Language trip etc), summary of a new skill so they can review and practice at home, or flip lesson for understanding features on the calculator. Collecting materials, recording, youtube upload and embedding it in our site, all up took just over 15mins.

Why you should make your bed everyday

This came up in my news feed and by chance I clicked and watched it - and didn't regret it!

Life is busy. And especially busy when theres lots of change with work, demands from family, social events, celebrations, staying healthy, meetings, housework .... and the list goes on. A day in the life of anyone can make your brain boggle!!

The video below is of Admiral William McRaven 2014 Commencement Speech at the University of Texas. Making your bed is not high on your To Do List...? Well, maybe it should be...

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Slow Motion Photography: Illustrating Quadratics

Many years ago I came across an article that had an image of chronophotography of a water skier. Chronophotogrpahy places time lapse shoots on the same photo to show its motion or trajectory. I got really excited as it was a great way to illustrate motion in my class - and give a visual aid for students in my class. A few years ago, I made a set of two sheets for Quadratic Modeling using these photos as inspiration. I built equations and questions to suit each real life photo. It was a lot of work at the time, but the worksheets have been so effective I have used them every year in my class.

Design Thinking: LAUNCH

A link from my K-12 Design Thinking Course. This clip uses the acronym LAUNCH to pass thought the same stages of Design Thinking. Cute, powerful and to the point. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

W.I.N Time: What I Need

I got this idea from my wonderful friend and colleague in the 7th grade. This is great for a review lesson or project time. WIN stands for What I Need. I have used this frequently this year during a review lesson to give students choice and direction to use their time and differentiate. I will usually have a general review resource available, but also under the "other" heading supplementary activities (IXL) or worksheets to help those who need a little bit more support.

Friday, 1 April 2016

PD: Design Thinking

I have enrolled in (and just completed!) a course Design Thinking for K-12 Educators on Canvas Network. It's my first online course which I am excited to explore - both the format but also the content! Here are some of my notes form each Module.

Module 1: The Design Thinking Process
  • Go through the complete process of design thinking
  • Learn to apply empathy in the design thinking process
 (Links to an external site.)

A great introduction to Design thinking - even for those new to it - see video above. Complemented by an Edutopia Article outlining the 5 stages of design thinking Improving schools through Design Thinking

Module 2: Why Design Thinking? Why Now?

  • Explain what it feels like to be a student in your classroom.
  • Describe how the design thinking process might be useful to you and your students.
The promt question is, what do our student feel or what do we want them to feel in our classroom? Followed by some reading on preventing school students being tired stressed and bored and Can Design Thinking Help Schools Find New Solutions to Old Problems. One of the things that stayed with me was the trailer to Most Likely to Succeed (along with zaption). It emphasizes the shift needed in education towards design thinking:  
 analytical thinking + creative things = designs tackling ambiguous real world problems

Students must understand their audience, take risks and see falling isn't as a bad thing - but a way to get to the best possible solution. A way to blend ideas together, encourage creative thinking and growth midst.
In this module I also saw flipgrid for the first time! I thought it was awesome. It is a video collaboration and discussion platform.

Module 3: How do I engage my students in Design Thinking? 
  • Go through the complete process of design thinking
  • Learn to apply empathy in the design thinking process
A series of short and impactful videos by Graham Henshaw on Design Thinking using the "Wallet Challenge". 
He starts with a "false start" - not using empathy and understanding the audience..
Its an activity you can easily do with a class or with teachers in training to illustrate the importance.
  • Emphasize - explore how it fits in with their life, questions things that you think you understand
  • Define  -  create a Point of View Statement (POV). POV has 3 components – a description of a user, a resonant need, and an interesting insight that helps explain the need.
  • Ideate -  it’s not just random brainstorming, but leading to address the POV statement identified. Generate as many ideas as you can without filtering or evaluating - try to use pictures as much as possible, only using text to call about the details. Use a feedback capture grid.
  • Prototype - the goal is to create a physical manifestation of their idea so that their partner can really experience it. Low resolution prototypes invites feedback.
  • Test -remember to tell participants to “let go” of their prototype physically and emotionally. 

Module 4: How do I create my own Design Thinking challenges?

  • Create own design thinking project

Given a grid and example I set out to look at an issue (curricula or community based) to plan a Design Thinking project. i chose Gender Stereotypes, and my plan can be found here.

Through the discussions we explored what makes a good challenge and questions we had. I came into this course with one question - what is Design Thinking...and leaving with many more!! A credit to stretching and expanding my thinking! :)

Some further reading and resources from this section are: what makes good projects, design challenges for students.

PD Reflections:
I really loved this course. It was a great introduction for me into Design Thinking. The way it was pitched gently moved you from understanding the stages to then applying them to your own projects. The discussion boards were good to see other peoples thinking. 
Image credit

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Technology: Camscanner

 A colleauge showed me this handy little app - CamScanner. Easy to download and easy to use. It takes a sketch and converts it to an image. It will even clean up the background so you can put it straight into a document or test. 

Here is a sketch I did for an Algebra 1 test in CamScanner ready to be imported into the test or sent via email! Great little find! :)

Friday, 25 March 2016

Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge

Start of year team bonding activities can be a bit of fun and a great way to get to know a new class. 

In this activity you will need marshmallows, dried spaghetti (you can give a section of tape if you feel generous!), timer and ruler/measuring tape to crown the winners!

The aim to to build the tallest free standing structure in 15-20 mins. The process is what I find the most interesting. Who are the vocal leaders? Who are the quiet leaders? Who are nominated? Who nominated themselves? Who are the thinkers then doers? Who are the doers then thinkers? Whiners encouragement? Who needs further direction? There's are just a few of the questions that go through my mind. 



Happy Holidays

Flash Back! Secret Snowflake time has come and been...so here my update! 

This year my group wasn't as enthusiastic about participating - so made it voluntary. We had a fun time at the gift exchange as we combined playing a game with the exchange of gifts. 

Distraction is a great thing! haha 

With mini whit boards in hand we played "Two Truth, One Lie". Some of the stories were side-splitting hilarious! This is often suggested as an icebreaker at the start of the year - however half was though the year worked extremely well as people already knew each other a bit and felt comfortable sharing out. It was fun way to end up term, and nice game that enabled us to complete the Secret Snowflake, but also with the game organizationally, everyone could be part of it.  

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Icebreaker: Help Harry

I haven't been on Pinterest for a while and stumbled upon a cute alternative to use gathering team building information or icebreaker - Help Harry. It echoes many aspects of the Spaghetti and Marshmallow icebreaker however it includes a cute little guy/gal called Harry (Harriet). Its from the blog called The Teacher Studio.

The aim is to design and create a perch for Harry to Hang out in using supplies (pipe cleaners, 12 inches of tape, two muffin liners, a piece of aluminum foil and two index cards). The thing I liked about this blog post is at the end students were able to evaluate themselves. Well worth checking out!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Winter fun with Lower School Buddies

It's winter and buddie time again! This year we dedicated two sessions to create some winter Therese's deviations! We had paper chains, fancy stars (many hands make light work and correct interpretation of the instructions!) and of course......snowflakes! This is an activity I had adopted since moving to the northern hemisphere - and enjoy very much! 

Below are some designs to get the creative cutting patterns started. I found even my 8th graders needed a bit of a refresher on how to fold the paper (rather than just quarters!). 

And here's the link to making 3D stars.

Happy Birthday!

This is the amazing jaw dropping cake my colleagues organized for me! The level of detail and thoughtfulness is absolutely astounding. So grateful to be working with such amazing, talented and caring people - thank you is simple not enough to say how blessed I feel. ❤️

Monday, 1 February 2016

Return from holidays activity

Having something on hand to share out students stories after a big break can be tough. This break I got each other to write down 3 facts or things about their winter break. I rewrote them (no hints with hand writing!) then posted them around the room. In morning advisory they had to guess who's was who. 
It worked really well. Some really got into it and some enjoyed the fact that no one guessed them! Inadvertently, due to assemblies and year level activities we couldn't do it right away. I thought it might loose its relevance, except it worked better than expected as they had to think! Fun, would do it again! 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Debrief Strategy: Finished Product

And here is our end product!!! 

All you need in poster paper/chart paper, post-it notes and markers. Each student got 2-3 post-it notes and wrote down something they thought was surprising/proud of/something to change, as well as what they thought the next steps could be. When they place it on, they can also tick (as in they agree also) or comment.

Really effective! It was great that everyone had a voice. We even passed on our comments for further improvement for the middle school. 

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Debrief Stratergy

This week our school shared our results from our Advisory survey. This was a survey sent out to all middle school students asking a range of questions about how they feel and connect during the school day. This was done in an assembly (using a cool video). 

However, it was really important to discuss this as an advisory. Recently we did a similar debrief activity in a department meeting and used it as a spring board. 

All you need in poster paper/chart paper, post-it notes and markers. Each student got 2-3 post-it notes and wrote down something they thought was surprising/proud of/something to change, as well as what they thought the next steps could be. When they place it on, they can also tick (as in they agree also) or comment.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

CSI: Colour, Image Symbol

One of the Visible Thinking Routines I have read about, but never used. Returning from Winter break, I used Colour Symbol Image (CSI) as a platform for my Grade 8s and their buddies to share out their break. 

I did my best to model a CSI using my break. The example is below: 

It worked well, and needed to plan two sessions to get them done. I found it sucessful as it was a different type if activity and allowed the creative types to shine. It also meant the pressure wasn't on the conversation, but by doing something it relaxed the atmosphere a little.

Resource Pictured: http://www.rcsthinkfromthemiddle.com/uploads/2/3/4/1/23418034/csi.pdf