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WE Connect Classroom - The Beginnings, Term 3, 2012

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Term 4 - WE Connect Beginnings
Week 9/10
As we move into our last week in the classroom, we reflect on the learning that has taken place.  The convenience and accessability of being in town has meant students have been able to work closely with businesses and members of the community, and have been able to have a presence in the community.
This has achieved one of the main objectives of the project, set by the Principals of the schools. 
For the teachers, being able to put anywhere, anytime learning in place has been one of their achievements.  This was evident this week, when they followed up on their original plan to help save the local cinema.  Students met Waa, a local businessman who has voluntarily taken on the role of projectionist.  While visiting the theatre, where Waa explained the process of cutting and splicing 35mm films, a reporter and cameraman from Maori TV arrived and photographed and interviewed students and kaiako.  This interview appeared on Te Kaea at 5pm and 7.30pm on Monday 3rd December.
Students will continue to reflect via their blog this week.
Waa 1.JPG Advertising for The Hobbit

Week 7/8
Being situated in town has meant that we have been able to take advantage of anywhere, anytime learning.  Students have been able to work alongside businesses, interviewing, photographing and videoing to create a multi media presentation to promote the business they are working with.
Having the flexibility to workshop and facilitate, teachers have used Inquiry processes to teach skills to find, gather, sort, record information.  With many tasks to complete, students have been focussed and committed to their learning.
I am in the classroom for just 2 days a week, TeAhua Parks and Stevie Woodman are fulltime in the classroom, motivating, and inspiring the students.  They teach students skills to develop their creativity  and curiosity.  As part of creating a multi media presentation students are encouraged to practice different methods of multi media such as animation and green screening. 
Presentations will be shared with whanau at our whanau sharing day in Week 9.
Students continue to work with the original idea of saving Castle Duo, the local cinema, which is in danger of closing down.  To help promote the theatre, they suggested a premiere screening of The Hobbit.  This has been achieved and will be screened at midnight Tuesday.  The students have committed to helping advertise the event to get people along and will dress up in Hobbit costumes and hand out fliers at the Kaikohe Christmas Parade this Saturday, send newsletters to schools and put posters up around town.
Week 6
Where have the weeks gone????
The classroom has been soo busy!  new furniture arrived - this has been great, as they are trialling furniture that may be used in either of the schools next year, and visitors have had the opportunity to view how and what works best.  We all love the whiteboard tables - especially the high ones with bar stools - each morning we write a question on each table and students can come in and respond in writing / pictures - whatever suits them.  We then photograph this for evidence of their learning and ideas.  There are lots of bean bags, bright coloured tables, donut stools etc.
We are so fortunate to have regular, fast internet connections - this has been great as all 50 students are online at the same time.
Each student is part of a group of 4-5 people, and although they have individual blogs as part of their writing / reflection, they also have a group blog so we can check on their progress.
Inquiry learning has moved in a very teacher directed approach.  As not all students came with knowledge of the processes and stages of the Inquiry model, we have worked thorugh each stage, modelling what is expected and working with students in workshops to ensure they understand what is required. 
Working with the community has been very positive, and as there is a huge push form the Kaikohe Community to promote the town, the work the students are doing is beneficial to all.
Last week was our first real project.  Our task was to produce some posters to be displayed in businesses around town, about bike safety, wearing helmets and riding safely, not on the footpath.  The local constable visited to talk with students and there were many questions to clarify the reasons for these rules.  The posters look amazing, and are waiting to be laminated to go up in the businesses/
This week we are focussing on vandalism and tagging around kaikohe.  Students are working on producing a multi-media advertisment to promote this.  These will be shown at Castle Duo, the movie theatre in town that we are working to promote to save.
There are many programmes being used for this, Movie Maker, iMotion, iMovie, Scratch.
Most students are on task most of the time in the classroom.  However, we do notice that there are those who think because they have access to online learning all day, that it is okay to access games and music - this has been an ongoing battle to monitor.  It is great all 3 teachers are on the same page and insist that time in the classroom is for learning!
To manage this we have found it best to mix the groups, ensure they are all seen and students know we regularly check thier progress.
In hindsight, it has been difficult to promote higher order thinking skills, working with Year 5/6 students and this programme would probably have been more suited to a Year 7/8 or even 9/10 class.
However, we have modified and adjusted our facilitation to ensure we are very teacher directed, taking small steps and focussing on each stage of the process at a time.
Week 1
What an amazing start to Term 4. 
The space looks amazing - the 2 full time teachers in the space worked incredibly hard in the holidays to set up the furniture and create the different learning spaces. As the name WE Connect (West/East Connect) implies, each space is named to reflect the learning focussed in that area.  We have WE Do (multi media space), WE Think, WE Create, The Hub.
With 3 teachers in the learning space on a Monday and Tuesday we are able to run workshops.  Students choose the time for their workshops, but at this stage they must attend every one.
We began Day 1 and 2 with workshops on Cyber Safety / Ins and outs of an iPad / and setting up a Blog page.
Our learning spaces ready to go with furniture.       Welcome by the receptionist - be careful 
                                                                          not to get mobbed!
Our learning space Receptionist on duty
Unfortunately this is not our space or our furniture, this is an example of a learning space at one of the Melbourne schools we visited. 




Melbourne school visit

Final week of Term 3!

 Yeah, furniture arrived.  Students helped organise tables, chairs, couches into learning spaces.   After our visit to Melbourne schools last week, it was exciting planning and organising learning neighbourhoods.  

Uniforms are ordered / individual ID tags will be ready / Internet is up and running.

Maths groups are organised for teachers to plan 

Timetable is set

Week 9

Students broke into groups to decide on class rules.

After morning tea we broke into our 3 workshops:

Thinking - setting questions to ask our speaker, coming to speak aobut the closure of the local cinema. Thinking of how we ask questions / introducing ourselves / speaking clearly

Creating - Designing t-shirts for ordering this week

Creating - Our Space - setting up Inquiry displays / focus on key question / stages

Teachers have worked together this week to plan and organise Term 4. A timetable was set - including separate times for maths to ensure students will be grouped according to the Numeracy Stages. IKan sheets will be used to assess students learning. We will also set up Studyladder groups, closely monitored by each teacher for the level they are focussing on.

Inquiry - Deciding on Stages - how these will look. The project around the closure of the local cinema will be teacher directed Inquiry. We can use our workshop times to model processes for thinking and skills training.

Week 8

With wireless connection, students were able to access their online activities. This week we continued with workshops based around thinking skills / curiosity - looking at the local issue of the movie theatre closing down and wider global issues.

We used an organiser from Kath Murdoch - NSEW. Students were asked to think about the way they would help and support the closure of the local cinema.

We also set up a Wondering Wall - students were taken through the steps of wondering and asking questions - this followed on from their workshop on Curiosity last week. We used the Pic Collage App for this.

Although we are focussing our Inquiry in Term 4 on local Community Issues, we want the students to be aware of how global issues affect how we think and act.

It is important for them to have a range of thinking skills / organisers and resources to draw on when making decisions for their own Inquiries.

A management meeting was held with the 2 Principals involved. A timeline was set out to show what is expected for everyone and everyone is on the same page. Reflection / student conferences with whanau is planned for Week 9 of Term 4. Teachers will meet together next week to plan together. It was decided to run maths as a separate subject, being taught daily in groups for 40mins. Writing will be assessed from daily blogs, used for students research, findings, recording and reflecting. Reading will be assessed from the research, notetaking, skimming and scanning students do as part of their Inquiry. Assessment will be based on Key Competencies / Comprehension / 5 Fluencies (Lee Crocket)

Week 7

Great organisation this week! Students divided into three groups. The focus was for:

Group 1 - What is Curiosity? (based on Kath Murdoch model)

Group 2 - Creating 21st Century learners - looking at learning spaces

Group 3 - Thinking Skills - Looking at the closure of the local cinema

At the end of the day, students met as one group to reflect on the past few weeks and set a timeline of their learning so far and build on where we want to be by the end of this term.

Yeah!! A firm has offered to sponsor T-shirts for the group - students to design a logo ready for next week as we want these to be ready for start of Term 4.

Internet connection was set up - ready to go for next week. Students will be bringing their own devices - netbooks and iPads!!!!

Week 6

This week when students come together they will have devices to use to plan out their learning. As thiere is no internet access until term 4, it is difficult to finalise some things in class such as their personal gmail addresses.

Now they have their class name finalised, students are working on their class logo. This will be used on their ID tags / letterheads

Teachers are meeting to decide and plan on the following:

1. How do teachers know where each student is achieving in literacy and numeracy? This will be important as reports will need to be completed next term. How will math’s be taught because we know that if it is not taught explicitly, numeracy strategies will decline and our students are going to year 7 next year.

2. How do teachers know how their students are progressing using the key competencies? This will be valuable as the programme is about self-managing, relating to others, participation and most of all THINKING. What evidence will there be to say that this programme has increased these skills.

3. How will planning reflect the needs of students as individuals, groups and as a whole class.? Great teaching is when assessment information is used to inform planning, what might this look like in this class and how often will teachers be conferencing with students to help identify their learning needs.

4. What will teachers actually teach?

5. What evidence will be gathered and stored to make Overall Teacher Judgments based on the National standards? When parent conferences are held in term 4 what evidence will you share.

6. What are the expectations and timeframes for completing other school requirements – School reports, school wide assessment tasks, etc

Week 5

Results were read out from the Google survey on the name of the class - WE Connect was chosen W (West) E (East) and Connect (from the Connected classroom idea nd connecting the 2 schools)

See survey of results

Results of the PMI were fedback by students

Pluses included - school and town were close by / friendly people / shops and businesses / peaceful town / not much rubbish / people working together

Minuses included - People smoking / littering / noisy / dirty public toilets / not many places for kids to play

Interesting included - Some better shops have opened / Hub of the North / people waited for us / making friends with another school / a lot of different people together in one class / all learning together

The class was then introduced to the Inquiry process they would be working together with during term 4. There was discussion around the stages of Inquiry and how they would work into thier learning practice. Teachers have been working together to align their ideas of Inquiry. They are using Kath Murdoch's processes as a guide to their Inquiry and following up on readings from Literacy is Not Enough - 21st Century Fluency Project.

In mixed groups they were given a floor plan of the area and asked to design work spaces - looking at individual learning / group learning / maybe a media room / shared spaces

Week 4

After a positive parent meeting, students met for their second week. During this time the students worked in collaborative groups to come up with a name for their group. The ideas were put up on Google Form to be voted on during the week by students and interested teachers.

Part of the idea behind the classroom being in town is to promote the town of Kaikohe, and to get students involved in what happens around their town. At this stage it is envisioned that students will be assigned to a business of interest to them, work alongside them to promote not only their business but the whole town. As students are going to be seen around town on a regular basis, it is imortant for them to know the best way of walking around town, showing respect and manners towards people in shops and on the street and being able to talk confidently to those they may need to interview or find out information from. As a whole group, we walked up and down the main street. It was amazing - the reception from local business people and people on the street was very positive.

For homework this week students had to come up with a PMI on their space - how they see it working.

As the space is in an office block in town, there is nowhere for students (or teachers) to take a break. By lunchtime, teachers and students are ready to have some fresh air, so everyone gathers up their lunch and bags and takes the short walk to the local park. This is going to work fine for everyone to get outdoors for a breather.

Week 3 - Our First Week

This yet to be named classroom, began today! Students from 2 of our cluster schools met for the first time in their new learning space - an office space in the centre of town - Kaikohe.

We will follow these 50 year 5/6 students in their learning, to see how they cope with being out of their "traditional" classroom. They will take on new challenges out of their comfort zones, work alongside adults in the community, plan and initiate their own learning.

Two amazing teachers will be teaching these 50 students out of this space full time in Term 4. For this term, they will meet in the space every Tuesday to begin working together, collaborating ideas, deciding on their learning focus and preparing the spaces for their learning.

Every student will have their own device, half will be working on netbooks and half on iPads. There will be a mobile Activ Board, cameras, sound system etc.

Tonight there is the first parent meeting in the space, to bring parents on board. It is hoped parents will support their children by dropping in to help and becom

Main teaching space on the first day - how will this look in Term 4? Students challenge is to name their classroom and design how they want it to look - furniture etc. Note the "offices" off the hallway - all with their own windows - ideal for teachers to view without disturbing students at work. These spaces are ideal for recording/Photography/group work or individual learning spaces.