On the couch with John Hattie

Important facts from reading:

“School leaders have a significant role ensuring the work of everyone in a school maximises student learning.”

“School leaders need to be well prepared, have a clear picture of what it means to be an effective leader and be able to act in ways that have a positive impact.”

“Teachers must be supported to implement practices that have been shown to improve teaching – evaluating their impact, seeking feedback about their practices, working together.”

Most importantly the article clearly states that “Great schools are where each student is owned by all the teachers, and there are shared understandings about what progress and challenge is across the school.” I absolutely believe that in 5/6 that every student in our level is owned by all of us teachers. We take responsibility for all students, discuss their progress and know about each of their strengths, areas of focus an future goals.



Question 1:  Talk about what you have found out as you have answered the question?

We found that in using Google Drive, we have only a replaced books in the classroom and not using technology in a transformative way. We discovered this halfway through our journey when we joined ICON learning and found out about the SAMR (Substitute, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model and TPAK (Technology, Pedagogy and Knowledge). We realized that we were thinking too “small” when we started with our PARTS project, only focusing on Google Drive. We learned during our journey that technology is so much more than that, and there are plenty of Apps and tools out there that can transform the way we learn in 5/6. But we needed time to get used to the technology before feeling confident that we can use them effectively to help the kids.

We now actually feel that Google Drive is quite limited in its functions and it limits the amount that we can do to transform learning. At the moment, Google Drive only allows us to only reach the SAMR level of Augmentation and Modification which is children collaborating online. But it doesn’t redefine the way the students learn in the classroom.

Question 2: What do you see as being the next steps ?

Our next steps are transforming the way we use technology in the classroom in a way that REDEFINES learning. We will still be using Google Drive as a learning tool as a means of editing, feedback and collaboration. However, children’s work will now be published on an online platform (blog) that will not only connect to other schools in Australia but also classrooms around the world. This is also part of our So What theme, where children are asked to challenge themselves on making a difference

with their learning. For example: some of the children have created Show Me tutorials about Fables and presenting it as a teaching tool to other students in the level. They were required to co-operate with each other and help each other learn something new. We are hoping to do more collaborations like this across groups in the level and potentially across global classrooms. We are also hoping to send our Fables to the children in Matutinao.

In addition, we are also providing students opportunities to present their learning to us through various ways such as: Show Me, Imovies, stop motion animation, Power Point, Keynote etc. Students are encouraged to demonstrate their learning in different ways and use creativity whenever they can.

Some of the changes we have made to transform our students’ learning in Level 5/6:

* “So What” blog to present our So What inquiry projects and learning

* Google Drive

* Google Classroom

* Show Me, Stop Motion Animation etc.

* Doing more open ended tasks (Investigations etc.)

* Collaborations between groups across the Level

* Using what we have learned to educate others beyond our classroom

* Making learning more purposeful and relevant by making links with our community… always asking “So What?”


Session 2: Google seminar

In 5/6 we have identified that we create work that can be of a Modified level in the SAMR model. We understand the Pedagogy MUST match the technology, but the difficulty is knowing the content, as well which technology fits the content (forever changing and evolving).

We have been directly working towards redefining the learning experience for our students. In our units, students are working towards creating show me videos, stop motion animation and posts on blogs to show how their learning can be of meaning to everyone else. Their final question is ‘so what’ how does what I have learnt have an impact on our school, community and wider world. We are working towards connecting our blog to the outside world, including classrooms both locally and globally.

This journey of exploring Google apps has made me realise that Google apps may not actually be the way we need to go. I think google apps allows us to modify learning according to the SAMR model, but to take it to the next step of Redefinition we need to utilise another ICT tool.  Maybe a blog?


Transformation of students’ learning

After last week’s post on our google community, many important questions arose which made our level further think about how we will transform students’ learning by using technology. Some questions that were brought up were: Will the students be more motivated to write if the purpose is for a global audience? Will they see a whole new meaning to writing rather than just to “please the teacher?”


Last week, we have discussed how technology will be used within our groups to make their writing more purposeful and meaningful. We believe that if their writing were to published to a more wider community/ world, it will give the students the motivation and purpose to write. Our level at the moment, are now looking for schools that have blogs, that we can collaborate with. Meanwhile in order to make writing more meaningful and purposeful for my students, we are creating showmes at the moment that will eventually be published to our level blog where other students from the other groups will get a chance to view and comment, but also students from other schools too. Within my writing group, we have been focussing on representing an explanation report using a flowchart. One way to present their work was using a video. The students have been working really hard to create their showmes, using the correct language, pictures and also thinking about explanation features such as sequencing words. Telling the students that their showmes will be published online for many to see, really gave them a purpose to try hard and make their explanation videos the best they can.




This is the post that we published on our google + community discussing the relationship between pedagogy, content and technology:

At St. Elizabeth’s, we know that all three (Content, pedagogy and technology) must be present to transform learning to provide authentic and purposeful opportunities for all students to learn.
We know the content – we know the pedagogy! We need to learn to use technology to redefine our practice!
How can technology impact on our practice moving forward? Having discussed TPACK has given us the opportunity to explore the purpose of publishing students’ writing on Google Drive. In order to give children a more purposeful experience in their writing and use of technology, we have decided to publish their work on a global platform and create mini videos of lessons for children in other communities.





Our journey to becoming Google educators

Today as a level we explored the google for education website and discussed the potential and advantages of us teachers becoming google trained educators. This would most definitely allow us to use google drive more effectively in many ways and become very competent in using this app. After reading more about google drive and docs, I’ve already furthered my understanding in these areas. Some of my learnings are:

-effectiveness of google chrome, it is a much quicker browser and more compatible when using drive

– google slides- as a way for students to present their work visually

– google drawings- very similar to paint. Its all about creating, sharing and editing drawings.

– research tool, where students can do their research whilst still being in a google docs, sheets etc window. This tool will also allow students to drag pictures into their documents very easily.

Already, these new understandings will enable me and my students to create work and present in many different ways. My only issue is the availability of google slides and drawings on the ipad is limited.




First Session of Webinar

Today our level had our first webinar in relation to the use of the google apps. Us with many other schools used google + to participate in a seminar online. The first session involved us to talk about our journey so far with the contemporary research project and how this is targeting our teaching. We then started to look at the term ‘Transformation’ and what it means to us. As a level we were able to define transformation as a radical change of something or someone. Through lots of discussion many good ideas of transformation came up such as it is an irreversible change of values and beliefs, it takes learners to an entirely different level and its all about guiding and going in a new direction. We then looked at what transformed learning could look at, at our school? From there we looked at the Tpack model where it shows that effective learning environment considers 3 aspects; content, technology and pedagogy.

Our next step will be to further discuss ‘Transformation’ and what it should look like at our school? How would google apps transform our teaching? As a level, we will also be visiting some schools to see where their journey of transformations has taken them.


Term 3 Week 2- Starting information reports with the students

This week my writing group began exploring different types of information reports. We discussed the structure of an information report, and students began to research information for their own report. I have spent many lessons modelling to students how to put information found from various resources into their own words. As a group, we have completed a checklist of what needs to be done in order to turn information into their own words. For example, reading the information 2-3 times, underlining unfamiliar words etc. Next the students will then write their information report using google docs. Students will then be able to comment on each others’ report. This time I want students’ comments on each others’ writing to be more constructive and effective. Firstly as a group, we will be making a checklist of what we look for when reading each others’ report, hopefully the students will use this checklist  when editing each other’s work. To make it more easier for the students, I will put the students into groups and teach then a specific skill, which they will mark on when reading each others report. For example, there will be a paragraph group, a grammar group, structure group etc. Students in the paragraph group will check each student’s report ensuring they have used paragraphs correctly when starting a new topic. The structure group will ensure that each students have got the correct structure in their information report including a glossary and bibliography. I am hoping that students only focussing on one aspect rather than a few will deepened their editing skills in one aspect.


– structure- does this information report contain an introduction ( classification), subtitles, facts about the topic organised in logical paragraphs, does the text maintain a purpose, does the text include a conclusion that summarises the report, glossary, bibliography.

-paragraph- is the writing organised into paragraphs/ do they have topic sentences

– punctuation/ spelling- accurate use of punctuation ( commas, fullstops etc), common words are used correctly

-engagement- is the text engaging to the reader?

– vocabulary/ technical words used ( language features)- are there any technical words?, uses nouns and adjectives to describe the topic.

As a level, we are also planning to give students a survey asking them what they think of using google drive rather than their writing books. I am hoping that most students will like google drive better for many different reasons.



Planning for Term 3 PARTS

Term 2 has given our team the chance to really reflect on feedback and how effective google drive can be for students’ writing. It has enabled us to further explore the types of feedback with students, which ultimately gave them a chance to provide constructive feedback on each piece of writing. Students were then able to reflect on their own writing and make changes to make it better. At this very time, I think it is important to reflect on what has been done last term, evaluate what went well and what we need to improve on. From reading other people’s post on my journey, I have taken many new ideas on board. In order to make the editing more effective, I could focus on one editing aspect weekly during my writing lesson. This will most definitely enable students to better identify what to look for when editing.  Modelling to students what to edit for and explain the thinking whilst reading a peer’s work will impact on students’ to critically think when editing ones’ work. I think it also important to model to students more complex editing found in a story. For example instead of only focussing on editing for punctuation and if the story makes sense, students could look more at the structure of a piece of writing. They could edit for aspects such as pace and tone of their stories, the use of adjectives, the use of dialogue to build on someone’s character, how the story unveils to the reader, what emotions is the reader feeling whilst reading the story, what themes can be found in the story etc. My next step is to start planning these editing lessons and make it engaging and effective for the students.



Week 8- Reflection of students using google drive

Last week, students had the chance to read each other’s story. After exploring the types of feedback to give (warm and cool) and discussing what things to look at when giving feedback, I found that students completed this activity really well. Many of them really enjoyed reading each other’s story and providing some positive and negative feedback.  I found that a lot of them were quite critical when giving feedback, pinpointing out all errors made by the writer. Students were able to give feedback such as lack of punctuation, story does not make sense and to work on your spelling. Many students further went on to actually highlight the parts in each other’s story that needed to be rechecked. For example, many students highlighted spelling mistakes made and rewrote the correct way of spelling it. I found that the students were also able to give nice positive constructive feedback to each other.

Once I gave students a few sessions on editing each other’s work, students had then the opportunity to read all of their comments and make the change in their story. Even if were minor change, many of them were able to make changes in their story.

My writing group is a group that still heavily need constant assistance to complete a piece of writing and rely heavily on feedback from myself to improve and move on to the next step. After reading a couple of my group’s stories on google drive, I found that even though each member of the group have had many students self-edit their work, they still need constructive feedback from myself. I need to be able to also give these students feedback so that they will be able to see what they are doing well and whet they need to work on. This week this was what I came to understand when doing my parts. Even though this PARTS involved the students giving feedback to each other on their own writing, they still need feedback from me. Feedback that make them realise what they really need to work on to move on to the next step. Students’ feedback in not enough, the teachers also need to be able to provide feedback to the students to monitor their progress,  improve their writing and make them move to the next step in their writing.