Friday, 15 September 2017

What I have learnt this year creating our film for the Manaiakalani Film Festival!

Brainstorm early!

I learnt from last year the importance on brainstorming early, as it gives you time to change your idea if you realise it may not work so well. This year, I brainstormed in the holidays and over the first three weeks of term went back and forth between ideas before I settled on one that I knew would work with the whole class.

Think carefully about audio

If you are going to have students speaking in the film, make sure that you have a good plan as to how you will capture clear audio (think about wind noise outside, getting a good quality microphone and having a quiet shooting location). I decided this year to narrate our story and we recorded our audio on Garageband prior to filming.

If you write a script make sure you time it with the narrator

Once I had written my script I timed it at home to make sure I knew it would fit into 3 minutes. However, when I got to school and had my students record I realised that I must talk very fast! Luckily we had enough time to cut out certain parts to make sure it was the right length.

Have a filming day

Last year. I was given a day to film the whole movie and I found it worked well. It gave us a day to focus on the movie and then we could retake any scenes we needed. This year I told the students our filming day and we spent the entire day building props, getting our costumes ready and filming. We did have to change a few actors due to absentees, however I was able to reshoot a few scenes the following week to make sure all the students were involved.

Take lots of shots and angles of each scene

Our team leader made sure we understood the importance of taking a variety of shots and angles. This proved to be great advice when I later noticed that in some of my shots my hair had blown into the top of the lens!

Leave enough time for editing

Make sure you give yourself enough time for editing - not only will you save yourself a lot of stress, you will also have time to create a film which you feel is refined and something you can be proud of!

With our movie almost complete, we are now onto the editing and look forward to sharing it with you soon.... Keep posted to see an amazing effort by a beautiful class of Year 2's!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

How to export a multiple page PDF as JPEGS with Automator!

Last week, I was wanting to save a multiple page PDF as a series of JPEG files. I initially tried to export the PDF as a JPEG, which would only export the first page. Next I Googled "How to save a multiple page PDF as JPEGs". My search took me to this blog by PremiumBeat where it was suggested to use an Automator workflow.

I had not yet stumbled across this amazing robot on my MacBook Air and what an honour it was to meet him/her! With a few quick steps (see the link by PremiumBeat) I built a workflow and had my PDF exported into a series of JPEG files.

I havn't yet had the time to explore more of what I can do with Automator, however I did find this link by Apple where there are suggestions for its use with mail, webpages and calendar!

Will let you know as I discover more and would love to hear any suggestions on what you have used it for!

Image attribution

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Maths Professional Development with Jo Knox - Calendar Maths!

We have been very lucky at Pt England School to have Jo Knox working alongside us this year in maths. Last week we had team sessions with Jo and I left feeling extremely inspired by all her ideas!

The focus of our session was fractions (I will post about this soon), however she also touched on Calendar Maths and how it can be used in the classroom to reinforce various maths skills each day.
(I had seen a similar concept on a placement with 100 days of school, however had not yet seen the many creative ideas that Jo presented us with!)

Calendar Maths is set up as an interactive wall display which you complete with students for a few minutes each day. Some teachers also use it as part of their maths rotation which can be seen in the links below.

Visit these links to see what I am talking about!

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3 

What you decide to include on your Calendar Math is totally up to you and will depend on the age and needs of your students.

You may include:

A calendar!

With this you could talk about the date - what is the number before and after? What is 10 more? 10 less?
Bundle the number into groups of ones and 10s - students will get to see how when you get to the next ten you bundle the ones and they become one group of 10 and not individual ones.
Talk about the days of the week, months, year and seasons.

A clock!

Get a clock and talk about what time the clock is showing.

A hundreds board!

Start from day one and add a number each day. You could count forwards and back from the number of the day. This will help with students not always counting up from 1 which can cause difficulties when you want students to start from a different number!

Have a daily fraction!

Pop up a fraction and get students to read what it says and maybe even match a picture that represents that fraction.

A tooth tally chart!

Each time a tooth is lost in the class add it to a tooth tally chart to expose kids to how we tally and group in 5's.

A piggy bank!

Put some money in the piggy bank. How rich are we today?

Would love to hear any more ideas you may have about Calendar Maths and how it is used in your classroom!

Image attribution 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Inquiry - Basic Facts

Last term, a colleague of mine, Charlotte Gaston, created a Google Form on which the students completed a basic facts test online, on their iPads. She had set it up so that the students answers were then submitted to a Google Spreadsheet.

Seeing as I had begun my inquiry at the beginning of the year on how to improve students' basic facts knowledge, I was excited to give this a go. On the weekend I finally got around to setting this all up!

I created a Google Form with questions I had found from a resource (basic facts tests for different stages) on Hikutaia's School Website. One of the Google Form tests was based on the Stage 2-3 test and the second form was based on the Stage 4 test.

Each question was assigned a "short answer" answer option and 1 point (This way when it was self-marked through Google Sheets we could quickly see how many each student got correct).
The only question that was set as required was the "What is your name?" question - this was so students who did not complete the questions in the 5 minutes could still submit their test. The name question was required so that students had to write their name to submit.

Next, I assigned a Google Sheet to the form - I made sure that the Google Sheet was different for the Stage 2-3 test and Stage 4 test.

Above you can see Room 27's first attempt at the basic facts test. Overall the students really enjoyed the challenge and were quick to grasp onto what they had to do to answer the questions. I will make sure to continue scaffolding this over the week, so next week students will be able to jump straight on each day after morning tea for their daily basics fact quiz.

At the moment we have said that if students get 20/20 three times in a row they are able to move onto the next level. Will keep you updated on how this goes!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Coding - A very exciting find!

Over the weekend, as I journeyed through a path of links from twitter I ended up on a very exciting site called  j2code !

It was full of not only coding activities for older students, but from Year 1 up!

I immediately trialled the first activity - it involves you flying a rocket to each of the planets by directing it either left, right, forwards or backwards. As you click each command, it lists what you have requested the rocket to do in a box on the left hand side. You can then push play to see if you were able to reach each planet with your commands.

I am very excited to have a go using this site in appears to be working on the iPads. I just am still trying to find a quick way to screen record students work on the iPads without having to connect their devices to the class iMacs or my MacBook. If you know of how to do this I would love to hear!

Happy Coding!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Term 2 Inquiry - How can we make a kite that will fly?

This term our team has been inquiring into "How can we make a kite that will fly?" At the start of the term I introduced the topic of Matariki and how the making of kites are an important part of this celebration (many believed that the kites were able to spiritually connect with the Gods and were a method of communication).
I then gave the students a kite template which we made and then flew one afternoon. Although we were struck with a windless day the students came up with many other creative ways to enjoy their kites as you can see in our PENN video below.

Although the children had a great amount of fun creating their kite from the template, I also wanted the students to use the design process of technology to build their own.

In the first lesson, I introduced the students to all the materials they were going to be able to access: material, paper, straws, popsicle sticks, string, crepe paper, pegs, sellotape, masking tape and cupcake liners. The class was then given an hour to design as many kites as they wanted and to choose and label the materials they were going to use.

Last Friday they were then given the entire day to finalise their design and use their imagination to create their kites. At first, many of the students were slightly surprised with the freedom asking, "Are you not going to help us?" I replied with a simple, "No this is your time to show me what you can create on your own!" and left it at that. (Although I must admit it was a lot harder to just step back and watch than I thought!)

Initially, I was tempted to jump in when I saw students cut A3 sized sheets of paper, which would have been a great size for a kite, down into teeny tiny diamonds, but I decided that I needed to let it go and I am very grateful that I did step back because...

The students learnt all on their own! Without me jumping in students were testing their kites coming back and realising that they were too small, had a string that was far too short or had piled so much on that even running at top speed the kite would not lift from the ground.

Looking back on this lesson I think I potentially learnt the biggest lesson of all... It is okay to sometimes just let go! I know from experience that I have learnt the most from some of my biggest mistakes I have made in my life and I now realise we must let our students do the same sometimes.

Friday, 9 June 2017

A few tips and Apple tricks!

At our staff meeting Dorothy Burt had asked some of the staff to share any Apple Tips and Tricks they knew, so that this knowledge could be brought to the rest of the school (teachers at our school all work on MacBooks and iMacs). I must say I am always up for learning a time-saving/life-changing hack, so was very excited to see what others had to share!

Here are some of the new ones I learnt to hopefully make your life on an Apple easier - enjoy!

This first one I found when Googling around for a new tip to share. It saved me a lot of time for report writing - I had the report writer in one screen and my class data in the other.

The following tricks are all from my lovely colleagues at Pt England School - thank you all!