Friday, 8 April 2016

Reflection: Current Events

On Tuesday this week my mentor and I taught the Current Events lesson that I had created during my MDTA Digital Immersion days.  With the Current Events page up and running I was ready to go.  After discussing my lesson, Robyn and I made some tweaks.  We also decided that I would take the lead the first part of the lesson, we would team teach the next, and Robyn would lead the last part of our lesson.  Here is a link to my multi-modal page that I created using HTML.  Attached to the page is my teaching DLO and teacher notes.

Learning intentions

  • To identify the 5Ws of a current event
  • To identify and explain the point of views of groups involved in a current event
  • To understand there are two sides to a provocation

Connecting to the learners

Perhaps the most important part of my lesson was one of the first things I did - connecting to the learners.  In order to be fully engaged and immersed in a lesson, I believe learners need to understand why they are learning something and have some form of connection to the learning.  I had to come up with a way to connect the bus strikes to my learners lives.  I knew that every Friday LS2 hops on a bus and travels to Technology at Tamaki College.  In my lesson I asked my learners to think-pair-share what would happen if their bus driver didn't turn up to take them to tech.  The classroom erupted with discussion.  From this question, the learners understood that the Auckland bus strikes was something that could have been affected by and were interested in the current event. 

The provocation

Learning Space 2 is very passionate about what is fair and right.  I used this knowledge to form my provocation questions.

  • Is it fair for bus drivers to go on strike?
  • Is it fair to make bus drivers work longer hours but get less pay?
I encouraged the class to consider how they would feel if their bus driver didn't pick them up, and how would feel if their family members were made to work longer hours for less money.  This again helped connect the learners to the current event as they were able to consider how they would have felt if they were involved in the Auckland Bus strikes.

Introducing the Auckland bus strikes

Instead of making my learners read an article or listen to myself explain the current event, I chose to use a recording from a radio news bulletin.  Here is the link.  Whilst the learners were engaged and listening to the recording, I could have directed their focus and gave them a purpose when listening to the recording. Next time I would display a question on the Apple TV whilst playing the recording, as it would have given them a specific focus when listening to the news bulletin.

Exploring the multi-modal site

The learners were set with the task of exploring the current events page and collaboratively filling out the 5Ws and H of the Auckland bus strike task.  Robyn suggested that we use an existing task that is in our reading rotations, and add in 'point of view' section.  This was effective as the learners already were familiar with the 5Ws of a current event.  The learners filled in the 5Ws and H section and left the point of view part for after our class discussion.  I did hint for the learners to look at what 'point of view' means by looking at the Current Events page.  The multi-modal site was a site which catered to all learners and their abilities.  The site consisted of audio clips, images, short sentences, extended paragraphs and video clips.  This meant that all learners could get an understanding of the current events issue.  Students who struggle with reading could listen to the audio clip, look at the images and watch the audio clip and gain an understanding of the Auckland bus strikes.  This was a crucial element of my current events lesson.  All learners were able to take part in the lesson and make meaning of the current events issue.  I also spoke about the affordances of a multi-modal site here.

Dialogic discussion

After collaboratively filling out the 5W and H sections of their task, the class came together to share their ideas.  The students led this part of the lesson as they shared their ideas with the class.  My role was to get them to explain their responses and encourage further discussion of the ideas learners shared.

Exploring Bias 

There is always two sides to every story...

Robyn and I team-taught this part of the lesson, which was an effective way to introduce the idea of bias.  We unpacked the meaning of bias and explained it in the context of the Three Little Pigs. Robyn and I modelled the different points of view in the Three Little Pigs.  I took the point of view of the three little pigs, and Robyn took the point of view of the mother. I explained that my point of view was that the wolf was the 'bad guy' because he destroyed their homes.  Robyn responded to by saying that as the wolf's mother, she believed the pigs were the bad guys because the pigs had murdered her son. 

Point of view

We got our learners had to consider the people and groups involved in the Auckland bus strike.  We unpacked the meaning of point of view and asked the class to think-pair-share the point of views of the public and the bus drivers. We recorded the responses and encouraged the learners to use full sentences and justify their ideas by saying because... Getting our learners to explain their thinking by using because made them think more critically about their ideas, as they had to draw on evidence and their own opinion to justify their ideas.

Task two

Robyn took the lead in this aspect of the lesson.  The learners had work with a partner and choose a group involved in the Auckland bus strikes.  The class decided that the main groups involved were bus drivers, the public, bus drivers' bosses and the police. Their task was to use ifaketext to have a 'polite argument' between two different groups.  Both groups had to share their point of view and make sure they explained why they held their point of view.  Robyn revised the meaning of provocation, bias and point of view.  The challenge of the task was to provide a clear explanation of the meaning of provocation, bias and point of view.

Student's work

Here are some screenshots of my learners completed tasks. If you click on the image you will be taken to their individual blog post. Sorry the quality isn't the best

 Overall I was very pleased with how the current events lesson went.  The learners were hooked into the lesson and engaged in all aspects of the task.  I will definitely be doing another current events lesson like this in the near future.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Digital Immersion: Creating a Site Using HTML

Today we consolidated our learning and understanding of Google Sites, HTML and critical thinking in current events through the creation of a current events page.  The 2016 MDTA cohort was set with the challenge of each creating a multi-modal page on Google Sites about a current event.  In previous weeks we discussed critical thinking in social studies and reading, and chose current event topics.  We then had a week to come up with the content of the lesson.  

I found creating my change challenging but very addicting!  After plenty of trials and errors, it was a great feeling to correctly fix something using HTML.  A challenge I had was that I wanted to unmerge cells that had previously been merged together.  This was tricky as when you merge cells you need to delete another.  Merging cells  shifts the one cell to take up the space of two cells,  therefore you are left with an odd cell that is to the right of your table.

Merging Cells using HTML 

Merge rows by adding the code rowspan="(number)" inside the <tb> code of the cell you want to merge
This shifts the cell to the right of the table.  You then need to delete that entire cell.

Unmerging and Adding Cells

When you want to unmerge and add a row back in again you are left with a gap where it should have been.  After some thinking and reading of the HTML I had, I figured how to add a cell back in by writing the codes <td> and </td> below the code for the previous cell.

You can unmerge cells by changing the rowspan code to rowspan"1".  However this leaves you with a blank space where the previous cell was deleted.
Place some x's in the column next to the blank space. This shows where you want to create a new column.

Find the x's to locate where you need to add in a column.  Insert <td> and </td> underneath the previous </td> for the xxxx column

Whilst this may have been very simple problem to solve for HTML savvy people, it was quite the accomplishment for someone who had no idea about HTML two weeks ago!

My Current Events Page

Here is the page I created using HTML.  Please note that it is not entirely finished.  I would like to increase the white cell padding and change the vertical alignment within each cell to be centered.  I am still on my HTML learning journey and will fix it when I figure out how to. Click on the screenshot below to explore my page :) .

I will be using my multi-modal current events page with my learners next week.