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Archive for the ‘Microsoft 365’ Category

Here’s a quick list of resources I’ve compiled and share with our staff recently – thought my followers might like a piece of the action too.

I’m a Microsoft Innovative Educator, English and Media Studies teacher and currently working as a Learning Support Coordinator across all year levels and subjects so hopefully there’s something for everyone. (I’ve posted on most before so check the tag cloud for more details).

As you’ll be aware, a lot of online providers are offering free access to platforms and resources currently so it’s a good time to try them out. Before creating new content, have a look at what’s already on offer.

General:

  • Quizlet is offering free teacher access until the end of June
  • Kahoot is also offering free access to its premium service currently
  • Free stories on Audible
  • More stories from Radio NZ’s collection
  • Prepared lessons on Ted-Ed
  • BBC Bitesize – loads of lessons here too
  • The Literacy Shed – animations, music videos with teaching ideas. Primary/Year 9 or 10.
  • FlipGrid – Post a question, an idea, a problem and students make quick videos to respond (they can black the screen if shy)
  • Pear Deck – a PowerPoint extension enabling students to respond in real time to questions. Easy to install and use.
  • Wakelet – save, organise and curate content. Senior students research, whole class collaboration, teacher posts class readings
  • nzonscreen – free, NZ audio-visual content. Lots of the films from the 10, 11, 12 compilations are on here. Falling Sparrows  great for Years 9 and 10 in lead up to ANZAC. Lots of other ANZAC content on there too for seniors.

Microsoft Tips and Tools:

And this coming week, the last two Ask Me Anything Sessions led by Microsoft NZ experts.

Tuesday April 7th 10am-10:45am

Thursday April 9th 3:30pm-4:15pm

You don’t need to be part of the MIE programme to join – just use the link below or ask your friendly MIE to ask a question for you. 🙂

Short link to join the meetings

As always, try only what you feel will work best for your students in your subject area.

And always keep the learning objective top of mind.

Also feel free to post a message or email me if you would like supporting resources I’ve created (Falling Sparrows, Literacy Shed and more).

Go well.

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There’s been a lot of posts lately on various forums about various learning management systems and digital learning tools.

In the current lock down, these teaching and learning mechanisms have been first and foremost in many teachers’ minds as they try to stay connected to their students remotely. Whether you use Microsoft or Google or a mixture of both, those efforts are to be applauded.

But the lock down has also shone a light on the elephant in the room. You know, the one the politicians have sidestepped for years.

The importance of digital literacy and its role in growing creative, connected, life-long learners was spelled out clearly in black and white when the revamped NZC was launched ten years ago.

A decade ago.

Just last week principals were contacted requesting a full inventory of their students capacity to learn remotely – how many have internet, is the internet reliable and do they have suitable devices (not phones)?

For the past ten years a slowly growing body of teachers have done their very best to integrate digital learning opportunities into their classrooms, at times it has been a bit like making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Access to devices, internet reliability, technical support and professional development has at best been sidestepped and at worst, ignored.

A teacher I know who put in long hours to set up lessons before the lock down told me after the first week, he had about a 50% uptake by students. That has a huge impact on what happens when everyone returns to school – especially for those already teaching multi-level classes.

He also noted that as he teaches three subjects within his discipline (junior science, physics and chemistry), it wold have been easier for him to teach all the level two classes for physics rather then being spread across five classes and three subjects.

Other teachers posting online are lamenting the constant 24/7 questioning from students, the etiquette around online meetings (hands up please! – this is coming soon in Microsoft Teams) and the mixed messages around looking after their well-being while preparing for another week(s) of remote learning.

Good points.

Became now we find ourselves in a situation where these issues really, really matter.

Finally these issues will need to be addressed but given the likely state of the economy post lock down, it seems unlikely there will be more funding available.

What the lock down will show is that there is an enormous disparity between and within schools in digital learning capability. And that is not a divide that can be crossed by the good will of teachers alone.

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Writing essays is a core skill for secondary school students. By Years 12 and 13 students should ideally be able to express sophisticated ideas coherently and effectively.

But back in Year 9 and 10, basic structure can be an issue before we even get to developing ideas, making self to text connections and all the other good stuff that displays deep level thinking.

My Year 9 class are typically (I hope) diverse. The 27 learners span three curriculum levels. Differentiation is key – how to keep the more able students extended while also supporting less able writers to gain confidence in paragraphing and essay structure. Agh – one of me, many, many of them and many, many needs.

At the end of term I targeted three students with learning challenges that make writing an essay, even one planned together as a class and scaffolded on the whiteboard with starter sentences for each paragraph, an ordeal. So while the rest of the class used the whiteboard prompts and class brainstorm, (uploaded to their notebook using Office Lens) I set them up with a three part lesson on Class Notebook.

In a bid to make it somewhat funky, I used password protect to lock sections in the content library. The first section was pretty much a confidence builder that ended with a code word that would enable them to proceed to the next section.

You can password protect section using OneNote desktop version (not online) by selecting the Review tab in OneNote then clicking the Password button. A Password Protection pane appears at the right side of the window. Select the Set Password button, enter a password in the two fields on the Password Protection window and click OK. If that’s confusing, I recommend this tutorial on the Microsoft Educator’s page.

Remember – this option is only available in the desktop version of Microsoft 2016 or 2010. You can’t password protect sections online and you can’t password protect pages. As I had trouble distributing those sections to student’s individual notebook, I simply got them to copy and paste each section into their own notebooks – after they had cracked the code.

I organised the sections around the essay writing process: planning, drafting, publishing.

The drafting section had coloured headers reminding students what the purpose of each each part of the essay. There were prompts in brackets to get them from sentence to sentence. This was a bit clunky and I had to read it to 2/3 students (although they could have used immersive reader if they had headphones) but we got there after two hours. The third student doesn’t like attention being drawn to the fact they are doing alternative work so they sat with their friends and worked through the sections – no drama.

Once they had written each body paragraph, the students copied that to a third page (publishing) removed the blue headers and bracketed prompts to create a coherent, fluid piece of writing. Time was tight at the end and I wish they’d used immersive reader to help proof and edit as some left the instructions in but that’s par for the course.

I have spent time these holidays giving them individual feedback in the third section. Student X has audio files to listen to – short and to the point, Student Y has stickers and tags indicating parts to review and Student Z has coloured writing and emojis at the end of each paragraph – I went for what I know works best for each of them.

The screen shots will be fuzzy but here’s what it looked like:

 

Part One – plan essay

 

Enter code to proceed

 

Part two – scaffolded draft

 

Part three – remove prompt and publish

 

Student X feedback

Student Y feedback

 

Student Z feedback

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A year ago I posted a unit of work around the memoir I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzi and Patricia McCormick. This was designed for an able class of 15 year olds with a focus on flipped learning to promote deeper thinking of concepts featured in the book.

The unit was designed to end with a collaborative social justice project where students could focus on a social justice crusader of their choice, make a Sway and present it to the class.

But schools being schools, interruptions to the timetable meant we never made it to the self-directed task at the end.

This year, I was determined to squeeze it in and am utterly convinced of the benefits of collaborative learning. The current issue of Teen Breathe Magazine cites collaborative learning as a great self motivator and with lots of sickness last term and general end of term malaise setting in, I found the assignment really worthwhile.

Students encouraged and supported each other, shared ideas and learned from each other.  I took a hands off approach until presentation day simply helping as needed and encouraging students to share trouble shooting successes and design tips which I projected onto the whiteboard. The entire unit plus links to Sway tutorials were accessible via a page in their Class Notebook. Students could work on their Sways concurrently via sharing a link and from home.

While many opted to focus on Malala (totally okay as we all get tired at the end of term!) other individuals also featured. There are three ways they could set up their Sway:

  • Use a template from the Sway homepage
  • Create a word document with sub-headings and upload
  • Start from scratch via storyline function
  • Start from topic – banned this option as the work is done for them!

I was impressed with their ability to quickly work out the creative aspects of Sway such as image stacking and inserting video. As presenting skills is part of the junior English course, there were discussions around suitable colour and font choice so they were tapping into prior knowledge of visual and verbal features from earlier in the year when they made film posters.

Looking ahead to NCEA, there are achievement standards in various subjects that require students to make and submit visual presentations. Many default to PowerPoint but this group will hopefully consider Sway as an option.

As well as encouraging critical thinking, providing opportunities to develop digital literacy and, to collaborate and create, the presentation was attended by their Social Studies teacher allowing for great cross curricular chat too.

Social Justice Assignment

Here’s a selection of 10TA’s Social Justice Sways:

Georgie and Julia – Greta Thunberg

Tane and Logan – Malala Yousafzi

Lily and Shyah – Malala Yousafzi

Billy and Hamish – Martin Luther King (link coming!)

 

 

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In New Zealand’s state schools, teachers are increasingly faced with larger class sizes, a diverse range of learning and behavioural needs and the requirement to include special needs learners into the classroom environment.

Although ORS students tend to come with a teacher aide (although not 100% of the time), the expectation remains that we will find ways to include special needs students into mainstream classes. Sometimes this can be to meet social needs, other times academic goals and sometimes a mixture of both – although not generally to levels we would expect of mainstream students.

This year I’ve been trying to find quick and easy ways to provide bespoke tasks so that a teacher aide supporting a Student with autism can do so in a meaningful and age appropriate way.  At 14, Student X is keen to have work that in some way resembles what is peers are working on.

This term that involved a novel study of Fleur Beale’s Slide the Corner.

Based on the novel’s content, I devised a series of lessons using Microsoft’s Learning Tools to provide a series of bite sized lessons for X to work on while we focussed on essay writing.

Using a picture of a Lego car,  the Student began by labelling car parts on a paper handout:

Step d.png

Then, with his aide’s help, he completed a cloze paragraph filling the gaps with words from a word bank to write a paragraph about the main character, Greg

Step e

Finally, using the same syntactical structure, he was then prompted to complete a paragraph supplying similar details details about himself.

Step f

I then copied and paste the word document into a OneNote in X’s Class Notebook.

That’s when the real fun began! Using Immersive Reader, the paragraphs were read back to him.

step b.png

At this point, Student X’s expression was one of sheer incredulity. He was simply delighted to hear “his” work read aloud. I showed him and the teacher aide how to adjust the gender and speed of the speaker (he was similarly enthralled by the tortoise and hare icons).

Finally, I demonstrated to the aide and student how to use the dictate function. This allowed X to tell the computer what to type. X was asked to tell the PC what he thought about the lesson – a very basic reflection as his processing is pretty much surface level so he has a very literal world view. We discussed his response verbally first.

I’m  hopeful that both the student and aide will use these amazing Learning Tools again – at least in English but also other subjects too. (The only issue we had was that some of the school laptops had not been updated to run Windows 10  a- simple fix but it pays to check first to ensure microphones are accessible.)

 

step 3

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