Kahoot ! Yes again

It has been another “kahooty” week for me!

Mathematics 

Being encouraged by my students’ enthusiastic response, I am more than willing to spend sometime every night to design questions for them. These questions are definitely not “anyhowly” but questions need to cover their learning gap (for example, I repeated the questions that they did wrongly for their practice paper 1).  For this week, I feel a sense of pride when the whole class can get one or two questions all correct. I know some of you might feel that no big deal for that is just a simple question. But, for my class, there is no such thing as simple question. I need to stay positive if I were to keep myself sane! And even more, when they feel “upset” with me as I key in the answers wrongly. Glad that they are thinking and not just simply “anyhowly” clicking.

Science

For this week, I use Kahoot for the first time for my Science class in a slightly different manner.  I actually get them to submit their answers to some of the question in the practice paper. I carefully chose the questions so that they can do it within 2 minutes. Their response? Simply awesome! At least, I can see the sense of urgency and really focusing on the questions. If I simply just ask them to do the practice paper, I do not see the intense and fast thinking. Rather, they would “look here” and “look there” and apparently not focused on the work.

Just as a simple tweak to their learning experience with the use of Kahoot change their behaviour almost completely.  They are seriously deep in thought and can see some of them having intense conversation with their peers over the answers. When the answer is revealed, I get some of them share their reasoning.  It is good to hear that they are actively using elimination method to help them in their MCQ.  This helps them in getting the answer in the shortest time. I emphasize that it is not necessary to know everything in the question. The students tend to spend time on things they do not know.  Sometimes, with the use of elimination by focusing on what they know, they can get the correct option. This is something I will need to reiterate again next week.  It is an important exam technique that they must have.

With the use of practice paper,  my students are “complaining” the waste of time as they need to search for the questions. I choose the questions  based on “doability for my students” and they are not in an order. For the next round, I will “preempt” them with the questions first by giving them the question order.

Another way in which I use Kahoot for my class is to get them to recall the scientific concepts. I am quite taken about that they have forgotten about their properties of matter (Solid, liquid and gas).  The whole class simply cannot answer this question : “Which of the following cannot be compressed?” They absolutely have no idea that I am asking for gas. This is something that I need to work on next week.

 

 

 

Kahooting Week!

I finally manage to clear the syllabus for Mathematics and can now start on the revision. For this week, I decide to use Kahoot to gamify my Mathematics lessons. In the Kahoot Quiz, the questions are typically the 1-marks questions found in Paper 1.  I give a timing for each question (ranging for 30s to 90s). This will help them to train for speed and accuracy.

What are my students’ responses? They practically love it and ask for more.  But, I need also need to remind them this is for learning and they cannot “anyhowly”  key in answers.  I like the instant feedback on the responses so that I can address their learning gap.

What is important for me to do now is to analyse their responses and try to come up withe more questions to address their learning gap.  I am giving myself a challenge for the use of kahoot quiz. It is not just enough to see my students engage. I need to make use of the data to move my students forward.

 

the “白痴” me in action!

It would be a very hectic Term 3 for me. Why ? It is the PSLE season and the “白痴” me (that is how one particular friend’s apt description of me)  decide to render whatever help I can for my students.  Here is my schedule for the week:

(1) Tue (Weekly) – 5 pm (45-min Science support for my sub-30 studnets after the supp ends at 4.15 pm)

(2) Wed (Alternate week)- 2.15 – 4.15 (Maths Clinic for my sub-20 students)

(3) Thur (Alternate week) 2.45 – 4.45 (Science support for between 30 to 50 kids)

(4) Friday (Weekly) – 1.15 to 3.15 (Maths support for my above-20 kids)

With the exception of (3), I simply “ask for it” for the remaining three. For example, I volunteer for the Maths Clinic even though I am not from Mathematics Department. Why? Almost all my students are there. So, I must be there to support them. It does not matter which department I am in, I just want to help my students. Period.

As for (1) and (4) , I initiate the sessions for them so as to better support them. For last year, I held such sessions for the whole class. I do not think it is every effective as I do not seem to give targeted instructions to them. This year, I decide to have a smaller group of students with similar ability. It has been two weeks so far and it is too early to tell.

 

3 weeks has gone for my P6 Maths Class

Well, it has been 3 weeks since Term 3 has started. So, what have I done so far for my beloved rascals of my maths class?

A mixture of teaching new content and revising basics. Since the school has subscribed to Koobits, I have used that extensively for my students to practice the basic questions. I am reasonably pleased that my students seems motivated to these questions even I have given them 20 or 30 questions.  I will continue doing that for their revision for the basics. Progressively, I will get them to slightly more demanding questions (e.g, questions that requires formula like volume, speed etc).

As for learning of new content, I am getting the kids to articulate their mathematical reasoning for the speed word problems. In the beginning, they seem to be “anyhowly” just putting the numbers without thinking. Again, I need to remind them to read the questions and apply the DST-triangle accordingly. This seems to be their Achilles’ heels . They are not thinking about their problem and simply adopt “just-whack” number mentality.

With the completion of the content,  I will now focus on the cluster of problems in preparation of their upcoming Prelim. This is just another more diplomatic way of describing “spotting questions”.

(1)Simple Ratio questions

(2) Simple word problems involving fraction of the set and fraction as a whole

(3) Geometry

(4) Area/Volume problems (I realize that the students are not remembering the formula for circles)

 

Same same but different : Google Form Revisited

Last year , I used Google Form extensively for my P6 Science class [Link].  This year, I also started using with my class but with a twist. Why so ? Because the context is very different. Last year, my Science class was the academically strongest class and most students are reasonably motivated to do well in their studies.

This year, the class I am taking is just the opposite. Knowing where they are in their Science, I know that they would possibly will not try even given the second attempt. It can be just case of “anyhowly” trying as they may simply do not understand the question.

Here are the changes I made:

(1) Answers are provided so that they can know the correct answer straight away.  My assumption : They need immediate response or else they will only remember the wrong answer given.

(2) Feedback with video links are provided for the “popular questions”.  Students are supposed to copy the feedback on their question paper.

(3) Revisit the top “cannot-make-it” questions. and go through in class

Observation:

As like last year, there are some students who just wish to get the marks. They are interested in keying in the answers and getting the marks but do not seem too eager to review the feedback. I need to constantly “nag at /scold” them to do it. Perhaps, the eagerness to review the response would level up when exam nears.

So, how does that beat the typical going-through in class?  Such technology-enabled activity allows them to do it at their own pace and some of them ask questions (not a lot but at least some really ask). They would also ask their peers for help.

Would I continue with this with my class? Yes, I will but not as frequent as last year.  At this stage, I need to focus on building their scientific content. Getting them to do the MCQ, without the science content, might not be too beneficial for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Challenges with Evaporation and Condensation

Have been teaching my P5s about evaporation and condensation since end of Term 2. I have planned a series of activities including getting them to take pictures of condensation and getting to demonstrate their learning on Padlets. They seem to be able to able to answer even the challenging MCQ questions but their challenge comes in when answering open-ended questions.

From their homework submitted and the use of Padlets to demonstrate their learning [Link 1 and Link2], they seem to face challenge in communicate clearly about these two processes in open ended questions. The challenges are described as follows:

(1) Scientific Accuracy

They fail to identify the process accurately as they are mixed up over condensation and evaporation.

E.g : The water condenses or the water vapour evaporate to form water droplets.

(2) Heat transfer during evaporation and condensation

They would simply say , “the water vapour condense” without describing the heat transfer. Even they mention heat transfer, they would simply say water vapour loses heat. There is no mention as to where the water vapour is losing heat to.

(3) Water vapour in condensation

Student do not explain where does the warmer water vapour comes from. The warmer water vapor may come from surrounding air or the water which has just evaporated

With these learning gaps, there is a need for me to design learning experience to close the gaps. On reflection, I may not be very explicit in my success criteria in my previous lessons. I may have articulated them verbally but these might not be enough. So, for my next course of action. I would explicitly write the success criteria on the board and would reinforce them.  Here are the success criteria :

(1) Correct identification of the process.

– The process(es) can be condensation, evaporation or boiling, freezing or melting or a combination

–  Check for the final product of the water. Is it water droplets/steam/water vapour?

– Differentiate between boiling (with bubbles) and evaporation

(2) Describe heat transfer

– Use terms like “water gains heat from XXX ” and “water vapour/steam loses heat to XXX

 

 

 

[Leadership 07]Start With Why

I manage to chance upon Simon Sinek Start With Why [Link] and really concur with his view on influencing people. We need to start with the Bug Why. Basically, there is a need to get the people to see the meaning in what they are doing. Whatever one job is, there ought to be a bigger meaning than just the job/task itself. That is the way to keep people motivated and all ready to give it all.

Others always describe me as someone who is highly motivated and energetic teacher. Why is that so ? Because I am yearning for that promotion/performance bonus? Of course not. That is definitely not going to make me a millionaire anyway, so why bother?

What really motivates me is I know why I am doing all this. I am doing all that for my students and that is the higher meaning. Whatever I do, if I can’t see that higher meaning, you can forget me being very enthusiastic about this. I will just give the bare minimum to get it done.  Currently, as my role as HOD, I need to do those seemingly administrative stuff that does not seem to fulfill the higher meaning. But reflecting on those administrative and planning stuff (e.g, planning and purchasing of ICT equipment), these are the important things to be done too for the sake of students. Imagine if I do not plan my ICT purchases carefully, how can my students have technology-enabled learning? The ability to see the big why is essential for me as that keeps my motivation level high. Yes, I can proudly claim that I am still a very motivated and energetic teacher who just happens to be doing just administrative and planning work for the students.

Now, to influence more people, I need to get them to see the big why . For my case, why are we using technology for learning? There is a need to articulate the why so that people can see the higher meaning of using technology. I am constantly doing that now. For example, I deliberately start any technology-related presentation with the big why? Why do we need to use technology? Even when getting my colleagues to blog/reflect, I try my very best to convince them about the big why.

 

So, is it successful? Definitely, there is still room for improvement but I will still go on. Why ? Because I know why I am doing all this.  To benefit more students.

 

 

 

 

[Leadership 06] Conversation with VP

Thanks to to arrangement by cluster, I have a chance to have conversation with VP of other school. It is really insightful to hear about about the first-hand experience especially how to manage change and learn about the dimensions of student centered leadership by Viviane Robinson [Link]

Here are my learning points:

(1) Get your hands dirty and be immersed in the job. This is something I always believe in and have been constantly doing this. I definitely give myself A*** for that. I do not believe in “tell-then-you-do”. I believe in “do-then-you-do”.  Perhaps, this is due to my engineering background. I need to get my hands dirty and do the job before telling others what to do.

Example : I use iPads and laptops regularly so that I can know the problems and get my tech guys to solve the issues.  The teachers can also approach me if they have issues and I typically would have answers for them. This is my way of “walking the talk”.

But, I feel that there is one down-side to this approach.  Sometimes, I feel that I am almost too “hands-on” that others are over dependent me on me to solve their problems. Have I , unknowingly, become the clutch ? This is something that I need to ponder about.

(2) Process and structures

At the management level, there is always a need to put process and structure in place for things to happen. It can never be left alone for things to happen organically. This might work for the gung-ho few who would just get things done (e.g., stupid people like me who can go way out and make sure things happen because I believe in it even if structures are impeding it. Just-Do-It is the order of the day!)).

But, at the management level, we have to ensure  pervasiveness so all students have the same learning experience. That is the challenge when one is taking the leadership post.  It is not about your class , it is about our classes. I remember my P once told me that when I share about my experience in my class. She wanted the “our”. Of course, at that point, I was like “why should I care about other classes”.

But , at my position now, I have to look beyond my class. This is the level of thinking that I am developing at my current position. Somehow, I find this intellectually challenging for me and I see it as a mean to influence more people so that “my class” can soon be “everybody’s class”.

Unlike the other two years, I am now slowly putting structures and processes in place for the sustainability of ICT usage (e.g, blogging and ICT PD Day) . Why not earlier? Because I am slowly building my social capital to effect the change. I need the staff to know me as a person and hopefully, they should know by now, I am not one wayang HOD  who do things for personal agenda. I do not believe in doing things for show. I believe in doing things for the students.

So, how is the process and structure so far? It is the first year and things are moving in the right direction but things can be improved. I will look towards fine-tuning it for the second year. I know it is never easy but I need to get started somewhat. My aim is to sustainable and pervasive use of technology for teaching and learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Padlet for Activating and Demonstration of Learning

This post has been cross-posted at TWPS ICT Blog

 

I have been using Padlet more recently these days due to their enhanced features. The postings are now more organized and there is no more issue of “oh my post has gone missing”.  You can check out the new features at this link.

I have been using Padlet to augment their learning. The records of their posting are easily available online and can be projected on the screen instantly.  The projection on the white screen allows me to build on their responses almost immediately.  There is immediate audience for their postings and it is not just for their teachers to see only.

In my humble opinion, using padlet is more than just getting students to post their responses online. What is important is what we do with the responses after that and how fast the response are given to the kids.

(1) Activate learning

Get the students to articulate what they know.  During last June, I get my P6 students to do a few MCQ in PSLE Booklet and get them to reason out their answers [Link] .

From their answers,  here are their learning gaps

(1) Not knowing how to choose the best option that suits the answers

(2) Difficulty between pollination and fertilisation

 

I immediately built on their responses and address their learning gaps.  Of course, just telling them once is not enough. These two points become my focus of discussion over the next few days. It is indeed slow moving as they need time to express their views  (and not forgetting that they need to be constantly reminded to do their work).

Reflection :  I am definitely going through far less questions if I am to do a just “show-and-tell”. Imagine I still have not completed one MCQ after 3 days. But, I rather go slow and target at their learning gaps.  Of course, I am also being very strategic in choosing the type of questions.  They must be “popular” and something that my students can grasp.

This is my first iteration and that there would be more to come. I admit it is not a bed of roses as I still constantly need to “remind” (aka scold) the kids to stay focused! Maybe just to console myself, this is still the first week and they are still in festive mood. Hope that they can be more settled in weeks to come!

(2) Demonstrate their understanding

 

Another thing I am doing now is to get them to write down short notes what they have learned in the week. They are writing down short notes.  Links to the padlets can be found on the class blog [Link].

I edit their science notes for scientific accuracy. Immediate responses were not provided for this exercise. I would be going through with them next week on this.

Reflection : They seem to be still unclear about pollination and fertilisation. Something that  I will need to remind them again for the weeks to come.