Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Building Organizational Capacity with Tech

In mid September, the Middle School faculty were asked to fill out a survey indicating some of their technology needs. The following statment was presented to them:

Under Dream 5 in the MS Destiny Plans "Expanding organizational capacity" please think of one tool or area with regards to technology that you would like to learn or improve upon that will benefit your teaching and/or your student's learning.

The data collected clearly indicated the "what" and "how" the 68 MS faculty  like to learn.

Next steps include individual, PLC or department follow up to provide the PD needed to build said capacity.  When we understand and meet the needs of our learners, everyone wins.

English 9LE Authentic Authors - A Transformational Experience

"During the writing process I felt I am a professional author."
                                                                                                    - English 9LE Student

The tradition in Mrs. M’s class, aka Beata’s, continues with her English 9 LE students becoming authors and illustrators of their own short stories and sharing these with an authentic audience. This year Emily’s Grade 3 class at PIE participated in the story share.

The journey begins with the writing process, let us take you through some highlights.

First a bullet point plan...

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Which is then expanded to a plot, a list of events, and shared via Google docs...

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Then the first draft is written and shared via Google docs with the teacher for feedback...

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When the story is re-drafted, it is read and commented on by classmates. Using Google forms, students write reflections on how the peer editing session has helped them move forward.  

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Subsequent to more drafting, the stories are made ready for publication. Original illustrations are drawn, scanned with an App such as CamScanner using iPhones, iPads or iPods. Students copy and paste their text in iBooks Author, insert their scanned illustrations, prepare a cover page for the digital book, and include an "About the Author" section. The short stories are previewed in iBooks either on MacBook Airs or an iPad.
Back-up PDFs are uploaded to to be viewed as interactive “flippy books” just in case of technical glitches. Here are some of these books (you might need to set up an account to view these): Hayoon’s heart-gripping “May I go inside your heart?” , Riwa’s comical “Tee hee” , and Kunqi’s competitive “Who’s worth it?”.

You can see Susan read her story " Dream to the Sky" in this 45 second video:

The magical moment this year came towards the end of the hour when we were watching the interaction between the students that were done, as they relaxed and Grade 9 and Grade 3 students started talking to each other, asking each other questions. The younger students proudly took out their work to share with the older students, they started reading their poems to them, they took out their research posters to show off. It was truly touching.

Before leaving the G3 students were asked what they liked about the short stories they had just read. They highlighted the interesting vocabulary words used to describe “thunder”, they referred to a metaphor presented in a story,  they were impressed with the “About the Author” page as well as the artistic illustrations that were included. See here what they had to offer:

After a few high fives and goodbyes and promises to visit each other’s classes again, the English 9 LE students left feeling a wonderful sense of accomplishment and excitement. There was a buzz in the air on the long walk back to class.

Upon arriving to class, the students wrote reflections about their experience and their learning:

* What did you learn?

A / I learnt how to use literary devices to make the story more interesting and I learnt how to apply variable verbs and adjectives to the sentences.

B / I learnt the technique of layout and how to preview iBook on iPad.

C / I learnt that children’s understanding skills are impressive and they can learn from the story 
quickly. If I have more illustrations, that would be better.

* The most important thing I learned was …

A / If I am writing my essay or story, I need to revise a lot of times to make a perfect draft.

B / The world is changing with new technology and I have the right to use it wisely.

C / Grade 3 children respected my story and listened carefully, even if it was boring.

* What got in the way of your learning? ( What I found difficult was … )

What I found difficult was to write an interesting but simple story, I am still not satisfied with my story. I tried to make a sad and touching story, but the conversation and descriptions could not send messages to the readers, not very well.

* I might have learned better if … I need more help with...

I might have learned better if I had more help with revising the draft a lot of times, and tried to read more books to get inspired on descriptions to touch the readers’ feeling.

* How did you feel?  ( During the writing process I felt… After the visit I felt….)

A / During the writing process I felt I am a professional author.

B /  During the publishing process, I felt proud of myself that I made the story and published it with the lovely pictures in iBook.

C / After the visit I regretted - what if I made the story more interesting for Grade 3 kids?

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Through the students thoughtful reflections of their journey as authors it is clear that this experience was transformational on many levels.

A big thank you to Emily Dixon-Ryan's Grade 3 Class!

Beata Mirecka-Jakubowska and Pia Druggan

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Invigilating a HS Math Honors 1 Semester Exam

Today I had the privilege of invigilating the Math 1 Honors Semester Exam. This was the very first high school exam experience for our 9th graders. They were very nervous when they first arrived in class, so we did some breathing exercises and some stretches to relax.

Why do I call this invigilating moment a privilege?  Running the first part of the test was indeed a treat for me. I directed students to their Moodle course page where they downloaded two Geogebra files containing spreadsheets and one Word document file. They turned their Wi-Fi off and set to work on the statistics portion of their exam, and that is when the magic happened. Students entered the zone and started creating box-plot diagrams and scatter plot graphs from the data given which they then copied over to their Word document, providing tables, answers and explanations. The ease with which they manipulated the digital content was a testament to our 1:1 environment and to our math teachers for using contemporary tools to better understand math. When done, students turned their Wi-Fi back on and emailed their respective teachers their file, then closed their lids started the more traditional second part of the exam.

The students reminded me of young professional engineers preparing their semester reports to close the year. Thank you Brenda, Kat and Kelli for inviting me into your world.

Monday, December 1, 2014

PIE Teachers Piloting Google Classroom

In August Google officially launched “Classroom”, an innovative teaching and learning management tool. Google Classroom is a seamless add-on to the Google Apps for Education platform; a tool that allows teachers to efficiently share resources and improve workflow for assignments and collaborative projects. Positive news and reviews about Classroom generated faculty interest in exploring the new tool. At PIE, we currently have six grade three, four and five teachers, as well as, some specialists piloting Google Classroom. 

Andrew Davis, one of our grade five teachers reflects on his experience using Google Classroom with his students………
This year I have had the opportunity to introduce Google Classroom in my classroom and it has been incredibly successful. I have been using Google Drive for the past four years and with the addition of Google Classroom, Drive has become even easier to integrate and much more user friendly for my students. 

The ease of creating an assignment or project for my class has made my prep much less stressful. The ability to add resources to an assignment for the students to use eliminates their research time and allows them to begin working right away. Also, the steps of having to share a document with the students, them having to make a copy, rename it and then share it with me is no longer necessary. Google Classroom has the option of creating a copy of the document for each student that is automatically shared with you once they open it. This allows you to view their progress as they work on an assignment and eliminates having to track down the work from those students that tend to forget to share their work with you.

Once the students have completed an assignment they simply hit the submit button and it is ready for the teacher to review. Teachers can then easily return it to the students if they need to make any changes or they can write comments for the student to view. Google Classroom makes it quite easy to organize your students work and to store it safely for future needs…………..

It’s obvious that Andrew is very excited about Google Classroom but what about our student? Below are a few student responses gathered from a Google Form (survey) that I sent to our upper elementary students.

What do you like best about Google Classroom?

…..That all of us can be on the classroom at once and talk about the assignment. I also like that all of us know what we need to do and when to finish that assignment.  

…..I like how the teacher who keeps it organised and it tell you what you are doing today and you can share things to the teacher and the teacher can share things to us.

…..we use it in Bahasa class so its much easier to see what to do next instead of asking the teacher several times.

…..The best thing about it is that you get to know what assignments we have and that really helps! :-)

…..when the teacher sends you your work you don't have to go to through JISNet (email), with Google Classroom you can get to your work very fast.

What improvements would you like to see in the next updated version of Google Classroom?

…..I wish we could make separate rooms-groups for team work.

….I think it is pretty good right now, maybe a button on the homepage to say you are done with a project right away! 

…..Being able to go make changes to your work after you submit it.

Andrew Davies (PIE G5 Teacher)
Russell Downs (PIE TIS @russdowns)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pinterest in the HS Art Classrooms

An interview with Shawn Reed, High School Art Teacher

Shawn Reed, teaches a variety of art classes in the HS, from Art 1 to 2D Art & Design to Advanced and AP Art. About a year ago he approached me with the idea of starting a Pinterest site for his students, a social network posting site, as he wanted to know more about the Privacy and Sharing Policy for students.

Today Shawn has 37, 591 Followers and 113 Boards, with hundreds of followers joining his boards every day. These are impressive numbers and his students are taking it seriously. I wanted to know more about his experience with Pinterest in his art classroom.

Why did you start using Pinterest?

A friend of mine told me about it and I started using general Boards for my own professional growth. At the beginning I made the mistake of following Pinners rather than Boards. Now I am very specific on who I follow, as I search for Pins, for Boards or for Pinners. There is a difference between following Boards versus Pinners. If you follow a Pinner, every Pin they pin comes up on my feed. That usually includes a variety of topics and often is a waste of time. The only Pinners I follow are other HS Art Teachers, Fine Art Grad Students and strong artists. I found that actually the most effective method is to search for Boards and once you find a good Board you start surfing within it, open a Pin and scroll down at the bottom for more content; this technique somehow can get you up to 1000 new followers a day!

Why did you want to use Pinterest for your students in the first place?

I was finding that students tended to go to deviantart for their inspiration and ideas. This was problematic because what students were exposed to was monochromatic art with splashes of color and the final pieces they produced were all very similar. Pinterest allows me to guide them in the right direction through my Boards. It’s more likely that they will experience the kind of imagery that will make their investigation stronger and more meaningful. I look for what is cutting edge, but also acceptable art for high school students. They enter through my Boards and see the connections, the Boards becoming a gateway into their own investigation.

How did you get started with your classes?

I started with the Advanced Art classes in anticipation of these students pursuing AP Art.  Instead of using traditional sketchbooks, I saw an opportunity for students to reflect on their work and was excited to try something new, that was faster and very visual, that allows for peer feedback at anytime, from anywhere. It extends the classroom walls. I invited my students to follow my Boards and I needed to follow the students Boards.  To keep our work private, I have set up a shared secret class Board that requires an invitation from me.  I am allowed 6 such Boards.

As you can see from the prolific comments the students leave behind, I found out quickly that it is time consuming to follow all your students, so I only use it for my Advanced and AP Art classes, because the class sizes of my other classes would make it less manageable.
How has it evolved over a year? What are some unexpected results? Are you using it differently now?

It’s been pretty organic.  But now all the Advanced Art sketchbook work is documented on the shared Board.  There are 4 main steps:

  1. Research artist style and pin a stylistic reference .
  2. Take photographs influenced by researched artist work and Pin this as a visual reference.
  3. Create value spheres in the medium and pallette of the researched artist.
  4. Document the progress of the studio work.

At the end of class, the students take a picture of their progress and Pin it to the class shared secret Board. They defend their decisions and other classmates can add to their comments. Throughout this process students are required to comment on ideas, references and studio work.  Their comments are graded.  The big thing is that it brings a healthy competitiveness in the class, as they see each other’s progress and postings.

Looking at the start of a Pin by Advanced Art student Yoon Lee:

Here is a specific example of the development of a student’s piece of work on the class Board. Students capture and see their development day by day. This is a powerful tool for them.

Final piece by Audrey T., which ended up being published in the EARCOS magazine.

Using Pinterest Shawn has successfully made the learning dynamic and borderless for his students, empowering them to express their ideas in a very real, virtual space where they can enrich their learning experiences from the interaction of an authentic audience.  The students are well on the way to becoming the best artists that they can be.

Pia Druggan

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Piracy in Our Classrooms by Matt Schafer- HS Media Specialist

October and November inevitably brings an onslaught of students to my desk as they struggle to ensure their extended essays use proper citation formats and such to safeguard their papers.  They know “outsiders” will soon scrutinize their hard work and need assurance the ideas, language, and research of others are used in an ethical, moral, legal, and respectful manner.  These values are exactly what we want in our students:  integrity, responsibility, respect…best for the world. 

It goes without saying Jakarta brings a unique set of challenges in this domain, both personally and professionally. We all have experienced moments of frustration when we hear of /remember a great piece of video or audio that would enhance a unit, but soon find it will take some time to get it to Jakarta.  Still we must remember to hold true to the same values we expect for our students when it comes to using other people’s words, art, ideas, and expressions.  That being said, what message does it send when we use digital files from torre├čnt sites, pirated books from photocopy shops, and DVDs from stalls in nearby malls? Is essentially stealing other people’s work acceptable under certain circumstances?  Are we not all responsible to teach students about copyright and intellectual property?

The good news is that in almost every instance, there are solutions that can ensure legal materials are delivered to campus in a hurry.  These include digital stores such as iTunes, online book sellers, various eBook vendors, downloadable film outlets, and many others.  With a few days of advance notice, the librarian at each of our campuses may have a solution that allows an amazing lesson to flourish without compromising copyright law or supporting organized crime syndicates.  If one is already using pirated resources in a lesson, please let a librarian know so he/she can replace it with a legitimate DVD, licensed digital file, or book.  Finally, if unsure about some aspect of copyright, there are a number of online resources for educators.  Here are just a few:

Saturday Sessions @ JIS

Last Saturday, November 15, a group of educators met in the Middle School library @ JIS for another session on "Creative and Dynamic Ways to Use an iPad for Learning".  We were delighted to welcome guests from the British School Jakarta and share our learning.

The two hour session was set up to offer participants innovative ways to enhance Readers and Writers Workshop with a range of super easy to use apps (please see list of apps below). Our presenters Jane Ross, Sarah Pickles and Brooke Staton shared some wonderful student created examples before the participants were given a chance to "play" and learn.  The student examples that were shared demonstrated:
  • The Writing Process
  • Readers Theater
  • Reading Fluency
  • Book Character descriptions to 3D
  • Video Book reviews with QR codes
In addition Jane Ross shared a "Pro Tip" on how to use the iPads dictate feature to "write" a story in Book Creator.

One of the best by-products of the JIS Saturday Session has been the gathering of faculty from all four divisions.  This is a challenge to attain when we offer sessions before, during or after school during the weekday. Feedback from the sessions has indicated that our faculty love the hands on collaborative approach and the modeling of teaching strategies.  As with any learning, the participants went away with more questions.  We hope these questions will lead to generating more learning opportunities.

Be on the lookout for future Saturday Sessions in the second semester.  We will send out the dates once we get them confirmed.


Author's note:  This post was created by combining ideas expressed in a social post by Jane Ross and an email from Pia Druggan.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Personal Dictionaries with Book Creator

Thought I'd share this simple, yet effective strategy for students to create a personal dictionary that can be added to as needed. I have been using this with Grade 2 and the students were so excited to make these dictionaries so I thought that it was an idea worth sharing.

This idea came about to address a need for EAL students. They had been keeping a list of words on paper but being able to use a voice recording added a whole new layer to this task that can assist these students in learning new words. The class teacher explained to me that typing the word can be challenging so it was decided to photograph the word as found (in a book, on a display ... etc) and then add a voice recording speaking the word. All I needed was a simple way for this to happen.

I was able to use two apps here. I first made the dictionary template in Book Creator. This is an app that is on all the student iPads. It is easy to use.

Next I shared that file only with the students who needed it. I did this with Showbie. Showbie allows teachers and students to send each other files from iPad to iPad over the wifi. I have explained the process in the following info-graphic. Take a look.

If you would like the Book Creator file, I have placed it here on Dragon Tales.

Jane Ross PIE @janeinjava

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PIE G5 Art: Animating Art

Visual Arts teacher Ms. Genevieve Mathieu is currently exploring the elements of art with her grade five students.  Ms. Mathieu sees animation as a creative and fun way for students to learn about art. To begin the animation activity students are divided into small groups that are assigned a specific element to investigate, such as, line, color, texture, shape,form, value and space.   Each group collaborates to create an animation that communicates their understanding of the element that they have explored.  
As I observed Genevieve’s class the “fun” aspect of the learning was very apparent.  In addition, the animation activity promoted storytelling, critical thinking, problem solving as well as media literacy awareness.
From a resource perspective, the PIE Library small set of Android tablets - also used to access the Library Catalogue - have added options for a grade level where the primary tool is a laptop. The combination of the tablet device, custom-designed document stand, and the age appropriate StopMotion App made implementation of the project relatively easy, and the clear learning goals kept the project on track.  
We’ll be sure to post a link to student projects and reflections as soon as they become available.
Russell Downs (ES TIS) @russdowns
Mathieu, Genevieve. Personal Interview. 13 Oct. 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What happens when every student has an iPad for class?

The JIS Elementary Schools have gone 1:1 iPads in Grade 2-4, and that means their classrooms are immersed in the opportunities and challenges that come with such a major change.  The learning curve is not flat, and through the change process, teachers are modeling what contemporary learning and the 4 Rs are all about.

From Speed Geeking Wednesday Sessions at PIE to a Saturday Session at CIL to informal App problem-solving sessions at PEL to inspiration from the iPad conference at ISKL,  ES teachers are collaborating and considering the best way to keep JIS iPad use connected to meaningful learning goals.

Specifically, some learning goals being explored (and related tools) include:

- Making learning visible and documenting learning (Explain Everything, Book Creator, Tiny Tap)
- Metacognition and the creative process (iMovie, Photo)
- Developing multimedia literacy and design skills, ie Book Trailers (iMovie, Book Creator, Pic Collage)
- Collaborative research (searching for Google Presentation alternative)
- Math literacy (EDM games, Tiny Tap)
- Giving feedback (Google Classroom, Showbie)

Our school is lucky to have amazing resources - technology of course, but especially the love of learning our teachers and the technology/library team share with our community every day.  

Check out snapshots (Animoto) from the Saturday Session below.  Thanks, Rod, for putting this together.