Thursday, 6 July 2017

Passion Projects & RE - Rosemary Madden - Catholic Cathedral College

In the Term One holidays I went to a presentation (G Suite Summit) by Simon Ashby on the idea of running 'Passion Projects' within your class. Rosemary Madden from Catholic Cathedral College was in the room with me and set a goal for her Year 10 class. Her class would complete over a five week period (five classes) a 'Faith & Me' project in Religious Education. 

Rosemary, is using this project as part of her Teaching as Inquiry whereby, she is analysing whether the use of 'Passion Projects' has positive academic outcomes for her students (with one class per week give to a Passion Project) compared to those who are completing a standard topic. Within this project time, Rosemary is noticing the benefits on her students soft skills (communication, teamwork, critical thinking, sense of self and social responsibility).  This links well to the 2013 OECD report the Nature of Learning, whereby students should be encouraged to develop their adaptive capacity. Adaptive capacity is a willingness and ability to change competencies and expand the breadth of their expertise. The reason why this is important for our learners today, is that they will be required to be life long learners due to the disruption that technology will have in their lives.

How might I complete a 'Passion Project' within Religious Education? Let's find out..........

Four Guiding Rules

1. Frame it as a Driving Question

Ideation: 20 ideas in five minutes, 100 ideas in 10 minutes
Use the Chilli Challenge - How hard is my question?

2. There must be research involved

What do you do with an idea? These are your teachable moment(s)

3. The Project needs to have a purpose

Can your passion be useful to someone else? Local/National/Global impact.
What is the ‘why’ of your project…?

4. It must be shared

What are going to be the best ways to share your project? Will anyone see that website you made?

Collate Evidence

Collate your learning evidence as you complete your Passion Project.

You could format it as:

Forms for feedback
Docs., Slides or OneNote for weekly reflections
Mind Maps for ideation and questions


Role of the Teacher

Facilitator = Provide a sounding board for your students and prompt through advice and questions
Questioner = Seek to develop solutions to their barriers by providing them with options
Motivator = These projects do not provide immediate gratification. Provide them with regular feedback and remind them of why they are completing this project.
Innovator = Innovation is hard and requires the launch of multiple experiments in order to get to the final destination.

Tips for developing Passion Projects

- Allow a generous amount of time during ideation
- Put alot of time into the planning stages
- Work hard to drive enthusiasm/ motivation
- Bring in outside mentors to collaborate
- Create a deadline and stick to it
- Connect with others teachers using Passion Project time
- Celebrate at the end

Further Resources

Expert Genius Hour template

Motivational videos

Livebinders website

Planning Doc                                   

Genius Hour Reflections

6 tips to get started

St. Marks School-59 Genius Hour Projects 2015


Have a look at these short videos were students described their 'Passion Projects' to me.

Faith & Me World Religions Project

Faith & Me Popular Culture Project

- Thanks to Simon Ashby for sharing his awesomeness too!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Draft Digital Technologies Curriculum for Consultation - How does it impact my School?

I'm sure you have been reading in the media that the Ministry of Education has released a document for consultation around Digital Technologies in the Year 0 - 10 Curriculum. You can find the document here.

The document begins with the statement "Our education system needs to change how we prepare our children and young people to participate, create and thrive in this fast-moving digital world." The purpose of this Year 1- 10 curriculum is to ensure that all students are able to use digital technologies to solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities in this digital or second machine age. In Years 11 - 13 they will be specializing these skills  for industry and how they can lead the next generation of innovation.

There are three strand to this curriculum:

1. Technological Practice
Students develop  a range of outcomes, including concepts, plans, briefs, technological models, and fully realised products or systems. Students investigate issues and existing outcomes and use the understandings gained, together with design principles and approaches, to inform their own practice.

2. Technological Knowledge
students develop knowledge particular to technological enterprises and environments and understandings of how and why things work. Students learn how functional modelling is used to evaluate design ideas and how prototyping is used to evaluate the fitness for purpose of systems and products as they are developed.

3. Nature of technology 

 students develop an understanding of technology as a discipline and of how it differs from other disciplines. They learn to critique the impact of technology on societies and the environment and to explore how developments and outcomes are valued by different peoples in different times.

Within this document there are also eight outcome statements for the Curriculum Levels. Below are the outcomes expected for students at the end of Year 10 & Year 13.

By Year Five (Progress Statement Three) students will be able to:

- develop a basic computer programs in a block-based programming environment
- understand the need to be precise because computers cannot infer
-  make algorithms more efficient through the use of iteration (repeats/loops)
-  understand that multiple algorithms can have the same outcome but are not necessarily equally efficient.

It is noted in the Plan B Report that by 2030,  "80% of work will be collaborative and 20% will be individual. Currently the workplace is 80% individual and 20% collaborative."

Skills required in our future will be ideation, long term pattern recognition and complex communication. This draft document promotes this shift and it will be interesting to see how schools/ teachers react to this change.

To think about this as a technical change would be mad! Simply saying to staff 'well, we have to do this' would be the wrong attitude to take. 

Rather, we should look at this process as an adaptive change. This involves looking at:

- What your values as an educator/ school are
- Why you are making this shift in practice
- How you will make this shift in practice
- What you will do with the students to achieve this shift in practice
- Launching multiple experiments and analyzing feedback/ data to see effective practice
- Drawing together the 'Collective Genius" in your school/ CoL - Everyone has gifts and talents - make sure you harness these individuals

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Historically 70 - 80% of organisations fail in to shift in a moving context because they fail to focus on these five questions:

Why - What are the opportunities & threats?
How - Do we design our learning journey?
Who - Do we collaborate with?
What - Steps do we take?
Where - Are we heading to?

Image result for questions

If you are reading this post think about your school today and discuss these questions with your team. If there are some grey areas then these could be your focus.

- Do we have a single sign on for our students?
- Are we operating one platform? (G Suite or Office 365)
- Do we have an e - learning strategy?
- Do we have an e- learning leader/ team to develop our staff?
- Do we have a minimum standard of integrating technology into classroom practice?
- Are our students creating content for others or passive consumers of content?
- Are our classroom operating under the Substitution model (Pen & Paper - Device) or Redefinition ( Creation of new tasks) under the SAMR Model

Thursday, 18 May 2017

TeachMeet 1.0 on Scripture Wrap Up!

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Thank you to Matt, Stephen, Cushla, Whitney, Katherine, Ally and Ruth for presenting their knowledge on how to teach Scripture effectively in a classroom.
Below you can view their presentation which was recorded and the resources that they provided to our audience.
Thank you to our attendees - 25 teachers from 11 different schools. Well done!
P.S. On reflection, we are thinking of having a maximum of four presenters speaking for between 7 - 10 minutes and, sticking to that time frame. 
We also have a feedback form (click here)  which you can complete so we can make our TeachMeet 2.0 in Term Three even better!
Thank you.
Matt Malone - Breaking open the word

Matt's Presentation click here
Matt's Notes on how to integrate Scripture into the RE Curriculum click here

Stephen Woodnut - Knowledge is Power

Stephen's presentation notes with resources. Click here

Cushla O'Connor - God says WHAT?

Cushla's presentation including links to resources. Click here

Whitney, Ally & Katherine - Technology & Scripture

Ruth Velluppillai - Scripture in the Classroom

Cross Curricular Resources. Click here

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Events and Action in Term Two!!

Church Strand Draft Resource Trial

We are excited to launch the Church Strand Resource that will be trialled in 31 Schools during Term Two. This trial is part of the draft Digital Resource to support the Mandated Religious Education Curriculum on Faith Alive

Earlier this week, we had two workshops for teachers at St Francis of Assisi School and Our Lady of the Assumption School. It was fantastic to see over 20 teachers from 11 different schools attend this event. We look forward to presenting our final presentation at St Joseph's School in Timaru next week.

During this presentation we completed a demonstration lesson looking at the myriad of ways that you can use this resource. An important feature of this is using class time to address student misconceptions, ask questions, guide students through new materials and build stronger learning relationships. We also discussed new digital tools and research that you can find on our presentation. 

This is an exciting time in the instruction of Religious Education and the main message we have for teachers is to give us your feedback. We believe this is a grassroots movement with teachers. We need your ideas and resources to make this trial resource the best that it can be! Each of us have particular teaching skills. If we can harness these skills it will be an amazing draft resource. Without your help this would not be possible and we thank you for your efforts!

Please view our lesson 'Jesus as Teacher' below:

Catholic Education Office Term Two Newsletter

With the start of Term Two there is always a number of events taking place in the early weeks. This Term Cushla and I have decided to create a Term Newsletter which is jammed packed full of awesome resources and events within the Diocese. Check out the newsletter here. 

Areas within the newsletter which you will find useful are:

- A Staff reflection activity on the recent TED Talk by Pope Francis by Cushla. This is a great way to start your BoT, Department, Parish and Staff meetings.
- Faith Facts for Term Two by Cushla. If you would like to add in areas of faith in your school newsletter this is a must see!
- A Prayer Resource for each fortnight. We have created a Daily Prayer Resource which includes - A Prayer, Scripture Reading and Scripture Reflection for you and your staff to enjoy.
- Tech in Catholic Schools newsletter - If you operate on G Suite or Office 365 then check out this newsletter which has recent updates and news from both providers with a faith lens!
- A reflection on collaboration in schools. We often want this to occur with other schools but how do we make it happen?

TeachMeet Canterbury Religious Studies Network

TeachMeet Canterbury is taking place on Thursday 18th May (3:45pm) at the Catholic Education Office. 

The theme for our TeachMeet is 'Scripture in the Classroom'. A TeachMeet is an opportunity for teachers to share their ideas in a short informal manner. Speakers present for 2 - 7 minutes on an area that they are passionate about. Attendees are able to walk away with a resource or an idea and apply this to their classes. Currently, we have over 25 teachers from 10 different schools!

For more information and to sign up click here.

We look forward to this event and will post presentations and photos after the event!

Thank you and God Bless,

Cushla & Jeremy.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Year 7 & 8 Church Strand Teaser!

We have completed thirteen video's for our Church Strand Project with Jason McTeague. Here is a Year Seven Lesson.........

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Canterbury Religious Studies Network - Update

'Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they shall not turn from it.'

The Canterbury Religious Studies Network is a group of teachers who come together to share and discuss our teaching of Religious Studies. We currently have four faith schools involved and we are looking for more members/ schools to join us!

This is open to Primary and Secondary teachers/ schools who are interested in asking questions, seeking advice and sharing resources. Coming together as a Network allows us to form connections with others who are working on similar projects or those who are able to develop our thinking.

We have just launched our website which will provide you with details around our vision and areas of development. Click here to view our website!

To sign up and join our Network please fill in the Form below:

A key feature of our Network is the focus on 'Collective Genius'. Each individual has particular skills and knowledge. When individuals are connected on a platform (such as this Network) the possibilities for innovation are huge!

'For complex change you need many people working insightfully on the solution and committing themselves to concentrated action together' - Michael Fullan.

Passion Projects & RE - Rosemary Madden - Catholic Cathedral College

In the Term One holidays I went to a presentation (G Suite Summit) by Simon Ashby on the idea of running 'Passion Projects' within...