Monday, 19 November 2018


Nanotechnology Hands-on workshop

Science with the Nanogirl team.
They ask:
What is a scientist?
What is an engineer?
What stereotypes do children develop when they think of science and engineering?
How much do we teach science in our classes?

Science is applicable to everyday life. It is everywhere and embedded in everything.
Today's workshop focused on:
Acids and bases:

Red cabbage contains a chemical which shows if something is an acid or a base (alkaline).
The colour shows where it stands on the PH scale. Red cabbage is purple.
Lemon juice and baking soda are acidic and alkaline.
If you add baking soda to (boiled) red cabbage water it changes colour from purple to blue. on the Ph scale it shows it is more alkaline which goes to the yellow end of the Ph colour spectrum. If you add lemon the colour would be different, moving more to the red.

Blueberries in blueberry muffin turn green because they react with the baking soda in the muffin, which turns it green (more alkaline).

Make a PH rainbow spectrum based on lunchboxes.

Find out the acidity level of the soil in your garden. Mix up some soil with water then add red cabbage water to see what colour it goes. Colour gets compared with the PH scale.

If you put a tooth into a glass of orange juice or fizzy drink it will dissolve it. A good way to show kids how bad those things are for their teeth.

We did an interesting experiment, taking apart a disposable nappy. The inside contains small grain of plastic beads which absorb astonishing amounts of water. A small spoonful of these beads put into a cup can have ten times its amount in water and it continues to absorb it, becoming a fluffy dry material.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Bruce Moody Geometry

PL workshop   Bruce Moody

Geometry  L1 - L2

Root of Geometry - Geo: the earth / metry: measure
Comes out of measuring physical features.

We have a tendency to move to focusing on specialist shapes before getting clear about generalisations in shapes. For example, an octagon is not necessarily only a typical even-sided octagon shape. So if a shapes has eight sides, it's an octagon, even though it might look like a block T shape. A flat hape can be turned into a circular shape.

We need to start with real objects because the world is 3D, not 2D. There is a big difference between drawing a flat shape and looking at a real shape.

Take a circle: It is round. There are many ways to look at what 'round' is.
A length of dowel is round. A ball is round. A wheel is flat.
A length of dowel is also a cylinder. Cylinder comes from the Greek 'roller'.
Investigating roundness involves exploring what it does, not just what it looks like.
What is different about the shape of a ball and the shape of a dowel?
We should be looking at the link between form and function.

Look at shapes in our environment - what can they do?
Knowing about corners and roundness and flatness - take a blind. Pulled down it is flat. Rolled up it is round.

What is a corner? Look around our space - there are round corners, sharp corners.

Definition of polygons  - they need to be: closed, sharp corners, straight lines.
We can look at shapes - present a triangle that is not closed, or a triangle with curved corners. Is it a triangle? No. Doesn't fit the definition.

(A circle is not a polygon. It comes from ovoid shapes - from ova - egg)

Polygons - count the sides.

As aspect of working with geometry is using Directional language - Where things are. The language of location.

Includes notions of on, under, behind, in front of.
This involves egocentric language vs geocentric language - east is always east regardless of me and the way I face. Whereas notions of up and down,  in front or behind/back depends on me and where I perceive myself to me in the relationship with front and back. My left or your left?

One great way to get directional movement into kids heads can be line dancing: five steps forwards, clap, quarter turn right, clap. 

Real life situations - packing your bag, how many cylinders can you fit into a box?

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Maths workshop on Measurement

Bruce Moody workshop 29 May 2018

Measurement  L 1 and L 2

To begin with, we need to establish what measurement is and what we are talking about.

Never use a ruler to learn measurement in Year 1 and 2.

Children need to demonstrate we can measure with self-chosen units. Introducing rulers too quickly, before they understand what measurement is, is not helpful. Length is not a straight line.

Fundamental understanding needed at L1 and 2:
  • Learning there are different ways of thinking about big and small. 

Ask, tell me about this chair and this table. Tell me why the chair is bigger than the table and then why the table is bigger than the chair.

Children are coming in to school with concepts of big and small. However there are different ways of thinking about big and small. We are drawing their attention to the understanding that any object has more than one dimension.  

Example of using books and asking Which book is the biggest? (3 books of different sizes and thicknesses).
We are deliberately getting kids to experience ‘it depends’ when comparing size.
There are different ways to looking how long something is. Don’t confuse measurement with geometry.
In measurement length is length even when perpendicular. In geometry it is called height.
This includes width, length, depth  and height are all called described as length.

Making direct comparison using different objects.
We have different ways of describing big and small.
If you run your finger along each book which one takes the longer or shorter time to cover.

Using toy cars - comparisons using different ways of measuring, sideways, lengthways, upwards, distance they travel.
  • Length is not straight lines, it is an attribute.
Using the concept of length as a ‘journey’. The length around some kind of shape.

Year One children learn attributes. In Year Two you can start introducing quantification.
Year One different ideas of bigness. In Year Two introduce quantity.

Example of different kinds of bigness - three pieces of wood can fit inside a plastic bag, but when the bag is screwed up empty it is the smallest. When it is holding the wood it is the biggest.

Blowing up a balloon: You can change its bigness by blowing air into it. It is a different kind of bigness than length.

Area: Covering or wrapping something. Example of skin on your forearm. You have an area of skin. How can we find out how big it is? We can wrap our arm with newsprint, cut it and then unfold it to measure how big it is. The idea that area is measured in squares. Can use squares to measure a table, an arm etc. Area is not length, it is quite different.
Similarly with volume. Using blocks of wood, putting them together to measure how many blocks are in the house. If out house is a tower of blocks it is tallest, if it is made of a bigger group of blocks it is bigger because there are more blocks. Can use the same number of blocks assembled in different ways. Demonstrates different ways of measuring.
Using water and vessels, the same process applies.
Children have to learn how to measure to be accurate. A cupful is precise. Four cupfuls that aren't full are not precise.

  • Measurement is about choosing a unit and replicating is exactly to produce a result.
We must use the same unit, you can't measure something using a variety of unit of measurement.

Can use a coloured string of beads to measure length. String is in blocks of ten bead colours. Children learn to move from counting in ones to counting in tens. Place value comes into measurement. Can also use a length of wool to measure different shapes, then compare them against the bead string to get a unit of measurement.

Example of giving a child a broken ruler and asking them to measure something, inevitably they will give the number on the ruler, rather than using the units of measurement. This demonstrates the difference between understanding the concept of using an accurate unit of measure and the misunderstanding of what measurement actually is.

Time: Just teach cultural aspects of time and seasons, days of the week. Time telling is very difficult. O'clock and Half Past are as far as you should go in Year 2. Digital time is now dominant, not analog. So its 3.50, not 10 to 3.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Trauma workshop

Daryl 23/5/18

This morning on National radio, a police spokesperson said that notifications of domestic violence was up by 3000 in the last year. This is the equivalent of an incident every four minutes. An interesting comment by the police is that they they want more people to notify because it  cements the fact that family violence is not to be tolerated.

What impact does this have on our students? Of course we know about many children in our classes who live in violent homes, but there are others who we know nothing about. Or we know something is wrong but we can't find out - the children are either unwilling to talk about it or stay under the radar. They act out in class but we don't know if they are victims of abuse at home before they come to school.

Compassionate teachers make it possible for children to open up and talk about what is happening at home. Sometimes kids have no language to express what is happening. or at the very least, it gives traumatised children a safe place and the option of telling if they feel they can trust the teacher. Compassionate teachers also understand that a child might need a different programme for awhile, or be able to withdraw or do something that helps them calm themselves.
Sometimes violence is normal for kids.

Forever changed, not forever damaged. Trauma doesn't mean that a person is adversely affected permanently. Self awareness is critical.

Its OK not to be OK - acknowledgement that someone feels bad, we don't need to fix it or brush it under the carpet.

Kids with attachment issues will push you away one day and pull you in the next.

Showing grace:
Remember each day is a new day despite what happened the day before. Its not always easy to let go of something that really bothers us in the classroom but critical to keep positive relationships happening.

A good story to discuss feelings and fear: Three little wolves and the big bad pig. About language and turning emotions and feelings around.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Literacy PL

26 February 2018

Hamilton East School    Literacy workshop run by Gaylene Bobsein

Literacy: - 'Writing is the painting of the voice'.

'Shared stories build classrooms into communities.'

The NZ curriculum, progressions and Effective Literacy Practice are the basic texts we refer to.

Unpacking our literacy 'toolkit' : It's important to consider whether my programme meet the components of the documents.

I am teaching year 1 learners. My children are mostly writing a simple sentence such as I like playing, or  I went to the pool. 

How do I develop their ability to write?

I talked about Theo. His picture is elaborate - full of detail and interesting aspects.
His sentence said I like marble runs.

Instead of getting caught up in the spelling, space between words, the mechanics of writing,  I should engage with the picture - talk about the details, scribe for him. Then his story is exciting, full of detail. It hangs me up to be caught up in the process rather than the message.

Alternatively he could take a photo of his picture and then 'read' (tell his story) on an Easyblogger post, which is then published. So he is in effect 'writing' his story. Verbally, digitally.

Filling the classroom with paper, clipboards with paper on them, stapled notebooks, to encourage children to incorporate writing into their play.

'Writing, in whatever form it takes is an important way for children's voices and narratives to be recorded and shared.' (from The NZ Early Childhood Literacy Handbook). 

Re-read the text "I've got something to say.'  Gail Loane.

Important to develop the ability for children to notice details of things. Noticing - being present - notice the light and shadows. Hear the sounds around you. These are the things that are the building blocks of writing. So children from an impoverished background with little language can start to find things to write about.

Living between the lines. (Lucy McCormick Calkins). A text about how to draw on childhood experiences, simple small moments. American teacher. Working in poor neighbourhoods.

Vocabulary: There are many children who have limited vocabulary, they simply don't have the language to express themselves. This is where the oral language of storytelling is an important aspect of the story writing process. Storytelling is central to literacy.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Maths PL Statistics

17 October 2017                  Bruce Moody                Hamilton East School


Statistics should be 'purposeful inquiry', not just be about teaching kids how to make a tally chart, graph etc.

Example - groups required to sort out coloured crayons in the middle of their tables.
Then they record how many of each colour they had.
Teacher asks what does this mean?
Kids said they didn't have enough reds greens or whatever, could they have some more.
The purpose was to replenish the stores of colours in response to their statistical investigation.

Collecting opinions about something in class, eg how best to use reading time.

Class collect information about a topic, then ask what they could do in response to this information. Discuss in groups, then report back to class with ideas.

So if 15 want one thing and 10 want another, the outcome might be that for three days they would have option one and two days option two. This is proportional of the preferences of the class.

We need to help children to look at data and then respond or understand the meaning of it.

It can be helpful to let young children vote with an object - eg unifix cube or piece of paper.

Difference between More/ Most

If you construct a graph that shows more people liked one thing more than three others, this does not mean that most people liked one thing, if there are other categories with a total that exceeds the number who liked the one thing.

If you change the way of displaying the information and place the votes in a line graph instead of a bar graph it is easier to see that less than half the people liked the first thing.

Ways of adjusting and adding to a question. For example, preferred sports for an afternoon. Given one vote each the result is a range of preferences, whereas if you  give each person two votes, there might be more people being happy to play one particular sport.

Favourite and common

Be aware of differentiation and use of descriptive words.
Factual data is not about favourites, it is about what is common, eg eye colour. If its about making choices and opinions and feelings, such as ice cream preferences, then it can be described as favourites.

Assembling pie graphs - you can make one and cut it into segments (google fraction circles, to get circles marked into sectors) using different coloured sectors, kids choose their sector and put it into a pile.
Children will sort it into colours and then assemble them into a pie graph.
You don't need to draw a pie graph to make one, you can construct it using sectors.

Tally charts 

Is to collect information, not present it.
It is for organising data as you collect it. It is not useful until kids can skip count in fives.
You can use ice-block sticks as an introduction and then physically arrange them into a tally chart. Then when you draw a tally stick in the right place it is more meaningful.


Probability involves predicting the future.
Example: following a trip to a bird reserve, which birds are we most likely to see?
Put opinions on a line on the floor, no way at one end, for sure at the other.
Can also do this talking about something we know about - what's the likelihood that we would we see a seagull at the beach? A baby chicken?
Example - how people came to school. We might have four modes of transport to school, but probability means it's possible someone could come in a taxi, even if nobody did. Is it probably someone might come in a helicopter or hot air balloon?

We predict ..... that making a tunnel will shorten travel time....

What will the weather be like next week?
We can look at weather in Hamilton in October over the years, so work out the probability that it will be fine/raining.

Variability is normal when doing something like tossing a coin. It is not likely you will get 50/50 heads and tails.

Lotto, or gambling generally are good examples of considering  probability.