Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meynaa School Deputy Principal

My primary contact at the Meynaa School, here on the island of Holhudhoo is Mrs. Nahidha Ali, the Deputy Principal.

Last week after her requesting my conducting some model demonstration lessons over the term break... she noted as I was about to leave..... "I have one more thing I want to talk with you about...."

"Could you help the school develop a five year stratetic plan," Nahidha asked me?

Long story short..... I'm facilitating the Meynaa School's five year strategic planning meeting on June 8th which will include all the stakeholders: students, PTA, teachers, island administration, school administration.

Little kids have the most fascinating expressions...

I'm not sure......


Let me take a minute to think about that...


I want to grow up to be a doctor!

Changes I've made on the island....

Recently, I gave up wearing my hat..... in exchange for the shade provided by....
My new bright red umbrella!
Now this change did not come about because of the rain.... since the rains had not yet started when I actually bought the umbrella.....

rather... I got the umbrella for...

The sun!  An umbrella I've learned, provides a lot more shade than a hat.

Added bonus, the umbrella does not mess up my hair by disturbing the gel I now use.

But then.... I'm not a vain person, so who cares!

Classroom management 101

Proximity is an easy classroom management tool to use.... by moving throughout the classroom, the teacher can monitor learning, check for understanding, and bring students back on task if need be.

Assessment.... it's a BIG deal!

This workshop on assessment was one of the first sessions I held with the teachers.  It was intense, fast paced, with lots of activities.

Assessment:  it is a process, done over time, to collect information to improve student learning.

First I created a three part Graphic Organizer on the board to explain the three types of assessment: diagnostic, formative and summative.

Diagnostic Assessment

When:  before instruction
What: to find out what the child already knows.
Why:  to plan next steps
Examples:  pre-test, IQ test

Formative Assessment

When:  during instruction
What:  part of the classroom routine
Why: to help with lesson planning
Examples: quiz, homework, review games, lab work

Summative Assessment

When:  at the end of instruction
What:  information on student learning over time
Why:  to provide feedback to student, parents, teacher and administration.
Examples:  term exams, Cambridge exams

Following my direct instruction on the three types of assessment, I introduced Graphic Organizers to the teachers.

First I used a "Bubble Map" to demonstrate how to use the Graphic Organizer to describe Diagnostic Assessment.  Next, I divided the class into two, and asked half of the class to now create their own "Bubble Map" Graphic Organizer to describe formative assessment, and the other half of the room to do the same, but for summative assessment.

When the timer buzzed, I randomly called on a teachers to come to the board and complete one "Bubble Map" for formative assessment and explain it to the whole group, and one to do the same for summative assessment.

To bring a little levity to this rather heavy topic, I placed on each of the four walls, one of the above symbols:  clouds, balance, kite and dart.

I instructed the teachers, when I gave the okay to get up, to move to the symbol that in some way attracted them, or that they related to.

Once teachers grouped around a symbol I asked them to talk about what it was that brought them there.  Only after this, did I tell them this is a diagnostic communication styles assessment.

Cloud:  relationship oriented
Dart:  only the facts, straight to the point
Kite:  moving all over the place brainstorming ideas
Balance:  collecting ideas to make a decision

To assess if the teachers really understood the three types of assessment, I passed out pieces of paper with a type of assessment (or combinations of assessments) written on them.  In small groups, teachers were asked to draw a picture of the assessment written on the paper they received..... BUT... they could only use pictures!  They could not use any written words in their picture....

That's me in this summative assessment drawing!

Can you guess which of the three types of assessment this one is showing?

Diagnostic assessment..... and so proud of it!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Island life, business, offices, and so forth

One of the three restaurants on Holhudhoo Island.

In addition to the regular meals served at the restaurants, these little snacks are always available.  Often taken with tea in the afternoon, they are delicious!  Some are like little sandwiches, others coconut based, some taste like pizza, and others fish.

Boat building and repair is one of the few industries on the island.

Here's the drug store.... usually opens about 6 p.m.  However the pharmacist is great... I needed contact lens cleaner and he did not have it available.  So he special ordered it for me from the capital.

The two story blue building is the island's indoor sports center.  Directly in front of the sport's center is one of the island's mosques.

The inside of the sport's center.

The island's administrative office.

The diesel powered electric power plant.

The island's cemetery. 

Fishing is both an industry in the Maldives as well as a sport.

Lots of little stores can be found on the island.  This one is selling mainly clothing.

Theses are almost like convenience stores, carrying a little bit of everything... bottled water, stationary, canned foods, soap, snacks....

A few of the little stores also carry fresh fruits (apples and oranges) and vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and onions).

I think I've counted three trucks on the island.  Few motorcycles and the health center has an ambulance.  One can pretty much walk along any street on the island and not worry about traffic.

The island's streets are made of a fine sand and  ground corral mixture.  When it rains, water often stands in the street.... eventually seeping down to help replenish the somewhat salty underground fresh water reservoir.

Many of the houses have large plastic containers for storing rain water.  This is the water that people rely heavily upon for their source of drinking water.

Crows are everywhere on the island.  I've not been able to get a photo yet of the huge flying bats.  Actually, the bats are larger than the crows!

Children's play ground area.

The island has a health center with one doctor.

Rajan is the health center's lab technician.

Red dress

She reminded me of.....Little Red Riding Hood  dressed so very pretty, all in red....

It's all in how we look at ourselves... and others too!

Okay... I have no hair on the top of my head, and when I get into the humid tropics, the hair on the side of my head frizzes out ..... making me look like a clown!

Not a really good professional look when I am suppose to be facilitating educationally focused professional development workshops.

Now, should  Mr. T take this guy's advice and buy that gel?

Or should Mr. T take this guy's advice and buy this gel?
Okay.... I bought the gel and I still have no hair on the top of my head. But check out how nicely the hair on the side of my head lays so flat, what with all that gel plastered on!

By-the-way..... You did notice it's the same guy offering the advise in both pictures with the same container of gel.... didn't you? 

How do we see ourselves?  How do we see others?
Perception!  Perception!  Perception!

Where there is perception, there is deception.

Listening... it's more than just your ears!

Good listening skills involve more than just your ears!
Mr. T explains to the teachers how their students' listening skills can be developed over time.... using some fun and rather unusual approaches.

Students are to listen only.... they are to do all of the calculation in their brain only.... no paper and pencil!

A young elephant weighs 1500 kilo.  It eats half its weight in grass every day.  How much will it eat in one day?  Five days?

If grass costs 10 rufiyaa per kilo, how much will the elphant owner spend on grass in five days?
It's all in your head.... no paper... no pencil! 

The teacher reads this problem to students and they then answer it. 

2+2 - 1 X 2 - 2 divided by 2 + 1 = (     )

The variables here are the speed at which the problem is read and the length of the equation to be solved!

Start easy, with simple, short problems.  Then as the teacher diagnosis their student's abilities, more and more numbers can be added, bigger numbers, more complex calculations.... you might even include the square root at some point!

This is a fun one to do if students have been sitting in their seats for awhile.  It gets them up and moving about, as well as challenging their listening skills.

The first student says.....

"My favorite animal is an elephant."   
Note: the item could be a city, food, book, a famous person, etc.  

Each subsequent student must repeat each aninmal the other students have said before them......

A way to make the same listening skill exercise more challenging is..... notice in the above picture how I am now in the middle rather than at the right end?

After about the third student has said the phrase, "My favorite animal is an elephant, cat and monkey,"  have students one and three change places!  This puts a new twist on the listening exercise!  Student number four will suddenly have a very perplexed look on their face!

Try the above with numbers! Tell students to think of their favorite number, then begin the exercise

"I like the number 9!"  And then it is up to the subsequent students to add to the list of favorite numbers.  See how many numbers can be added before a student can no longer remember them all!

 Try a drawing activity!  The teacher gives the students an auditory description of a picture they want the students to draw...... but only when the teacher finished!  So here goes...

Draw a house in the middle of the paper.
The house has one door and three windows.
One tree is on the left of the house.
Three trees are on the right of the house.
Five mountains are on the horizon behind the house.
Six clouds are in the sky.
A river flows from the first mountain past the house.
Three fish are swimming in the river.

The teacher could stop at this point and allow the students to draw the picture.... or if through past similar activities the teacher has assessed that the students can do more..... the teacher keeps adding more items to be drawn!