Saturday, December 10, 2011

Despicable3 - In the Guardian!

Despicable3 - In the Guardian!
Hey check it out! We were in the Guardian today on the front page! Thank D3 - you are awesome!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NZ's Most Inspiring Teachers

I received a phone call today to say that I have won $1000 worth of stationary from Warehouse Stationary because I've been nominated as the Top 30 (out of over 1100!) most inspiring teachers in New Zealand!  Wow, that's pretty crazy!

This is yet another 'good news' message that's come my way since the last half of the year.  My partner said to me that my school is so lucky to have me, but honestly I think I am lucky to have the school.  Or maybe a good combination of both.  

If you hadn't heard, my class blog Despicable3, came runner up in the 2011 Interface Best Blog Award!

Yes, and today is my 30th Birthday!  2011 continues to be a fantastic year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Plan A... er... B

One week earlier I was all locked in for my first choice of Year 3/4, digital class... but you never can tell what's just around the corner. A colleague announced that they are leaving so I am filling his spot... Year 5/6, non-digi...

My immediate feeling was like WOW! But now I am starting to get used to the idea. It is pretty cool to be acknowledged for my behaviour management skills (thanks Coley and Bill Rodgers!). All of my resources are pretty much for Level 3. On the other hand, I was looking forward to consolidating my learning at Year 3/4 because I have only had 5 terms with this level. I am just getting to really suss it out however, they are almost Year 5 now.

Another plus is that I am going on Camp in Term 1!! I love camp! Helping kids to take risks in Outdoor Education at the beginning of the year is great, everyone starts on 'Common Ground' - it's the perfect "Learning Community" unit.

Also, leading the leaders of the school is exciting. It will keep me in touch with Kapahaka leaders and music kids etc. I'll be more connected...

Yes, it will be an EXCITING change

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two Projectors

A short story I wrote about trying to get the projector to work when I was in charge of production.

Two Projectors

Despicable3 - Wonder Walk

Despicable3 - Wonder Walk
Today we went out for our 'wonder walk' to ignite our wonderings about some of Russell Street's hidden stories.  Here is a slide show I made with some of the pictures we took.  If you know of any hidden stories about one of the photos please share!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Message from Nic

Message from Nic

Wow! What an amazing term? It has definitely finished on a high because of our Production. All of the comments your parents have given you on your ePortfolios are all so positive and full of praise! You were fantastic, absolutely fantastic! It was a very special moment for me to be able to sit back during your performance and watch all of you performing with such focus and passion. Well done!! (And I apologise that I forgot to put on the smoke machine... again!). What a feeling - I was so proud of you all!

What about your Music Videos that we created this term? They are really awesome - and you all worked so hard to complete them. They will be something that you will treasure and look back on in years to come and you can say "Yeah! I made a music video!"

We have learned about Problem Solving and finding fractions of a set for maths. We began learning about tessellating patterns with geckos.

It snowed in Palmerston North and we captured this moment by taking photos and writing stunning creative stories about the experience. Millie brought in some Kelp and we wrote suspenseful stories using descriptive words about the kelp to describe an alien creature attacking you. We will finish these next term.

We extended our pastel skills and created an underwater tropical coral scene for our calendar art. There were some amazing completed pieces and they look stunning on our wall! Parents please make sure you purchase your child's calendar art from the office!

We have been practicing visualising, self-monitoring and inferring meaning when reading. Also, we have been learning about looking at a situation from "other people's viewpoints". One group worked with Suzanne and learned about the human body and another group looked at problems in the school that they could improve or fix - this is called 'problem-based learning'.

Like I said above, WOW! You rock D3! What an amazing bunch of people you are!? Have a really good break over the holidays, be nice to your mum and GO THE ALL BLACKS!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Production Meeting

I had a bit of a balls PD meeting today because I did not put in as much thought into the crux of the meeting. I guess it all comes with experience and I will know not to make the same mistakes next time. And there is no point making excuses because none of that matters now: fail forward.

Elly's idea was great for people to get into their buddy classes and discuss planning and structure of people's performances. Once we got this going - there was a very energising feeling in the room.

And also Eb's idea to share at the end - what a great chance to reflect and share great ideas.

What is the best structure for running a session with other teachers? Any pointers??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Call Back Day: Maths National Standards


Hmmm, just had to get that off my chest. During our final week at school each of us got another 45mins release time to go through the sample question for the maths National Standard. Here is the link:

We had to video the interview with the ipad. Well yesterday, as a staff we analysed our videos. Wow - it was very insightful and I recommend that school's do this as part of their practice.

We also had a Mathex competition to warm up our session. I was with Elly and we made an excellent team; talking and listening to each other. David said he sat back and observed the teams and how they interacted - very interesting. But there were some awesome types of questions. Now I'm not a maths person but I enjoy learning and I enjoy the challenge of learning new things. There was one question in particular where it gave you the answer and then a series of operations so you had to work backwards to find out the number they had started out with. I don't know, I just enjoyed that question.

It took us a while to warm up but then we got on a roll, which really highlighted the fact that you need to have a maths warm up before heading into maths!

After morning tea (which was delicious by the way!!) the newbies were call for another maths task. Each of us had an envelope and inside were shapes that you had to make into 5 individual squares. The rules were that you were not allowed to talk, and that you couldn't take pieces off each other. You had to pass your pieces on to the other people. But it was the group goal that we all had to make a square each. Again, it was a great learning task because one envelope was pre set to make a square that would hold the other people up but not only about maths.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catching Creativity

Mark Osborne
Brainteasers: google goggles - wow!

Creativity is infectious!

You can become more intelligent is by believing you can become more intelligent - Guy Claxton- Carol Dweck.

Nature 50 Nurture 50: na I was wrong -

Growth Mind set vs. fixed mind set

Cretivity Models:
Allow time for creative thinking
question assumptions
encourage idea generation
cross-fertilize ideas
reward creative ideas and products allow mistakes
build self-efficacy.

Mountain vs meadow
Stadium vs mosh pit
The intelligent mind is able to access viewpoints from both perspectives.

Need down time

Ken Fisher

Idea generation - 100 days of creativity why not have 21 days of creativity for kids?

Brainstorming Pros: quickly generates ideas, group . Cons: time restrained, not
New : brainwriting Peter Heslin

The Tinkering School - what can you do with shopping bags?

Impact projects: impact on your learning and impact on someone else. Open ended tasks. wikieducator - possible parody?

Cross pollination - what are you good at and how can it help you to work on something you are not so good at?
VW youtube video about sound effects in elevator and skateboards on shopping trolleys.

Dream, Make, Share

Mark Osborne

Albany Senior High School - no walls!! Spaces for integration, collaboration.

Open source software - free! Uses

Wall wisher
Gimp - like photoshop
Scribus - template for newspaper
Scratch - game programing
Minecraft - creating a 3D structure of their school (paid not free)
Blender3D - hard but can do excact same things as Peter
SketchUp - build a house
Sweethome 3D

Musescore it's not if you are bright it's how you are bright.
AUDACITY - better

Graphic organisers - Xmind
Jokosher - check it out.

Chrome supports apps - angry birds, picnik, art project "street view" virtual tours of art galleries.
3Dtin - stink
cramberry - flash cards about a topic, create, share online video editing

wikitube - wow!

Creativity through and with eLearning

Derek Wenmoth

After re-checking the flyer this morning I was surprised and excited when I googled 'Derek Wenmoth' and his photo came up because the last time I saw him was at ULEARN09 and he was totally inspirational.

Good things don't change. He firstly talked about 'MUNTED' - a new word lexicon from (post earthquake) Christchurch because schools are in ruin are needing to find creative ways to work collaboratively. He said that people were asking when was it going to get "Back to normal?"

The education system has become complacent on a global scale. Is it human nature to become complacent? And unfortunately we need a catastrophe to think outside of the box; to actually get off our butts and make real change. So with Christchurch's example - let's make a "new normal". Let's turn the whole system upsidedown on itself - how cool would that be?

'Stable state thinking' when this is done, we can do this... I am a shocker at this! But mostly when cleaning the house... but seriously, do we need to wait for an earthquake before we act?

Woah, interesting fact: 6 year olds don't know the world without youtube. I love youtube. My daughter Eva asked me the other day where hippos sleep? We had a look on youtube and sure enough we hit the jack pot! It is so powerful for those 'just in time' learning instances. Another example was when I needed to go somewhere formal and needed to tie a tie. Yip, youtube showed me how to do that too. Who needs a dad huh?

So this split school idea got me thinking: What if school did start earlier? Why do we start at 9am? In Guatemala they start at 7am and finish at lunch time. Imagine being home by lunch... hmmm. When am I freshest? When are kids at their freshest? It seems that school is just an institution that needs to fit within the work day. Why do we need to be complacent about these things? Any teacher will tell you it's much more difficult to 'teach' in the afternoon than it is in the morning... why do you think numeracy and literacy is in the morning?

This continuum was interesting. The different stages of the use of ICT in schools:
Addition (computers at the back of the classroom), Incorporation (all at a laptop), Integration (books, computers both together) Assimilation Phase (taking computer outside of the classroom - spontaneous).

How can I better to be within the 'Assimilation Phase' in my classroom? What learning theories do I hold that fit in and are evident in ICT and my practice?

Kindergaten blogs for portfolios. Awesome. How would these track over a lifetime?

2 things: the cloud and mobile/wireless.

Teaching and Learning as Inquiry:
Learn, Create, Share.
Ubiquity, Personalised, Collaboration.

GCSN: google this it is a resource database.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

itips 4 iLife

02.06.11 - iLife with Stuart Hale

I love Stuart's passion about photography, iphoto and macs! This has been the 3rd time I've been to a presentation by SH and each time the intensity is wicked - so it was a great day.

"Hi my name is Nic Mason and I teach here at Russell Street School and I've got a Year 4 digi class. We have access to 20 macs and my skill level is above intermediate..." was the introductory statement everyone made.

We first started talking about Flash and how it is not really sufficient, especially when it comes to draining battery life etc. Stuart suggested we use: "Bashflash" which is a free download as an alternative. I'm yet to check this one out so watch this space...

The Puzzle Analogy
We then talked about how iphoto is like a middle piece of a puzzle and the programs comic life, pages, imovie, and keynote have holes in them for iphoto to fill. I did know this but it was a cool way to put it.

The iPhoto Library Manager
Wow! I need to do this for my photos! It's a free download and it's an application that organises multiple iphoto libraries from multiple sources. So for example, it will have details about your photos saved on a hard drive at home but you can't view them until you plug it in etc. These will show up as a different colour so you don't get lost. I am still organising my personal photos from when I had a PC so I am looking forward to organising them so they are all in one place.

Time Machine
It was here we talked about the importance of using 'Time Machine' on a Mac. I have so much multi-media on my mac that I need to do this! It would be ridiculous to do it all manually again!

Using Handbrake
Handbrake is a free download and it you can use it to convert youtube onto your hard drive. If watch a movie on youtube, go to 'window' then 'activity' scroll down to find the movie it will be a big file. Right click and download. Then open it into the handbrake application and now you can use it for imovie.

Wow, this latest version is great! It's very easy to use so simple for kids to pick up! I am looking forward to using it with my kids. Here is the URL to a movie I made on the day. It's random as so don't ry and make sense of it! It was just playing with the things you can do with it:

Now what?
Buy a green screen or sheet, import all of my music and photos onto my mac, buy a new hard drive and set up time machine and library manager, MAKE MOVIES!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maths National Standars Totu


Students to be tested: L, K, A, T.

L and K first example:
37 - 9 = ?
Both kids had huge gaps when counting backwards. They both got confused around 31, 30 , 29. Their first strategy was to count on their fingers. I tried to do a bit of ‘just in time’ teaching and tried to connect 35 - 10 = 25 and so on.

24 marbles shared between 4 people.
K shared them out evenly from one.
L went 5+5+5+5 = 20 then added one more each.

T and A

37 - 9 = ?
Took away 7 and knew there were 2 left over and knows 30 - 2 = 28.

24 marbles shared between 4 people.
A knew that 5+5+5+5 = 20 and that there were 4 left.
T thought it could be 6 and then tested his theory by taking 6 away from 24 4 times.

In conclusion, it was very easy to see who was below, at or exceeding the standard for add/sub and mult/div. Now what? I would like to talk with most kids and give them these 2 questions to see how they work them out. The bottom 2 groups need to be working up in the year 4 standard for numeracy so this will be a focus for me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Building Science Concepts

Finally the moon came out so that I can model measuring it. Check here for the post. Lots of fun. Question: What do you think you will observe as you collect data? Where will the moon go? How does this information help you understand the earth, the moon and the sun?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New ideas (well used ideas) just new in my space...

Well, today I was lucky to have 1.5 hours release; 1/2 and hour was for SLC's (which were so awesome by the way) so that gave me an hour to get my head around a few things. One of which was writing. I was trying so hard to find ways to incorporate it into my program and was just coming up with nada. Ni mierda.

Anyways I had a brain wave to incorporate it into our Inquiry because I want the kids to 'explain' why seasons, day/night, moon orbit, occur. So day one was to look at explaining shadows. It was a great start but there are so many misconceptions about earth science that it is going to be a challenging challenge.

Also, last night my wonderful partner helped me talk through some of the other learning areas like reading, maths and inquiry. Thanks babe.

Keep on keepin on Nic because it just seems to be getting busier at RSS but I love it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Measuring Shadows

Measuring Shadows this was our first day of inquiry learning for term 2. I love hands on activities to ignite interest.

Monday, April 18, 2011

NZCER PD with Charles Darr

Assessment is great: scavenger hunt could be used for assessment or a point for discussion. There have beenn tests/experiements in the US where black people were told that black people do more poorly on tests before given a test actually do more poorly than others' who weren't told.

I scored 5 out of 11 in the test. Stink. Jacqui scored 10/11 - I should have looked at her test - (tehe).

Validity means getting lots of samples so that we can see the whole picture, nit part of the picture. (Photo of kid eating icecream)
Reliability - how consistent is the assessment: if I test the child again will they score the same result?

Wiggin's 'Educative assessment' - could the students do well at the task for reasons that have little to do with the desired understanding or skill being assessed? (and vice versa)

I'm sorry, why is this important? What do 'norms' look like - "they actually look quite boring" that's what she said. I do not like how assessment puts kids into boxes. Like the debate assessment there could have been a kid who performed really poorly in a "sit-down-and-shut-up" test but who performed outstanding for the debate assessment.

Stanines are associated with 'norms'
Percentiles are not percentages and cannot be averaged.
______________________ Morning Tea________________________________
A fresh approach to measuring progress:
Using Scales: just a place on your learning journey:
Maths Strategy Scale:
Y10 l - Algebraic Equations/spatial and numeric patterns/angles
Y9 l
Y8 l -
Y7 l
Y6 l - tenths
Y5 l - Counting in tens
Y4 l - Problems that can be done using counting strategies/symmetry/2D objects/halving/interpret simple graphs.

Reading Comprehension Strategy Scale:
Y10 l -
Y9 l
Y8 l -
Y7 l
Y6 l -
Y5 l -
Y4 l - Simple inferences, vocab, grammar, familiar topics, infer motives, character traits, arguments and themes.

This question was really confusing for my kids: 4/28 answered correctly. What do you think?


Lot's of stuff, including NZCER assessments for writing; they look pretty cool and I like the fact that they are done online as a test.

I found that on the NZCER website I can go into each question (comp, maths etc) and see what percentage of my kids answered correctly/incorrectly. I found this very valuable because it can give me teaching points for the rest of the year.

In sum, a pretty taxing day; but it has plugged a few gaps for me about PAT and STAR tests.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bill MacIntyre - Science PD

What are the fundamental skills about Planet Earth and Beyond?
- Light, shadows, sun
- Models; what do they represent? We are modeling this and that because it represents this...
- Time: "time is just a place" in rotation or during the year.
- Size: scale, spacial awareness.
- Gravity
- Perspective.

Tasks: size of the solar system down russell street and the distances from the sun to the planets.

Wow, talking about this brings back many memories about Teachers College. I am smiling because I remember 'measuring the moon from the sun' at The Fitz with Jade and Sam whilst having a few beers. Cool, I am looking forward to getting my kids into this. I hope I can hook in my challenging kids.

Things to follow up:
13 Lunar months in Tonga
7 Sisters/Matariki what culture is there masculine?
Black Holes - go away and do some research and come back and model your understanding for me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Welcome Back

It has been a while since I've posted stuff here as I've been focusing on my class blog. I want to share a few things here about my practice.

One of the goals I set myself when I began my new job was to increase my confidence in leadership. Since starting at Russell Street School, I have done the following:
-The Arts Coordinator
-Leading School Singing
-Associate Teacher
-Hosted a 'how to' blog evening for the parents of my students.

And in the future, I will be in charge of the school production in term 3. Which will involve whole staff PD with me co-leading, co-writing and organising stuff. It will be my biggest challenge yet.

I also have a teacher inquiry or goal, which is based on the teacher inquiry model:

But instead if working from a deficit model, we are trying to work from an appreciative model;
-what really engages my kids?
-what ICT tools can I use?
-how can I collaborate with other classes, schools and/or countries?
-what skills will my kids learn?
-how can they reach their potential?
-how can we present our learning for the digi-awards?

I'm really looking forward to the up and coming challenges.