Sunday, December 2, 2012

e-Portfolios - making a difference to student learning

Here are the videos from the enabling e-learning website by TKI: 

I was interviewed this time last year and recently discovered the videos online. (It was recorded during Movember, hence the Mo!). This seems like an age ago because this year I have not been using eportfolios.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ideas to help boost confidence in the senior school

I met with our RTLit recently to have a korero about a learner in my class. She said what we'd initially thought - that he was not bad enough to be picked up but that she would keep his profile for next year. 

However, she also made some great observations and gave some really good advice when working with learners like this. This particular learner is always slow to start, especially with writing. The RTLit said that this was typical for students who have struggled throughout school to become less confident in taking risks about "knowing what to do", which is why the learner sat without working because they were not entirely sure of what to do. It was observed that it wasn't until the learner heard feedback from me (that I was actually giving someone else) that they were able to start. She checked the learner's work afterwards and they had used the feedback they'd overheard.

 So how do you reach these kids? Her advice was to use "thinking out loud modeling" when modeling writing to show him how to use figurative language and pull out that really rich vocabulary and use it in their writing. This is really weird, especially in a Year 5 and 6 class but I have given it a go with success. This is definitely something to continue. Also, in their plan they had words like funny and tall. Using the thesaurus on a mac's dashboard, we worked together to pull out rich vocabulary. They felt so proud using words like colossal and side-splitting.

Reading was the same, once other people shared their ideas, the learner felt confident to share their ideas because others' had confirmed that what they will say is correct - very interesting. Now, the RTLit started talking about teaching (to) the STAR test. Which, I didn't entirely agree with because it's like teaching for the test? Is this authentic learning? However, I tried it as it still had merit in their learning. So I came up with this document of a story we were reading in class. We have shared reading on Monday and then group reading Tuesday - Thursday to finish off. The following week the story becomes independent work. I tried to make it as creative as possible at the same time, trying to focus on the skills that learners' come across in a STAR test. As always, I would love any feedback! What are some other ideas I could try? Especially with an ICT element?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Holiday Project: Cubby House made out of Pallet Wood Part 1

Running cost:
- $15 for trailer hire
- 16 pallets from Countdown - Free!

Phase One: The Frame
I had to break up 4 pallets to get the right amount of wood to make the frame.  I didn't really have the right tools at this time - the nails I had were too small!  I'm pretty sure the frame was just balancing up for the photo haha!
Phase Two: The Back
After talking to a few builder friends I was introduced to these screws (not sure of the official name!).  I bought an attachment for my drill and I was away.  I fixed up the frame during this time with a few extra long screws, then did the back.  I don't know if the pallet wood was too hard or my drill was not very powerful, but I found that it was best to drill a hole before putting in the screw.
Running cost:
- Yoghurt container full of screws = Free!

Phase Three: Windows and sides (and back again!)
I was well on a roll by now, I had been given some extra bits and pieces like a builder's belt with pencils, levels, rulers and a tape measure.  I measured up the windows and cut all the wood to size.  I measured and marked all the drill holes and pre-drilled holes where I wanted them.  Zoom, zzziilll, zoom, in went the screws with ease.  It was a masterpiece.  I therefore decided to go back to the back to fix it up the back because I knew I could do better.
Phase 1 - 3: Help
What would I do without my special helper who sat on the wood while I was cutting to keep it steady and who brought me screws and nails when I needed them?
Phase Four: Front and sand
I put a beam for the door and attached wood on the bottom.  I hammered in a bit of a ledge for the ice cream shop games!  Then it was noise time!  I fired up the belt sander and gave it a good going over.

Now what?
I need to figure out how to make a triangle frame for the roof.  I need to buy or find some corrugated iron for the roof.

These are a few of the other projects I am slowly chipping away at:

Toy Box
Wall shelf
Outside coffee table

But now, it's back in Term.  Part Two will get underway in 8 weeks and two days!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Replacing an Iphone Screen

So I found an iPhone 4 on trademe with a smashed up screen for $15 (starting bid).  Thought I could see if I could replace the screen myself... woah!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Artful thinking

I was really impressed by what Maryland Middle School were doing in this video.  I love the arts and I love learning within the arts.  It's kinesthetic and visual and suits my learning style really well.  

It reminds me a bit of our school where creativity and being creative is at the fore.   Teacher's have known for ages that hands-on learning works better for all learners - I still wonder why so much of schooling is the way it is.  There's some cool examples here like a science lesson might have "students choreographing a dance using locomotor and nonlocomotor movements to demonstrate their understanding of rotation versus revolution of the planets." Or a maths lesson might have "students learning fractions by examining composition in Warhol's Campbell's soup paintings."

I wonder how learning might look like if I didn't have small blocks of learning followed by another and another; writing, then reading then maths, then inquiry... What if we did an intensive unit of work until it was finished?  Does practicing something everyday help in the long run?  

Friday, August 24, 2012

This week we completed the second cycle of JK with an Amazing Race!  It fitted very nicely with our WALT: testing a hypothesis of what success is.  My students had to complete a range of tasks, take videos or pictures of the finished piece and upload them onto a Keynote on the iPad.  It was a lot of fun!

This was a perfect lesson for my class!  It was obvious from the lesson that I had designed the learning so that the children were able to connect to the characteristics (some easier than others) of being successful.  Yuss!  Big tick for me. 

I was looking forward to seeing the lesson in action again so was disappointed when things didn't work out to check out Rm3's lesson.  But I was able to have a look around and observe the race in action and check out the reflection part at the end.  They did a PMI and I was really impressed with the reflective comments that the Room 3 kids made about the experience.

I had all sorts of problems trying to upload the keynotes onto youtube.  The videos  would only play sound off the first video on the slide.  I googled it and apparently this problem happens when there's more than one video on your keynote.  So I had to make a video on imovie.  Band is 'Bad Rabbits' - totally awesome funk/rock band!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Plan, Do, Review

Here is the action plan, the task and the reflection task for our JK session coming up this Monday.

JK second cycle

We got into our second cycle of our Jugyou Kenkyuu professional development last week.  Click here to find out more about this project.  And guess what?  It's my turn for the hot seat.  This means that I am the one who teaches our lesson. 

It was a great session actually - though I was a little confused with what learning we needed to do.  For example, I thought the lesson had to be something that we were already doing.   Stephen's has a student teacher on full control, which makes it hard for his class to make much progress towards their inquiry.  So he was pretty much at the beginning of his inquiry and I'm at the end(ish): taking action. 

So check out the keynote below, as it outlines what we have decided to do.     

Putting my thinking hat on, I feel a little bit nervous that 5 teachers are going to be coming to critique our lesson.  Especially due to me not having a lot of time due to being on assembly last week.
I am happy that the task is hands-on, and that it will really assist with the direction we are going with our inquiry.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chiefs Victory Haka

Faaar, this was a mean haka!  I liked the formation of the roopu.  Something to think about for our Pai Tamariki performance coming up.  Well done Chiefs!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Semis Baby!

Diamond Sutra entered the Grand's 'Battle of the Grand' and were surprised to be picked to play the first show:
  The first night stirred excitement in the air.  New faces in the venue locked gazes and stares, as eyes on bar staff sparkled with wonder.  Heavy blues licks pieced the average punters ears, 'Blue Grizzly' were moments away from kicking off their set.  First song kicks in and wow!  I am amazed by the vocalists raspy yet warm melodies, and the deep groove of distorted blues.  I liked it.  It is obvious that the two guitarists are very talented as they both shredded up and down their axes.  Wait... no bass? At a second listen, the mix could have been better - from where I was standing I could here all of one guitar, a bit of the other, slightly quiet vocals and no bass.  All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed their set and would go and se them again.  

  Cue 'Diamond Sutra'.  Pretty casual set up; goaties, mullets, sports shoes and eye shadow.  A quick sound check and we're into it.  I adjusted my volume 3 or 4 times during the intro of 'Spoiled' and then realise I'm too loud once we all come in.  I feel on edge because I haven't quite synced in with what everybody else is doing by the time the song is over... damn, who wanted to play the new song second?  I stammered through Medusa (TL slammed it - it's gotta be one of my favourite vocal performances from her A).  Once the older songs rolled in one after the other I found my groove (and perfect volume).  

  'I and I' (eye and eye) dominated the stage with their presence and energy.  Choice riffs,  leads and groove laid down by the bass.  The rocky reggae vibe reminded me of Kora and I enjoyed nodded away from the back of the room.  The singer is amazing!   I am transfixed on him right now - he obviously sings with huge amounts of passion.  Well worth a look.  

  I congratulate the Grand for putting something like this on.  How awesome to have a blues band, a rock/electronica band and a reggae band in one night?  Also having the show start at 8pm and over by 10:30 is great for your average punter on a Thursday night.  I just hope that Palmerston North backs this idea.  The Grand is a much nicer venue to go to than the Royal - omg - and bands wonder why people don't turn up for shows at the Royal??  If Palmerston North does back it, then moving to a weekend night would be my advice.

  Oh yeah, Diamond Sutra take out the top spot - semis in September, here we come.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

First of all I want to give props to my buddy class teacher Sonita who sent us these notes of the day.  It was a massive day and I really enjoyed it.  Sonita, you have given an excellent summary of the day so thank you.

I think I was asked in all of my teaching interviews about the Treaty of Waitangi and what it means to me as a teacher?  Are there other job positions where you have to have some knowledge of the Treaty and apply the underlying principals?  Crazy really.

How it all unfolded was intriguing.  And it makes me want to inquire more into the rich history this country has.  Particularly the musket and land wars.

Another fascinating aspect that Vicky bought up was the 'urban marae' where new people living in a place are setting up their own marae for their community; in NZ and in Australia.  The argument is that that place is not the place of the olden days or the place of the hapu/iwi pre- 1800 so it's a bit controversial.  But, if people who choose to live that way want to, should have the right to, don't you think?  What's the deal with the Teachers' College marae?

My heart was wrenched out to hear that the Treaty was ignored for 100 years.  Shit man, 100 years.  It's embarrassing.

As New Zealander's how unique is our Maori language?  I remember singing Tu tira mai nga iwi in a bus in London, and hijacking a busker in Chicago to sing Hei konei ra, and rolling down the street in Guatemala performing the haka.  I am very proud of our language and culture; it defines us.

So what does it mean for me?

Turangawaewae: the place where your whanau stood, the place where you stand, your place to be: it's our story and we are all connected to this.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monologue Tests

We have almost finished our Lorax Monologues so I've been investigating how we might be able to record them.  First we tried the 'Puppetpal' app on the ipads but you have to buy the full version ($6) to import your own photos, then we tried blabberize.  They got it working but I don't seem to be able to play it?  Let me know if anyone has any luck listening to Kayleigh's monologue?  

Now I have just tried the fotobabble app on the ipad to see if that works.  The mouth doesn't move around but you get the idea...

The untapped potential of using the iPads is enormous!  I have really enjoyed the challenge of getting my head around learning, using, learning to use and using to learn the iPads.  One thing I must remember to do is read the 'Costumer feedback' on the apps.  If it's a dud, people usually say it and you can save your money.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Napier School Visits 2012

Wow.  I don't quite know where to start.  What an eclectic group of schools we visited.  During my time there it was clarified for me that we are beginning the process of writing the next school charter.  So we visited these schools to help us inform this decision.  I must say, it was a really effective way using the Ipad to create my notes on a keynote - it was really easy to take photos to back up what I saw or wanted to say. Gosh! Each school was so different.  I have so many questions and wonderings that I don't know where to start.  I might sleep on this one... what does it all mean?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jugyou Kenkyuu - Second Teaching Session

A very successful lesson today Rosie - ka pai to mahi!  It was obvious that you had lots of support from the group especially Sonita; who you identified as your 'ear'.  It was nice to see some of my students from last year again.  A great day.  I wonder who's teaching next?  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Paradise or Oblivion

Wow, this movie is pretty crazy!  And makes you think.  Made by The Venus Project, it questions notions of our society; politics, money, power, war, scarcity, sustainability etc., and how they are not serving everyone in our society nor our planet and everything that lives on it.  The Venus Project aims to set up a resource-based economy, where science and technology are pivotal in providing sustainability and enough resources for everyone on the planet.

I was critical about who was going to do those jobs that somebody has to do?  Like some of the jobs I've had to do when I was younger.  I really liked how education and following passions and interests was central to this society.  Anyway, I like how things make you think and question the status quo.  I don't know if this will ever work - but I think something needs to happen.  Is there any country in the world that isn't in debt?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Anne Giles

Notes with Anne Giles:


Tiki tour around formative practice.
TaTaiako - Maori Competencies

What are the most effective Formative Strategies?

Pedagogy - Diana Pardoe 'Towards Successful Learners'
"Unless kids know what being successful looks like, and feels like we can't get anywhere - they've got to have a positive self efficacy"

Active Learning through Formative Assessment

She talked about Growth Mind set vs. fixed mind set and developing a supportive culture of learning.

Talking Partners: 

  • More than Think-pair-share:

- Talking Partners: can be the same person up to 2 weeks.  Children should sit together on the mat, at their seats etc.  When you have finished ask "hey Sonita what did your buddy think?"
- Works well for Maori
- To articulate their thinking "metacognitive" this takes a while to get the hang of
- Be careful with the ways you respond to the contributions buddies give on the mat: e.g."I never thought of that and it has really made me think, and I like things that make me think" "Interesting" "That's cool, I love hearing things like that" 
- Sometimes it doesn't work; gifted, autistic, disabled, difficult behaviours - they could had a group of 3
Great example of Learning partners for swimming: buddies video their buddies swimming and then co-construct the skills of what they need to do with their arm action, kicking technique.     

  • Powerful tool for self and peer assessment
  • Aims to increase the amount of student voice in the classroom
  • Enables metacognitive discussion
  • Spending time on setting this up is critical to success

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Observations from our first teaching session

The observation of how the children interacted has made me reflect on my own practice.  How well do my children keep conversations about learning on task?  I have not had a lot of experience with teaching Year 2s and it seemed to me they are quite into self, e.g. talking but not necessarily listening to each other or their ideas.  This must be a developmental stage and I need to do some further questioning about when  children transition out of this phase?

Did the focus on roles get in the way of quality conversations about learning?  Did it get in the way of 'going the extra mile?'  The group I was observing knew their roles but they were satisfied in just doing the bare minimum: "I've taken 10 photos" "I'm the presenter" (as she sat there and did not contribute) Collector saying "I've done my job"  Certainly, as the lesson went on, Sonita did a fantastic job at roving and gauging whether the students were on-task. and she stopped them twice to repeat her expectations of the task.  Towards the end, there was much more focus.  

This also brings the question; why couldn't we celebrate the successes of some children being able to blow up a balloon?  This wasn't part of our success criteria but for some of the kids in the the group I was observing - this was a big deal!  If learning is the process of moving from the unknown into the known.  You could argue that this was successful; "The teachable moment."

So I am wondering if the job descriptions need to be unpacked and practiced some more.  Anne Giles talked about 'talking partners' and how it takes time to become effective at it.  Kids need to be shown, through video, what behaviours or skills are effective.  These are then co-constructed and practiced.


The Revised Plan

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trevor Bond's Questioning

I was asked to have a korero on Trevor Bond's Questioning at today's staff meeting.   I have been to see Trevor twice and he also came to an intensive PD session at Coley Street School, so I was happy to be able to share some of his messages.  I wanted to make sure I designed the presentation so that there was plenty of D&D (discussing and doing).  I find that these are the ways I like to learn.  I wonder what pockets of information people took away from it?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

NZ Music Month Re:Cover Album

Diamond Sutra were also featured on a special NZ Music Month compilation album called RE:COVER.  We covered 'Let it Go' by Weta.  I think it's one of the top 3 tracks on the album :)  Others to check out: 'Jesus, I was Evil' by Built and 'Chains' (Che Fu) by Crash Scan.  The album is a free download so click the picture above and follow the instructions.  

Diamond Sutra's 'Positioning Self' EP Available for digital download

Digital Download:
I have been giving this lots of listening time lately and I've got to say it's something that I'm really proud of!  I have recorded quite a few times in the past and most of the time there is something that you hear post recording that you think "oops" that wasn't supposed to be there or that doesn't sound right!  Friends who had rather 'bendable' arms and actually bought the CD, have said to me that it's one of their favourites.  So if you're out there in internet land, somewhere, click the link and do us a favour and download our awesome sounds.   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Plan...

Go Sonita!  Love the font and colours - nice job.  Here is our first plan for the Jugyou Kenkyuu inquiry.  Reading over it, it looks like a fun and exciting lesson that is sure to spark a lot of interest and conversation with the kids - looking forward to it.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jugyou Kenkyuu Planning Reflection

Today James, Sonita, Rosie, Stephen and I spent the morning together going over the JK form of professional development.

It's a pretty bizarre concept and quite intrusive if you take it as face value - having a room full of teachers critiquing your lesson!  However, after planning the morning together it has turned out to be an exciting concept.

We all planned the perfect lesson, which Sonita is going to teach,  and identified the WALT that her kids were going to learn.  The plan now is for Sonita to do some pre-teaching, then we are going to observe/critique the lesson next Thursday.

I am wondering how well it is going to go?  When we reflect and re-plan the lesson, how much will it change?  Will I be able to assist Sonita anymore in her preparations?

Jugyou Kenkyuu

Some years ago we instigated a series of classroom observations and discussions known as numeracy natters, literacy looks, formative chats…. to name but a few focus areas. Your feedback on what you would like to see more of in 2012, coupled with current literature suggests we need to re-ignite classroom visits with greater purpose. Brief of this trial: Groups of teachers work together to refine individual lessons, jointly planning, executing and then evaluating different instructional strategies for achieving a specific learning objective. This approach will enable teachers to share best practice, learn from each others strengths and weaknesses, and jointly develop and disseminate excellent practice.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Unlocking formative assessment

So I am still trying to suss out this formative assessment thing... This is an example of how I have seen it in my head:
I have seen it as a 2-fold thing; what we are learning to do and the task.  Jacqui said that the WALT's are transferrable over a range of areas.  This has helped me to break my WALTs into WALTs and TASKs.  Eg., WALT reflect and evaluate honestly.  TASK weekly reflection entry.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012