Thursday, 2 July 2020

Getting Started with position and orientation

We have had so much fun over the past two days jumping into the site that we received from our student teachers.

We started by looking at prepositions through a Kahoot, Drag and Drop prepositions activity and movie making.

I have loved every minute of teaching this unit so far and the kids feel the same. Please check out this blog post to see what the kids had to say.

What we liked most was that every video the student teachers made connected so well to the learning task. They had a clear understanding of what the class need and made it fun and exciting.

Our first thoughts on the site:


Prepositional language:

Monday, 29 June 2020

A gift for me and Room 21

This term I have had the wonderful privilege of working with Debbie, Karen, Aamel and  Lucy during their two week online practicum.

From the moment we first met on Google Meet I could tell they were a hard working bunch of ladies who were eager to learn all they could on their journey to becoming incredible teachers.

On Thursday the 25th of June at 2:35pm just after saying Good Afternoon to my outstanding year 3/4 class I open my emails and ran full of excitement to show my Co-Teacher what my student teacher had created.

In just two weeks they had clearly taken all we had talked about, looked closely at my class blog, the learners blogs and the curriculum and this had lead to a very special and exciting gift not only for myself but for the learners of Room 21.

This site aptly named Maths Fun, is a sequence of learning for the topic of position and orientation. From the moment I opened the first page I was filled with excitement for what the learning would look like in my classroom. Like I said to the training teachers "I am in love with what you have created!"

Here are the reasons why:
The home page has the cutest  introduction videos from each of them really letting the learners see who made this for them. 
The topic of the site is clearly introduced. 
They have used Kahoot, which they knew from discussion is engaging and exciting for my class. 
The topic is broken up into clear parts which would make up lessons or week long units. 

Each topic is engaging with awesome activities such as battleship, find the Pokemon (using the children's own creations), Movie making with positions and a Quiz about directions in our very own school. It is clear to see real thought has been put into this. 

I want to once again thank these wonderful training teachers for their hard work. I can't wait to test out this amazing site with my class and I am sure they will love it as much as I do. 

I will share how it goes later this week. 

Online Student Teachers

Ever since my first day in the classroom I have waited eagerly for the day I would be able to have my own student teacher.

I guess this is because of all the amazing Associate teachers I had and the many mentors who have supported me since then. Looking back I know that each one of those people gave me a gift. From all I have gain curriculum, from some I learned patience from others I learned to have high expectations and from all I learned to be a teacher is so many other ways.

So when the opportunity arose to be an online Associate Teacher for the group of training teachers in the graduate program I literally jumped for joy. This was it, my chance to give back the gift so many wonderful teacher had given me. Little did I know that I would get a much greater gift from my student teacher than I could ever give them.

Before our first meeting I emailed the training teacher to set up a time and shared with them this video that the children in room 21 helped me to create to give the teachers a feel for our classroom.

This movie is movie is just for your Debbie, Karen. Aamel and  Lucy.

Only moments after I sent the email I had response and the lovely ladies had commented on our blog.

Only a few days later we met on Google Meet for the first time. Our meeting was a whirlwind of ideas, information and conversation.  I tried my best to collate all we talked about into a Google Doc so that they could refer back to it. I also gave them their task description, as these student teachers could not be with us in person they were asked to look through the kids blogs, comments and collaborate to create a set of learning activities to meet the students needs.

I asked for, During level 2 we look at position and orientation. This proved to be a challenge for the children. They struggled with the vocabulary of position: in front, behind, beside, under, over etc North, South, East, West and so on. They began using grid coordinates and needed more work on this. It would be great if they could have a learning experience using a range of positional language and working with grid coordinates. This will be with the learner in my class working at and above a year 3 level.

From this we discuss them each taking an area and creating a task for the learners. We talked about games as a way of engaging the children. We talked about the interests of the kids and how these can be motivating factors in learning.

During the two weeks the training teachers had to create their learning activities I had a range of questions from them. However these questions for the most part were content and learner focused and not digital skill focused like I had expected.

Reflecting back I remember 3 days before our second meeting feel concerned that I had not supported them enough when I heard other teachers talking about their training teachers asking for digital support.

What I learned was that if they had needed it they would have asked but they like any great team had been drawing on the resource of each other, the internet and the university and had save only the questions about my learners that no one else could answer for me.

The site they create is exceptional and therefore deserve a blog post all of its own. I feel so privileged to have had three amazing student teacher, who are self driven, hard working, thoughtful teachers  already. They have shown me they take children learning seriously and what to use all they know about a group of children to create content that inspire and challenges them.

Thank you so much Debbie, Karen. Aamel and  Lucy for inspiring me with your passion and commitment to children's learning. 

Friday, 22 May 2020

Professional Reading Two: The Challenge of Challenging Text

Share three pieces of academic or professional reading and explain how they and other sources helped your form hypotheses about aspects of teaching that might contribute to current patterns of learning. (WFQ 7)
Royalty-free weights photos free download | Pxfuel

Professional Reading Two: The Challenge of Challenging Text by Timothy Shanahan, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

This text is interesting in the way it compares reading to lifting weights. It discuss the idea that as we build up our ability to lift weights we add more weights and suggest we do the same in reading. 
I guess this is why we have levelled reading systems in our school. 

My question is what if you have been lifting 5kgs for 3 years but according to standard tests can't lift 10kgs yet. Do you stick with five and hope it build enough muscle our struggle with ten? If we put that question in terms of reading, if you have been reading level 5 since year 1 and are now in year 4 should you keep being given level 5 books or be pushed to a higher level with support? 

Reading this article was interesting here are some of the main ideas I learned from it:
  • Student should be purposefully moved through reading at different challenge levels to help them gain skills. 
  • Texts are made challenging not only by words but the way the form sentences. 
  • We often focus on topic specific words and not the more general terms that skill challenge learners. 
  • "complex sentence structures are necessary to communicate complexity of information itself..."
  • Demand if placed on students working memory when faced with challenging texts. 
What are my thought after reading this text? 
What is a challenge for one kid may be easy for another, this is why we differentiate right? But when students are differentiate does it mean they miss the opportunity to build complex knowledge? How can we build working memory complicity for our learners to increase ability to read longer sentences. Can vocabulary be taught outside of sentences and skill support reading, maybe not? 

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Professional Reading One- Closing in on Close Reading

Share three pieces of academic or professional reading and explain how they and other sources helped your form hypotheses about aspects of teaching that might contribute to current patterns of learning. (WFQ 7)

Professional Reading One- Closing in on Close Reading By Nancey Boyles

Summary: This texts looks at the key ideas of close reading. Student being able to read the text closely focussing in on key vocabulary, ideas and asking questions as they read. It states "...Close reading can't wait until 7th grade or junior year in high school. It needs to find its niche in kindergarten and the years beyond if we mean to build habits that will lead all students to deep understanding of text."

Reading this article was interesting here are some of the main ideas I learned from it. 
  • Students who have close reading experience of challenging text no matter if they are struggling readers or not gain more proficiency. 
  • Close reading is about uncovering the many layers texts have and it often requires repeated reading. 
  • Focus on the text itself and not is wider world connects allows kids to connect with the key messages and develop word and sentence knowledge. 
  • Unpacking words at each stage of reading helps develop over all text awareness. 
  • Short texts can be useful for this as they provide an opportunity for more learners to engage with the same text. 
  • Students summarising in their own words is ore useful for comprehension development then quoting directly from the text. 
  • Students should be the ones to ask questions of the text, however teachers must be ready to model and support development of questions.
  • There is a table of question that I think might be very helpful to me. 
What are my thought after reading this text? 
As a teacher I still believe that wide reading is incredibly important and pervious inquiries I have done support that fact that the more you read the better you get. However this as made me question how much text I should explore in my group teaching sessions. Could we look at smaller sections of text? I also wonder if I do too much for kids in terms of questioning. How can I get kids asking more questions? I wonder if providing question ideas would help. This text had a very useful table that has ideas of questions and parts of texts to explore. My other question is how challenge can the text be especially for my target group and can support such as audio be used to bridge the difference or will this limit children's learning of decoding strategies? 

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Use the baseline data for a picture of student learning

Explain how some of the data you have used to build a profile of the students’ learning will be used as baseline data at the end of the year. (WFQ 6)
Network Data Memory - Free image on Pixabay

Comparing data is an important part of teaching as inquiry as it allows us to see student progress and hopefully acceleration. Here is a link to the post my initial data. I am planning to use each piece of data in the following ways:

Reading Level:
I will look at the reading progress in the running records, these will be collected at least 3 times during the year. This will show changes in reading ability, decoding skills and comprehension. I will look specifically at the vocabulary in the books to see difference in known vocabulary and words attempted. 

Star Data: 
I will look at the overall star data and see if progress has been made in this test. I will also look at specific sections to see what improvements have been made in the areas of vocabulary. 

Student voice survey:
After the lockdown I will conduct a student voice survey to get student feeling about their own reading ability, confidence in reading and what they feel would help them. I will conduct this again at the end of the year to see what has changed and if this matched their formative and summative data. 

Teacher notes:
I will continue to take snapshots of my own notes taken during reading lesson and see if these match the the data I am collecting. 

As an additional interest of my own. I would like to take a reading book and look at the common vocabulary between the reading book and a piece of student independent writing. While I have not done a baseline sample of this I hope to do this after the Covid-19 Lockdown. 

By comparing all this data I hope to have a rich picture of students reading, focusing in on their vocabulary knowledge and confidence. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Student Challenge

5. Share your findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge. Make sure it is clear what evidence from your inquiry supports each finding. (WFQ 5)

These are the 11 Biggest Challenges Faced by Property Managers Today
At the beginning of the year we as a school discussed a need for accelerated shift in reading and maths across our school. This linked to the data we received from the researchers and our own school data. As a staff we talked about the challenges our learners face in vocabulary. This is an area we have not yet found the answers too. 

My Target group is made up of three are year 3 and the remaining 9 are year 4s. On the right is a graph of my whole class running record data, from this it is clear their is a huge ability difference between these children. 

From my teaching notes in term 1 I said:

"This group struggled with beginning sounds. They were not thinking about the meaning of words. They also struggled with the words 'shouted' and 'he'. We worked on beginning sounds finding words that start with k, f and s and writing them on the table."

These two boys "use each other a lot listening to each other ideas and not trying without support. I need to do more work with them on attempting and self checking."

"This group weren't attempting challenging words. We looked at how to break them into parts and they also did not know some of the animals." 

Over all these comments and the data point to struggles with vocabulary, letter knowledge and confidence to try and perhaps a fear of failing. I want to explore this more in a student voice survey.

The star data paints a similar picture for me. It raises the question, why are there such big gap between learners and what can be done to address the gaps in the area of vocabulary and confidence. 

I think based on the data that there is a significant need for more vocabulary exploration, amount of vocabulary children are exposed to and building of confidence as reader and more generally. Children need to be able to take risks and learn from failure and that is a huge area of develop in see. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Preliminary findings

Begin to collect evidence and data  and come to the next session ready to share your preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge. (WFRC #4)

Before the Covid-19 Lockdown, I began to look closely at and collect data to identify and explore my student challenges. However due to the Covid-19 lockdown I was not able to collect all the data I intended to as stated in my previous blog post. 

When looking at my class I noticed that their is huge disparity between learners in my space. I have a large group of children reading at or above year 3 level. I also have a group of learners who are still struggling at a year 1 level. Sadly a number of these children are the year 4s in my class making them almost 3 years behind their current age. When looking at their reading I looked at running record data, star data and my own notes and reflections on student learning. Intended to do a survey however many of these learners and not online currently. 

My target group have reading levels range from 1-13 this means they are all working at a year 1 level. This is well below the expected level and the level of the peers in my class. 

The star data paints a similar picture for me. Student in my target group are scoring a scale score of between 35 and 55 while others in my class score as high as a 75 or even 95.   

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Class Onair - Maths During Lockdown

I hope you will check out my latest Manaiakalani Class Onair episode. In this lesson you will see how we are planning for and providing support and feedback in maths during the lockdown. The learning focus on understanding place value addition. This episode is very special because it was filmed with one of my co-teachers Sharisse Scanlan. I want to thank her for joining me in this episode and for openly sharing the content she created.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Class Onair - Reading During Lockdown

I encourage you to check out my Manaiakalani Class Onair lesson. In this lesson you will see how I am planning for and providing support and feedback in reading during the lockdown. The learning focus is on careful reading and creation based on the texts that they have read. Texts were carefully selected so that all learning levels were focused on the same topic. 

Learning from others

Practical advice for approaching online learning in primary schools Webinar hosted by The Education Hub featuring Kerry Oldman, Head of the Junior School and Victoria Mauala a Year 3 teacher from St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland. 
ideas | ideas | Sean MacEntee | Flickr

What has your over arching approach been during this time? 
Well-Being, this is a new time and we need to look after each other. Making sure everyone is working together and we have consistent messages. Only do what you can. 

Teacher have work in year group teams. They have turned into a year group of teachers working together not just a class. 

Team Work
How do you work as a team?
With the co-teacher the teacher Zoom together at 8am just the teachers checking in together and setting out the day. Being supportive by checking in. School team have been meeting at the end of every day or at least twice a week. Planning done well in advance so that things run as smoothly as possible. In a way it is like going back to being a beginning teacher, being over planned helps you to make things run smoothly. 

They blocked their day into four shorter blocks which they work to as a system. They then changed that for the younger children to just a morning and afternoon block. They tried to keep the normal school day.

This has been an opportunity to learn new things and think about what different thing you will bring back from this experience. 

After listening to these teachers share it was interesting to notice that a number of the key ideas such as choice. Providing tasks that can be independent and teachers still being part of the teaching and learning process were all similar to what we were doing. 

I will add the link to the video recording once it is up so you can see what this school is doing for yourself. 

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Sharing Ideas: Holiday Blogging Programs

Yesterday we had another wonderful Tuhi Mai Tuhi Atu teacher Meet. At this Meet we discussed the power of blogging our learners. We focused on how a strong classroom blogging program can support holiday blogging which as we have learned from the Summer Learning Journey can help stop the learning drops we often see in the holidays.

Click on the image below to see our slides and watch a recording of the meeting.

Screen Shot 2020-04-23 at 7.47.55 AM.png

Get involved

This term has started off very different from every other term I have ever taught. I started the term not cleaning my classroom, not organising reading book, not getting art supplies ready but at home creating fully digital content to engage learners in both digital and hands on learning.

During this lockdown one of the thing we have talk about a lot is staying active. We know that being active is important not just for our physical health but for our mental health also.

To help support us as teachers to keep our classes active our wonderful sports co-ordinator Sally Va'afusuaga put together a challenge for kids which they would get house points for completing.

This week the challenge was to spell our name doing exercises. Here is my example for the children.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Amazing Teachers

There are so many amazing teacher out there, doing amazing thing online. Yesterday I had the privilege of joining the Google Meet of Miss Ashley and her class of year 7/8 students.

They have been learning about different pandemics over time and were beginning to make comparisons between them.

If you click on the image below it will take you to Miss Ashley's class learning site and the section she has adapted for distance learning.

The lesson had 5 parts as can be seen on this document (click to see the full version)

Before jumping in they started with a revision. I really liked the way this was done. Miss Ashley had posted yesterdays learning on the class blog and the children then added comments of something they enjoyed learning from the day before.

I thought this was a great idea. It links together the Cybersmart learning with the recap of the learning from the day before.

After this they children read the story themselves and notes words that were new to them on their own vocabulary list. After this they read together stopping at words they might need support with and discussing these together. They talked about the double negative of 'it wasn't uncommon for children to help' They discussed the words, clergyman, mourners, constantly and burial, thinking about the root of each word and similar word they new and noted these down.

After this each children wrote their own short summary on the same document, during this time Miss Ashley provided writing feedback and comments on the document.

After this they moved onto creating a Venn Diagram about all the different pandemics they had learned about this far.

This was a very exciting lesson the children were engaged the whole time and excited to share. It was clear that Miss Ashley had long strong relationships with the children.

To see all the learning check out this post on Miss Ashley's Class Blog.

Thank You to Miss Ashley and Room 8. It was so cool to see how you have been learning during this lockdown.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Supporting the wellbeing of teachers, students and parents

This Webinar by Clinical Psychologist Dr Natalie Flynn focused on the Wellbeing of all during this Covid19 lockdown. 

Royalty-free mind photos free download | Pxfuel

She said that the stresses are different for every bubble. It seems that one big stress is the juggle between home-work balance. From a practical perspective teacher always making lists and look at the reality of these lists.

We must accept that we can only do what we can do. We have to look after our mental, physical and emotional health for both ourselves and our learners. We have to notice and accept when we are doubting ourselves and putting pressure on ourselves.

You have to be your own self advocate, if you can't, say you can't. Be honest with yourself and others.

We also have the responsibility in this time for supporting parents. Every parents is in a different place and parenting at the best of time is not easy. We as teachers have to be empathetic and understand that communicating during this time can be challenging.

What about student well being
Children are in a place of a lot of anxiety, the world is not normal for them. A large part of our role right now is supporting students emotionally and socially, checking in on children. We need to validate children feeling, "yes it is hard." Before trying to solve the problems.

Young children often talk about being scared or not being scared we need to support them with the emotional language to explain their feelings. (Worried, anxious, confused etc)

Children are struggling with the lack of social contact and social learning
The social aspect is very hard for everyone. For many children it is hard socially and we are lucky to have the the digital connection. It may be a time to relax the rules around social media and digital connection.

Treat yourself and all around you with kindness
We all need to start from the stand point that teachers love children and want to help children. Remember that parents love their children too. We all need to be compassionate with each other and ourselves. 

Knowing that this is time of struggled and time of difference we can't push ourselves to meet all our goals during this time. We need to be kind to ourselves and know that it is okay. 

We are create new norms for this time. We need to explain the reason why we need to keep apart. Talk about it as a mission. We are all safe but we need to protect others like our grandparents. 

We as schools, teachers and communities, need to talk about what is important right now. A place of safety, calm, keep everyones mental health in a good space. We should be looking first at mood before academic achievement. 

A focus on self-compassion an understand that we are not going to meet all our goals, no one is perfect and that is okay. 

We need to check in on learners. Can you reach out and ask, How are you feeling? How is the work, is it interesting for you? 

This talk made me think about some recent interaction I have had. Did I show self-compassion and how can I make sure I do this in the future. 

I will add the link to the video for this talk once it become available. Thank you to The Education Hub for providing this Webinar.  

Monday, 20 April 2020

Connecting-Tuhi Mai Tuhi Atu

This term has meant some changes for the Tuhi Mai Tuhi Atu program. While the focus remains on connecting children using blog commenting with schools across the country this term the wonderful Fiona Grant has add a professional learning element that connects us at teachers through a Google Meet.

These meeting have been incredible. They are an opportunity to see how teachers around the country are going with distance learning and share ideas and success stories.

Last week the meeting was run as a SLAM this meant that people had 1 minute to share and idea to help others with their blogging, class site or teacher workflow.

It was such great fun and we all learnt some great tips. You can check out the slide and recorded Google Meet here.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Distance Learning- Keeping a Routine

So what does it mean to translate a classroom routine into a Google Hangout Meet.
Google Hangouts - Wikipedia

I think the biggest challenge I have found is that things can't happen at the same time as they normally would in a classroom.

That doesn't mean that the structures and process can't be the same when the do happen.

In my pervious post I talked about the structure for our Google Meets. What I didn't mention is the need for the focus to shift slightly to a place where children can share and feel connected.

We have used our meet of course as a place of learning but also as a place of interact. With the restriction of not be able to leave ones home much, interaction with those outside of our own families has significantly decreased.

We have to provide a space for that while keeping the focus on education.

Below is an edited video of one of our class meetings. You will see the main parts of our routine from Karakia and Mihi, through to sharing, instructions and literacy (shared book).

Friday, 17 April 2020

Digital Fluency Intensive at a Distance

This week on Thursday I had the wonderful opportunity to support teacher in creating a multimodal site as a coach for the digital fluency intensive.

First I connected with the awesome teachers from the West Coast of the South Island. It was inspiring to hear them discuss the leap they had made into distance learning with kids. It was also heart warming to hear their challenges and what they were doing to over come them.

Later in the day I worked with the wonderful Alisha and Helen. Both of these teachers jump straight into planning a site that they could actively use in the classroom or through distance learning with their children. They took the material I offered and added to it and each site had a different focus.

These ladies inspired me to make another site. To take what I have learned this far about good distance teaching and learning and incorporate that into a resource that I can use and share with others going forward.

Here is my site

It is not finished an I have number of videos I want to had. 

This day reminded me again of the passion of teacher and their drive to do all they can no matter the situation. So thank you to all the teachers out there making their classrooms accessible digitally and from a distance. A thank you Alisha and Helen, you are both an inspiration.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Motivation in Lockdown.

Tonight I attended a video talk by Harry Flether-Wood called "Supporting student motivation and engagement when learning from home."
Remote Working Freelancer - Free image on Pixabay
Image from Pixabay. 

I choose to join this session to help me better understand others views on this learning from home digitally and to see how similar they are to what I am already doing. I also wanted to see if I could gain some insight into improvements I could make to my learning from home site.

Harry is a trained teacher who has taught at schools in Japan, India and the UK.

What does the research say:
The need to choose what is most important.
How do I form habits for my students?

  • Help to keep the learning happening without teacher nagging. 
  • Help students to plan study routine. 
  • Children should be thinking about making a plan. 
  • Social norms. 
What habits would be useful in distance learning?
  • Keep it simple. 
  • Turn up.
The more complicated we make a habit the easier it is to maintain. 

We need to help children pick a time for each thing they do. Help children get a detailed plan. Link habits to existing habits. I eat breakfast, then I do reading. 

There as been a lot of talk of schedule and structure. My program does not at this stage have a time table. You do reading from 9-10 etc. 

Suggested whole school and something closer to the kids. 

Motivate kids by the fear of missing out. Conversation could be more productive through chat maybe? Calling on kids in the hangout will help the conversation continue. 

Similar task will help keep things simple and allow for children to engage without as much teacher scaffolding. 

Think about what we want children to know when we get back to the classroom.  

So what?

I think the points raise around routine are valuable and something I will look at talking with the kids about. I don't think this is a one size fits all in terms of routine. Every does reading at 9am etc does not fit our current context. But I think we need to have more of a conversation on this topic as teachers and with the children and their families.

Thanks to The Education Hub for hosting this webinar. I will link to the video once it is up.

Hangout with the Block

Today was the first day that we had a Google Hangout/Meet with the children from rooms 21, 22, 23. I have to admit I was worried when we first discussed having a Google Hangout/Meet with year 3 children with limited device and who have never done this before. 

In order to make sure children had all the information they needed before they joined the hangout. 
I want to thank Danni Stone for helping me to make a video to show what it would be like to join the hangout and what would be expected. 

Our hangout today started with welcoming each child and checking they could turn off and on their microphones. 

Once they were all settled, we had 10 children join us today, we had our Karakia and Cayden lead our Mihi. 

After this each child had a chance to share something they had been doing during lockdown. This was lovely. I liked hearing all the story and how the children had been staying fit. 

After this we shared a bit about what today might look like. Screen sharing the site to help kids follow through what was expected. 

After this we opened up to question and finished with a story by Miss Scanlan. 

Thank you to all the children who were amazing. They all had plain backgrounds and used their mics well. 

How have your hangout experiences been? I would love to hear from others school digitally bout how they are connecting. 

Holiday Learning

Today is the first day of term 2 for 2020, but I am not at school and nor are the children in my class. We are all self-isolating in our homes. Staying in our bubbles to protect our communities from Covid19.

Over the last two weeks we have had the easter holidays. But the year 3 children at their teachers didn't want to stop learning. So we embarked on our Holiday Learning Journey.

This video was on our class site of Friday the 27th March the last day of term 1.

To learn more about our holiday learning journey check out this Class Onair Episode

I loved the learning shared during the holidays. Here are some great examples:


My Dad drew these pictures of me playing "GOTCHA"

To stop the virus there is this game named "gotcha" 

How to play gotcha

If you see someone in your family touching their face you say "gotcha" then they have to stop touching their face and try to not touch their face with their hands. There are two winners who get a prize. One person who has not been touching their face wins. One person who has caught lots of people wins. Our prize was lollies! 


Today was a fun day. We made lots of cookies, and they were yummy with lots of sugar. We made cookie dough and put it in the oven. We made icing and the color was pink, green, and dark green. My siblings and I all got to put icing on the cookie and it was so yummy. We all ate our cookies outside and play games. 


Hello Everyone my Name is Eve. This is how you wash your hands to keep germs off them. 

Thank you for Watching!

Looking back

"You will never forget your first class" 

This is a saying we as teachers hear all the time. Especially when you are starting out in your career, and I guess in some ways it is true. I have very fond memory of my first class. They were a year 4 class made up of 54 children and three teachers. They are now year 8s at our school and when I see them walking around I always think wow they have grown up so much. 

But this blog post is not about them, not really. This post is about how much I have grown as a teacher since my first weeks at Pt England School in 2016. It is not easy to forget your first class but it is easy to forget who you were as a teacher in your first year of teaching. 

In this respect I am one of the lucky ones because I had the wonderful Anne Sinclair Observe me throughout my journey to becoming the teacher I am today. I fully believe that she has had a massive impact on me as a teacher and I feel so privileged to have had her support. 

This morning I open the document from my first observation from 15th February 2016. Here are some of the comments:

"You have great models to draw from Clarelle and they are hard acts to follow, but as your confidence increases, you will be able to try different ways of presenting." 

"Working in a team is an art form and it should be evolving and changing as you progress. You will find as you progress, positions and situations/contexts will change and you will have a chance to lead, design, decide and contribute more, so that it truly becomes a co-share in the Hub."

As reflect bad I remember the shy young teacher, who copied others rather than stood on her own skills and passion, and I thank her. I needed to be that teacher to become the teacher I am today.

I think if I could list 5 things that I would do again or more of as a beginning teacher they would be:
  • Always say "yes" take any opportunity to learn from experience.
  • Speak up more, you only know if it's a good idea if you share it.
  • Watch as many teacher as I could. You find tricks, tips and a style by seeing and drawing on the strengths of others.
  • Make mistakes, no one is perfect, in making mistakes we learn. Teachers are learners too.
  • Enjoy every moment. No two moments are the same in teaching so enjoy each moment and have fun. If you are having fun the kids will also.
So to all your teachers out there no matter is you are early in your career or have been teaching for much longer than me, think back. Who were/are you in your first year of teaching? How have you changed? Because it may be our first class we never forget but I hope you won't forget the teacher you were for them.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Online Teaching during Covid-19 Lockdown

I talked in my last post about the process I went through to get to the formate we have ended up during for our online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown.

In this blog post I want to share in more detail what we decided to do and why.

So as discussed in this blog post we have used published to the Web Google Slides as the base for our learning at home page. We decided to limit the links by having one page and one Slide deck that all learning was on. In doing this it meant children could easily find Everything they needed in one place. 

We have had feedback from parents that this has been useful, as "it made it easy for kids to follow with little support from them." 

This video is just a look at what our learning for home page looks like. For may detail please go to my Class Onair Episode on this topic

Friday, 27 March 2020

A Big Change: My thinking behind online teaching

If you had asked me in January if I could teach online I would have said "no" or maybe "I am not sure, I could try." But back then how could I have anticipated what this year would bring.

We as teachers face many challenges each day and as a result are constantly changing the way we teach, but it is not often a change this big happens, this fast.

As I looked back at what I did as a result of the sudden change in our society I wondered if my thinking would be of us to others.

This video shows the thought process I went through to get to the current asynchronous model of online teaching.

This will be the first of many blog post on the topic of my online teaching and my learners response to this. My hope is that it will provide a platform for discussion that will lead to a continuing though process and the most robust approach to learning online we can have during this challenging time.

Class Onair: Making Skittles

This is my most recent Class Onair Lesson.

This is a reading lesson with year 4 children reading at blue (level 11). The focus is on understand the purpose of a text and thinking about the decoding strategies they are using. Our learning intentions were:
  • We are learning to re-read and read on to fix our mistakes. 
  • We are learning to identify and discuss the main idea in a nonfiction text.  

To see the lesson click here

This group are amazing. They have a level of excitement, engagement and a positive attitude towards learning that not all groups have. I am also very lucky to know this group really well. They were all in my class last year, so I am aware of the strength they bring and the challenges they face. This group have been going great this year. They are behind where I would like them to be but they are constantly making progress which I am very happy about. This book was a little easy for them and did not provide enough challenge to tackle our decoding learning as I would have liked. However it did provide a great context to create and an opportunity to look at a style of text they were less familiar with. They have now moved up a reading level. 

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Tools to Gain an Accurate Learner Profile

Describe the tools/measures/approaches you plan to use to get a more detailed and accurate profile of students’ learning in relation to that challenge. Justify why you chose these approaches and tools. (WFRC? #3)

Creating an accurate student profile is an important part of an effective inquiry. As I considered what this might look like I thought about what data I needed to best answer my question. 

Will increase discussion between learners and deliberate acts of teaching vocabulary improve achievement across multiple curriculum areas? 

First of all I want to build the picture of my target learners across multiple curriculum levels. This means looking at reading and writing achievement, maths achievement and wider curriculum achievement and interest. While I will focus on my whole class during this inquiry, I want to have a target group of my year 4 learners. These are all learners I had in my class last year and they make up the group of students in my class who are working well below their age in reading, writing and maths. 

Given these consideration I have decided the data I will collect with include:

1. A student voice survey, this survey will establish motivation in learning, the level of discussion they believe they have in class, how learning focused they think their discussion is and how they view their achievement. 

2. Star and PAT Maths/Reading data. This will provide a level of achievement in reading and maths. 

3. Running record data, this will provide some areas of need in reading and a level of decoding and comprehension. 

4. E-asstle writing data and a word count of writing sample. I will also compare sample to look at the types of words used and use "What every primary school teacher should know about vocabulary" as a reference text for this. 

5. Deliberate observation of student discussion with and without the teacher. I will ask another teacher to come and observer and make notes to get a clear picture of discussion. 

6. Picture vocabulary test to see what the extent of learners vocabulary is. 

Monday, 16 March 2020

Focusing Inquiry for 2020

I have been thinking a lot over the past 3 months about my inquiry from last year. How much I learned as a teacher and the shifts I saw in the children's attitudes and ability.

What I know for sure is that there is so much more I need to learn. So much more value I could be bring to my classroom to address the gaps in vocabulary. As I began to discuss this with others in my school I released that I needed to maintain the literacy focus in had in 2019 and build on this.

I began to read the wonderful book by Dr Jannie van Hees and Paul Nation- What every primary school teacher should know about vocabulary.
Image result for What every primary school teacher should know about vocabulary.

This a long with discussion with my SMT team and teaching colleges helped me to develop my questions that will guide my thinking around my inquiry this year leading from reading to oral language and hopefully into written language as the year progress.

Will increase discussion between learners and deliberate acts of teaching vocabulary improve achievement across multiple curriculum areas? 

My plan is to be more specific in my thinking, planning and implementation of my intervention this year giving my approach more time to work.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Looking Back and Taking Stock

#1... Use the ‘inquiry stocktake’ doc to reflect on and write about what you aim to learn about inquiry this year.

As we start to think more about 2020 and our teacher inquiry it is important to look back and ask, how well did I inquire last year. In this process I began to think about the planning for inquiry and the process of recording the changes I made. I also though about all the good intentions I had that didn't become reality.

Having been sick for the CoL meeting I spent a great deal of time looking at the Stocktake doc and thinking about what applied to me and how this could help me move forward in 2020.

Image result for teaching as inquiry

What worked well in 2019
In 2019 I developed a lot of ideas and tried a lot of things which gave lots of diversity in practice and learning opportunities. I had great success in reading and found that learner could rise to the high expectations and absorb a lot of new vocabulary in this area.

My Challenges in 2019
My biggest challenge was consistency in my approach and giving things time to work. I think this was due to a lack of forward planning at the beginning of my inquiry. While I did a lot of research I didn't have a clear vision for my class and when I believed something was not working I changed it possibly without enough hard evidence.

I also found the challenge of time. In my CoL across school role I am out of the classroom 2 day a week and this can also lead to a lack of consistency in my room.

The Support I need in 2020
I am going to reach out to other teachers and members of the Woolf Fisher research team and the Manaiakalani team to help me connect with effective practice in reading specifically around dialogic discussion and vocabulary. I want to have a clear idea of where I am heading before I leap in. I also want to have a strong foundation in research and more check point which I will need help developing and implementing as this will give me a richer picture of student achievement.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Manaiakalani Class Onair

This year I am continuing my role as a Manaiakalani Class Onair teacher. I am excited to keep sharing the learning that takes place in my classroom and extend on my won learning through watching myself teach on video and hearing feedback from teachers. 

This video shares a bit more about what you will see on my Manaiakalani Class Onair page.

There are many amazing teachers taking part in Manaiakalani Class Onair this year and many teacher who have contributed in the passed. You will find episodes ranging from year 1 to year 13 in many curriculum areas.

Here is a link to the site. I hope you will visit.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Focusing Inquiry 2020

My 2020 CoL Inquiry Focus:
Will increase discussion between learners and deliberate acts of teaching vocabulary improve achievement across multiple curriculum areas?

Manaiakalani Community of Learning is working together on this task using the expertise existing in of our community of learning. I have selected the achievement challenge of:

Lift the achievement in Reading for all students, with a particular focus on boys and Māori students (both genders) years 1-13
The teaching as inquiry framework I will continue to use in 2020 has been specifically co-constructed for Manaiakalani schools using our familiar Learn Create Share structure.

Throughout the year, I will be labelling my blog posts to reflect our Learn, Create, Share structure.

Learn - Gather Evidence
Create - Make a plan
Share - Publish
Learn - Scan
Create - Try new things
Share - Co-teach
Learn - Identify Trends
Create - Innovate
Share - Model
Learn - Hypothesise
Create - Implement
Share - Guide
Learn - Research
Create - Reflect
Share - Feedback
Learn - Reflect

Share - Reflect