Thursday 28 December 2017

Writing really matters to me!

When I was at school I remember writing things and wondering why am I doing this. I would think no one wants to read my retelling off the New Zealand land wars when they can read a book written by a professional author, so what is the point.

Now that I am a teacher moments like these pop back into my mind from time to time and they made me do things differently. I am lucky and as is my class that our writing goes up in places like this. On a blog, a site or in a video that the world can see but is that purpose enough? This year I really wanted that kids to make meaningful connections with their writing.

So what was I to do. These kids had been blogging for year and well this was great they didn't see it as as meaningful as it was to those who read it. So I capitalized on what was most important to 8 year olds and we made new friends. We decided to write letters to a class in Rotorua about 3 hours drive South of us. I organised with a friend who teaches down there to buddy our kids so they could write to the same person many times.

A video we made:

Example Letter:

Dear Kate,
Kharizma left this school so I am going to write  a letter to you. My name is Kiarah, this term we have been learning about music. We have been making instruments and making music. We found out what sounds the musical notes make. Our class have been  playing recorder’s and it has been so much fun. We played these notes with the recorder's, a, b, d, c and g.

Sorry that she left. I hope you enjoyed my letter.

From Kiarah.

This was so much fun, we wrote letters, drew picture, did painting, made videos and even wrote a christmas song for our new friends and the excitement on the children's faces when they received those letters let me know that they felt this writing was purposeful and that it mattered to them!

Here is our Christmas song we wrote for our friends.
This year we have been so privileged to have had to opportunity to write to a class in Rotorua. We have really enjoyed reading their letters and writing to them about our lives. I have been wonderful seeing how different people spend their time and learning about what Room 30 are learning.

Here is a little video we made for Room 30 to thank them and wish them a Merry Christmas. 


We hope you like it Room 30!

Monday 4 December 2017

What have I learnt-Inquiry Term 4

This year the has been a whirlwind especially term 4. Thinking about what to share this term was more challenging than most. As a result of my inquiry this year I have learnt about the importance of reading as much as possible in as many ways as possible. For next year I will be trying my best to apply what I have learnt to my new class. I believe that videoing is more effective than just voice recording.  

Friday 1 December 2017

2 Amazing Years-MDTA Graduation

Last night was the Manakalani digital teacher academy graduation. We were lucky enough to have this wonderful event at the google offices in central Auckland. Standing there looking out over the city and reflecting back in this amazing journey I felt many things.
Firstly I felt a great sense acknowledgement, the past two years have been anything but easy. They have been fun, emotional, challenging and filled with new learning and experiences With many momentments pushing my thinking and helping me to grow. I remember walking around the cluster with the other MDTA BTs, Anne, Dorothy and Fiona and this beginning of this journey and seeing many school. Looking back I was seeing the network of people, learners and structures that would support me and that I would support as I began my teaching career.

Secondly I felt a great sense of gratitude. There is a great saying in New Zealand and it goes ‘He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata’ and it means it is people, it is people, it is people. While it is easy to focus on the one or two people you see at the front and centre of a program like MDTA there are so many people who make it possible and to everyone no matter their role I am so grateful that you made this program happen for me as I am the teacher I am today because of you!

Being at the graduation I felt a great sense of enjoy meeting some of the people in the background who had made this possible for me through donating time, money and knowledge to the program. Again I can not thank you all enough.

Thirdly, I learnt of the footprint of my action and that fact that even when you feel like you are trucking along alone in your class making shift and having sooo much fun many people are watching noticing and reflecting with you. They might. Be walking past your door hearing your class engaging and discussing or connecting digitally but in teaching especially in Manaiakalani you are never alone. And someone people see thing in you that you do not yet see yourself.

No matter where my life might take me, I will also be a 2016-2017 MDTA teacher and that fills be with great pride and the knowledge that I have skills and knowledge to draw as I continue to grow as a teacher.