Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Manaiakalani Staff Meeting- Creativity Empowers Learning

Creativity is one of the key values that underpins all we do as teachers. We want our learners to be doing with their hands but in the end we want to scaffold and support creative thinking.

As part of our meeting we looked at this add and the fact that it took the key message of the company and make it modern.

Here is a link to the article that describes what they did.

We talked a lot about how the history of New Zealand school is creativity. We often see our learners in the early years of their educations being very creative and often they are expected to grow out of this by WHY? This article talks more are this idea.

Create is a Doing word. We should be thinking about how we can help children create with their bodies.

This year Manaiakalani explored the ideas of what teacher believe create looks it in their classrooms. This lead to the document that explored all the ways teachers create with kids. You have seen this image before but it seemed important to share again the image created to show this idea behind create.

Choice is always a key elements. How to we provide choice in creativity? 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

High Expectation Teaching Chistine Rubie-Davies

Why should we worry about expectation? 
It all boils down to self belief. If we believe we can do it then we try and try again. But if we don't believe we can do it then we are more likely to give up.

As Educators the expectation we hold of students is are shown to them in everything we do. They things we say and that we don't say. The things we do and don't do.

The way we teach and the activities we give student show our expectations.

If we think about this in terms of our teaching, having high expectation of all learners builds students self-efficacy and belief in themselves. High expectation teacher hold the whole class accountable, they do not just hold extension students accountable. By having high expectation teachers push students to make significant gains and students self belief also grows when they are with a high expectation teacher.

So what do high expectation teachers do?
-They spend a lot of time teaching
-Ask lots of questions, high level questions of all learners.
-They support students to get the the answer by rephrasing or scaffolding. 
-They give specific goal based feedback
-Behaviour management, they used setting up statements. "I am looking for the group who are working quietly"

  • One thing that stands out of me was that high expectation teachers did not use ability groups they used flexible groups or mixed ability grouping. 

  • These teachers used data to support students to formulate goals. That are specific to students needs. 

  • They have a warm classroom culture where students and teachers have positive relationships. They also have positive relationships between students. 

  • Learners had a lot of choose within their learning pathways and they taught using a range of books on a topic and allow students to choose. 
Rubie-Davies top three things that high expectation teachers have were flexible groupings, establishing a positive classroom culture and goal setting. 

My takeaways: 
  • Can I use more flexible groups specifically in literacy to support student growth. 
  • How can I use more goal setting based on testing and allow for checking and changing of goals. 
  • I have noticed that students in my classes are becoming more aware of their evaluating themselves. 
  • Can I send more positive notes home. 

Monday, 21 May 2018


Today we once again met at the wonderful offices of KPMG who so kindly host us for our MIT days. The day started out with reflection. This is nothing new for most teacher we reflect all the time, but this reflection was a little bit different. Today we talked about reflecting on our beliefs about teaching and what they mean in for our learners and ourselves.

This has been something I have ponded a lot recently as I have thought about what has made the change it attitude for my learners from being unmotivated to upset when they don't feel they have met their personal best.

This reflection was very positive for me as it made me think about how my expectations have help my learners to have higher expectations of themselves.

As the day went on we talked more about our inquiries and questioned ourselves and our current think. I have been thinking a lot about how my integration is going and I believe I need to step up the level of challenge in the coding and be more specific with language teaching.

I awesome need to make more connections and reconsider who can really help me make the difference for my learners.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Creativity Empowers Learning

This term our Manaiakalani focus across the cluster is on create and more specifically how creativity empowers learning.

To start off term to with a bang Ms Eadie and I applied these principles to our first week of term. We wanted learners to create to see the different simple machines and focus at play. We thought carefully about each tasking making sure we were using the senses to engage the learners brains.

Throughout this immersion which took place over a number of day with students working in small groups. Learners created physically and digital. Here are some examples of the activities they engaged in.

We had three activities that I could call art activities however I they were also about thinking, folding and testing ideas.

1. Paper plane, a tried and true way of examining focuses and motion.

2. Marble run piece, Each student design their own piece which would later become a large marble run on our classroom wall.

3. Simple machines, learners thought carefully about what pathways in their brains might look like if depicted by a range of interacting simple machines.

We had three activities I would call building. These were all very different from each other.

1. Creating ramps for car. This was a very open task and different group made very different things. They explored how different slopes could change the speed of the car.

2. iPad building task. These were Apps design to provide simple machines that student could put in different orders to explore how movement occurred.

3. Marble run, students used the pieces to construct their own towers and test them to see how the marble moved.

Movement, well there was movement in all our activities. In the art activities through learners hand and arms. In the building tasks moving around to find the material and creating with them. The last task was design to be a movement task.

1. Ten Pin bowling, students engaged in ten pin bowling aiming to use their bodies to throw the ball and hit the pins. It was great to see lots of creative thinking about the best way to bowl the ball.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Coding Fun and Frustration

This year I wanted to take on coding as one of the tool and a lenses that I used to address the issue of Mathematical reasoning and language that my learners were facing. In term one I looked at coding 'theory' with my kids. I did this through using the CS unplugged tasks and adapting them for Explain Everything on students iPads.

This term we have begun using scratch and first thing I noticed was the problem solving. Student in my class knew what they wanted to happen but they found that when they pressed run what they had coded was not what they expected. This lead to a lot of great questions and talk in my classroom as learner drew on the skills of others or tackled the problem on their own.

Well there was a lot of talk reflecting back I am skill concerned about the quality of the talk. I think for my next lesson on coding I want to draw on some of the ideas Dr Jannie van Hees shared with us and scaffold specific vocabulary which we will continue to build in our cries for help and frustration as we solve our coding challenges.

Assessment of and for learning

Thank you very much to the wonderful Angela Moala who shared with me her response to what Dr Aaron Wilsons shared with us last week. This is my response and I am very grateful for Angela's suggestion and structure which has really helped me to clarify my ideas in response to the importance of assessment in inquiry.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Formative assessment in teaching as inquiry

As we engage in inquiry is to keep our eyes on the prize and be very aware of our inquiry question and theory of outcome. What do you want to achieve? 

Often we see research that is unclear as to the exactly changed in practice and for learners as research describes things in wishy washy terms. We need to very aware of capturing (recording) what we are doing and having informal and formal ways of assessing and monitoring this. 

In inquiry you make lots and lots of choices, changes and moves if you don't record these they are lost and we can not learn from nor can others. Ask the kids to monitor your changes in practice they should be learning a long side you and part of the inquiry process. 

You want to be able to say able that the changes you have made have with in reason been the factors that have impacted upon learning. 

We want to use repeated measures, this might be before, during and after. They should be formative and summative. The Everyday moves are important they inform next steps. Capture and monitor learners and learning.

There is a place for formal check points these would be formalised data. By setting a date you are making sure that you are doing these check points and making sure you capture it. 
You might use a checkpoint to check on of the smaller skills that you are focusing on. 
The information that you are collecting for this should fall out naturally from the intervention. 

Don't forget the kids. Student voice is key. 

Language in Abundance-Dr Jannie van Hees

We know that language come in the forms of spoken and written. We must remember that both forms of language are important. We make sure our learners are exposed to a number of novel text that engage learners in a new meaningful vocabulary and grammar structures.

We are talking about Optimising Learning Conditions of Language.

Students need others language available to them. Students trying out language.
We often get a lot of language from children and this is coming at the expense of others providing meaningful language that then limits what they can draw on.

All the things we know we have learnt from others. We have had loads of exposure to language and to the knew. We need to gift them new in noticing ways. We often dig and dig into students prior knowledge we need to shift our focus to build. We should be gifting 60/40 extracting.

These are the three key ideas in building language learning.

Focus 1: Optimising learning and interactional conditions.
Focus 2: Elaborative style to pedagogical responses.
Focus 3: Scaffolding Learners to become effective conversationalists.
Focus 4: Planning, Preparing, Providing

We as teachers need to make sure these three focuses are active in this learning. We need to catch the learners and make sure that engagement is happening. We can go this through more and more peer sharing.

I believe that this is something that I have to do more of. We need to have high expectations.

The learner has to make responsibility as well they have to be attending. They have to put in the effort.

We want to make sure that students see and feel they are support each others learning.

Before engaging learners in video content you may remind them of the learner conditions Notice and Focus and tell them to caught what you can. When using video a lot of the language is not always noticed. Providing a transcript and using multimodal and foregrounding the language and they are involved in the language.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Learn Ready

We have talked a lot this term already about what we want long term for the children we teach. We have to look at what they need to get a job and we believe that learn ready kids become employment ready adults.

We are seeing in our community more people going into employment and higher education. We have to remember that family makes a huge difference but so does school and we need to keep working reflecting and developing why we can make a difference.

The most recent PISA test of 15 year olds over the world looked into this question. What school practices made a difference for learners.

"Students who perform at Level 3 begin to demonstrate the ability to construct the meaning of a text and form a detailed understanding from multiple independent pieces of information when reading, can work with proportional relationships and engage in basic interpretation and reasoning when solving mathematics problems; and they can handle unfamiliar topics in science.

Resilience is therefore intended to capture the capacity of an individual to gain the set of skills and competencies that are essential to fully participate in society and have good chances to succeed in the labour market." 

To read more check out Russell Burt's amazing slides.

Transformational leadership

We all have to be leaders holding a shared vision.

Learn Ready kids become…... 
Explain Ready learners, become...
Employment Ready young people...

Our kids have great brains. They have an outstanding capacity to learn. We have to be critical players and expect that best because We can learn together. 

GAFE Making a Classroom Site

Hi all,

here is the presentation Danni Stone and I created for the GAFE Summit in Auckland this year. Sorry for the delay in sharing but I wanted to blog it with the video I promised at the session explaining how to make a timetable for your site.

I hope that these ideas and the video are helpful to all on a journey to creating a Google site for their Classroom.

Here is a video that will help you if you are creating a timetable for your classroom site.