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