Monday, 10 August 2020

Planning and Assessing - Primary vs ECE

Previously I have blogged about assessment at primary level in particular. The ins and outs of over measuring children, and where the purpose of assessment gets forgotten.

Today I entered into a discussion on planning and assessing at an ECE level. Until now this was something I have little previous experience with, the visibility of this within our centre is not obvious, the expectations unknown, and the order of operations confusing. Today Taylor from Childspace introduced me to a way of planning that links to assessment in ECE.

To start I want to discuss the structure of planning between primary and ECE.

When I look at the primary framework under the ECE framework: Notice, Recognise, Respond,  I can see there are a lot of similarities but the key differences are 

  1. At primary we are looking for needs/gaps in learning that we then try to teach through child interests, whereas in ECE there is strength based planning. Using strengths to expand knowledge of the world through interests.
  2. In ECE, the child's role in the learning is more flexible. In primary when I plan learning experiences all children participate if the lesson is intended for them. Whereas at ECE the provocations and experiences may be interacted with by different children in different ways. In some ways your reflection on the value of your planning is in whether intended children actually interact with your provocations/experiences or not.
  3. The lens's through which one can approach the recognising part of ECE planning are more varied, than primary planning, are situational and need to be known well to recognise which lens's are obvious in different situations. In primary school the lens is predominantly NZ curriculum and attainment. A lot more structured.
I am also recognising that the planning in ECE is more fluid. As an educator I need to be more aware at all times as to what children are engaging in and how that links to possible learning "Ways of Being, Doing, Knowing. It is ongoing and changeable. The intentional teaching is in the reasons behind the decisions we make. 
Question: I am unsure how to see the difference between a Watch be explore story and a Journey of discovery. 

In primary planning is done at a point in time. I will think out what is to come for the term for each child, map this out, from a place of 'Before' and then will follow the plan through, modifying and adapting where needed. Then the next planning cycle begins again. The intentional teaching is in the teaching strategies chosen to support the child's learning.

Frameworks for planning in ECE reflect the fluidity of the planning. In this session we looked at the phases Noticing, Recognising, Responding and how those might look as collected evidence.

Over time each teacher collects data on their child/groups. Noticings are jotted, thinking books provide more structured observations and recordings of child interactions, conversations gauging interests, wonderings mostly. Notes mostly based on teacher led conversations, activities or experiences such as trips. Children's voice is what seems to be captured most.

Two planning templates were shared, group (led by one teacher who does all documenting, but other teachers contribute activities/goals/LS, etc) and Individual in a grid.

This centre records planning/learning journey in scrapbooks. These are in depth following of planned topics across the larger group. Includes diary of actions taken, photos, links to lenses, child voice (from thinking book), teacher voice, parent voice and related LS. etc) This is the evidence that the planning and learning happened and to what degree. Documents from this may also contribute to wall displays.

Example Project book based on Active play (Reggio emilia philosophy)

Assessment is also a bit different. In ECE assessing is storytelling. Today I learned how through careful selection of language all planning and assessment can be interwoven into the Learning story. This was intriguing and I'd like to explore this further by deconstructing some learning stories to find the components. EG links to Te Whāriki language, the different learning lens, Intentional teaching by looking for the teaching strategy language. This links well to the learning about using Learning Stories for documenting and reflecting on your teaching I learned in the SELO PD.

Can you notice the following words in your stories that refer to intentional teaching you did.

What about these different lens?

These are the key takeaways from today.
I need to look at our centres Learning stories to see what lens and planning is hidden within the words. How does the forward planning show itself, it there's any continuity.


The Importance of Connecting


I have spent today in the presence of other educators. a full day 9-3pm talking ECE with teachers, leaders,

owners. The course was one about Documenting Planning/Learning & Assessing - and while this was thought provoking (see separate post), I am finding I gain more value in the professional discussions and sharing from likeminded people.

I have been a little adrift in the ECE world, finding my feet, unpacking and discovering my philosophy and ways of being, knowing and doing in this sector. I do not yet have a sense of belonging in my own centre, I feel a little like a fake, or a square trying to fit in a round hole. But when given a chance to connect outside of my centre I am finding more common ground, different perspectives and a sense that I am OK, that my emergent thoughts and beliefs are valid.

This interaction and connection to others is the key to passion - it provides the reassurance that I can get there, that it is possible, and that many other leaders (new and seasoned) can face similar challenges, experience similar feelings and that we can look for a way through together.

I look forward to making more connections during PD like today's 

Childspace's: Curriculum & planning for 3-6 year olds
Presented by Taylor Heads

and the Waikato SELO journey ahead

Leading in times of Change May 2020-June 2021.
Wendy Lee, Lorraine Sands and Lynn Rupe

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Locked down and mind overwhelmed

Thought I'd just jump on here briefly before signing off for the night.

We are week 3 in the COVID 19 lockdown in NZ. I was contented to have the first 2 weeks a home. Finally a school holidays for me - the first since September 2019. To Stop and refuel my body with down time was great.

Once it was officially week 2 of lockdown I started to switch back into work mode and with that came the screaming urge to soak in all I can about my new lifestyle choice in ECE. Fuelled with the endless opportunities to engage in free webinars (thanks to all the providers offering these) I haven't stopped absorbing information for about 7 day now at my computer for about 8 hours a day - my mind is spinning.

  • Reading about leadership styles and motivating people in an ebook
  • hitting a few webinars at the Conscious Collective
  • signing up to transforming behaviour online conference
  • watching facebook live play based learning at home with Little Kiwis Nature Play
  • researching insurance claims and how to work out eligibility for wage subsidies
  • A great little quick read article on teachers intervening in play - will write more on this as follow up to last post.
  • Educa seminars on anything from Rituals to Learning stories and plenty more of interest
  • Researching philosophy and how to design one.

The list goes on - no wonder my head is overwhelmed. 
It is time to sit down and pick a focus, to stop trying to know everything right now and let some knowledge unfold at a later date. To believe and to trust that my team have knowledge, I don't have to hold the knowledge of everything.
So where will my focus be... 
What is important in the next week the next month, the aprez lockdown....

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Feeling Disrupted and Re-learning Play

Today I was challenged by a webinar by Peter Gray, where he explains the importance and fundamentals of Play based Learning.

While listening to the hour webinar I came to the conclusion quite quickly that I had previously not really considered what Play based Learning really meant. I can not even think now what my definition may have been prior to this new perspective.

I can now see more what uninterrupted play looks like - I had been seeing it physically in my centre but not through the eyes of the learning that was happening in the play. I was just seeing disputes as disputes, and things that I could help children with, without considering that the helping with disputes is like the helping with putting on shoes (for a child who can do it themselves), it not only stops them learning to do it for them selves, it could potentially stop the child from developing the resilience needed to cope with the demands that will come later in life.
I can now see more clearly some of the learning in the play I observe each day. Key for me was the 5 parts that make up true play based learning Vs just doing activities.

  • Self direction/boredom/choice
  • Motivated by the child's own wants and needs
  • Guided by mental rules (learning through mistakes and social interactions)
  • Imaginative - imagining things that aren't there, people, objects, designs, creations.
  • Is observed in an alert/active state - engagement????

And I think I agree with everything he said. It sits well with me, It feels logical (and I love logic), But it opposes a whole lot of thoughts I just had a day ago. So in disruption I now sit, contemplating whether the thoughts I had yesterday (around teachers bringing their own passions into the play) are wrong, or whether they do have a place in the concept of play.

And also - when play isn't meeting the criteria above - is it still play? How can we support children to increase the value of their play - or is that the wrong question. Does the teacher simply need to back off and these conditions will rise to the surface.

So much disruption of thinking :)
How will this change how I see the philosophy in our centre.

Thanks Peter Grey

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Leading With Heart and Soul.

A relaxing Wednesday morning - first day of the new year - learning a little something from Toni Christie. Some great ideas around simplifying leadership in the sense of humanness rather than compliance. Through Courage, Honesty, Grace, Joy, Dream Big, Gratitude and Respect.

Some great tips here for working with your staff in a leadership perspective. A lot of challenging ideas too that give me anxiety as I know the courage to implement some of these ideas is difficult for me.
Can I pick a single value that is easier and implement that first. Perhaps I could look at an action plan for implementing some of these leadership ideas.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

The Role of Relationships

"Relationships are key"
this is something i have heard a lot over the last 2 months - and of course over my teaching career.
But it is only now that the true complexity of relationships is coming to light, as I juggle not only child relationships, whanau relationships, collegue relationships...but also sibling relationships, business relationships and employer/employee relationships. This is a whole new world of complexities.

I have always prided my self on being able to build child relationships. Taking time to talk to children, to find out about their interests, their home life, pets, families. To take time one on one to chat and be together. This has always been pretty easy - it just takes time.  So far in my new role this is coming along nicely. It has been interesting to experience the younger children exhibit their relationship with you in slightly different ways than older kids do (they are much more overt in calling you their favourite teacher - at least for this year while you are the centre of their world anyway). With the younger children in ECE I am noticing that the relationship is cementing when they come to you for comfort, when they trust you to help with care routines and when they simply get closer.... I am noticing the child who was once stand offish and coy, now stepping closer, leaning in, or sitting nearby and making physical contact. The bond is beginning.

With whanau in primary school there are formal occasions in which to meet and spend time one on one with parents and caregivers. I had easy forms of communication such as email and notices that went home in school bags. This is not as easy in ECE. The parents come and go - often in a flurry  - children want their attention, and procedures such as signing in and out, or incident registers, reminders for nappies etc can get in the way of genuine time to chat. Making time to just be with the parents is important. Our first attempts at this in ECE were varied. Our meet and greet had a fairly small response, but started some new relationships. I was a little awkward, it was not our setting, not a familiar place and not familiar people. But the follow up, kids party, had a great turnout, in our centre, beginning to feel ownership, taking some control over arrangements, feeling empowered. chatting to parents on this happy day flowed. We need more occasions like this, fun, family, familiar. The bond is beginning.

With colleagues in primary school there was the ease of banter in the classroom before school, in the smoko room and everyone together at lunch. We taught in single celled classrooms, and should have felt isolated, but it wasn't. We had 1.5 - 4hours a day where we were onsite but not in front of our class. Plenty of time to build bonds, friendships and professional relationships. In ECE, while you work as a team, I feel quite isolated from the other adults. Everyone is so busy in their roles, in their spaces, making sure everything is tidy, the kids supervised, the nappies changed, the photo books and learning stories completed. So far it seems more lonely than the classroom ever was. How does one build relationships with colleagues they don't have any quality time with?

I will leave it there today, with still the new roles of sibling relationships, business relationships and employer/employee relationships to ponder. These ones are new, and I have little to compare them too. They will develop as my skills develop in these new areas.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Getting Familiar with the new Teaching Standards

Since I was last teaching the Teaching standards have been revised and consolidated into 6 standards.

Demonstrate commitment to tangata whenuatanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand. (NEW Commitment to Te Tiriti)
    • This links to the old standard 3. Bi-cultural practices, 9. Diversity
Use inquiry, collaborative problem-solving and professional learning to improve professional capability to impact on the learning and achievement of all learners (NEW Use inquiry and Professional Learning)
    • This links to the old standard 12. Inquiry, 4. Professional Learning,

Establish and maintain professional relationships and behaviours focused on the learning and wellbeing of each learner. (NEW Relationships and Behaviours)
    • This links to the old standard 1. Professional relationships

Develop a culture that is focused on learning, and is characterised by respect, inclusion, empathy, collaboration and safety. (NEW Develop a Culture)
    • This links to the old standard 7. Learning Environment,

Design learning based on curriculum and pedagogical knowledge, assessment information and an understanding of each learner’s strengths, interests, needs, identities, languages and cultures. (NEW Curriculum and Assessment)
    • This links to the old standards 11. Assessment, 6. Planning, 8 Akonga

Teach and respond to learners in a knowledgeable and adaptive way to progress their learning at an appropriate depth and pace. (NEW Respond to Learners)
    • This links to the old standard 8. Akonga, 9. Diversity
Leadership seems to be able to run through all the new standards. Moving forward I will be tagging new entries with the new criteria.

Into the new World of ECE

So I have spend the last 4 years out of teaching in terms of children, and have been working in the professional development of teachers and leaders in education, and helping them get the most out of their SMS system and data analysis.

But now I re-enter the teaching profession - In the role of not only ECE teacher, but ECE centre ownership. What an exciting and somewhat terrifying journey lays ahead...

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The decision to leave teaching....A year in review

My year in review this year, takes me a little away from the classroom but surprisingly has not taken me far from education.

After a rather emotional and rollercoaster start to 2016 in the classroom I made the difficult decision to leave the safety of teaching and jump out into the world boots first, to try something else.

I always was someone who liked to try new things, staying in teaching into my 12th year was something of a milestone for myself and it was time to move on, I knew it in my heart.

So I wrote to my board and was approved to stop teaching at the end of term 1. The feelings were very mixed. I had no idea what work I would do...I had no idea of what was next for me....

It wasn't long after my teaching door began to close, that a new door opened for me. Before I had packed up and left the classroom I was fortunate to come into contact with a little company called Bridging the Gap. Bridging the Gap provide IT Pd to ...wouldn't you know it... Schools!

This seemed like a perfect fit for me, and as 2016 rolled on, I found myself really enjoying this new roll, and seeing schools from a different point of view.

My learning in education did not stop with me leaving the classroom but has continued to grow through the professional discussions held day in and day out, around the assessment and analysis of data schools are collecting, Around what to collect, when and why. I enjoy having the ability to help people negotiate the implementation of digital tools in their schools, and help design systems than work for different individuals.

My adventure outside the classroom has only just begun, I wonder what 2017 holds in store.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Being a parent is tough...

Celebrate world teachers day on the 5th oct

Most of us with children have 1 or 2, maybe 4 or 5 children to look after. Can you imagine having 30 children....

Take a minute and imagine your life if you had been blessed with 30 beautiful and individual children.

Imagine remembering when each of your 30 children had activities to get to, imagine ensuring each of your 30 children are eating right, and drinking enough.

Imagine the clothes and shoes 30 children leave everywhere, and having to get each to pick up after themselves.

Imagine how many times you may need to remind 30 children to wipe their feet, blow their nose, put away their things.

Imagine cleaning up 30 children's accidents when they are still learning to be independent toileters, and eaters.

Imagine being there for 30 children to talk about the problems they are having with their friends as they get older.

Imagine trying to give each of your 30 children some individual attention, being their cheerleader when they do well, their energiser when they just don't feel like it, and their support person when things go wrong.

Can you imagine wanting and hoping that all 30 of those children are feeling happy, feeling able to contribute with confidence. That they will learn what you are trying to teach and that they will grow up happy, healthy and wise.

Imagine worrying about your children who aren't socialising as you would expect, who are having difficulties learning, who seem to have the weight of the world on their shoulders.

If you can imagine all these things and more, then you can imagine the life of a teacher. Don't forget to show your appreciation for the time, love and caring teachers have for those 30 children, in their care, each year.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Teaching as inquiry

Each year of teaching I am excited with the new possibilities. A new group of students, a new level, a new room, new ideas for teaching and learning. Each year I develop as a teacher and am amazed at how much new knowledge around teaching I gain (and how much more I miss - because I have to STOP and do something else). When I look through all the notes I've transferred to my private RTC blog, around all the topics I have read about, researched, watched videos on or discussed with others, I see such a wealth of things through which I must make choices and decisions, adapting ideas to suit the needs and wants of the particular group I have this year. It is mind boggling how the brain never loses space for new things.

The Teaching as inquiry process has become a part of teaching. The difficulty in this process is narrowing down the multitude of ideas and topics of inquiry that one looks into each year, and choosing just one to spend more indepth time collecting and collating data and research around. Each year this hard decision does get made, and the focus taken. As these inquiries do involved specific data of individual students they are not published here, but can be seen with permission on my private blog. (see Other RTC)
Here you will also find the multitude of topics and ideas I've researched over the last few years that have been worthwhile enough to note down.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Confidence and Purpose

Today I met Andrew Patterson in an online video and enjoyed his inspiration.
His main discussion was around building confidence first and creating experiences for children which make their desires in life seem like real possibilities.
He is inspiring as he loves disruption and having a go, trying big ideas, things that arent easy but are possible.
How can I create confidence in my students, and how can I bring more experiences based in the real world - not just the world they are born into - but the possibilities that their are in the real world, in the future world, into my students lives?

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Place of the New (old) NZC

This week I was introduced to a rather long but relevant study by Wayne Freeth around the Reconceptualising of Leadership through the Revised NZ Curriculum.

Now the new curriculum has been in place a few years now, I personally have worked with this new curriculum for twice as long as I worked under the last one. But in reading this study I was once again reminded of the forward thinking that went into its concept. Thinking that has been somewhat forgetten.

Years ago when the NZC came back our school ran with it. We embraced change and looked at a new curriculum map for our school. We accepted the future focused themes, added our own communities values, and embraced the key competencies as important... And then got on with teaching units based on themes just like always. We simply headed the themes with the FF headings and tagged terms with a values and KC, like they are taught once a year and thats it.

Looking back, and looking at how our schools adoption of the NZC has developed since then, it seems we stopped thinking about the possibilities that had been opened up to us.

Reading this document reminded me of the importance of the few pages at the front of the NZC, the pages that seperate the skills learning from the competenices for life.
It is time to get back to looking at what the students need in skills AND competencies and working from them up towards the NZC objectives, rather than leadership picking topics they want our kids to do...

Its time to focus on knowledge as the verb... rather than knowledge as disconnected fragments of nouns.

What is our shared understanding of what a student in our school should be when they leave...

Is it only what they have attained academically that is valued - what about what they have become as  a human...

Thursday, 12 November 2015

What is Educations purpose?

Week two of Mindlab asks questions around the purpose of education.

What is the purpose?

What drives the purpose?

And how do we know we are creating opportunities for kids to be successful in their education?

We started by discussing an interesting venn diagram on the purpose of education which contained three circles.
1. Education as a means to give qualifications
2. Education as a means to socialise to customs and traditions
3. Education as a means to create subjective thinking (autonomous).
We debated the size of each part and discussed how currently the size of each changes from ECE to Higher education: where socialisation is the focus in ECE and Qualifications the focus of higher education.
We seemed to agree that subjective thinking was taught least in our schools, and that the norms, cultures and traditions our schools are teaching can be very upper, middle class European based. I wondered about the advanced social adaptablility of children these days as they move easily between the culture and traditions of home, to school, to friend groups, to online relationships, multiple family homes etc.

We looked at the 21 century learning Rubrics which cover the 6 important skills that 21st Century education needs to be teaching.
 collaboration
 knowledge construction
 self-regulation
 real-world problem-solving and innovation
 the use of ICT for learning
 skilled communication

Our videos show the steps of success towards achieving each of these skills.

Thanks to Neil, Kersty, Kath - Mindlab Rotorua

Thanks to Vanessa, Shaun, Aimee, Andrea - Mindlab Rotorua

Thanks to Clare, Graham, Brigitte, Liz, Marnel - Mindlab Rotorua

I will have to add the other skills videos created tonight, later, due to uploading issues.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Te Rangihakahaka

Let the storytelling begin...
Last term we participated in Te Rangihakahaka, a professional development program to help Rotorua teachers become more familiar with and connected to the stories of Rotorua. During our Marae stay at Ohinemutu we learned and reheard the stories of Tamatekapua, Ngatiroirangi, Ihenga, Rangitihi and more.
I understood the value in these stories as a way to connect to this place I grew up in - Rotorua, and decided that the best way to confirm my own learning was to pass it on as soon as possible.

This week I became a storyteller - not a
story reader - but a storyteller. I had had a go at telling Tamatekapuas story a week earlier, but had needed to keep checking the sequence of events and charaters names, but this time the story flowed. I was able to tell it freely with the best storytelling vocabulary that I could muster.
The reaction was great. The kids were transfixed.

My goal for the children was to introduce some of the major characters in Te Arawa history, and for them to take ownership of the stories so that they are, in turn, able to retell them. For this we have begun a few steps.
1. The kids drew or wrote as they listened to the story (backwards planning).
2. We retold the story orally in a group as a chain - each person telling the next part.
3. We wrote the story for ourselves so we could refer back to it if we forgot.

I hope to take it a step further later in the year and have the children retell these stories through multimedia for future generations.
The children really have enjoyed this first story and are engaged in their writing. I have yet to read the quality of this retell but I have seen an increased engagement in particular in a few of the Maori boys (J-R and S-R), writing screeds and screeds, and showing a strength in recalling what happened.

I hope the next story gets a similar audience.

What is knowledge?

Epistemology, ontology, axiology, rationalism and empiricism...
Boy, have I been obtaining knowledge this week, including practising all my reading skills to infer meaning of new words from the sentences around them. It has been a while since I last read academic articles.
Mindlab Rotorua has begun with the small topic of

What is Knowledge? 


What is the purpose of education?

Not such easy questions to answer but great questions to discuss with the open-minded forward thinking participants of Mindlab.

So what did we discover?  

Video by Neil, Kath, Bevan, Anne and Kirsty.
  Our flowing river is representative of how knowledge is created and evolves over time. Our knowledge is always expanding, it can head in certain directions, change direction, bend and curve. Knowledge can become unused and drift into the small  distributaries that break off the river. Along the rivers journey are the things that influence our knowledge and that our knowledge influences. Our knowledge is influenced by our time and place, by our beliefs and values, by our environment (our place in the world). Our knowledge collects facts, ideas and skills, as it flows. Some are caught up in the flow, others swept to the sides of the river. As our river of knowledge grows it can be used and applied to create more in the world, just as the river helps create the forests growing along its sides.

Knowledge flows and grows!



So what is the purpose of education then, if not to impart knowledge? Knowledge is so much more than school. Education happens regardless of time or place, but (we discussed) that its purpose is influenced by time and place. The purpose of formal education in western society, many years past, was elitist, it was only for 'certain' people, to keep them in power. Then it was to produce mass workers who knew enough to follow instructions and do as they were told to man the many factories. Now we want to create active members of society, contributers, innovators, citizens. And whats more - we are unsure what the society that they will be members of is even going to be like...


 How do I see this 'new' purpose of education in my class...


I attempt to create a community of learning. A place where we all can make decisions about  where we work and who we work with. Where everyone can be considered a holder of knowledge, and I promote children to seek knowledge from each other. Where we celebrate together, have opportunities to collaborate together, and time to share our strengths and passions with the group. I challenge children to take responsibility, to debate, to agree and disagree, and to feel they each have an important part to play in our learning journeys. School is no longer about sitting in one spot, producing the same work as the person next to you, listening without responding, accepting without questioning, doing without thinking ... Transformation is required.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Day 15- Name 5 strengths you have as an educator

Obviously keeping to this blogging challenge is NOT one of my strengths, after a stall at day 6. But I will try to get back on the horse and try to catch up a few of the missed posts over the next few days.

Today topic is to talk about my own teaching strengths. I'm thinking this question might be a little challenging but here goes...

1. I am a quick learner which means as an educator I am able to quickly pick up new learning, whether it be an assessment tool, a new curriculum, a new programme. I feel I am able to learn about these new things quickly and  independently and then work out the best way to implement this in my class.

2. I am able to make links to prior learning for the children. I find during topics I am always seeing ways that new learning is connecting to the old, and helping children to see how learning is connected.

3. I am adaptable. I am able to judge the moment and make changes to better suit the children's readiness at any given time. I am also adaptable to changes in school wide timetables, they don't throw our class programme, we will carry on with something else we planned to do.

4. I am a risk taker. I am not afraid to try something new. I like to explore ideas with the children in my class, to get them involved in what we are doing between 9am and 3pm. I have brought e-portfolios into my school, explored my own version of Daily 5 and wrote a picture book with 6 yr olds.

5. I am a learner. It is almost an obsession with me, but I love learning. I am always researching things I can do with my home, with my class, management ideas, reading programmes, new technologies, passion projects... Anything that peeks my interest.

Wow...I did it. I found 5 things I think help me to be a good educator.

How time Flies...

A year came and went... and now I find myself suddenly in 2015. Last year was a great year. I was fortunate to be allowed to teach a new entrant class. It was a year of awesome learning.

- Team teaching taught me that two is better than one. Teaching together with an experienced new entrant teacher made my transition to this age group seemless. I was able to build on my teaching philosophy with a likeminded peer, who instilled in me her knowledge and belief in the value of play. We complimented each other with our teaching strengths, and had an amazing time.

- Five years olds taught be about the power of the human brain. Boy, do five year olds learn a lot in just 10 months of school. I feel all teachers should feel the success you feel as a teacher when these little sponges suck up all the information you can put out there. I can't wait to see how these children grow through out all their years at school.

- My inquiry in Maths taught me that five year olds can go beyond what is expected of them. By focusing on remembering an using basic facts, my five year olds we able to start thinking in patterns, and using information they knew to solve problems. Very exciting. I am hoping to test my ideas of skipping past counting on, by promoting use of facts straight from the start, again this year with my year 3 maths class.

- My colleagues taught me that teachers are resilient, risk takers, who are modelling these traits to their classes. I was very pleased to hear that all the year 5/6 teachers(my team I had just left) were willing to throw their hats in and have a go at using GAFE for the first time with their students, and manage individual student blogs. The learning curve was enormous for some... but they made it through with each others support, and said they would never go back.

- I taught myself that teaching can still take a backseat to life. Through having another teacher to share paperwork and teaching with I found I got my weekends back. With two of us working hard Monday to Friday I was finally able to use my weekends for rest. This year I have looked carefully at what helped us to achieve this last year, and am attempting to implement efficient was of meeting teacher paperwork, so I can continue having my weekends to myself this year.

So that's my wrap for 2014.

let the adventures of 2015 begin...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Day 8- What is in my draw?

This question makes me laugh, and I hate what it might mean about me. But in my teachers desk draw right now is
- a packet of staples that don't fit the stapler
- a calculator
- a couple of notepads (gifts from children past)
- some split pins
- some old post it notes
- and a couple of other random bits and bobs.

Why my draw is so empty and disused is probably a better question. You see my desk is tucked away in the corner of a shared office. This small room is well used to store my own and my colleagues teaching resources. It is wall to floor with shelves and boxes of the stuff we use to share a love of learning with our students.  We are both firm believers in creating space in our classroom, so the children have room to move, play and interact comfortably. So our office has become a great storeroom. To access my desk draw, I need to climb over a box and a chair, move containers and I'm there. Hence a very disused draw and desk that is for holding boxes. Who needs a teachers desk anyway...

Day 7- who was your most inspirational colleague.

This one isn't so much a colleague of now, but an inspirational teacher of the past.

Ms B is what she was known as in those days.
She was relaxed, down to earth
She inspired us to follow our interests
She loved animals ( we had mice and pigs as class pets).
She was fair and kind.
She smiled a lot.
It was fun to be in her class and I was lucky to be there for 2 years.
I built a Marae, and rolled hundreds of papers into bones for a human skeleton, I cleaned pig wee off the floor. A few of my memories of this time in her class.