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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Day 6 - What is a good mentor?

This one can be answered in bullet points.
* lets the mentored try new  things 
* supports the mentored to find their own solutions and answers
* supports reflective practices
* is reflective of their own practise and can model ongoing learning
* someone who upholds a school ethos, and values
* someone who is open, honest and non-judgemental.

That would be a good start to a good mentor.

Day 5 - A picture of my classroom

This blog might have to wait a few days till I go into school to get its picture but...
It's an interesting concept this year as it is not just my classroom. I team teach this year and therefor the design of the classroom has been shared. My ownership isn't as strong as when I have my own room. This is probably also accentuated by me handing over main responsibility to class aesthetics to my co teacher who is very artistically minded.
I like that our room isn't cluttered. I like that we have tried to make space (32 five year olds need lots of space), I like that student work is up but not overdone. I like that the space is practical. I see tired rooms in need of a spruce up. I miss my old room with different learning areas (I had low benches, couches, beanbags, tables and desks). I wish I could be given a furniture budget and design a multifunctional space for myself and my class. I think schools should lease furniture on short term leases and each year a teacher can choose what to re lease and what to change based on their budget, classroom size and shape, year level etc.
Wouldn't that be great.

Day 4 - the thing I love about teaching.

The thing I love the most about teaching, and it's the thing that drew me to teaching, and that is the fun.
Hanging out with kids, seeing the joy in their eyes, playing, singing, dancing and acting the fool, getting involved. That is the fun of teaching. It's kicking off your shoes and racing your kids down the field, it's building sand castles on the beach together. That is the fun. It's enjoying a book in the library, juggling, trying to hula hoop. That is the fun. Saying tongue twisters, reading in funny voices, folding origami frogs. That is the fun.
It's those little moments when you take off your serious "let's learn about..." boots and just hang out with the children as people - and get to relive your youth at the same time.
That's what I enjoy the most about teaching - having fun with the little people we hold so dear.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Day 3 - one thing to improve on

One thing that I would really like to improve on in my teaching practice is my talking. I talk fast, I talk a lot, if I'm passionate about something it's worse. But this isn't the talking I'm talking about. I'm talking about the amount of talking a teacher does in a classroom and at their students. I feel that I can talk to much, explain to much, so I would love to keep working on managing the amount of talk that I do and instead listen to more talk from the children. Wait for them to ask questions before explaining every last step, wait for them to answer each other's queries and challenge each other. I think we are leading our learners down a path to self directed learning and to truely own that teachers need to hand over the talking roll too.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Day 2: A piece of Technology...

Today's topic discusses a piece of technology I would like to incorporate into my teaching and learning this term. This is a hard question as I am a firm believer in the curriculum driving the technology, not the technology driving the curriculum. Being a new entrant classroom our kiddies (I team teach) have been learning how to interact with technologies in the school environment this year. We have focused around using PCs to access learning through our class blog and school server, we have worked on apps on the iPads and learned to handle these carefully and share, and some of us have had the opportunity to use the camera and take photos for our class blog. 
In looking forward to term 4 we are learning about citizenship, practising for our SLCs (Student Led Conferences) and creating things that move in the wind. This is our curriculum. To support this I would like the kids to video their SLC practise for reflection, to take their own photos of the art we create, and in writing I would like to use video to promote multiple sentence stories and richer vocabulary. This could be shown in short snippets so the children view and retell in parts over a week.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk- Flickr

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Day 1: Write your goals for the school year

Considering that it is nearly term 4 here in NZ, it seems I will be writing goals for term 4. Here goes.
1. Keep going
Coming into term four all the talk at school starts to turn very quickly to the coming year. New teachers are being appointed, teachers are consulted around their preferred levels next year, end of year data needs loading by week 3, reports written, and planning days for 2015 are all on the term plan and that's just the first 6 weeks. So my number one goal is to stay focused on our little learners who still have so much more learning to gain in the next 10 weeks of school.
2. Get up
Around this time of year I find my bed the most comfortable place, and with that, find it extremely difficult to get out of in the morning. Daylight savings is helping too as now it isn't so light in the mornings. So my goal for this term is to get up and get to school at 8am ( not 8:30am).
3. Stay positive and support people
With the end of the year looming and change coming for staff and students I want to try and stay positive. Change makes people nervous and anxious. There may be some anxious teachers around who will need understanding, and as always, anxious kiddies, as the safety of your 4 classroom walls start to crumble as talk about their new teacher begins. Term 4 can mean tired people as a whole, so my goal is to be positive and helpful.