Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Going Solo

I have now been teaching 'solo' (in a single cell classroom, without my mentor) for five days and I cannot believe how much I have already learned.  At the start of this year I decided that I would enter the classroom being a little stricter than I would like to be, so that I could quickly establish expectations and routines.

While I managed to stay uber strict for the short walk from the hall to the classroom, I was quickly laughing with my students and my strict facade was broken. However, I was very persistent regarding our class routines and I am finding that my students are following them fairly well. We have chatted about respect being a huge part of our class treaty and the idea of work hard, play hard - which really means that the students get to play a game when they pack up efficiently or work well in class. You can check out what a day in our class looks like in the video below (we managed to put this together in a day and I am quite pleased that we managed it so early on in the year).


I tend to have very high expectations of my students in terms of their learning and this has definitely been something I have reflected on this week, particularly after attending a Manaiakalani meeting regarding our data. We have been advised to teach critical literacy; to support our learners to read widely and deeply and to look up to what is expected of them in the years to come. Although I need to be wary that I am not pushing my students too far (bearing in mind some of them are two years younger than the students I taught last year), I have discussed this with them through our goal setting lessons. My year 6 students in particular are very eager to set high goals for themselves, seeking to achieve similarly to the year 7s in our class.

As my students had the task of creating a self portrait and quote that would inspire them to meet their goals this year, I created my own reflecting my high expectations. I also wanted to reflect our desire to work as a team and to stay in/ row our class (metaphorical) waka, in which we all do our part to sail towards success.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Whats on the horizon for technology in education?

This week we began our university summer school course with Rena Heap and Kerry Lee. The course is concerned with digital pedagogy, which is an area we are all involved with and passionate about. Our first task was to create a fifteen minute presentation based on one of the course readings.

I chose to cover the NMC/ CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition. I spent a couple of minutes covering the outline of the report and shared a slide show containing my notes with the class.

For the remainder of my presentation I created a mini Makerspace featuring Google Cardboard and robotics. I wanted to give my peers the opportunity to experience some of the technology described in the text. We had a great time running the Edison robots around the track and experimenting with some of the Apps on Google Cardboard. I'm really looking forward to introducing this as part of the technology lessons I teach with my year 6 students, while the year 7's are at Tamaki College.

Friday, 2 December 2016

My Learning Journey

During our final PLG of the year we created sites to display our learning this year. It was a great opportunity to reflect on our growth over the year and consider how fortunate we have been to have had this support.

I think learning (and creating) the digital component of the MDTA has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the course, after teaching the children of course! We have had the opportunity to create several different sites, videos, to code and animate - things I may never had tried otherwise! Have a look at the site that I have created to see some examples of these creations.

Despite not having our Friday PLG's next year, I will still continue to make a conscious effort to develop my digital knowledge and to continue my learning journey.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Year One

It often isn't until you step back from a situation that you can truly examine it. After being given the opportunity to consider my first year during today's PLG, I realised how much my practice has altered since I began teaching.

I have gained a far greater understanding of the Manaiakalani pedagogy and have enacted it increasingly over the year. I have felt my create tasks become more purposeful and I feel confident using technology to enrich the students learning. My confidence has also grown throughout the year and I have become far more assertive. Although there are still many aspects of my practice that I would like to improve on, I can see that I have made a lot of progress and look forward to having my own class next year.

Check out the video I made discussing how I use learn, create, share in my classroom:

Danni Stone, MDTA from Danni Stone on Vimeo.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Manaiakalani Film Festival

Last Wednesday I spent the day as an Usher at Hoyts Sylvia Park. No, I haven't had a career change, instead I was helping out at the Manaiakalani Film Festival, where around a hundred student created movies were played in three theaters. 

This was really exciting for the students of the 12 schools who participated, and their teachers as it was the culmination of the hours of hard work that goes in to creating a movie. These movies varied greatly, with Pokemon, the Olympics and Poi E being some of the favorite themes. The movies also used claymation, animation, stop motion, puppets, green screens and other special effects.

Not only was it great to see the films at the cinema, but also wonderful to see all of the kids interacting and viewing the different movies through their blogs. 

I was really proud to see my class' movie play on the big screen. We had a real job attempting to film it as our script writers had created quite an ambitious story! It took a few days to complete and although I assisted with the editing, it was student filmed with the learners taking on various roles from being in charge of the filming, music, costume etc. 

The best thing for me was the reaction that it got from the younger students at our school. The lead characters are now being called Respect Boy and Energizer Girl by the junior school who absolutely loved our "Glenbrae Superheroes". This has been incredibly rewarding and I look forward to creating another movie next year!

Friday, 4 November 2016

PCT Site

It can be a bit of a mission creating a PCT folder as a beginning teacher, but I have found my PCT Google Site far more efficient to use than an old ring binder! Once I set up my pages, I have found it fairly manageable to simply drop in digital reflections, observations, samples of student work and the like.

In todays MDTA PLG we were given time and support to develop this website. I have followed the Manaiakalani template quite closely to create this site and have attached all of my evidence pages which can be accessed through the top bar. I have a page for each of the professionally certified teacher criteria and for other evidence of my practice such as my meeting minutes, reflections and release logs.

Although the focus of this PLG was to ensure that this site was up to date, I found myself reflecting back on the year and considering some of the opportunities that we have been given. We discussed how much of our professional learning aligns with the criteria and I considered how much we have all grown over the course of the year. I am really excited to continue this journey with my own class next year and drawing upon the skills that I have developed from this program.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Class on Air

I have written before about my admiration for the teachers who participate in Manaiakalani Google Class on Air.  At the beginning of the year I found it intimidating simply to publish my lessons online, so it seems incredibly brave to film a live lesson! However, this is what we have been planning in todays PLG (although ours won't be published on the Class OnAir site).


For my Class OnAir style lesson, I have decided to try a teaching strategy that I have been planning for some time. I have noticed that a few of my learners still need support in developing detailed ideas in writing and that working collaboratively has provided some support. I have also been looking at bringing gaming into my lessons as this is something that my learners are interested in. So, I introduced the idea of playing Dungeons and Dragons with them.

Unfortunately we experienced several technical issues when filming this video, so I have included the video for our introduction for the session and a screen cast to illustrate a snippet of game play. I also sped up the parts of the video where we are mostly reading aloud and discussing what can be read in the slides. I hope this gives you and idea of how our RPG functions and how the use of Google Docs and Drawings supports the game play.