Showing posts from 2018

The End?

Today was my final MIT day at KPMG. What a year it has been! It has been great to reflect back on the entire process and to consider what we have accomplished through our inquiries this year. After presenting at the Manaiakalani Principals Wananga I have refined my presentation and created this video that reflects on my journey this year.    It has been great to have the opportunity to take the time to do a solid inquiry and to develop a tool to support other teachers. I intend to keep building my site and adding resources over time. I am hoping to gather more writing exemplars from students around the clusters. I'd like to thank Anne, Dorothy, Justine and Jenny for providing this opportunity. The food and facilities at KPMG have been amazing - it has been great to have a 'thinking space' outside the classroom.

Text Bank Website

This year I have created a text bank website. The texts within the site could be used for reading or writing - to provide exemplars or to be analysed. I am asking other teachers to share texts with me so I can keep building up the site and I see this as a growing resource.            Check my website out here. This a video of my students discussing one of the texts on the site.

Doing Something Write?

This year my inquiry has focussed on accelerating my students learning in reading and writing. I identified a real need in this area, as the Woolf Fisher data illustrated that our year 7/8 students were not making as much shift as they had in previous years. During our mid year reports, my team collected writing samples from our students and met to identify what level our learners were achieving at. While I could clearly see that my students writing had improved when I compared this writing sample to the one that we conducted earlier in the year, I was still concerned with their levels and wondered if they had improved as much as I had first thought. This weekend I decided to create a graph to compare my students beginning (blue) and mid year writing (red) results: In term 1, my lowest student achieved a score of 1P, yet in their mid year writing sample the lowest score achieved was 2P. The average shift was 10 months and the graph illustrates that accelerated shift was

Feedback from Kariene!

During our third session at MIT we had the opportunity to pair up and share feedback regarding our tools. I got the lovely Kariene from the Kaikohekohe cluster and this was the feedback she shared: Danni’s inquiry started off focusing on literacy learning in years 7 & 8 and how that school and cluster data was showing that the rate of learning in many senses was stalling or dropping.  Her inquiring focused totally on what she could do to prevent this in her classroom. Today Danni started out by sharing her site - a resource bank of texts she has created and used in her classroom.  This was broken into different pages relating to Text Analysis exemplars, Writing Techniques and Connecting Reading and Writing. This provided us with rich examples and questions based around different genre/examples.  This looked like a fantastic tool at a glance. When we delved deeper it appeared to be even more of a rich tool.   One of the challenges that Danni had been having is find

MIT Day 3

After following the inquiry cycle for six month, today the Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers met to present our tools. These were designed to provide somewhat of a solution to the problems that our inquiries were based around. I was particularly interested in hearing about Kariene’s tool, not only because it is concerned with writing, but because I have visited her cluster in Northland and I am particularly interested in following their journey with the Manaiakalani Kaupapa. She has focussed on creating a website that shows other educators how to teach writing in an engaging, collaborative and rewindable way. I could immediately see the value in her site. It connects seamlessly with her inquiry about accelerating students learning in writing and it will hold a plethora of resources and information to support teachers. It contains the kind of information that was invaluable to me during my MDTA sessions; how to use technology to enhance teaching. For teachers who new to the le

August Inquiry Update!

I am now just over six months into my MIT inquiry, which focusses on accelerating learning in literacy for students in years seven and eight. I have begun to go around the inquiry cycle once again as I am discussing the term 2 literacy data with my team and responding to it, considering what it means for my inquiry and what adaptations I need to make.    

Inquiry 2018

I am now six months into my inquiry about accelerating the literacy progress for students between years 7 and 10. I have been making the connection between reading and writing explicit to my students - check out my findings so far!

High Expectations Teaching - Christine Ruby-Davies

Are high expectations important?   Educators who hold high expectations of their learners support their self-efficacy and belief. Whilst pushing their students to engage with challenging material, they are not only supporting higher achievement outcomes, but they are also demonstrating their belief in their learners, which in turn supports the students belief in themselves.

MIT Day 2

We, the Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers, met once again at KPMG today to discuss our inquiries and collaborate to extend our thinking.  My inquiry is focussed on addressing the issue of decelerated achievement in literacy for students in year 7 and 8 who attend Manaiakalani Schools.

Plan for what's in front of you; James Hopkins

Are we using the opportunity to teach rich conceptual understandings or are we simply teaching factual information? James Hopkins challenges educators to teach the 'why' and cater it to the 'who', as opposed to focussing simply on the 'what', or teaching a series of facts. For example, many educators 'cover' the Treaty of Waitangi, by encouraging students to learn the main facts of the event, as opposed to looking at it through a conceptual lense and posing deeper questions, such as how it is relevant in 2018, who benefited etc. But we are still concerned with curriculum coverage, of covering content. When we plan we focus on our curriculum achievement objectives, but rarely do we visit the key competencies or values when we flick through the curriculum document. James asked us to highlight a piece of our planning indicating where we were teaching content, behaviour and skills. As a group, we noted the large amount of 'content' in our pl

Keynote 2: Once Upon Our Time

 Lindsay Wesner's keynote was about storytelling. She began with her own story, one not to disimilar to my own; a little girl who grew up with very little access to technology and who was greatly challenged when she was asked to use it a school. However, Lindsay began her teaching career at the blackboard using worksheets and exercise books. At the time this was the norm, she was respected by her colleagues and her students experienced success. Then she found herself lost in a 1:1 Macbook class. This could have very easily been me; I learnt basic IT skills at high school, but I would have struggled in a 1:1 classroom had it not been for the professional development I gained from the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy. It was great to hear Lindsay's story as it reminded me of how far I have come and how fortunate I am to be capable of presenting at such an event so early in my career. It also reminded me to slow down when presenting and to be considerate of those who are at

Session 1: Digital Tools for Student Voice

As someone who regularly sends out Google Forms to elicit student voice (generally regarding student engagement and learning), I was eager to attend Jan Marie Kellow's session 'Digital Tools for Student Voice'. This session started by looking at the use of some of my favourite tools; Google Forms (which I use heavily), Answer Garden (which I tend to use to gather prior knowledge) or Padlet (which I use as a sharing tool). Padlet We then looked at the use of Google Slides - which could be used similarly to Padlet, but with each child creating their own slide to respond to the prompt or question. While I do use Collaborative Google Slides, I had not thought of doing this before. At the same time, I use Google Draw pretty often, but I had not thought of using a collaborative draw in a similar manner to AnswerGarden. I quite like this idea as the students could easily save it to their drives and reflect on it in the future. Some other ideas that I enjoyed were usi

Unconference: Hangarau Matihiko

This afternoon I elected to investigate Hangarau Matihiko or the Digital Curriculum. I went in feeling quite comfortable designing and developing digital outcomes, but feeling like I need some support to incorporate computational thinking into my teaching. I was also curious to see how this might look in Māori medium schools and what the reo behind this might be. I was really excited to learn some kupu hou that involved technology - things like Netflix (Haoata), Google (Kūkara) and Meme (atakata). I thought that these would be wonderful to incorporate in my classroom as we so often use these kupu. It was really interesting to learn how these new words are created and approved. We looked at some Māori contexts that could be used to teach computational thinking or te whakaaro rorohiko, such as placing mattresses in the Marae, setting a table, making Kai, flax weaving. The more relevant we can make that computational thinking, the more engaging it can be. It is all about identifyi

Ignite: My Takeaways

The first presenter,  Dorothy Burt lead a thought provoking session regarding educational policy. She asked us to reflect upon New Zealand's history in Education. She took us back 60 years to look at the hands on approach that educators such as Elwyn Richardson used. This was a time of creativity, where students loved learning and were provided with rich learning experiences. She linked the lack of creativity and tactile experiences in today's curriculum to the recent announcement by the Ministry that they would once again review educational policy. She asked teachers to find time to create learning experiences that require creativity during the holidays. Anthony Speranza sought to give us hope that it is possible to change our teaching. He spoke of asking his students what they thought a good learner was. This idea had been presented to me at PD before and it had previously challenged my thinking. This year I made sure to begin by explicitly discussing the difference betwe

Leading Learning Through Google Sites

This morning Clarelle and I lead a workshop discussing the way we use Google Sites to lead learning. There is a lot we will adapt for our next presentation but it was a great opportunity to share our learning and to realise how far we have come in our learning journeys so far!                 

GAFE Summit Keynote

Kicking off today's GAFE or EdTech conference at Aorere College was keynote speaker Patrick Green. This keynote was entitled "the relevant teacher" and it focussed on the changing nature of the education system. Patrick took us through some examples of innovative 21st century schools and the way that they have adapted their practice. For example, Sequoyah school in California hold students back twice throughout their schooling to ensure that each child experiences failure and leadership.  He looked at the changing role of teaching and discussed the acts of a relevant teacher. This is a person who questions their content and pedagogy, considering whether what they are teaching will be relevant and helpful to their students. Is it worthwhile teaching students information that they can access through Google at any time? Relevant teachers are aware that students can gather information at any time online and expects students to answer their own questions, to take owne

Manaiakalani Case Study Teachers

One of the benefits of working in a COL like Manaiakalani is that there is a constant supply of research regarding what is working and why. This afternoon I attended a session facilitated by some of the Woolf Fisher researchers regarding the practice of educators whose students made accelerated progress last year. The research was split into three categories - how teachers were generating and using tasks, texts and time. Some of the main traits of these teachers were: - They created tasks that required the students to think critically and deeply. For example, they were asked to compare and contrast information as opposed to simply retelling it. - They used the 'wide and deep' strategy. That is, they engaged with more than one text regarding a topic and then using this information to analyse the concept in depth.These included multi-modal text. - They offered multiple opportunities for collaboration. This could be at both the 'Learn' and 'Create' stage

Design Thinking at KPMG

Today has been both fustrating and rewarding, as I have spent the day grappling with big issues with the Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers. The purpose of the day has been 'design thinking' to think of a prototype that would address the problem that we have identified. We were fortunate enough to spend this time at KPMG with Justine Todd. My original problem was looking at the connection between Intermediate and High School, as I was concerned that my students were not being adequately prepared to meet the literary demands of college. However, as I explored the problem in greater depth, I realised that this was just one of the affects of the true issue, outlined below. I then gathered information about this issue by talking to a range of experts in the field and collecting more data. I realised that my students struggle to use academic language and to comprehend the language of learning. This means that they use a lot of colloquial terms in their writing and that it is n

MIT Retreat: possible approaches?

Later in the MIT retreat we looked at the people involved in the issue and those that could support us to facilitate the approach. I created this diagram to represent those that are involved in my issue to support me to explore it in greater depth. It was during the creation of this diagram that I realised how helpful it would be for me to discuss the issue with other educators - those teaching at year six, at intermediate, at the college and with Manaiakalani facilitators and senior management. After unpacking the problem we were tasked with imagining different approaches that might address the issue. We had to create eight ideas to ensure that we were thinking broadly and widely (we could be as imaginative as we liked). The hearts indicate which approaches the educators favoured From creating these possible approaches it became obvious that a link between college and intermediate might not help my year sevens, although it might make life a little simpler for the year e

MIT Retreat: The Problem

On Friday the Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers were fortunate enough to travel to the Coromandel for a retreat. There we discussed the problems that we had identified in our teaching and the hunches that we held.


This year I have moved 1.5km up the road to teach a year 7 and 8 class at Point England School. I was really excited to have the chance to teach year eights again and to gain the opportunity to teach in a hub with four other teachers. I feel absolutely honoured to be able to work with these strong kaiako, as despite finding the move pretty challenging, I have felt really supported by my team. It is taking me a little while to adjust to the routines and differences between the schools, but I am enjoying the journey and I can already feel myself learning a lot because of this. This year I would like to develop strategies that I can carry with me from class to class, as I realised that a lot of my management techniques relied on my strong relationships with my students. This year I will have three different classes and I will be interacting with over a hundred and fourty students on a regular basis, so this will be an important skill to develop. I would also like to continue to develo