Saturday, 2 June 2018

How Can I Colour in the White Spaces?

Last Year I was lucky enough to attend U-Learn and listen to Dr Ann Milne.
You can watch the Dr Ann Milne's keynote here, and you can find out more about her research here.

I for one was very inspired.
I have always strived to accelerate the learning and success of my Maori students.
I have always endeavoured to try to learn more about Tikanga, the culture and identity of my Maori students. There has always been Te Reo present in my classrooms, and I have loved sharing the traditional tales of Maui throughout my career and singing Waiata.
But has it been token? And can I do better?

As a result of this keynote I made some deliberate choices about how i was going to start the year off in 2018.

The first oral language task was for all of my students to learn to say a simple mihi.
We made a visual mixed media pepeha to support learning our mihi orally. 

We are very fortunate to live under the magnificent Taranaki Maunga so the first square is a painting of Mt Taranaki. We looked carefully out our window and painted the mountain as we could see her.

The second square has a cellophane river representing our local awa.

The third square has a black line drawing of us with whanau.

The last square has the written pepeha.

Then we took our photo in black and white. We made concertinaed cardboard pop ups so that our photos were standing in front of our art work. They look stunning on the wall and we are very proud of them.

I made a slide show with our Taranaki Karakia Whaka Te Hau and shared this with my colleagues. We now start the day with a our karakia right across the school.

I have made changes to the way my timetable and books are presented. Each day has the day in Te Reo first.

We are lucky to have Matua K work with us. Throughout Term 1 the junior team all worked together to learn new waiata. Some of this was in preparation for our trip to Parihaka. We loved it so much, and our whanau loved having these moments shared on our seesaw.

Monday, 26 February 2018

New Beginnings

Wow, has there been some changes since my last post!
A change of province, change of lifestyle, change of school, change of level! My nana always said if you are going to do it, do it well . . . and this time I sure have done it and done it well!

From here on in I will be sharing my journey in teaching and leading juniors in a rural setting - so far I have been having a blast learning a whole lot of new things!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Student Agency with Google Docs

Google docs are alive and well in the think again classroom. I have been thinking about student agency, personalised learning and authentic engagement. How does one plan for all of this, for every student?

I have been creating google docs for learning, these have a mix of authentic tasks related to the curriculum demands, some photos and/or YouTube snippets which model set learning intentions and direct links to online games where students can practice skills relevant to the learning tasks. I upload them onto the classroom website where students copy them onto their drive and begin working. Some of these slides are also used as the modeling book with small groups.

Here are some sample slides for a writing to persuade model. We used these when unpacking Persuasion as a genre. The students then used these as a self-help guide to check and monitor their own progress when writing independently. I have also copied this onto laminated cards and put it on rings for students to refer to in a hard-copy.

The next slides are slides that the students have used in maths. Again I uploaded onto the class website and the students copied them and saved them onto their own drive for personal use. We used them as modelling books in our small ability based groups, then the students could refer back to the strategies they used when working in mixed ability problem solving groups.

I have found that the students are fully engaged in their learning when using these slides on their devices. They are also thinking more about their learning, their next steps and how to apply their learning in different contexts. A far better sense of student agency.

I have begun to include a student check in on the different slides. This helps the students keep track of the different tasks they complete, what they are finding tricky and need more workshops on and what they have mastered.