Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Haeata Week Nine

Day One

We had some time in smaller groups across hapori to talk about Relationship Management in our first block and together we worked on coming up with a statement that described relationships for us. Our group used this statement that was made by another staff member, but we felt it summed things up for us:
Building trust and respect and creating a culture of belonging where everyone feels valued and safe to be who they truly want to be and to have the understanding to allow others to be who they want to be.
Another comment which I found quite useful was about the difference between restorative practise and restorative justice. Restorative Practices are the way that you talk to students. The way you shame them, or not, in front of others The way you approach them in the classroom, the way you talk to them when they make a mistake, the way you interact with students. Restorative Justice is the way that you deal with issues after they occur, the way you talk through problems with students and find solutions. I felt this was a good way of clarifying the difference.
Some of the new staff presented their digital korowai today - just another reminder of how great these are to give us an insight into their personal life. We are very keen to take this idea into our hapori for next year.
Cambridge-High-Personalisation_large.pngThe second block was around assessment and we had a list of articles to read and reflect on. I read some really interesting articles during this time and wrote quite a few pages on reflection around these, maybe they will all make it into another blog another time! Meanwhile, here are a few links to some I found particularly interesting.
In the afternoon we met some more whānau at our enrolment hui, and once these had finished, I read more of the articles on Assessment as I found some of them quite thought-provoking.

Day Two

Our hapori had some time this morning to discuss assessment  and we wrote a large list of assessment tools that we could think of:
NCEA Unit and Achievement standards, STAR, Gateway, CTC, SiteSafe, MOOCS, Royal and Trinity Music exams, Services, Te Kura, Peer and group reflections, Portfolios, ITOs, First Aid, Spirit of Adventure, Outward Bound, AsTTLe - the list goes on. We are not restricted to just using NCEA and it is good to get an idea of other assessments and pathways that we can look at. When I think of assessment I am always reminded of the quote by Albert Einstein in this picture.
An interesting question came out of our discussion, "Is it our job to be a vocational transitional facilitator?". In some ways I think it is. As senior school staff, much of what our students are looking for is the pathway when they leave school. We need to have some tools to enable this and support them in their journey. So, what about those that don't know what they want to do? How do we help support them? I feel it is about exposing them to a range of opportunities and ideas that they might get a spark from that can set them on a pathway for life.
Our next block was working on our relationship agreement. Previous comments had been collated by Andy with all of our views put into one document. Many of our comments were very similar and some underlying common themes emerged. Some of these themes were:
  • It is vital to form positive relationships with all, including whānau
  • Restorative practice can help maintain these relationships
  • We need to create a safe environment for all
  • One size does not fit everyone
  • We need to preserve mana
  • Student perspective is important

We also had discussions about what we would do in certain situations with students, for example swearing, fighting, communication with parents. This really brought home how different things might look from one end of the school to another, but also how different it can be from one incident to another. So much depends on the individual but there are certain base line strategies that can be followed and we focussed on these. We then looked at pro-active management strategies that we could use, personally, in our hapori and kura wide. Some of these are really simple but can make a big difference to our students. Examples could be:
  • Correct pronunciation of names
  • Showing a genuine interest
  • Learning about our ākonga
  • Modelling good responses in an age appropriate way

Day Three

We spent some time working on NCEA and assessment today as well as how the timetable might work for us before our hapori took a break and met at my house for a swim and some lunch together. It's always good to spend some social time together as a group and we are really lucky that we all get on well together - well, I think we do!!
More enrolment hui in the afternoon, meeting our awesome whānau.

Day Four

Excitement today as we met at the school site for our site visit. We were given a safety briefing, signed for our key cards and were taken on tours of the site. So great to be able to actually see what the spaces look like. It's meant to be finished by next Friday so we were keen to see where things were at. Having watched the fly-through on the Haeata website, I was amazed at how accurate it was! Even down to the colour scheme!

The outside spaces were lovely, in particular I liked the small stage type areas outside the hapori, lots of uses sprang to mind. I got a sneak peak at the Performing Arts area and was excited by the practise rooms (yes they are soundproof - 2 of us tested that) and the recording spaces. My one reservation, which I had from the flythrough and was confirmed in the actual space, is that the sound/recording booth for the auditorium is on the side, not at the back of the space. We didn't get into the space itself, but the front of house lighting rig looks pretty cool. The technology area in our hapori looks amazing and I can hardly wait to see how everything comes together next year.

We dashed back to school in time for more enrolment hui and then spent the afternoon working on more assessment and timetable clarification in our hapori.

Day Five

A day out for Ihutai (our hapori). We travelled over to Living Springs for the day which was an amazing site to work from.
It was nice to get away to a space where we could focus on planning and have some in depth discussion without any other distractions. We were well looked after with fantastic food (the muffins were enormous!) and a tour of the area, which included a bit of rock climbing by our resident expert, James, as well as a bush walk to an 800 yr old Kahikatea, one of the oldest trees on Banks Peninsula. It was a lovely day out and a great time together.

Only one week to go - this term has gone so quickly. I lost my voice on Thursday - tired and needing a break. So many of us are feeling the "end of term-itis" drain and I know we will all be looking forward to a break.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Apple IT training at Haeata

We were lucky to have some Apple Experts come into Haeata to talk us through getting the best use out of our laptops. These are my notes so that others can also gain some insight and perhaps get a few tips.

James Petronelli, Meredith Bean and Dan Partridge were with us for a few hours and they took us through some of the software we have on our Macs, but also gave us some hints on Accessibility and quick tips. I personally knew many of these having been a Mac user for a while but it's always good to have a reminder and as always, I learnt a few new things.

James opened with some context around using technology in the classroom and showed us a video from the String Theory Schools which I hadn't heard of. It was interesting to go and have a look at their website and learn more about this. Seeing schools using technology always brings me back to the SAMR model and
remembering why we use technology and what the reasons are for this. One app he mentioned was Elements 4D app for Chemistry where you can see reactions between 2 elements. I was intrigued by this but don't own an iPad, so I went looking for it online. I found it was available on Android and Apple so I downloaded it and had a play with it on my Android phone. It's pretty cool, but I felt the phone screen was a bit small to really see what was happening, so the bigger screen would be better. I'd love to have it on my SurfacePro with the bigger screen, so have sent the company some feedback to that effect.

As a GAFE (Google Apps ForEducation) school he asked us "how are you pushing students to demonstrate learning?" We need to go beyond what we are doing. Our technology becomes a tool - a musical instrument, a sketchpad, a camera. Apple have been working hard to cater for diverse leaners. They believe all technology needs to be accessible and straight out of the box. Apple has a screen reader and an onscreen braille keyboard accessible out of box.
I liked the question "What is the reason to download an app?" as many that are downloaded become just skill and drill apps. Students are not creating things but the technology is just keeping them occupied. They "play on iPad" instead of "learned" on iPad. Everything on iPad and laptop is for student creation not consumption.
"Everyone should have the opportunity to create something that can change the world"

Things that make a technology learning programme successful:
Vision, team, community, measurement, student learning, porfessional learning, environment design, financial stability.

Simon Sinek's "Starts with Why" course was mentioned and I had a look at this. I like the quote "Your Why is the very reason you exist".

This is the largest site for educational content. You can download the app from the store on an iPad. It is designed for touch screen which is why it is not on a laptop.  You can create your own and access more that others have made. Opportunity for kura to create content to talk about history or for teaching Māori.
There are Podcasts created by schools, Uni, and libraries to share content.
They have been working with Te Akau Ki Papamoa Primary School putting up materials, one of these being minecraftmeasurement101: create your school in Minecraft which has all the information on how to do this. He also mentioned the Gallipoli in Minecraft Exhibition, amazing ideas in here for teaching.
There are lots of resources on iTunesU that we can redesign for our classrooms. Everything, courses and pdfs are all free. There are also Apple education courses to learn about specific Apple products - search for Apple Ed - Units of study.
We then went through how to create a course in iTunesU which was very simple. You can put anything in an iTunesU course that is digital including Mp3, pdf, audio. You can hand in assignments and also grade them, although at this stage grading is just a number, not our system of Achieved, Merit Excellence. I thought this was  quite good as a course system, but the way we are looking to have learning at Haeata it probably was not going to be that useful. I did wonder though if students could make their own courses for other students. Something to think about.

iBooks Author
The next app we looked at was iBooks Author. This is free and could be used for creating teaching resources to be read on iPad or Mac as well as for students to create their own books.
We looked at "Tigers" and were shown how you can highlight text and have text spoken to you, although the app is not good at te reo yet. More suggestions to send to Apple. However, you can record a voice into the book so you could read it yourself. You can take notes on a book which highlights it, then you can see all notes you've taken and make study cards if you want them. There are lots of cool widgets to add to books and we were taken through Phasmids  which has some great examples of widgets in action.
We also looked at the iBooks store where if you search for Apple Education there are lots of instruction books for apps. Really hepful when you get stuck!
When writing an iBook it is template based so you need to look for the layout you like. Students prefer landscape. Stick with the template by dragging and dropping. A good way to start a textbook is with a video to draw them in. The table of content auto generates which is nice.
My reservation with iBooks is that you can only play them on a Mac. I feel this could be limiting if the student doesn't have a Mac at home. I found this article which talks about the pros and cons of using iBooks. 

Tips and tricks:
Turn off notifications - Go to the top right of your screen and click on the 3 lines to find the notifications.
Adding te reo Maori keyboard instructions - Here is a link to instructions for Mac and PC.
Ability to zoom in and out - Go to Preferences - Accessibility - Zoom
Preferences tips:
Display - Can change size of cursor, contrast
Speech - Karen closest to NZ accent
Dictation - more you use it the better it works/ Open up Preferences and enable it. Will recognise some Maori place names. We all need to email Apple and tell them we want Maori dictation!
Use for writing email quickly, can dictate lots of writing.
Closing hand on the trackpad brings up access to all apps, open up to close the screen.
To change the gesture go into Trackpad.
3 fingers pushed up to see all open apps.

To bring up Spotlight search - Command-space - can use to search anything on the laptop including emails. 
Screenshot - change where it goes to by following these instructions.

iPad 101
Button at bottom - double tap to see what you have open. Swipe it up to close it. Good to see what students have open by double tapping.
Swipe up from bottom to get control centre and use orientation lock.
Swipe down from top for notification centre.
Swipe from middle to get Spotlight.

Classroom App - free on store
You can lock iPads.
Can open same app on all iPads. Can make small groups and push out pages or apps. Can lock them in that app until teacher changes it.
Some groups are created on the fly so you can see who is on camera, in safari etc.
Can have an iPad managing multiple classes as well.
Built dependant on wifi network though. Need a good network.
Blue bar at the top of student iPad means they are being watched. Students learn to self-managed.
Can share student work on a particular iPad via AppleTV.
Can be used for NZQA online assessment and testing - could take students into an app to create assessment and can lock the iPad to that app to stop them from browsing.
It can't work with BYOD - have to be institutional iPads. 

We need to see coding as a digital literacy. I totally agree that all students hould be given the chance to code as I see it as a step to problem solving as well as a technology skill.
We had a look at Swift Playgrounds which is an app for iPad which enables you to learn to code in the language of Swift, which is for Mac. It has to be an iOS10 iPad to run.
Some notes:
Can pinch and zoom into the coding graphic
Click on character and you can choose one
Click on speed button - can run it really fast or step through slowly - can see where you go wrong
Pictures, pdf or movie to prove learning - can broadcast live
Commands can be typed in - j key drag to right and it give () or {} by just one key
Can reset page or can reset whole programme - if sharing device need to save vid or pdf and they can go back to where they are up to with menu.
In iBooks, they have built a teacher guide on how to teach students to code.
Swift is Open Source - coding for iPhone and iPad apps and for Linux as well as ports to Windows, Android and Raspberry pi.
Playgrounds are prescriptive but you can create your own later in the learning process.
Targeted at 8 to 10yrs. Can do basic coding younger than that and I found this product, OSMO, which looked like quite a cool idea to be able to create the code with your hands first. I am also very keen on the ideas on the CSUnplugged website to teach coding to students. There are lots of resources out there for Mac, Android and Windows. It's important to know what you are trying to achieve first. 

It was a great session to get to know some new apps and to think about the use for these at Haeata. It also made me think a lot about what is fit for purpose and what the best tools are for the job we want to do. We do need to be careful of jumping on a train, when there may be another one that takes us to our destination faster and with more options. There is so much out there worth investigating. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Haeata - Week Eight

Day One

We started our day practising two waiata. I am finally getting these learnt, with the aid of sticky notes and lots of singing in the car. I'm loving singing every day and now putting the movement in as well is challenging again!
Glenys Williams came in to show us around our Linc-Ed site today in preparation for our Enrolment hui. This is the Student Management System (SMS) we will be using across the whole school and it was good to get into it and have a look around. The beauty of this system is that it is able to be personalised for our kura and we have input into what we need for us specifically. Some of our staff have used this before but for many of us it is a new platform.
We had a session in our Puna Ako time where we did some more unpacking around NCEA and what this would look like with regards to our Principles and Dispositions. Still many discussions about what this might look like for our ākonga.
After lunch we got to meet with some of our ākonga and their whānau. It was really good to have some time to chat and learn more about them as well as answering their questions, even though there are still a lot of unknowns with specifics, it was helpful to touch base and learn more about what their thoughts are.

Day Two

This morning started with our waiata again. I was pleased that I have learnt the lyrics to 2 out of the 3 so far as it makes it so much easier to harmonise. I was feeling great, then another was added today just to keep us on our toes! Glad we are able to have the lyrics for that one that we are singing in a few weeks time.
Paul (SLT) took us through the timetable plan today. It was good to get an idea of how the week will look and it also has a lot of flexibility in it which I am excited about. Our time is split into Kaupapa Ako (time for transdisciplinary learning), Puna Ako time (for our smaller groups with one kaiako), and MAI time (My Area of Interest).
Karyn took us through some reading and information around self-regulated learning after starting with a poem by George Betts "To Our Children". In my search for a copy of this poem I came across a book by George Betts called "Journey of Lifelong Learning".  The subtitle is "Major concepts, discussion and activities for facilitating wisdom in our youth" and after reading this, I thought that some of the activities and questions could be really helpful in helping formulate some discussion for our ākonga during Puna Ako time. She gave us a lot of readings and information to digest and I particularly found Karen's blogposts interesting as they come from a personal perspective and challenge us to think about what we are doing in our schools and why.
At morning tea I found this blogpost by George Couros which I felt really summed up a lot of what Karyn was talking about this morning.
The rest of the day was Apple IT training and I have written a separate blogpost about this.

Day Three

Started with work on unpacking Puna Ako time. We were looking at what this could look like in our hapori and then each hapori presented their ideas back to the group. This was done in a variety of ways, some of which had us highly entertained.
At lunch I had a good chat with one of our new teachers for next year. I will be her mentor and it was good to touch base and see what was on top for her at this stage. Such a different start for a new teacher, being part of a new school and having the opportunity to be a part of planning  and designing new learning ideas, not your usual start to teaching!
In the afternoon we had some more hui with whanau and then after school a number of our staff went to the Christchurch Connected Educator Christmas drinks which was a nice way to unwind for the day.

Day Four

Extra waiata practise was held today for those of us who were struggling a bit to get the moves down. Great to have so many talented people around to help us and many of us took advantage of the extra practise. After that we started unpacking MAI time. MAI time is a time for students to follow their passions and explore something they may want to find out more about. We had discussions around whether this should be a documented time and what it might look like in our hapori. We then had our own MAI time so I spent most of it writing blogs and chatting with kaiako on a range of topics. It is so good to have time to be able to have conversations about all sorts of things. You learn so much from just talking with other educators.
Our afternoon was spent with a young man who is coming to Haeata next year but has been at Te Karaka Area School. It was great to hear his point of view as to what worked and didn't for him as far as the project learning approach and his NCEA credits.  Getting an insight into how they managed NCEA in a different setting was really helpful. Being able to make NCEA and assessment work for us, rather than the other way around is a must.
The evening was spent at a community hui where a number of whanau came to hear what was happening at Haeata and meet the staff over a coffee and a sausage. Such a great feeling having the staff and community in the same place and being able to make more connections.

Day Five

The day started with more waiata practise, we are starting to sound and look OK! Puna Ako time saw us do an overview of the 8 weeks. We put up all the topics we had learnt about and then added our feelings and questions to each of the big picture sections. This gave us a good idea as to the issues still facing us. We were lucky to have a good chunk of time on this during the day and I felt we needed to have this overview as we have learnt so much and it's good to go back to everything and just make some sense of it. Some of our questions were answered, others brought up even more questions but it was nice to have that time to voice those.We shared an idea around how NCEA might work with the Korepo hapori (Yr 7-10) and got some feedback from them as well. We unpacked the timetable even more, getting down to what defined each of the blocks. How is MAI time different from Kaupapa Ako? What would we see across all blocks? This will inform a lot of our thinking over the next 2 weeks.

Day Six

The Aranui community concert AFFIRM was on the Saturday this week. Haeata was there in force, with most of the staff able to be there for some of the day. We had a tent with a lot of information for prospective ākonga and their whānau and I know that I spoke to a large number of people over the morning when I was there. It was a great day with performances by a huge range of local groups and chances to talk with lots of people.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Haeata - Week Seven

Day One

During Mai time we spent time calling families to invite them to met with our staff at either an specified time or at our hui on Dec 1st, or at AFFIRM on Dec 3rd. The chance to meet with whanau and ākonga is fantastic and will help us be informed about our community for next year.
I also read this article titled "What schools can learn from Google, IDEO and Pixar" that one of our staff shared (thanks Fred) and found it to be really inspiring. I really liked this paragraph which made me think: 
"What would it mean for schools to have a culture centered on design thinking and interdisciplinary projects instead of siloed subjects? What if the process of education were as intentionally crafted as the products of education (i.e., we always think about the book report or the final project, but not the path to get there). What if teachers were treated as designers?"
The afternoon was spent preparing for our school visit trips. Our Year 1-7 kaiako went to Wellington and the 7-13 kaiako went to Auckland. This was a great opportunity to see what was happening in other schools around the country.

Day Two

Being picked up at 4.50am to catch a plane is not the easiest start to the day, but our hapori were on the redeye flight to Auckland.
From the airport we went by bus to Hobsonville Point Secondary School where we spent the day. The Principal, Maurie Abraham, went through how the school worked and gave us a lot to think about in terms of curriculum and structure. We then were treated to a tour through the school where we got to see students in action. It was great for those of us who hadn't been in that type of learning space to see how it might work for us.
Off then to our accommodation and a reflection on what we had seen and how it might inform our work at Haeata. Dinner and social time wrapped up the day and we are all asleep fairly early that night (well most of us were).

Day Three

On the bus at 7am to get to Rototuna Junior High, with a stop for breakfast on the way. This was an interesting environment as the Junior High had been open for a year and the Senior High is opening in 2017. Their staff are in the same place as us, having a term to prepare for their students next year, although they get just Year 11 in the first year, where we get all our students at once. 
We had some time in the Junior High, having a briefing by the Principal and then students showed us around the school. We asked lots of questions and got a glimpse of what they were doing with their Year 7-10 programme. Our hapori (Ihutai) then spent some time with the Senior High staff and had a look at their programme for 2017. It was a great window into their thinking and gave us a lot to discuss on the bus later!
One of our staff managed to organise us a visit to the Warriors training facility at Mt Smart Stadium and we spent an hour there learning about their training program, getting insight into their data collection and how it is used to inform the training and then had a tour around the training space. I really liked the words above their screen in the tactics room: 
Off to the airport for dinner and then home for a rest!

Day Four

We were thankful for a late start today after two very tiring days. Our first session had us practising two waiata that we are learning as a group. I really enjoyed learning the actions to ***** , but trying to put the words and actions together was fairly challenging!
We then had a reflection time on our school visit from Wednesday, talking in pairs and small groups about what we saw and how we felt about what the schools were doing. It was interesting to hear different perspectives and to realise that because we come from different backgrounds, we see different things. Those of us who have never worked in an open environment had thoughts around the space more often than those that have worked in those spaces before. 
Our second session was around Relationship Management. As a new school, this is something we need to unpack and get an overall agreement on. We were asked the following questions:
What do you personally believe?
What is important in managing relationships? Managing behaviour?
What do you think about positive reinforcement? About reward systems?
What do you think about consequences? About punishments?
Our answers were then collated and we will be unpacking these more next week. I am sure there were a wide range of answers as some of our initial discussion showed. We were given a Blendspace full of articles and videos to look at, many quite polarising about their viewpoint on the above questions. These are some of the ones I read.
Our last session was preparing for our Enrolment hui for next week. We have parents and students coming in to meet with kaiako and we talked more about what information we would need to be able to answer their questions.

Day Five

Rebecca (one of our SLT) started today with letting us know about the external agencies that will be involved with Haeata. There are a huge range of people involved, from Youth Workers to nurses, After School care and many more. It is great to see the range of support for our students and our community. This is such a big part of helping our students feel supported and there has been a lot of work going on in the background on getting this all together.
Our hapori spent some time today on a survey around NCEA. We were given a lot of statements and had to give a 2 word reaction to each one. We used the tool Poll Everywhere which was a good way to see a snapshot of us as a group. There were many things we agreed on wholeheartedly, but also some things we need to unpack a bit more so we are all on the same page.
During Mai time I wrote my blog on my hearing loss and ILEs . I found some interesting articles that had been written on this subject and it was good to see what others had found and were thinking about. This came to the top of my thinking while we were away this week and certainly is something to think about for next year.
At lunch we had a meeting about Out of School Music hours and Itinerant music tuition. This is a difficult space at the moment as we don't know our students for next year so it is very difficult to say what we will need in the way of support musically but it was good to start looking at what we might want to put in place.
We finished up the day by unpacking more NCEA and were all given the opportunity to speak on points that we wanted to expand on. I liked the way we did this, with each person having two blue (for the statement) and two pink (against the statement) pieces of paper and you could play these to speak for one minute about that statement. It was a good way to make sure everyone got the opportunity to have their say, but not for too long!

One of the main things I am learning is about my view on education. Always being challenged and asked about my point of view has meant that I have had to actually have a point of view on things. I have had to work out how I feel and what are important ideas to me. It has been amazing to have this time to think and be challenged. Loving it.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Hearing loss and ILEs

This week has highlighted my deafness. I have a 70Db threshold in some frequencies and only the very high or very low frequencies are in the normal range for me. This website explains how this works and my personal audiogram looks like a U shape with another smaller dip in the high frequencies. I wear hearing aids and have done so since my late 20s, when I realised my hearing had deteriorated. I can thank my father for my type of deafness, it is hereditary and reasonably unusual. My dip in the high frequencies has most likely has come from playing in bands for years without any ear protection. This is a more common hearing loss, where loud noise has changed the ability to hear the higher frequencies. 

Over the week, as part of my work, we have been visiting new schools that were built as Innovative Learning Environments or ILEs. These spaces are huge. They are mainly open areas where large numbers of students and staff can collaborate, learn and inspire each other. There are break out spaces where groups or individuals can work, but there are also wide open areas where students can work together or in smaller groups. We spent the two days as a group, always with people, sleeping in a dorm, eating together, and socialising. I found myself having to take some quiet time away from others, and feeling quite tired over the two days and keen to get home to a quiet space.
This week I had my annual checkup for my hearing and it really made me think about what I had been experiencing over the last seven weeks and in particular the last few days. I have been very tired and often have taken myself away from others to get some quiet time. I had thought it was around the amount of learning and the processing I was doing (and my age!), which was certainly a big part, but I know now it was also about my hearing loss.
When you are hard of hearing, you have to work a lot harder to make out what is being said all the time. My hearing aids are great and they do an amazing job at amplifying sound and making speech clear for me, but they don't do everything. I still have to pick out what I listen to within an environment and when there are 10 conversations going on at the same time, it takes effort to focus on one. I always place myself at the front of a presentation, but as soon as we break for groups, it makes it harder to concentrate and select what I am listening to. Very little of our time has been in our own quiet space or as individuals. There is no office to shut the door or to get away from others and have silence.
This made me think about the effect it had on me and how much this would also affect our students. This is not a new thing of course. This article on Stuff talks about how adapting our teaching practices to the environment is important if hearing impaired are going to be catered for in an ILE. I also like the last comment in this article: "It doesn't matter where they are, it's the relationship that's important." This for me means understanding and knowing your students, and staff, and being aware of their needs. I know that I need some time in quiet space during a day or I can feel quite overloaded with noise and many of our students will need this as well. 
There are lots of resources out there on how to cater for hearing impaired students in the classroom and the TKI site has some great resources as well as a guide for teachers to help make their environments more effective for communication and social interactions. Another good site with some strategies for teachers with a hard of hearing student in their class is from the DeafTEC site. There is also an article from Noise and Health on "Noise in open plan classrooms" that I found really interesting and although it was written in 2010 and I know the acoustics have changed a lot since then, it has some good suggestions about dealing with noise in these environments. There is also a more recent (2016) Masters thesis by Leanne Munro, titled New generation learning environments: are students with hearing difficulties included? which, although I haven't read it all yet, has some great insight into this issue and has some research (albeit one school) to back up her findings. She has some considerations for schools, at the macro level for buildings, meso level for administration and I like the micro level:

"Thirdly, consideration must be given at the micro level where students are given agency to explore the learning environment and allow them choice of technology, spaces and places that optimise learning and foster a sense of inclusion."

It will be interesting to see what acoustic qualities our site has and what soundproofing is in place in our spaces. I am excited about working in the new environment as I feel it creates amazing learning opportunities for our students, but I am also interested as to how this will work for me and for others with hearing loss. I am going back to my hearing specialist during our first term next year to have another discussion around how I am coping and whether we need to adjust anything with my hearing equipment, or add any extra support for me to hear as well as I can.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Haeata - Week Six

Day One

Our first day this week didn't happen due to the large earthquake centered in Culverden. Our buildings needed to be checked before we came to school and so we had a day at home.
It really made me think about the earthquakes and the effect they have on us and our students. I feel for everyone in the affected areas and for people in Christchurch who had all of those memories brought back.

Day Two

We started with a mihi whakatau this morning for the new staff. Our group is growing and it is great to have more staff on board. After kai and mihimihi we had time to talk about the earthquake on Sunday night and how that had affected us and what we needed from our colleagues and for our students. Earthquakes are the weirdest things. There is no warning and you can't run away from them. Unless you have been in the situation of a large quake it is difficult to comprehend the impact on people.
We then broke into small groups and shared a precious momento with each other. This was a good way for our new staff to get to know some of us. We then had two digital korowai from new staff. These have been such a good way to get to know people and are really good for making connections.
After lunch we had a te reo class where we are split into three groups depending on our level of ability. We are so lucky to have such a large number of kaiako who are capable of taking these sessions.
I spent the rest of Mai Time looking at some of the presentations from the Global Education Conference - wishing I had more hours in a day!

Day Three

In our first session today we were given a choice of pictures and asked to relate them to learning. Our
pair had a picture of Hong Kong. We came up with the idea of fluidity - going in different directions, the different clouds showing our different types of learning and learning styles and then the city showing our connection to the world, the global picture, that also needs a strong infrastructure to support growth. It was interesting to see different perspectives on the pictures with some people having totally different takes. This reminds us that our ākonga will also see things differently. One of the other groups had a picture which they saw as a snapshot in time, a place to relax for a bit and not worry about what is around the corner - something we can all take a lesson from.
Using these pictures we then discussed 3 implications for us as educators - what do we need to do to make the picture come true. We decided you need to have strong systems and processes in place to support learning, connections and positive relationships between staff, students and community and you need support no matter where you are going.
Some of the other groups came up with the following after being inspired by their pictures:
Create a safe and supportive environment - be brave
Have learning pathway
Important for ākonga and kaiako to learn together
Individualised learning plans
Expose students to a range of knowledge
Building pathways through challenge
Having the right environment to nurture seeds
Important to have time to reflect
Celebrating success and failures
Constantly evolving - tear down the old for the new

In small groups we had short discussions on some questions, including:
How important are subjects?
What are the basics for 5 yr olds? 10yr olds? 15yr olds?
The NZ curriculum has 8 learning areas - which are the most important?
When we talk about change in education it becomes clear that we can't do this TO our community  - we  need to do this WITH them. It needs to be a collaboration with whanau, ākonga and kaiako having conversations around learning.

We then read an article on constructivist teaching. This was about learners, the environment and how they learn best.  One statement from this that really resonated with me was "If you are truly meeting learner's needs then how can you possibly plan for them 10 weeks in advance". 
Our next question was "What is the purpose of a Haeata education?". After filling a page with ideas we then had to choose one that summed everything up. Our group decided on the whakataukī
E tū ki te kei o te waka, kia pakia koe e ngā ngaru o te wā

Which translated from Māori means "Stand at the stern of the canoe and feel the spray of the future biting at your face" which we translate to a learner to be pushing their personal boundaries to achieve success.
Our Manakura (Principal) is away this week at the Singularity Summit and the statement and question he wanted us to look at, after having a day at the conference, was:
"The gap between school and life has never seemed wider. So much of what we do in school is completely irrelevant. How do we respond to this and how do we bridge the gap?" Our group decided not everything was irrelevant, but there were certainly some parts that we could do without. Lots of ideas were had around what we could do to help bridge that gap and make learning more relevant and forward thinking.
After this we broke into our hapori groups and talked about how we might package learning. This is really the first time we have started to dig deeper into what learning might look like at Haeata for next year, rather than the big picture. Our hapori found it difficult to stay away form the elephant in the room - NCEA. This became the subject of another session after lunch.
At lunchtime I reflected on this style of learning that we carried out this morning. We started out in pairs, then made groups of 4, then 8, then back to pairs. We had time to write on paper and then move around to look at everyone else's work and make comments, then back to discuss the comments made on our sheets. We also have time where we have statements to comment on for 1 minute only, without interruptions and then change groups to keep the information flowing around the room. We are continually working with different people, reflecting on comments and changing things around. It is a safe environment to work in and I really enjoy engaging with different people and hearing new ideas.
After lunch we gathered with the Year 7-10 hapori, Korepo, to discuss our visit to the closing High School for the next day. With the new staff there, it was a large group and it was exciting to have more input and ideas from a wide range of people. Our hapori then met with one of the SLT to discuss how NCEA might look for next year. I think we came up with more questions than answers but this is a work in progress and it was good to get some ideas out for discussion.

Day Four

I read this article "When does profound learning occur?" that we were given and it just reinforced my thinking around making sure learners have choice, are empowered and are involved in creating new things. Changing from teacher-centered to student-centered learning and not sticking to a timetable can be difficult for some staff to get their heads around as we have been immersed in this style of teaching and learning for so long.
We heard some feedback on the kaiarāhi trip to Melbourne where they went to a few schools to have a look at the way they worked.
I really enjoyed listening about their thoughts on these and then exploring the school sites for more information. This is a great way to look at how some of these things might work at Haeata and to see what others are doing in their communities. Some amazing things going on!
Our second session was going into the high school and spending time with students. We had a range of activities for them and rotated them through these. It was great to spend time with them and give them an opportunity to meet us and to ask questions and tell us a bit about themselves.
The afternoon was spent doing our own work and I went to a TeachMeet which you can read about in another blog.

Day Five

We started with a reflection on our time at the high school yesterday and then moved into our hapori groups. Our discussion was centered about NCEA and how this might look for students in our hapori.
The next session started with us in pairs finding a quote about education. We had to say what we felt the quote meant in our eyes. We came up with education not being siloed in a classroom or just at school, but about equipping the community to enable change as well. The implications of this on our day to day actions would be to have authentic, meaningful learning and for students to see that they are the ones that can change the world. This ties in really well to our Values, Principles and Dispositions. We then went on to look at a draft of our Learning Process document. We had a chance to feed back to the SLT around this and have a discussion about how this may look in our kura.
Andy talked about his time at the Singularity Summit this week and once again reinforced his thoughts around the divide between school and the real world. If we take the linear path we will be left behind by the exponential curve of development. He talked about the difference between innovation (incremental and linear) and disruption (changing the game). We used to be able to predict what would happen in the world up to 20 or 30 years ahead, but now it is more like 3-5 years due to technology. He mentioned Moore's Law which I first heard about yesterday at the TeachMeet and also talked about the need for humanness in this technology based world. we need to automate what we can so we can spend time doing the human part of our jobs. A question he was asked, and I think we all need to ask of ourselves is:

What part of your job could be automated so we could do away with you?

Interesting discussion from there about Qualifications and NCEA. Sue Suckling (the Chair of NZQA) said "the era of the qualification has gone". This has huge implications for us as educators and is something that we spent a lot of time discussing in the afternoon. A group of kaiako spent time throwing ideas around as to what success could look like at Haeata and whether NCEA was a part of this and how it could be. It was a robust and fascinating conversation with many viewpoints and many ideas coming through from a wide range of staff, not just those in the Year 11-13 hapori.

Another week gone - time is flying by. Looking forward to the next week with a trip to Auckland and a visit to Tuahiwi.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

TeachMeet 0.3

I love going to these TeachMeets. I always come away being inspired by something and getting excited by little bits of information, or a new tool, or just hearing about what others are doing in their schools. Today was certainly no different - including the awesome food put on by our host school, Villa Maria College.
These are just my notes on today and I have just done a quick summary on each presentation. You can also have a look at the tweets made today using #TMChch.

Aidan Harrison (Middleton Grange School)- Christian Bicultural Learning 

Aidan gave us a quick digital korowai before taking us through his learning as a bilingual teacher. He went through a short Cultural Narrative for Villa Maria College, reminding us all that every school should have one and we should all be aware of this. I thought at this time how lucky we are at Haeata to have had time to explore our Cultural Narrative and how much it underpins all that we will do there.  He talked about Tātaiako - Cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners and I found this reinforced the learning I have been doing at Haeata over the last few weeks (see other posts on my blog for more info on this). He mentioned about the challenges for staff around not feeling confident with Bicultural learning and he offered support for anyone wanting to know more.

Schira Withers (Our Lady Star of the Sea School) - Facilitating the teaching of Character Strengths using Positive Psychology and enhancing Wellbeing

Schira spoke about promoting wellbeing though Character strengths. There are 5 schools in a cluster on the southeast of Christchurch who are using the VIA Institute Character Strengths to promote wellbeing in their schools for staff and for students. They get everyone to do a survey to start with (on the site) to help them discover what their strengths are. The school focuses on 2 strengths each term (there are 24) for example, Bravery and Persistence and they look at topics such as the Olympics or books on these topics. Their school musical production is based around Creativity and Confidence. This approach works on being comfortable with who you are which I like.
I decided to do this test and it was surprisingly correct for how I see myself so I was pleased to see my top 6 character strengths were Honesty, Kindness, Leadership, Judgement, Fairness and Perspective. 
She also told us about the World Character Day which celebrates these character strengths. This site also has a huge range of resources that can be used to develop character. I had a look at a few of these and was amazed at how many there were and how easy it was to search for one of the 24 character strengths by age and media. What a great resource.

Jenni Williams (Redcliffs School) @nzgirljen - Quick and easy collaborative online tools

Jenni took us through 4 online tools she uses.
AnswerGarden from the TeachMeet
Answer garden - She found out about this at ULearn and I must say it looks great. She asked us "What do you enjoy about being part of TeachMeet?" and we had only 20 characters to answer. A really good way of getting quick brief feedback to get the most popular theme or idea and you can also export to Tagxedo or a wordle, send to Twitter!  The About AnswerGarden page is really useful to describe this in more detail. 
Padlet - This was a reminder for me as I have used Padlet in the past, but one new thing for me was that you can now share it with a QR code. It's really good for collaboration and some of my students have also done presentations with it in the past.
Coggle - This is a simple collaborative mindmap which you can add photos and images to. She got her students (use gmail account to login) to put pictures of themselves and then add information they wanted to share. Jenni used it for students to get to know others and to put in ideas about careers. I do like how it is set out.

Trello - I have seen Trello at a TeachMeet before but this was a good reminder of this project management tool. Jenni uses it for groups of students such as the magazine team or the formal group so they can gather information in one place about what they need to get done. They then have boards for to do, doing and done lists. I want to look into this a bit more and see how it might work for projects at school for myself and ākonga.


Just before the break we were shown nGram which shows how many times words have been used in literature over a period of time. We were challenged to think about how this could be used in a classroom. At the end of the TeachMeet, Matt Davis shared his ideas with Pauline Henderson and myself and I got very excited about how you could use this tool to ask the "what if" questions. It also got us thinking about what happened in the past and what effect it had on literature and society. It certainly created a lot of discussion with us at the end of the day. Some of the searches that had interesting results were:
  • forces, energy, speed - interesting to see what happened over the 1920-1940 time period and also the 1960s when space travel changed the scientific thinking (see the image here)
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ethics -showed an increase in books in 1980s - why?We wondered about  the implications of Moore's law in some books and we wondered about cloning on the effect of ethics. One thing was the AI increase in the 1820's - maybe a book on the future, or maybe AI meant something different then!

Duncan Bond, Nadene Brouwer, Richard McBrearty (Burnside High School) @bondteach - Collaboration in a Secondary School Curriculum Area

This school started with single cell classrooms then cut walls so they could cater for approximately 90 students with 3 teachers.
They made it optional for their faculty to be involved. The timetable had to be changed around so that all the classes were on at the same time and they have ended up with 2 trios at yr 9 and 2 trios at yr 10 - about a 3rd of their students are going through this style of learning that has a skills emphasis rather than content focus. They meet once a fortnight to plan next fortnight and their non-contacts are aligned with each other so they have the time to do this.
There have been many positives from this including their continuous discussions around teaching and learning, and also the great relationships between both staff and students. Some of the challenges were around having conversations when the people you work with do something you don't like, the planning time and the noise in a larger environment.

Lee Nanai-Stewart (Catholic Cathedral College) @Nanaistewart - Culturally Responsive Practice

Lee introduced us to the Educultural wheel which was devised by Angus Macfarlane in 2004 which she learnt about in her Post-grad studies at the University of Canterbury. She talked about how to understand the culture of the child, you have to understand your own culture. Lee encouraged us to share our background with our students and get to know our student's background. We need to demonstrate that we care in actions, not just words. The four parts of the wheel go together to create a culture in your school but are not designed to be taken in isolation. There is a blank version to record examples of when/where the concepts have been present in your class, or not present as the case may be.
She gave us some further reading to do:
Sociocultural Realities by Macfarlane, Macfarlane and Webber
Article: Creating culturally-safe schools for Māori students - Macfarlane, Glynn, Cavanagh, Bateman

If anyone that attended has other comments to add about what they heard today, please do so in the comments below. These are just my thoughts and what I took from the session, others may have different takeaways from this. 
I can't recommend attending these TeachMeets highly enough. It is an opportunity for teachers to share what they are doing in everyday practice and I always come away with a taonga for my kete. Exciting.