Friday, 28 October 2016

Haeata - Week Three

It is a short week this week due to Labour Day here. Having a long weekend was good to take stock of everything that has happened so far at Haeata. It was time to reflect on new ideas, cement names and faces, and then relax and get some gardening done!  It has been a tiring couple of weeks, even though we do not have students and classes to teach. The amount of new learning has really been challenging and I think as you get older it takes longer to sink in.

Day One

Today we had a few new staff arrive. They were thrown in the deep end very quickly with our workshop on the Essential Agreements which Karyn took. The focus today was on transdisciplinary learning and we started to unpack what this looks like. We started with some statements on interdisciplinary learning which we then discussed with a range of staff, arguing our points where needed. We looked at the difference between multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary and watched this short clip which explained it very well.
In our hapori we had some time to look at what this approach would mean to use as a group which can be very challenging for secondary school teachers as we are often very siloed in our approach. My work with both the School of Music and the School of Apps meant that I am on the right track in this direction but there are still things I could improve on to really make my teaching really transdisciplinary.
This afternoon was Mai time and I spent the time working out how to navigate Google Classroom, as well as writing in my blog and keeping up my reflections.

Day Two

We spent the day out and about today, looking at some of the amazing resources we can tap into in Christchurch. Our first stop was at the Ministry of Education where we were introduced to a large team of people who are supporting our school and our community. It was good to put some faces to names and to make contact here.
Second stop was to Te Pūtahitanga. What an amazing place. This space was full of a range of people who worked on innovative approaches to creating solutions for and with whānau. The design group that has been working with Haeata comes from here and it will be great to work with the Digital Native Aotearoa team in the future. I loved the skills and passions here in all areas and can certainly see many links being formed and fostered with Haeata.
Next stop was Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (TRONT) where we were given an insight into their education programme. They talked about their digital initiative and also about the work being done to support te reo in the community by Kotahi Mano Kāika (KMK). Our normalisation of te reo in our kura will be a great support for this and I can see links happening here as far as supporting our staff and whānau.
The Ministry of Awesome was just that - awesome! What a great space for a start, where people can work on projects, and then to have the support and connections that the MoA can provide to help out. I loved the sound of the coffee and jam sessions and hope to get to one of these soon. This is a great step for people wanting to start businesses or continue with a great idea. One problem they have had with connecting with schools was the timetable restrictions which we will not have at Haeata so I am looking forward to seeing how this might fit with some of our students. They have also compiled an innovation ecosystem guide, bringing together organisations that offer support for entrepreneurs.
The afternoon was spent at Waitākiri School  which started on a new site this year, bringing Burwood and Windsor schools together. It was good to see classes in action and to have the opportunity talk to students about how they found the new environment, which has large open areas called Studios, and overwhelmingly they said they loved it. Students loved being able to mix with a larger number of students and many said they had a lot more friends. The only negative from a student was around the noise and it will be interesting to see how this works out in our new environment. You can see a flythrough of our Haeata spaces here. The challenge for us will be to plan our learning to really make use of our spaces and to try not to just transfer the traditional classroom into a collaborative space. Neill O'Reilly, the Principal suggested we have a read through "Clever Classrooms' which is a study done by Salford University in Manchester, England. I will say I haven't read the full 52 page report as yet, but the 4 page summary was really interesting. It amazed me that naturalness, which includes light, temperature and air quality, accounted for half the learning impact in this study. As many of the students were using iPads, I also found myself thinking of the SAMR model and putting this over how they were using them. Why and how do we use technology and what are the benefits? Where are we on the SAMR model and where do we want to be?
One of the great things about having this time to explore is having conversations with other staff. I was told about Sudbury Valley School today, which I hadn't heard of before. This school has a really interesting philosophy and the students take part in the governance of the school as well. Well worth reading about.

Day Three

We started with mai time today where I got a large amount of my blog written. It was good to do this reflection on our edutour and it set me up for our hāpori time where we shared these reflections. We also started to share our own thoughts around pedagogy. I felt we were all very much on the same page with the student as the centre of learning. The afternoon was once again around our cultural narrative. We had our first look at the plans of the school and it was good to see the spaces so we can try and imagine what learning might look like within them. We then were told the names of all the spaces and what each space was named for or about. Each hāpori then put together an entertaining presentation about the origin of their hāpori name. Ours was the Year 11-13 hāpori which is named Ihutai after the estuary. We had a lot of discussion about the history and the uses of the estuary and came up with a short skit.

Day Four

The day started in our hāpori with a new karakia that I really liked - Ka haea te ata. For some reason this resonated with me and it is one I would like to learn by heart. We then finished up our pedagogy presentations and then had discussions around some of the more mundane and process issues such as uniform, teacher names and managing of students. Many of these discussion raised even more questions, some of which were put on the wonder wall for clarification by the SLT. We then moved on to writing some narratives around what learning might look like in our hāpori. We have three different blocks of time during the week, kaupapa ako, puna ako, and mai time. Each has a focus from large group to individual and we have been working around possible scenarios for this. Sharing these means building up ideas together as to what learning may look like for our ākonga and once again it is really great to be able to share our ideas and have input into the bigger picture.
Mai time I spent writing blogs and playing with Quiver - a 3D Augmented Reality app that brings pictures to life. I have seen this used as a tool for storywriting and would love to get into it further in the future. One of the staff had organised for us to purchase a lunch from Fill Their Lunchbox. This is a great initiative that gives a lunch to a disadvantaged school student for each one we purchase. Great lunch and a great cause. I wish this happened in every city, not just Christchurch!
After lunch we had reading and viewing time where Andy gave us the results of the survey we did last week on relationships. We looked at what makes good relationships and the main points for me were honesty, openmindedness and communication. He then went on to introduce us to the Ladder of Inference which outlines the way we sometimes jump to conclusions and don't always have the facts we need. This then led to the Ladder of Feedback which we can use to make sure we have good communication and clarify our ideas without going off on the wrong track. When things get tough we revert to type so we need a structure to get us through those times and we can use this ladder to be respectful to others. We need to get the full story from the person who said it and we need to be aware of how we operate so we can be honest and open. This tool is a way of doing that.

Another week gone. Time is flying and the year is going fast. We are learning so much and growing as a team which is really exciting. I am looking forward to the next week and our next steps in creating this wonderful school - Haeata.

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