Sunday, 13 September 2015


So yesterday Shelley Forster and I attended our first EduCamp here in Whakatane.  It was a great day!

Here are my thoughts about the day ...

  • NZ teachers are amazing - we are definitely extremely passionate and highly motivated to provide the best teaching possible to increase the learning outcomes for our students!  I was blown away by the level of enthusiasm, commitment, collaboration, knowledge and awhi that all the presenters displayed today. Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa nga Kaiako ngakau pono!
  • So many choices - Smackdown - wow the wealth of knowledge and possibilities is mind blowing! (see presentation below).  After listening to the 5min intros by each presenter I had to rethink - what is going to be most valuable for me right now?  So I chose to attend the Google Sites, Hapara and Bitstrips breakouts.  I found Google sites interesting perhaps not as valuable as I thought it would be purely because I have already 'self-taught' myself and set up my own class google site by 'tutuing' and using models of sites from several blogs and e-learning teachers that I am following - mainly Pt England School in Auckland and a few others from EdblogNZ.  It was interesting to see how other teachers use their sites and what they include in it as well.  Hapara - this I was very interested in as I've heard mixed comments about it.  The teacher that presented was very enthusiastic about it especially as she came on board at the same time that the latest updates did - namely 'interact' and 'workspace'.  Perhaps it was the speed of the presentation or because I started with Google Classroom but I'm not entirely convinced yet to give it a go.  I'm sure if I had more time to tutu with it I'd have a better understanding of its' pros and cons.  I have a few links to look at to help in this area.  I was the only one interested in Bitstrips so that was not presented but I will have a tutu with it sometime soon.  Shelley and I decided to work together to get our google sites up and running.  I was able to assist Shelley as best I could to get her site looking the way she wanted.
  • Twitter - so I have steered clear of twitter thus far but today I was inspired to join up and became a tweep!  Anne-Marie Hyde @mrs_hyde  and Alex Le Long @ariaporo22 - a formidable pair shared their passion for Twitter.  How could I not give it a go!  Unfortunately the wifi was blocking twitter so I wasn't able to get started until I got home - needless to say but here's where I'm at now from 0-18 followers!  Very exciting!
The next challenge is to see if I can use it in class - Is Twitter excluded on our network?????  Here's hoping it's not because I'm keen to get involved in ...

So my buckets' filled with inspiration and possibilities - now my brain is fizzing with ideas - ooooh, What e-learning can we blend in to enhance our learning journey next term in Ti Kouka?

Here's the Smackdown presentation.  I will definitely be revisiting this presentation a lot to guide my planning and teaching for next term and to share with my other colleagues back at school.

Blogs of Inspiration

As a teacher I teach but I also learn. I am definitely a life long learner.

I read more now, than I ever have before!  There is always something to learn and my oh my - where would I be if I didn't have access to the internet!?????

As a learner and an educator I am always searching for guidance, examples, models, opinions, ideas and knowledge regarding all aspects of my teaching practice.  I am always reflecting on the effectiveness I what I am doing in regards to meeting the learning needs of my tamariki.  Now with 1:1 Chromebooks I know that I can't teach what I don't know so I just better find out what I don't know!  One key resource I have used to do this are teacher blogs.  Firstly from Pt England school and then using NZ Primary Teachers on facebook which has linked my all over the place!

Here is a list of blogs/websites that I have found very helpful in guiding my own learning and e-learning teaching practice: - (the birthplace of my blog)

Monday, 31 August 2015


So for the past few weeks we have been preparing for our Education Review Office visit this week.  All of our hard working Kaiako and Management team have been working even harder to ensure we showcase the amazing learning and teaching that happens here at James Street School everyday!

The thought of E.R.O visiting, without a doubt, causes stress - it's a given really however this visit was extremely positive.  This time round I had an added perspective of the process as a staff trustee on the B.O.T.

I was able to contribute my own korero and knowledge of our kura at the BOT meeting with the ERO team.  This was a great start to the review week.  As a trustee I was able to confidently answer and elaborate upon the questions and queries presented to us.  It was only an hour long meeting but we could have gone on and on about our school.  I believe that our Board communicate and collaborate effectively to meet the learning needs of all our tamariki.

At the staff meeting with the ERO review team we were able to confidently and quickly provide our thoughts and knowledge regarding the five main questions that were on their agenda.  Our staff are amazing!  We work extremely well together with professionalism, humour and manaakitanga at the heart of our collegial relationships.

As an experienced teacher having an ERO reviewer observing in class still provides some nerves but it also provides another set of eyes and ears to see and hear the learning that is happening in my class for my learners.  This time round the reviewer was accompanied by a member of the Senior Management Team.  This is a new initiative.  I was lucky to have Roz Dakin (Senior Syndicate leader and Deputy Principal) come in to 'showcase' my learners, their learning and my teaching.  As Roz releases me every second Friday while I teach Waiata and Kapa haka she has her own knowledge of our class to enable her to speak to all the learning.  Michelle Andrews was our reviewer.

While I taught my A.L.L group Roz and Michelle read through my planning and supporting documents.  The reviewers had requested that they be able to speak with a few children to discuss their learning - both in their written books, online with their Google Drive & Classroom work as well as their e-Portfolios.  I chose Rosemary and Ashlee to take on this task and they both were outstanding.  Michelle was very impressed with them.  They were 'overflowing' with all their korero about their learning!

Michelle later approached me to convey that she felt it was a privilege to be able to visit in my class. This was a lovely compliment especially because it came from an ERO reviewer!  She spoke highly of our use of e-learning and the level of knowledge and skills the children have achieved in such a short timeframe.  She had thought that we had been using Chromebooks/e-learning all year long and was amazed when I told her it had only been five weeks since we began with 1:1 Chromebooks.  This positive feedback is so pleasing to receive.  It definitely helped to 'fill my bucket' and the girls buckets' too.  I am very proud of my tamariki!  All the effort feels like it 'pays off' when it is recognised at this level.

Come Thursday lunchtime the BOT met with the ERO review team to hear the main points of their initial draft report.  I was looking forward to this meeting most of all as I would be hearing it straight from the reviewers.  Needless to say our overall report was very positive and as one of the reviewers said ... we should be very, very proud!

So in conclusion ... this week began with a degree of stress which turned in to pride, joy, happiness and of course relief that the week was over.

Friday, 14 August 2015

1:1 Chromebooks until the end of 2015!!!!!

I am soooooo soooooo soooooo excited now!  Our one to one chromebook usage was initially only planned to happen for the first four weeks of Term 3 BUT thanks to the I.C.T committee and my fantastic G.A.F.E learners we are now allowed to keep the chromebooks for the rest of the year!  My tamariki nearly blew the roof off our classroom when I told them we were keeping the chromebooks!
I am very thankful for this decision.  (I was quietly panicking - after establishing a collaborative, co-operative, engaging, learner driven learning environment with chromebooks how was I going to go back to not having them?!  Thank goodness I don't have to for the rest of the year!)

I am also very thankful to the other teachers in my syndicate who are very supportive of my class retaining the chromebooks.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Managing Self Key Competency

Our Key Competency focus for this term is Managing Self.

Usually the tamariki self-assess how well they demonstrate a variety of behaviours, skills and attitudes specific to Managing Self.  Because we have our Chromebooks I thought I'd give Google Forms a go.  So I transferred the list of behaviours to a google form.  I then shared the link with the tamariki as part of a Google Classroom assignment.  Each child completed the questionaire form.  Each child received a copy of their own results and I received a google sheet with the children's named data.  Google forms automatically collates the data and produces a graph to present the data.

It is my intention to have the tamariki re-do the questionaire form at the end of the term.  Hopefully when this new data is compared to the beginning of term data we will see an improvement.

It should be interesting!

Google Classroom!

Google Classroom - I'm loving it ... now!

So my initial thoughts of Google Classroom were not very good.  But now that I have inquired into the use of G.C, and have TUTU-ED with it, I am loving it!  The terminology is obviously America e.g. assignment, turn in etc. but the purpose/application of it is universal.  I have read that G.C is more applicable to secondary school level but once you start using it and think outside the box, it is easy to use it to differentiate the learning in your classroom.

I started off with simple whole class assignments but as I figured out the possibilities I now have several 'classes'/groups set up.  These include classes for each of my writing and reading groups. Whole class assignments for Te Reo Maori me ona Tikanga, Kaupapa Mahi, Key Competencies - Managing Self, Spelling, Cybersafety and Homework.

This has honestly been a break through.  Having the ability to set tasks, attach resources, monitor, view and keep track of the children's learning has been fantastic!  The tamariki are just so quick to pick it up.  Their understanding of how it all fits together is amazing - needless to say the majority 'just know what to do'.  The level of independence and knowledge seemed to double with each assignment they worked on.  I have several tamariki who now lead and tutor others including other teachers.

Google Classroom is incredibly empowering for all tamariki!  They know where and how to access their learning.  They know what they are learning and why. They are engaged and motivated!

As with all learning journeys, there are many paths to travel down with Google Classroom.  I've opened the door of the classroom a little wider and now the tamariki are pushing it open even more than I first expected!!!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Maori Language Week

This week we celebrated Maori Language Week.

As the Lead Teacher for Te Reo Maori me ona Tikanga is it my responsibility to engage all staff and tamariki in celebrating this important kaupapa.

As a committee we meet to discuss possible activities for the week.  In light of the many varied learning opportunities already planned for term 2 and given the fact that we have just celebrated Matariki at the end of term 2 we chose to keep our celebrations 'low key' this year.

The following is a copy of the information/expectations shared with the staff regarding Maori Language Week.

Maori Language Week 2015
Term 3, Week 2, 27-31 July
Celebration Expectations and Events
Theme: Whangaihia Nga Matua—Helping Parents to pass on Te Reo Maori to their tamariki.

It is expected that all children will be involved in activities related to celebrating and learning Te Reo Maori with the main focus being to pass on this knowledge to their parents/caregivers.  The suggested way of doing this is for the tamariki to make and then take home something/a resource each day to help encourage their parents/caregivers to learn and share Te Reo Maori as well.  If they do not make something for each day it is expected that they will have a more major resource to take home on the Friday instead.

Suggested resources for children to make are …
Make a board game, phrase cards—one for each day, Phrase booklet, jigsaw puzzle, flashcards (Quizlet), bingo games, online games ( slideshows, a mini resource box with a variety of activities inside, posters, labels for around the home, make titi torea, make Mutorere game boards.  Brainstorm ideas with your tamariki and have fun learning Te Reo Maori!!!

Website links for ideas and information:
Resources from Te Taura Whiri i te Reo will be ordered and distributed when the arrive.
Kia ora, Kiri :)

In Ti Kouka we chose to make something to take home each day.  We made bookmarks, kiwaha placemats, and Mu Torere game boards.

Overall the feeling from the staff was that our celebrations were appropriate and successful.  Several classes worked with their Tuakana Teina class which enhanced whanaungatanga, ako and manaakitanga!

Tapatapahia ana!  Whakanuia Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori!