Tuesday, 13 December 2016
I made it to the end! Tomorrow is our final day of school for 2016, so we are getting ready to celebrate the success of the Juniors at prizegiving. As we jumped into our 2017 timetable early, I found little time to really think about and reflect on my first year as a teacher. So, when I was told one of our tasks was to create a short documentary of our first year as part of the MDTA, I was happy as this encouraged me to think about my strengths and weaknesses moving into second year.
I was also blessed to be interviewed by NZPEteacher, as his final podcast for 2016. The interview explored my experiences, highlights and challenges throughout my first year in a digital learning environment. Feel free to have a listen to the podcast, or watch my short documentary below!
Thursday, 8 December 2016
I teach all of Year 10 Health for the Jumpstart programme, and then will do in 2017, so I have 6 classes I teach the same lesson. However, the ideas, knowledge and critical thinking levels of each class is always very different. Check out some of the cool things the extension class blew me away with, and my challenge going forward...
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Although it has been a long time coming, I finally have my Class On Air page complete! As I blogged about earlier, we were given the task to film a lesson and post the footage alongside our resources and reflections online.
This lesson was filmed about a month ago, but I have been super busy with the Jumpstart programme, so have only just completed the editing. I really enjoyed watching my class, especially as I had lots of different angles, because I was able to see things from different perspectives and notice things I did not during the lesson. We had set up a tripod and two laptops, as well as using our iPhones and my GoPro. This was also a double period, so I had hours and hours of footage to watch through afterward!
Even if others don't enjoy, or find this lesson helpful for them, I found the process great because I could observe myself. I have been able to reflect on a considerable amount throughout this process. Manaiakalani Class on Air is definitely something I may be interested to complete after finishing MDTA... Watch this space!
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
The communities I grew up in, were mostly Pakeha populations. Throughout school I rarely interacted with Pacific people, so I know very little about Pacific culture. One of the reasons I was really excited to work at Tamaki College, was the opportunity to work with young people in a community where Pacific people are the majority, to learn more about their traditions, values, and beliefs. Upon reflection throughout the year, although I have learnt a considerable amount, I feel I still need to include and be conscious of cultural practices and traditions in my teaching. So a goal for 2017 is to build on my culturally responsive pedagogy.
After reflecting on this, quite timely, our principal shared this lecture - Culture Matters in Teaching and Learning. I went along intrigued to hear what it would be about, in hope to start working towards my goal. Professor Konai Helu Thaman presented her educational journey as a Tongan woman, and shared some simple tips for educators of Pasifika people. I found the seminar incredibly interesting and I felt blessed to be in her presence. Some key things I took away to think about further as a colleague and teacher include the following;
Students who speak English as a second language may speak little throughout class, this may not be because they are unable or do not want to, but because they are afraid. Afraid of judgement, punishment, making mistakes in a language which is not their own. This highlights the need for positive, supportive classroom cultures.
We know we should attempt to integrate and incorporate activities, language and traditions from students' backgrounds and cultures, however something Konai said that stuck with me was cultural democracy. She explained how lacking inclusion of student culture into the learning environment is culturally insensitive and undemocratic.
There is a stereotype that Pacific people cannot think critically. Konai strongly insisted that educators provide as many opportunities for Pacific students to ask questions, to challenge their thinking and learning so their critical thinking skills can flourish. She said many PI students share their thoughts, opinions, ideas and questions in small groups with their friends, but are often afraid to share their thoughts and questions with their teachers. Therefore, it is important teachers shape their lessons to provide students with opportunities to critically think, and scaffold student confidence and ability to critically think with others outside their friend group.
Konai suggested if you have students in your class who are misbehaving, try not to break down or yell at the students, as many will not respond to this. Rather, she said to question the students upbringing; what their whanau expectations are of them, and how they have taught them to act. This is likely to encourage students to consider how their behaviour may reflect on their families.
Finally, if English (written or spoken) is hindering their success, encourage students to express their ideas and creativity in their own language. Once the students are comfortable with their learning and creations in their language, to increase their confidence with English, ask them to translate back into English.
There were many other gems throughout the presentation, and I cannot wait to read her work as an academic. Her story was wonderful to hear, and a reminder that all students have equal opportunities, as long as we, the teachers, provide them. This is also a powerful message to the students; although they may be on the backfoot, they could become Professors if they really wanted to!
To learn about Konais metaphor for education, the kakala (a special garland), please click here!
Friday, 25 November 2016
For our final digital immersion day, we had a photoshoot, a shared lunch and created an online Curriculum Vitae for ourselves. We reflected on the biggest challenges and highlights of the year and had the scary realisation that we have nearly completed our first year of teaching! Although I will miss having the Fridays, I am looking forward to having my own classes and spending 5 days a week with them, starting next week!
Creating this CV, I realised how much I have actually achieved this year, and how much stuff I have learnt. To say I am a lifelong learner is definitely an understatement! I used the same design as my appraisal site, which is under development too. The tree represents my growth as a beginning teacher, more leaves will be added once I have more experience. Let me know if you think I am missing anything major from my appraisal or CV :)
Thursday, 17 November 2016
Two years ago I trained to become a pool lifeguard. Part of this process involved completing my Basic First Aid certificate, which is due to expire next month. Today I was fortunate enough to spend the day renewing my certificate, which I think is incredibly important for all teachers, particularly teachers in the HPE field.
Throughout the day we had theory lessons which we then implemented into realistic situations or scenarios we may find ourselves in, in the workplace. These included cuts, breaks, sprains and burns at a low priority level, through to open wounds with things sticking out of the body.
The most serious part was the revision of DRABC, and the ability to provide CPR and the use of an AED. I feel much more confident with my ability to provide first aid to people in a variety of situations until Emergency services have arrived, which may save a limb or more seriously a life in the future.
A basic rundown of DRABC:
Danger: Assessing the situation of any dangers which may be present at the scene of an accident such as people, equipment, vehicles, gases, liquids etc. The most important thing to remember when wanting to help someone is not putting yourself in danger to do so.
Response: Check whether the patient is responsive to you; can they hear you talking? Do they groan/twitch when you squeeze their fingers? Can they open their eyes when asked? If they are completely unresponsive, always call for an ambulance, and an AED.
Airways: Tilt the head back slightly and open the mouth; check the airways are not obstructed by anything (liquid or solid), clear if necessary.
Breathing: Put your ear close to the patients mouth - can you feel their breath on your cheek? Can you feel them breathing? Can you see their chest rising and falling?
Circulation: Feel for the pulse, check response to squeezing fingertips (does colour come back)
MOST IMPORTANTLY: If you don't know what is wrong, always call for an ambulance!!
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
As posted earlier today was the annual Manaiakalani Film Festival! This provides the opportunity for all students and teachers in the Manaiakalani Film Festival to exhibit their movies on the big screens at Hoyts.
We, the MDTA, spent the day as helping hands for the running of the day, mostly ushering students into their seats and ensuring all are ready to go on time, as there was no waiting - the show must go on!
The hype and buzz from the kids was amazing, and incredibly infectious! The students were so happy, excited, positive and proud of themselves and their peers, which was so lovely to see. I need to encourage more created from TC!
I enjoyed having the opportunity to be involved with this day, not only to see the students, but also have a glimpse into what the other schools had created. I have already reflected on the day, and what I need to improve for next year. See the short films created here (about 100!), and my film here.
As the students in my film are on study leave for their exams, I did not expect them to come to the cinema and present their film. So, I asked two girls from my SOS class, and they did an amazing job! Check out their intro below. I was pleasantly surprised when the boys from my film showed up to watch though!
Looking forward to next year, especially as it is the 10 year celebration.
It feels like so long ago since this was filmed and created, but today is Manaiakalani Film Festival day! I am excited to see some of the other films that have been created throughout the cluster. Check out the fun afternoon we had, literally just dancing!
I would have loved to have had more time, as the editing is average and I am not 100% happy with the footage, but with an extremely busy timetable, I think this is a good first go. Bring on the challenge next year. If you would like to see more of the the films from the cluster, click here :)
To see more from Tamaki College check out TCTV which includes my film here.
To see more from Tamaki College check out TCTV which includes my film here.
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Last night was the end of year senior prizegiving. This is a celebration of students success in the classroom as well as across the wider school. I was blown away by the positive, supportive and inclusive environment I was surrounded by. The whanau were incredible. I felt their love towards their children, nieces, nephews, cousins etc, so much so I was quite teary! There were songs, dances, screaming, cheering and lots and lots of leis!
I was intrigued as to where the tradition of leis came from, after seeing dozens of them last night. In the islands, leis signify feelings of love, respect and appreciation of a person and are woven from beautiful flowers. The tradition has changed a little to be leis of lollies, money and various other items as the plants are not in NZ. After the prizes were awarded stacks of people came to the front to support the child with hugs and leis. I thought it was so lovely!
Friday, 4 November 2016
We were lucky to have today to develop our sites as our evidence towards our registration. I have neglected this a little this year, so I am grateful to have the time to work on this. We have 12 criteria to provide evidence for throughout our first two years of teaching, in order to become fully registered teachers.
I have begun to develop a site which I can use throughout my entire teaching career for appraisals. The tree represents me. Each year a new leaf will be added onto the tree, so as I gain more experience, the tree will blossom! In addition, as I gain more experience, the winter theme will disappear, and I will transitions through the seasons as my tree fills.
Each leaf delves further into the evidence and things I have been doing throughout that year. I am excited to see how this develops in the future!
Friday, 28 October 2016
Today's PLG focus was preparation for our first attempt at a Class On Air episode. This involves us filming one of our lessons to be shared publicly, including planning and reflection. As part of the Class On Air episode, we need a one page site including our planing, footage and reflection, as well as student blogs (hopefully I can include this in the future). See the beginning of my site below, I am attempting to start from scratch, to revise HTML again.
As I was unwell today, I read through my peers posts, for some tips for my own episode.
Some key tips include:
- Consider the light from the windows, this may affect screens in the classroom, and camera shots.
- Filming may include snippets from a variety of lessons or days, to show the flow between. This also provides time for the learners to develop some content knowledge for the filming.
- Consider using screencasts to share what is on the learners screens, if using a digital tool.
- Think about the audio as well as the visual, to ensure voices are heard throughout the footage.
- Editing is a big job, filming is the easy part - but try get it right the first time!
Thanks to Heath for the pointers!
I am filming a SOS lesson next week, which will be focused around legal ages in NZ, legal ages globally and finishing with a debate! This is to conclude our government unit we have be learning about recently, and will be our last lesson of 2016. Watch this space...
Friday, 21 October 2016
Today we focused on visible learning and ensuring we cater for all learners in our classrooms. The key idea I took away from our session was to inspire students before they are even in the classroom. This really made me think critically about my teaching as well as my learning as a student - why would I attend a university lecture if I have no inspiration, desire or interest to do so? Similarly, why would my students attend my classes?
I have experimented with multi-modal learning myself as a learner, as well as attempted to create resources for my students that are multi-modal such as my water safety site, to provide a variety of content and texts for students. Having images, readings, videos, infographics and tasks to complete all based around the same topics and learning, gives student agency to pick and choose how they would like to learn and where they would like to go. To check out the slides from today, go here!
Our task was to create a site for our learners to access that is multi-modal, exploring the idea of being a visible teacher and learner. As my timetable is changing shortly, and I will be teaching different year levels and subjects, I took the time to plan out Year 10 Health ideas for 2017. I am so excited for the times to come!
Thursday, 20 October 2016
Carrying on from last week's creation of advertisements for our political parties, today we watched our ads and then voted in our own elections! I was so impressed with the ads the students created, they could actually run for government! Check out a couple below!
Students were given a a voting slip, to show what it is like to vote in the NZ elections - one vote for the party and one vote for the leader. I crossed out the party that each child was in, so they did not vote for their own party, so the voting was fairer.
Students were given a a voting slip, to show what it is like to vote in the NZ elections - one vote for the party and one vote for the leader. I crossed out the party that each child was in, so they did not vote for their own party, so the voting was fairer.
As we were only halfway through our double period after watching the films, I introduced the next part of our unit - branches of the NZ government. If you are interested to learn more, check out the virtual tours on the NZ parliament website.
Friday, 14 October 2016
This morning's task was to create a game through the website Code.org, a non-profit organisation which encourages people to develop their own games through coding. This is called The Hour of Code.
I was disappointed when Google Sites took away the option to HTML code, as I enjoyed manipulating the code to produce a site page/interface, so maybe this could be the way I get my coding fix!
I am interested to think and explore further with this idea for the future!
Thursday, 13 October 2016
Currently in SOS we are learning about the government and politics. I personally haven't ever had interest in politics because I find a lot of it so dull! So, this has required a lot of learning myself and thinking about how to teach everything creatively so the students are interested and engaged in the content/lessons.
This morning was a lot of fun! The students have spent the past couple of days creating their own political parties and developing their own ideas about what they would want to achieve if they were in the government. The kids came up with some amazing ideas such as free lunch for all kids in NZ, four days at school per week, building shelters for homeless and free university. The students had the job this morning to film their own advertisements to sell why their party should be in the government.
I am really looking forward to next week, because we are going to share their ads with the class, and then hold our own elections! The students will be able to vote for the party they believe should be in the government! In addition to the ad, the students are creating logos and slogans for their party too.
Friday, 30 September 2016
According to the Ministry of Education, deciles are defined as "a measure of the socio-economic position of a school’s student community relative to other schools throughout the country". The 10% of schools with the highest proportion of children from low socio-economic families are classified as a Decile 1. The 10% of schools with the highest proportion of children from high socio-economic families are therefore classified as a Decile 10.
The unfortunate reality I have been thinking about a lot recently, are the stereotypes associated with the decile of a school. I started to think about deciles more after reading a uni student's blogpost about being Maori (see Trinity's blog), and the recent article about students at our school. More often than not, higher decile schools are considered to be 'better schools' with greater academic results and more opportunities for students than those who attend schools that are lower decile. However, as Education Minister Hekia Parata expressed, "decile is not destiny".
As discussed throughout considerable research and media articles, including this piece above the decile divide, home background effects students success. I do not doubt this one bit; home life certainly effects student success at school, however not only students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Irrespective of decile, all students have backgrounds which influence on their academic achievement, which I think is something we are guilty of forgetting.
Just because there different struggles in a low socio-economic home, this does not mean there aren't struggles in a high socio-economic home.
This graph (from NZ Herald) really bugged me. Yes, it may be true, and yes it is something our country is striving to change, but no it is not entirely about how much money the students families make (I must add here I do think this is a significant factor, but not the only factor impacting on a child's success). Because, as Kirsty Johnston comments "although their lives aren't like the kids from wealthy areas, it doesn't mean they won't succeed".
If we, New Zealand society, do not challenge the status quo, the norm, the stereotypes surrounding the decile system in our country, then I believe the statistics will remain unchanged. If we assume all Maori and Pasifika students and all low decile schools are incapable of high achievement, and Pakeha students and high decile schools are incapable of failure, we are the problem.
"Be responsible for what you say and be a part of the answer, not the problem." Trinity
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
After losing some work because of restarting my computer, and forgetting some ideas I had for future lessons - Dorothy suggested I download Google Keep. The next morning I was listening to Carl's podcasts and he recommended for all teachers to have Google Keep. To be suggested the same application within 24 hours sold it to me!
And now I cannot imagine being without it!
Google Keep was created as a note taking service, to capture your thoughts, ideas, images, websites in one place; such as recipes you would like make, lesson ideas you want to jot down without losing the piece of paper, to do lists to cross off, links to come back to without bookmarking... The options are endless, which has been so great for me trying to juggle so many balls in the air.
There are several features I am yet to experiment with additional features of Keep including labels, colour-coding, sharing notes and using my phone to add notes. These features will be great once I have more on my Keep, in order to organise and easily access notes of similar themes/ideas.
I have found Keep to be a useful place to jot things down for my future studies especially. I am going to be writing my dissertation next year, which is going to be a huge task to tackle. Keep has afforded me to keep an ongoing list of ideas I have as soon as they come to my head, rather than trying to remember everything next year. Similarly, if I see cool lesson plans online for topics/units I am not currently teaching, I can save them in Keep to come back to in the future, rather than try find the link again later.
If you are interested to download Google Keep - check it out on iTunes! Highly recommend.
Friday, 23 September 2016
I made it! Another milestone - three terms down. Oh my goodness this term has been full on! I feel more exhausted than I thought was possible... Probably attributed to about 5 hours sleep a night for the past fortnight!
Reflecting on the term, I know I have learnt a considerable amount, not only about my own teaching, but about my own learning, my students, time management, resiliency and balancing my wellbeing. I have managed to keep myself afloat throughout the jam-packed 9 weeks, but there have definitely been some struggles. I am so excited for a bit of a calmer term next term!
To conclude our digital immersion for Term 3, our focus today was ignite talks. After learning about Keynote last week, our challenge today was to present an ignite talk about a reading we were given at the beginning of the day, using Keynote.
Ignite talks are a series of 5 minute presentations with 20 slides each. Therefore, our task was to create 20 slides which lasted 15 seconds each, and have a speech alongside the slides. My reading, The World Is Our Interface: Design Beyond The Screen, discusses human interaction with interfaces through the ages. I then interpreted the information, wrote a presentation and then hurriedly prepared slides. With more time, I would have tidied up my Keynote, and made it more engaging, however I was limited on time - this is one of the challenges of an ignite talk. Check out what I produced!
I enjoy giving presentations, and foresee I will present more in the future - I am hoping to present at PENZ next year! So I will definitely consider Keynote and ignite talks.
Friday, 16 September 2016
Firstly, I apologise for the way my blog looks at the moment - I am battling with it!! Today we were introduced to the Apple application of Keynote, primarily designed as a presentation app.
One of the things we were shown how to do was to create pictures and drawings, which could then be saved as files and then uploaded onto our blogs. So, the picture I currently have is one I have been playing with for hours to try and make it work but I am calling it a day for now because it is a Friday evening and I am stressed and tired! Watch this space..
Keynote offers many cool features to make presentations engaging and exciting to watch, and I look forward to creating one in the future. Some include the ability to create and edit movies to then be exported onto Garageband and iMovie, creating stop motion movement between slides, building animations and layering pictures/text on top of pictures/text to create different affects.
The application also affords users to interact with the presentation from their phone too, so they are afforded more time in front of their audience as opposed to in front of their screen changing slides. I would like this affordance, because I often use my phone in class when presenting and teaching.
Next Friday our challenge is an 'ignite' presentation using Keynote; we are given a topic at the start of the day and then have to present about it at the end of the day! Looking forward to the challenge. One week until the holidays!!!
If you are interested to download Keynote, it will be on your App Store. Then check out this YouTube explanation of some of the basics to get you started!
Monday, 12 September 2016
This afternoon I don't know what was going on, but I felt as if my class was a right disgrace. I was counting down the minutes until it was over! Usually I only teach my SOS class on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and Dot teaches them on Mondays without me. But, Dot is away this week so I offered to take them to not disrupt the flow of learning by having a reliever.
The Monday-itis other teachers often talk about became apparent very quickly! I don't know what it was but they were bouncing off the walls, crazy loud and ignoring many of my instructions. I don't think they were disrespecting me, they were just in weird headspaces and distracting and disrupting others, feeding off one another.
I left feeling a little lost as to what was going on, what went wrong and what needed to change in prep for future lessons. I went straight to the gym and sweated out my frustrations with how the lesson went. After reflecting a little I wondered what I was doing or not doing during the class. I have been trying hard recently to not blame the kids for bad behaviour, or lack of engagement in class, because at the end of the day it must be down to my instructions and/or classroom management.
Our PTC agenda after school was timely; classroom management. We had lots of discussion around planning for management, having a clear understanding of the school management model and having support people when you are really in trouble. One key thing I took away from the meeting was setting clear expectations at the beginning of the year, and sticking to them. For instance if headphones is a no no for someone in Term 1, headphones are a no no for everyone the whole year - this may reduce any "But Miss you said..." replies from students.
I feel as if classroom management was something we never really discussed, experimented or explored during uni, it was something I was thrown into at the start of the year. Learning on the job so to speak. I do feel I have come a long way since the beginning of the year, but still have considerable room for improvement still!
Some simple management styles/techniques I have developed include; waiting for silence as opposed to talking over the students, relating to my high expectations of students often (especially when they aren't fulfilling these expectations), using countdowns with my fingers or my voice and saying "I will only give these instructions once". Although these techniques are not gold, and don't work all the time, they are things I come back to. I am open to any and all tips!
Friday, 9 September 2016
Manaiakalani host a film festival annually at the local cinemas, to play short films created in the cluster by teachers and students. As aforementioned, we are making a film as part of MDTA. There is no theme or idea we need to follow, it is completely open.
Today we spent the day editing our footage from last week, then sharing with one another for feedback and feedforward. Although I didn't have much time last week, and was a little rushed, I am pleased with what I have so far. I am still working with the audio and final background images, which I hope to finish over the weekend.
I have learnt lots about movie making along the way, but my previous knowledge was definitely helpful and saved time learning about iMovie. Unfortunately a lot of the footage was outside of the green screen, which means a lot of zooming in, and parts with the floor/walls in the frame. Even though it looks a little shabby, and I wish I could do it all again, I need to accept I am short on time and need to complete my university assignment!
I had no clue how to use a green screen, but some simple tips are to ensure the material does not have any creases, as this would interrupt the background image, and also be sure all footage is inside the green screen - I have had to cut out so many parts I would have loved to include but the kids weren't near the green screen!
If I am to create another film in the future, I would want to plan further in advance, with more planning prior and use a little bit of in class time so I can work out what needs to be filmed again or any potential shots that could have been better. To do this though, would mean I would have to make links to the content covering in class, to not take away learning time.
To learn more about the Film Festival, and see previous entries, click here! :)
Monday, 5 September 2016
Welcome to Tongan Language Week 2016!
This morning I was feeling quite lethargic, exhausted and not excited for the week ahead. The Latu family (2 are teachers at school) changed this after their beautiful singing. Check them out here!
We went through some of the basic words in Tongan and then the Latus and the Tongan teachers sung their national anthem. I felt much calmer, happier and blessed after this, it was a lovely start to the week.
Although I don't pronounce everything correctly, I am trying and students are appreciating this nevertheless. Once I am fluent with my sign language, I would like to learn some basic words and phrases from a variety of languages to use in the classroom.
Ma'u ha 'aho lelei!
(Have a good day!)
Friday, 2 September 2016
Usually on Fridays we have our MDTA PLG, but this week we were given the day to film for our film festival. Annually, Manaiakalani schools gather together in a local cinema and display 3 minute films students across the cluster have created. One of our tasks for MDTA is to create one of these films to display on the big screen.
Being in a secondary school has made this very difficult. We already have considerable time constraints, because we have a lot of content to get through in a short period of time and many of the students sometimes learn at a slow pace. My co-teachers and I really could not take time out of class to film, as we are far enough behind already, but I knew lunchtimes and/or after schools were unrealistic due to my own commitments, and the students' commitments. Therefore, I explained my idea to my 13PE class and said that Friday would be a whole day of filming unless their teachers requested them to be in class, and filming was completely optional - this was also so students did not feel obliged to participate if I filmed during PE.
8 students agreed to take part initially, and they agreed to meet me at the start of Period 1, I hoped a couple more might show up. However, unfortunately no one came. I spent the first period ironing the green material which has been used as a green screen before, and then 2 boys arrived explaining most of the students needed to be in class until P3, and some of them were away. So I spent the morning pottering through my water safety unit. I was devastated when lunchtime came around the corner and I still hadn't had anyone. So I had no film. Nothing. Nada. I was heartbroken and stressed, which I expressed to one of the students who came in the morning briefly.
These four angels gave up two of their classes at the end of the day to film with me, and it was so much fun! They explained how they were grateful for what I do for them, and they understand how saddening and frustrating it is to fail or incomplete tasks. My heartbreaks disappeared and I was filled with joy. The kids continue to surprise me!
With limited time and resources, I decided the easiest and quickest idea I could work with is Dance Through The Ages. I know how much the kids love to dance, so I thought I would have more students interested, but nevertheless we smashed out my list of dances I wanted to get through.
I have now begun uploading the clips into iMovie, to start editing next week. Unfortunately, I am unsure how successful the green screen is going to be, because it wasn't as big as I imagined, the kids kept moving out of it, and the GoPro has a wide angle so I struggled to just have the green screen in the shot. But, with support from others, hopefully this works out! Watch this space...
I thanked the kids for coming and said I wanted to shout them lunch next week as remuneration and a thank you, and I received this email from one of them. I was blown away and tears came to my eyes. I am feeling super overwhelmed with the six million things I need to be doing, and this is just what I needed to get me through the next three weeks of term!