Saturday, 28 May 2016

First XV On Form

For the past week my Year 13s have been buzzing for their big game this weekend, against the top team. As I have a long-distance relationship, and friends and family across the country, I am often away during the weekends. However, this weekend I was not. 
I was thankful the weather was in our favour, with beautiful sunny skies and no rain as we have had intermittently over the past few weeks. The boys had a home game, so my partner and I trotted along to support them. Boy, was it a game. I am so proud of the boys, they performed well. 

They worked together, supported one another and won 26-12. This means they are now sitting at top of the table for their division, so exciting!

I am unfortunately way too busy this year to help out coaching and with extra curricular activities, but I cannot wait until I can in the years to come. The sense of determination, motivation, achievement and cooperation evident throughout sports is incredible, sometimes this is not easy to see during school time. Involvement in extra-curricular activities also shows you in a new light to the students, which I think is important. We are people, with lives outside of school, which students can struggle to comprehend sometimes.

Although I cannot help now, I look forward to supporting more of the rugby, as well as the basketball teams when I don't have lectures, and helping where I can in the future. 

This clip has made me consider what a coach actually is, and what coaching is. Often we associate coaching with sports teams, however I think we are all coaches in a variety of ways.

Friday, 27 May 2016

An Intro To Anatomy

The focus for today's digital immersion was Stop Motion animation, with the task to create an animation related to upcoming lessons we will teach. Stop Motion animation is about taking a series of snapshots, then editing them together to look like a movie.

Senior PE are moving onto Anatomy and Biomechanics after their current assessment. I narrowed my creation to focus on the major bones of the body, creating a skeleton with playdough. If you are studying Anatomy and Biomechanics, I would recommend you visit Anatomy Arcade's revision games, as they are engaging and educational!

Monday, 23 May 2016

First Year Mayhem

Being a beginning teacher has many of it's challenges, both inside and outside the classroom. The biggest difference between being a student teacher and a BT I have found, is the admin! The amount of 'paperwork' behind the scenes is overwhelming, I was naive to how much teachers do outside of teaching

A huge component of being a BT is working towards full teachers registration, which requires considerable evidence gathering over a two year period. Beginning teachers such as myself have 12 practising teacher criteria (PTC) to consider throughout our planning, teaching and reflections, and we must provide evidence we are meeting the criteria in order to become fully registered.

In addition to becoming a fully certified teacher, there are various rules, regulations and pieces of legislation we must abide by and consider as a professional learner and developer. All of this combined with the million and one other things to consider when teaching is difficult to keep track and on top of. 

I was fortunate enough to attend another PD session today, led by the Post-Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA), focusing on this BT mayhem. We addressed the teacher criteria and possible pieces of evidence we could use towards our registration. The afternoon focused on the hard stuff, like the Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement, and what this means for us and our role. Sometimes I forget that I am actually employed, that I am a teacher, sometimes I forget it is a job, so it was helpful to go through the stuff people don't seem to talk about often in schools.

In addition to learning more about my expectations, rights and responsibilities, were we given a variety of scenarios to consider. I joint the PPTA to know I always have support no matter what may or may not happen, and this is what was demonstrated this afternoon. I left the PD knowing I had full support for any sticky situation I may find myself in, or for any little thing whatsoever. I look forward to the future courses.

Please visit PPTA's website to learn more about their role as a union.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A Day In The Life Of The Learner

This was probably the biggest task for Digital Immersion I have had so far. Our goal was to create a short film in iMovie to depict what a day in the life of a learner is like. I decided to include a day in my life, in addition to a day as a school student, because I am a learner too.

After 2 days of filming and 3 days of editing, this is my creation. Thank you to everyone who helped me out, especially my Year 13 students Kim, Toa and Lita who took the time to record themselves for me. 

Shout out to Sid, my talented audio engineer friend who sung the cover of Rihanna's "Work". Check him out! Do enjoy my creation and please give feedback!

Music credits:
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Drake - One Dance
The Lion King - The Lion Sleeps Tonight
The Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get It Started
Rihanna - Work (Cover by S.I.D. Music)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Creativity and Critical Thinking

This week my co-teacher and I have begun a new unit in Year 9 Social Studies; Beliefs and Religions Around the World. I have attempted to be more engaged with the planning and teaching of this unit, now I have grounded my feet. I would not say I have been disengaged or avoiding this class, but I needed time to find my feet in the school, the subject, alongside Dot (co-teacher) and the class.

Believing in yourself and what is important to you

Rather than asking students to find definitions of what belief and religion is and write them down (then subsequently forgetting them a few minutes later), I thought we should be a little more creative with our lessons. Reading through my reflections, and considering my observations and understandings of the class, I concluded the students need less time listening, and more time completing activities and creating things they need to think about.

Important to push yourself, love one another
Thus, I have attempted the past two days to include more student centred teaching and learning. Yesterday students spent majority of the lesson participating in human continuums, as I like to call them. Students were given a statement, such as homework is important, and they had to place themselves along the continuum from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Students then had to explain why they put themselves where they did on the continuum. I think this was a great lesson to introduce beliefs, and to understand everyone has different beliefs. The key message the lesson was based around was there is no right or wrong belief, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, thoughts and opinions. Additionally, students were able to open their thinking to consider others' ideas and beliefs, which may be different to their own. Following from that, in small groups students discussed what belief and religion may mean, and tried to distinguish the difference.
Believes he can be successful, would love to be an artist

Following on from yesterday, students' task this morning was to create a drawing. The drawing had two parts; one picture to represent what the students determine belief is, what is important and valuable to them, and a picture to represent what they think religion is. These are some of their creations, which was so exciting to see.

The students were really challenged to consider the difference between beliefs and religions, and they questioned their own. This lesson was a great opportunity for students to actually sit and think "What do I believe in? What do I think is important?". Following on from the drawings, we looked at different beliefs around the world and tied the beliefs to religions. Although the students aren't as respectful and well behaved as I would like them to be, their behaviour and attitudes in class have increased considerably, which makes for a much more enjoyable lesson. I feel like I am finally making some ground with these students, the subject and co-teaching in Social Studies.

Learn, Create, Share is a massive component of Manaiakalani, which I am attempting to incorporate into my teaching more often. Read more about Learn, Create, Share here!

Believes it is important to go to church, Understands religion as a group of people we believe in e.g. Christianity

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

In The Learners Shoes

Today I was privileged to spend the day out on Professional Development at a workshop led by The University of Auckland and Team Solutions. The workshop, "Building Blocks of Effective Practice", was based around student centred learning, targeting students Health, PE and Home Economics. Our overall aim was to develop an understanding and appreciation of various tools and models used in education to increase student centred learning and decrease teacher directed learning.

The day was separated into 5 rotations, to gain an understanding of a model at surface level before moving on. To enable us to  understand what we learnt at a deep level, we were provided with copious resources to progress our learning, and share with our colleagues. The first rotation (what is student centred learning and why is it important?) we all completed, as well as the last rotation (post-it box method).

Rotations 2, 3 and 4 were electives, we were able to choose what stations we wanted to work at and learn about. I chose to focus on challenging assumptions and critical thinking, learning for learning not for assessment and student voice. I found the day insightful, engaging and useful, and will definitely recommend the workshop to others for next year.

I regularly put my name down for Professional Development opportunities, because I think it is important to be up to date with current practices, as well as continue to learn. Although I only finished my degree last year, education continues to develop and evolve, thus I value any PD thrown my way. I am most looking forward to PENZ in July, a 3 day national conference. 

Read more about PENZ here!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Google Guru Take 1

Another box ticked today! Look forward to learning more and completing my Level 2 certificate in the future :) If you are interested in becoming Google Certified, visit here to learn more!

Feeling The Love

I just logged on to check out my stats and see these! Very exciting for me. May seem low to some, but before this year I have never shared my work and experiences globally.

If you read/visit my blog, I would love to hear from you, to know whether my posts are useful in any shape or form. I am amazed how people outside of NZ have taken the time to jump onto my blog and it excites me I may be able to connect with you all (I am unsure why the numbers don't add up!). I have found myself reading absurd things like this! So, please leave me comments! Look forward to reading them. :)

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Need to Motivate

Today's focus for our Professional Learning Group was to create a short Explainer video with a focus on our teaching inquiry.

Students' motivation is low in my Year 12 PE class in particular, and I am currently strategising how to improve this. Throughout my research and evidence gathering I have discovered a lack of motivation is a byproduct of a lack of self efficacy, a lack of self belief. 

Check out my basic Explainer Video... Bare in mind I am still learning! Please leave any suggestions/strategies you have for me to increase student motivation and self efficacy. I think this is linked closely with students' self esteem issues, as I discussed in my previous blog post.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Head Bobbing and Chuckles

This week we have been fortunate enough to have two guest performances for the full school to enjoy. On Tuesday we were visited by iLuminate dance crew, and today a well-known New Zealand comedian, Mike King.

Mike King
iLuminate are an American group, who have become well known for following dreams, living amongst their passions and being unique. They have combined the love for technology with the love of dance, to create something quite extraordinary. iLuminate perform in the dark, because their suits light up - that is the main attraction and explains their name.

Apologies if it is difficult to see!
The brains behind this masterpiece is Miral Kotb, who is a talented software engineer with a love for dance. She merged her two loves together to create iLuminate; performers who dance in suits that light up in sync with the music, through a wireless network. Amazing!

The message put across from the crew, who were from low-socioeconomic, 'rough' neighbourhoods growing up, is that the only thing you need to be successful and to be happy is passion. Passion provides us with drive and determination towards something, which should not be ignored. They discussed the importance of following our dreams and doing what we love, because even if it may not feel like the best option at one given time,  and even if we need to make sacrifices or take risks, it is most likely following our dreams will result in a happier life.

The performance concluded with Tamaki's kapa haka group teaching and performing the haka alongisde the dance crew. I was proud of the prefects particularly and then the whole school perform a haka as a cohort.

I am more excited about creating a dance unit for the Year 9s for Term 4, because the students were amazed by the performance. The kids have headphones in 24/7, when they are moving between classes, they are often having a boogie along the way - they love music and they love to dance. This was visible during iLuminate's performance, as the students were cheering, applauding and dancing with the music. I am so excited to see my own students performing later in the year!

Following on from this, earlier today we had an interactive presentation from award-winning comedian Mike King. Mike told us his story from the beginning to today, and his fight against depression, alcoholism and a drug addiction. His presentation, Cool to Korero, aims to increase awareness and acceptance of mental health and urges the need to ask for help. Mike cleverly kept the school engaged and high spirited throughout a touchy subject, a subject that can be difficult to talk about, by keeping his presentation very light hearted. I found myself crying of laughter.

Mike was phenomenal. His messages were very powerful, as they were easily relatable to the students and their lives. Mike's presentation encouraged Maori and Pasifika to recognise that even if they are Decile 1a, if that's how they identify and label themselves, then that's how others will. He encouraged students to consider themselves as equals, to everyone else in the world, because the reality is - they are equal. 

Self esteem and self confidence in our community is low. Dangerously low, so much it frightens me. A goal of my own teaching, as well as many other teachers in the school, is to increase students' self esteem and self confidence. Mike's presentation supported this considerably, which was wonderful. I look forward to the programme Mike is currently developing and working alongside him.

My favourite part of these powerful presentations was their openness and willingness to be approached and contacted whenever students need. Mike even provided students with his personal email and mobile number! 

I encourage anyone to contact me too, if they need someone to talk to. If you, or anyone you know show any signs or symptoms of depression (i.e. anger, self blame, self harm, sleep or appetite changes), ask for help. Whether this is a loved one, a trusted adult or a counsellor, it is ok to ask for help. Some organisations who can help in New Zealand for a variety of support are listed on the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation website.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Four Years of Hard Work

After giving 110% for 4 years, today I graduated! I can now officially say I have a degree, some call it an expensive piece of paper! 

I graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education with my BPE whanau. I felt nervous and excited about being capped in front of hundreds and hundreds of people, but I didn't trip thankfully!

I begun the day with my family and partner for breakfast. We then taxied into Auckland City to The University of Auckland to get some photos and prepare for 'the walk'. I really enjoyed the walk down to Aotea Square with my cohort, it was nice to catch up with them all and celebrate our success together.

After the walk some of us went out for brunch before the ceremony. Although the ceremony itself was a little tedious, as I was number 477, I am glad that I went. I was proud of myself and my friends, and my family was proud of me. We wandered down to the Viaduct for some family photos and a toast.

I celebrated in the evening with some expensive champagne, good food and amazing company. Now to get through my Honours... 

Currently I am writing an assignment about motivating my students, I think I need to take a leaf out of my own book! But what is motivation?