Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Collaborative Practice & Team function

Members from our AP|DP Association listened to a presentation on 'Leaders and Learning' (Empowering Leaders, Empowering Learning).

Some 'takeaways'...
  • What a leader believes in his/her core about every teacher's capacity to learn and improve impacts on his/her effectiveness in leading a team
  • The 'Pygmalion Effect' v 'Golem Effect'
  • From the #InnovatorsMindset who quoted Author and human behaviour researcher Tom Rath who notes in his book, 'Strengths Finder 2.)', that, "people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general. Clearly we need to make sure our educators and students have ample opportunity to explore and practice in areas which they thrive."
  • Consider the way we function as a team/leadership. The way we function impacts the learning of teachers/students
          The ultimate place for a team's collaboration to fall is in Quadrant I: High functioning, 
          High impact
  • Five fundamental values/beliefs which supports effective leadership:
  1. Collaboration
  2. Shared leadership
  3. Goal setting & attainment (SMA - H(Heart) - RT)
  4. Rigorous discourse
  5. Continuous discourse

We listened to a short extract on 'Disciplined Collaboration'

  • The most powerful professional learning occurs when professionals collaborate, enquire, reflect and co-construct together. In short, inter-dependent learning.
  • Simply working together does not guarantee any change or improvement in leadership, professional practice or pedagogy. For this to occur, the condition for collaborative learning and the evaluation of impact need to be firmly in place.

  • Professional collaboration SHOULD have impact, have a purpose, have a hard edge, challenge
  • Feedback are based on our observations and experiences (Appreciative... Coaching... Evaluation...). Key player in feedback is the receiver 

  • Observation and reflective analysis- to empower practice:
  1. Prior to an observation - time to meet and talk to establish clear observation purpose, process, goal - linked to teacher's inquiry goal
  2. Co-construct the effective practice criteria, that the observer will observe
  3. Reflective analysis and dialogue of the lesson - centered around the pre-established criteria and the impact on learner outcomes - how are learners responding and learning? (Responsive & Adaptive Expertise)
  4. Co-construct new/improved practice based on analysis dialogue - set time for follow-up analysis

Question to ponder:
  • How important is mindset in leadership? - What challenges do I see in MY leadership around mindset?

Connecting the learning... Where to next?

  • Leadership styles - self-awareness, strengths, next steps
  • Leading a team - tools and strategies - the HOW?
  • Collaboration with purpose
  • Collective efficacy and Culture building
  • Professional Learning Communities - what/why/HOW?
  • Effective feedback
  • Leadership Inquiry / Learning Inquiry
  • Distributed Leadership
  • Practise observation and reflective analysis
  • Adaptive and responsive expertise
  • Building relational trust
  • Effective communication / Difficult conversations
  • Leading with Emotional Intelligence
  • Innovative Leadership

~ "A leader who helps develop FOCUSED COLLABORATIVE CAPACITY will make the greatest contribution to student learning - Fullan & Quinn, 2016 ~

Monday, May 20, 2019

UBRS Workshops (Modules 1 - 4)

A blog summary of my notes...

First Session:

  • Preventing behaviours that challenge and if necessary de-escalating the situation
  • How to stop behaviours from happening 
  • How to support child without putting more demand on them

  • Understand what is happening in the brain when it’s under stress…
  • When seeing difficult behaviours, think what might be happening in the brain

  • When the brain is under stress Adrenaline and Cortisol are produced
  • These shut down the layers of brain activity starting with logic and self-control
  • Calm the situation - don’t inflame by punitive approaches
  • BUILD behaviours by ignoring, figuring out what the driver is, replacing with positive behaviours, praise and encouragement, frequent positive restatement, reminders and redirection

Module 1: Understanding behaviour - Why? How? What?

Remember the can of coke ‘analogy’ - shake it and it explode...
  • Being mindful of the factors that occur in a child's life that is baggage when they come to school
  • If you want to be supportive, shift your perspective by not judging and instead offer support to build that relationship

What can YOU influence?:
  • The only thing we can control is what we do, think and believe…
  • … and what we do, think and believe can influence the outcome to increase the likelihood of de-escalation

Understand, then manage your actions:

Stress Response: Psychological effects…

Module 2: Encouraging ready-to-learn behaviour

Establishing a learning focused culture by exploring strategies that prevent and de-escalate challenging situation through:
  • Creating supportive learning environments
  • Teaching for positive behaviour - revisiting the brain and stress
  • Strengthening positive relationships
  • Exploring strategies that support emotional regulation
  • Exploring communication - what we say and how we say it
  • Exploring strategies that prevent and de-escalate challenging situations

Exploring communications - what we say and how we say it:
  • Create win-win scenarios with two winners
  • Talk to students with compassion and respect
  • Address private or sensitive issues in private
  • Take the student seriously and address issues
  • Give focused attention
  • Avoid humour like sarcasm, inappropriate remarks or mocking - be polite

  • De-escalation refers to a set of verbal and non-verbal responses which, if used selectively and appropriately, reduces the level of a student’s anxiety or anger to prevent loss of control
  • Research tells us that knowing the student, building trusting relationships and using effective de-escalation techniques can all minimise the likelihood of restraint

Module 3: Responding Safely

  • Often behaviour is done for an audience
  • How do your actions escalate or de-escalate the situation?
  • Whatever goes bad, it will pass and things will get better

Responding Safely - Differential Responding:

(Note: when students are below ‘red line’, you will have trouble with bringing them back. A student that often go below this line would normally have a ‘safety plan’ - through SENCo / RTLB) 

Strategies to maintain the 'Ready to Learn' state:

When the student is 'Out of Sorts' - Strategies to help the student return to Ready to Learn:

When behaviour is "Escalating' - Strategies to de-esclate and provide direction and maintain safety:

Strategies to maintain safety when a situation is 'Out of Control':

Strategies to help the student to 'Calm down', be safe and re-establish a trusting relationship:

Module 4: Reflection and Embedding

  • Maintain mana, walk away and determine next move
  • Ensure students know what will be happening, as some struggle with change

~ "Relying on one-on-one chat alone is rarely effective. It may take many of these conversations - this is a process to teach young people how to think about their behaviour. At a neurological level, we now understand that we are creating new neural pathways in young brains and there is not quick fix that does this!
(Thorsborne & Blood - 2013 pg. 42) ~

Friday, May 10, 2019

Learning NZSL - the best experience in a long time...

This week I started to learn New Zealand Sign Language, along with my students. We are lucky enough to have our office administrator who've done a course on NZSL, so I used her to teach us a few signs.

I was also very happy when I came across tweets with videos by Sulzy (@sasulz)! In one of her videos she showed how to sign "How are you?” & “I’m feeling _____.”

So, I practised and taught my students this the next day. 

This was the best experience for me in a long time! Students also had a lot of fun learning this new language during this year's New Zealand Sign Language week. The best part for me was when seeing students this week, some of them greeted me in sign language and signed how they were feeling!

I will definitely continue with learning and also show my students!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Ideas to Supercharge a Literacy Programme

We began our year with the usual Teacher Only Days, with a focus on 'Writing' and 'Speaking'...

On 30 Jan 2019 our whole staff attended a professional learning workshop with Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey in Hamilton called 'Developing an effective writing programme'.

They shared practical ideas for planning and teaching writing at emergent, early and fluent levels, with reference to ‘The Writing Book’. Workshop aims were to:
- introduce the key principles of an effective writing programme
- break down the components of a balanced writing programme
- explore the features of both long and short writing lessons

Things mentioned and affirmation:

  • Images are good to use for writing
  •  Reiterate that punctuation helps a reader to understand what the writer is trying to tell
  • Spelling is important (have routines around it e.g. use a word card, listen for sound)
  • Make good word choices
  • Retelling is a very good first step to writing
  • You can keep going with criteria for some time, no need to change it all the time
  • No queue waiting for teacher to check,  just get them to put their book at designated spot after finishing their story
  • Picture plans are good to use in Y1

New ideas / What I've learned:

  • Activate kids prior knowledge about writing at start of year. Ask what they remember about writing from previous year
  • All kids need guiding during week not just lower kids, but don't overstretched yourself… you can't see everyone
  • Roving can be extremely powerful. Students will hear your feedback to others and fix up work
  • Don't waste time writing long, big comments in books
  • Not everyone will finish, be comfortable with it
  • Get kids to self-check / partner-check using stamps afterwards
Next Steps:

  • To use picture plans further as follow: e.g. one picture = 1 sentence, 2 pictures = 2 sentences, progress but not more than 4 pic (as too time consuming)

  • Use different images for kids to write a sentence of each picture

  • Model and teach students to proofread their writing. Keep it manageable.
  • Take time to teach students to review and improve their writing with a partner

  • Resources mentioned:
    - The Writing Book
    - The Literacy Shed
    - The Kid Should See This


    On 1 February 2019 we had a professional learning workshop with Lisbeth Swanson from 'StoryWays Literacy' (Storytelling) who visited us at school.

    - Consider the language needs of learners (Our school, societal, global)
    - Understand the pedagogy of learning and teaching with a storytelling approach
    - Learn how to prepare and teach the telling of a story using ‘Hear - Map - Step - Speak’
    - Know of the key elements in the Storytelling schools Teaching Model

    New ideas / What I've learned:

    • Use storytelling to motivate, energise and accelerate oral language and writing
    • Learning to tell stories from memory is a great way to learn all sorts of essential skills
    • Speaking, listening, confidence, empathy, ideas, facts, sequences, plots … you name it, storytelling can teach it.

    • Tell a story (not just reading) with attention to voice, gesture, feature language 
    • 'Loiter' with the story - oral language at the center
    • Follow-up writing opportunities

    ~ "Knowledge isn't power until it is applied" - Dale Carnegie ~

    Tuesday, January 29, 2019

    I see it..., I want it..., I dream it...


    With the above as my word for 2019, I will be open to seeing the possibilities, the problems, the solutions and the milestones that can be reached every day.

    Focusing more on the “why”, not just the “what” and “how” when stepping back from the day-to-day planning and details of my work, will allow me to not only see the big picture, but also the immediate achievements and needs.

    I would like to see that the link between our school, parents, whānau and community where our school's educational goals are concerned are understood and supported. This will enable us to further create and nurture relationships of trust.

    My job will be done if I could see the simple question “What’s best for ________?” being asked and acted upon. After all, staff well-being is crucial, and it is also our responsibility to ensure that students are excited about learning and to inspire a deep love for learning.

    I know that the insanely long hours I work, is not contributing to recuperating and focusing on myself. My goal is to seeing myself take time out at least once a week, to 'de-stress' and to improve my work-life balance to avoid burnout.

    Here goes to focusing on the doable... one step at a time, when seeing my 'dream' for those I am meant to inspire, serve and support.

    ~ "I'm sure, that this year, you will find me somewhere in between inspiring others, working on myself, dodging negativity and slaying my goals." ~

    Tuesday, December 18, 2018

    A Year in Review

    Looking back on my 'Walking on a tightrope' post at the start of the year, my one word was 'DO'...

    Reflecting on my 'DO'
    1. Get-up-and-Go (be determined and full of energy) - This I have definitely achieved in all areas this year. 
    2. Stop and celebrate [even little] Successes - Yes, not only did Seesaw's ePortfolio enabled me to regularly check in and comment on students' progress, which has been celebrated weekly by a 'Virtue award', but progress was recognised and celebrated almost daily in our learning environment. 
    3. Look after myself (no school work after 6.00 pm) - Although I did look after myself, I was not able to do no school work after 6.00pm... in fact due to all my responsibilities, I have been working later than I have last year, even during weekends! Maybe this goal was a bit unrealistic?
    4. Continue DOing [something] despite difficulties (stick-to-it-iveness) - Thankfully, I did not experience any difficulties (personally)
    5. Do what I believe to be best for ALL my students as they are my number one priority - As I understand the importance of inclusive education and that for some learners to access the curriculum and realise their potential, I was able to focus effectively on curriculum adaptation and differentiation.
    6. In my role as Assistant Principal and ICT Lead, I will take the 'bad days' in stride and remember that I get to start fresh tomorrow - One of my leadership strengths, I believe, is to actively support colleagues, reframe dialogue/thought processes to eliminate deficit thinking and focus on the capabilities, progress and successes. I have been able to transfer this effectively in my leadership role, enabling and fostering a positive, safe and united culture where successes are celebrated with all staff. As an effective communicator, I demonstrated exceptional communication and interpersonal skills in my current roles, supporting staff as and when needed. 
    7. Blog more regularly - Not yet...

    Highlights for me this year
    1. Some of my Professional Development included:

    • SENCo Development and Training online course/study through Raising Achievement
    • Embedding Oral Language Across the Curriculum workshop by Sheena Cameron & Louise Dempsey 
    • Anxiety, Learning and Behaviour workshop by Dr. Izelda Pelser, Educational Psychologist, MOE 
    • ‘The Developing Brain’ workshop by Nathan Mikaere-Wallis 
    • Online training to be recognised as a Seesaw Ambassador
    • Digital Passport: Workshop One - Years 1 - 3 Certificate 
    • Digital Passport: Workshop Two - Years 3 - 5 Certificate 
    • ‘Setting your School up for Success’ seminar for SENCo / RTLB / RTLit
    2. My Presentations:

    • Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko: Build awareness and mobilise (Staff meeting - 11 June 2018)
    • Collaboration for Success: SENCo and Learning Difficulties (Staff meeting - 28 May 2018)
    • Digital Citizenship & Cyber Safety (Staff meeting - 14 May 2018)
    3. Teaching as Inquiry:
    After administering an Oral assessment, I analysed the data, which helped me to identify target learners who are ‘at risk’ and their specific areas of need. I then started my 'Teaching as Inquiry' by asking 'How can I enhance students’ oral language skills through retelling (news & after guided reading) using Seesaw, which will then also result in authentic writing experiences?'

    I planned deliberate activities that meet the needs of these learners, whilst also capitalising on spontaneous authentic learning opportunities that support oral language development.

    Student achievement can be seen as shown in the end of year spreadsheet below. 
    Although Student 4 still requires some support (student had trouble with attendance), I am pleased with the overall progress.

    4. Other:

    5. End of Year Highlights:
    I received so many lovely messages and gifts... here's just a few messages... #EndOfYear #FeelingBlessed

    ~ "Teachers should not forget how far they take their students every year" ~

    Saturday, October 27, 2018

    Seesaw Featured Contributing Author

    Thank you for the the lovely email ! 🤗 Feeling privileged to be part of the Seesaw community and for being able to share activities!