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!

    Friday, October 12, 2018

    Saturday, September 29, 2018

    CoL TOD - Taking our Community on a Journey

    Outline of my involvement during the Day...

    Moral purpose

    1. Recap Appreciative Inquiry & Sharing of Teaching as Inquiry
    Adjusting the lens we look through - Making a conscious decision to look for strengths.
    Coaching skills to be used - active listening - without interruption and reflective questioning at end. 
    Genuine Inquiry - open minded, declarative statement or genuinely open and non judge-mental reflective question
    Positive does not ignore deficits but instead focuses on the solution

    2. Evaluating Effectiveness
    Hard data vs rich data - formative, making sense of the work children are doing, the shifts they are making.
    Appreciation - how do we talk about the hard stuff - challenge each other - to ask a probing reflective question does not show lack of appreciation - the way the question is communicated is possibly the key - today and the way we are working together is about digging deeper - in a non judge-mental way.  Holding up the mirror
    Sometimes in our work as Principals, DPs, or HODs we work in a mentor role where there may well be an element of judgement and direction in a learning conversation, but this approach is not about mentoring - it is about listening to understand and asking probing questions to deepen understanding and to require the presenter to deepen their reflection.

    3. Knowing they impact
    Knowing they impact - if we are to be innovative as a profession and if we are to make a difference for kids we need to work through ways of knowing and justifying what works and why. - as a profession.
    The way you think about your role as a leader or teacher defines the way you work and the impact you will have.

    4. Oral language focus - What has been the effect of the work you have been doing with students?
    Ask reflective questions - in line with coaching- levels of reflective questioning.
    Have levels of questioning for students.

    5. Disrupting the status quo
    How can we create a learning system where all young people leave as successful learners.
    Not about cruising through the system or dumbing down learning.

    What are the rich skills we want to assess? (that would enable this goal)
    What do young people need to know/do? 

    6. Bus stop activities

    7. Evaluate well-being 
    Discussion:  Looking at ways the current system might impede well-being and success.

    Evaluate personal identity, language and culture (Do I know the language of mine) 
    We become our stories – so... What are the stories we want to tell about Reporoa? What does it mean (look like, sound like, feel like) to be an actively involved, confident, connected member of our community?
    What is already working well in our community? Who are our success stories? What worked well for them?
    What part do you play in this? What is your responsibility in this story?
    What do we expect from each other and from ourselves?

    ~ "The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it." - Warren Bennis