Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Local stories - some of the history...

I spent a lovely day at Ohaaki Marae (with some colleagues), learning about the local stories of Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa...

The Māori of the valley decended from the Arawa tribe. The Ngāti Whaoa moved inland from Maketu to Wai-O-Tapu (Māori for "sacred waters") and the Paeroa Hills.

Ngāti Tahu maintain a separate identity, but they have also been described as subtribe of Ngāti Tuwharetoa (who originally lived in the Kawerau area). His people are descended rom both Te Arawa and Mataatua (particularly Ngāti Awa ancestors). 

From the earliest times the Waikato valley near Orakei Korako was occupied by Maori of the Ngāti Tahu.

The names of the meeting houses of Ngāti Tahu Marae reflect their tribal history. Te Ohaaki is the parent marae and the meeting house is called Tahumatua, after their eponymous ancestor. Ohaaki has many claims to fame. It has unlimited supplies of hot water and steam and had one of the biggest and most beautiful thermal hot pools in the Rotorua-Taupo region. Unfortunately, the natural features at Ohaaki have been irreparably damaged by development for power generation.

The Paeroa ranges had once been occupied by the Tribe of Whaoa and at Waitawhero a meeting house was built which was named Whaoa. The south of Mangakara was once occupied by the Ngāti Tahi Tribe and north it was occupied by the Whaoa Tribe. 

Learning a Waiata...

E ngā iwi
E ngā mātā waka
E ngā hau e wha
Anei rā
Ko tāhū whaoa
E tū atu nei
Kia whakatau i a koutou
I te nei ra
Tū mai rā Paeroa
Hei whakaruru hou
Mo te
Hui aroha


Glossary of word meanings:
iwi - people / tribe
mātā waka - every 'waka'
hau - wind
anei ra - here we are
whakatau - informal greeting
I te nei ra - on this day
Paeroa - long ridge
hei - as
whakaruru hou - shelter
mo - for
te - the
hui - gathering

This day contributed in developing a deeper understanding of culturally responsive and relational pedagogy




~ He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata he tangata he tangata (What is the most important thing in the world, it is the people, the people, the people.) - Māori proverb ~

Monday, June 18, 2018

Anxiety, Learning and Behaviour

This was an interesting workshop that challenged thinking and perceptions.

Notes:
Each person comes to school with their own Thoughts, Emotions, Perspective from home. This is the case for both teachers and students...

Anxiety can start when having to deal with above

Anxiety – look at yourself first and how you cope with this, keep energy up. What can I do to fill my bucket at the end of the day. Know about mindfulness. If a teacher’s anxiety is going up, it will escalate the anxiety of the student. Look at the development of the brain – look at impact of trauma, neglect… they influenced development.

Brain development starts with:
Brainstem    -     Safety
Midbrain     -      Movement
Limbic         -     Emotions
Cortex          -     Learning

When students do not feel safe, they might make noise and be disruptive so they can be send out. They then they might feel safe as they are not subjected to the learning (which they might be scared of).

If a student is constantly anxious – it can be something specific...

Your anxiety can cause the student’s anxiety. Stay calm and talk in a calm voice.  When a student does not react, it might be their brain telling them "I am in danger" and that is why they might not react / respond. Unfortunately, a teacher / adult might perceive it as being defiant.

Acknowledge the feeling, but know how to cope with it. What strategy can be used to cope with feelings?
- Anti-anxiety activities: breathing exercises
- Get students to know to just breathe, will make them feel better
- Also, think how well you know this specific student.

Try and capture the right moment to help the student cope with strategies about what we do when not feeling well. Use the right vocabulary – don’t confuse angry with not happy.

Maybe do whole class teaching for coping strategies, step-by-step. Mentally visualizing working through the anxiety. Talk about what it might look like / feel like.

Know what emotions look like. Get students to act out – look up on internet.

Often an anxious student just needs time… but let them know you will be coming back to them. Difficult for anxious child to be put on the spot, speak up in class in front of everyone or even give an answer.

Often when a child is anxious, a parent will have it to. A dad might be aggressive because they are anxious. Women can cry. Get the parent to practice handling feeling and emotions with their child at home. Exercise help for unsureness- suggest they take a walk together each day. There will be more success when including the parent.

Diagnoses just gives us a bit more knowledge about the child, it is not the end of all.

Teach the ‘Worry Tree’ Problem solving technique...

The Helicopter view – teach kids to look at something with a 'bird’s eye view' and not ‘close up’. Look at something differently. What am I reacting to? What does this situation mean to, or say about, me? What's the worst thing about thinking that, or about the situation?


Resource:
Lots of ideas and metaphors on www.getselfhelp.co.uk




~ "Affirmations for Anxiety: This is only temporary; I am in control; I can take things one step at a time; Anxiety does not define me" - Anonymous ~

Monday, May 14, 2018

Digital Citizenship & Cyber Safety

Leading today's staff meeting around Digital Citizenship and Cyber Safety, I talked about what we will be looking at achieving...

1. To become more informed and vigilant
  • Only identify students by first name on ePortfolios and if it can be helped at all, don’t have a name by a photo, rather have more than one student in the photo.
  • Teacher to moderate posts
  • Search yourself online and see what comes up...

2. Teachers to focus on guiding and supporting students with having a safe, positive and creative online behaviour / Teachers should MODEL
  • No passwords printed out to be displayed / laying around
  • Teachers and student user agreements (log out of emails / accounts)
  • Check out the Finesse with ICT site that I’ve compiled and shared in the Team Drive for lots of things around ICT
3. Deliberate teaching of Digital Citizenship / CyberSafety

4. Photos / Pictures and Copyright
  • A lot of times, students and teachers use pictures / photos from Google images. They all state ‘images may be subject to copyright’. Teach students not to use this. 

How do you know if you can use an image from Google Images?
  • Find images, text, and videos you can reuse
  • Go to Advanced Image Search for images or Advanced Search for anything else. However, often they are still ‘maybe subjects to copyright’
  • In the "all these words" box, type what you want to search.
  • In the "Usage rights" section, use the drop-down to choose what kind of license you want the content to have.
  • Select Advanced Search.
A place to access safe images that are available to be used in the classroom and for educational purposes is http://photosforclass.com/ and citations are watermarked onto downloaded images.




~ "It's imperative for us to model digital citizenship to even our youngest learners." 
- Beth Holland ~

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Learning in a Digital World

I have been delighted to hear that I have been successful in my application for a grant after completing a 200 words impact statement for a Robotics Kit to enable a group of selected students of our school to participate in the 2018 FIRST LEGO League, which is a project-based, STEM education program. My aim with this is to engage our students and to get them excited about learning through robotics, whilst also immersing them in the world of technology. Our students will learn to participate in real-life, hands-on activities which has been designed to develop critical thinking, creative problem solving, collaboration and teamwork - all skills that are needed to be successful in the today's world.

One of our teachers, Matua Mel agreed to being the team coach / mentor. I will assist as 2nd coach / mentor as and when needed.
Matua Mel and I are excited to join our students on their learning journey!



~ "The most important principle for designing lively eLearning is to see eLearning design not as information design but as designing an experience". - Cathy Moore ~

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Nathan Wallis workshop on 'The Developing Brain'

Nathan explained to us how the brain works and how neuro- science can better inform our day to day interactions with children and young people. Advances in scanning technologies during the 1990's allowed us to understand the workings of the brain like never before.
What the research says:
- the first three years ARE the most important
- how intelligent you are isn’t your genes (previously the assumption was genes were for intelligence)
- the growth of the frontal cortex is experience dependent

What you experience for the first 1000 days of your life is probably what you will be experiencing for the rest of your life... (a child uses their first 1000 days to gather data to work out what sort of brain it needs to get through the rest of life). The more minutes a child sees his mum’s (or main carer’s) face in front of them, the brainier they will be. A first born child will always get most of this.

Humans have four brains. The human brain mediates our movements, our senses, our thinking, feeling and behaving.
Brain #1(Brainstem) is the most basic part of the brain and ensures survival (fight / flight / freeze). Survival is the most important. The brainstem controls heart rate, body temperature and other survival-related functions. It also stores anxiety or arousal states associated with a traumatic event. 
Brain #2 (Midbrain) is about movement. Together brains #1 & #2 is the reptilian brain. (that’s all a reptile has).
Brain #3 (Limbic) stores emotional information. Mammals have brains #1, #2 & #3 (it's about survival, movement and emotion).
Brain #4 (Cortical) controls abstract thought and cognitive memory; planning for the future, empathy and imagination. (The part of the brain that does all the “flash stuff.” - language, abstract, thought, imagination, consciousness. Only humans have brains #1, #2, #3 & #4. This is when you are doing something that a mammal can't do, for example ask: "Can the dog do it?" If the answer is yes, it’s not the front cortex). 
The brain is geared to react to negative feedback, because negative feedback links to survival. Positive feedback doesn’t threaten survival. We need to understand that the Brainstem (survival brain) is always in charge, not the Cortical (learning brain). The survival brain gives permission for learning - so one can learn, but the second your brain "flips" to survival you can’t learn. Survival always wins (fight / flight / freeze). Therefore, to really be using your cortex, your brain-stem needs to be calm...

Effects of Trauma, abuse and neglect on the developing brain...
An orphanage child will have an aroused Brainstem for three hours between feeds. When a child in a caring ["normal"] home cries, someone comes, they get food, a cuddle and in 2 minutes they relax. It is biologically impossible to over-spoil a child under 18 months. If they are comforted, looked at /after and cuddled, the more of a sensory system they will have for stress. This, as a result will set them up for dealing with stress later.  
 

Children have to play up to 7 years of age, otherwise you kill their creativity. Free play is thus not a waste of time. Unfortunately, teaching in the traditional sense interrupts free play. Teaching kids by taking them away from free play will dumb them down.


Other resources:
The First 1000 Days | Johan Morreau | TEDxTauranga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1slVo3BNtM

Brain Development and Learning by Nathan Mikaere- Wallis:
http://wikieducator.org/Professional_Inquiry/Nathan_Mikaere_Wallis

The crucial dyad relationship for infants | Nathan Wallis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UWbCnv1vno

Teenage brain under the microscope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaK48oxpSpM

We're not set by our genes | Nathan Wallis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTk0uZ3pZrI



~ "The six-year old that has "supposedly wasted all of their time playing, with no direct instruction at all from parents or teachers, will according to research be higher qualified, earn more money and be happier." - Nathan Wallis, The Developing Brain ~

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Need for Change

Back in 2017, Hon Nikki Kaye, @nikkikaye said "Digital fluency is now an essential life skill for our young people, so we must ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to engage in an increasingly digital world." Personally, as Assistant Principal, ICT Lead and teacher, I have been excited about the announcement of this whole 'digital shakeup' for our NZ school curriculum. This change was needed for our education system and has made me carefully considering my goals in my respective areas of responsibility. I wrote a blog post after attending one of the Digital Technologies / Hangarau Matihiko (DT&HM) Consultation workshops in 2017 in which I've added some valuable links.

Anand Timothy, eLearning Enthusiast and co-founder and Director: Business Development at eNyota Learning, also wrote: "Technology is making our world more interesting… it is changing our perspectives… it is redefining previous definitions of normal. Technology has become the great disruptor; the magic wand that gives us the power to make or do things that were previously unthinkable."

One thing that makes me cringe lately, is when I read comments from educators who talk about how they hear and read about research that is warning educators about the effects of 'screen time' on our students....
It makes me wonder how many educators are aware that Computer Science can also be taught through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around (no 'screen time'!). This can then be integrated into the curriculum through activities and exercises.

I also feel a bit frustrated, when people make comments like "this is a separate digital curriculum" and "we already do this at our school"... hmm, yes, but there is so much more to the [new] DT&HM curriculum...
In my humble opinion, I do not see this as a separate digital curriculum. In fact, the re-organised Technology learning area still has the three strands of Technological Practice, Technological Knowledge, and Nature of Technology. The only difference is that there is now five technological areas instead of three. The new content covers Computational thinking for digital technologies and Designing and developing digital outcomes as Progress Outcomes.

I can fully understand that there are [some] uncertainty, hopes and fears about what this means for schools from 2018 onward. However, there are opportunities to upskill... one such opportunity came through the 'Digital Passport' created by The Mind Lab by Unitec "which empowers teachers in New Zealand to realise the opportunities of the new digital curriculum and bring 21st century skills to today’s students."

I gained some valuable insights after completing two of the Workshops, but do not consider myself an expert now. However, I truly believe that your attitude determines your direction... what you do with this [new] exciting change is up to you, my quest for knowledge will carry on... and I will guide my school colleagues along on their journey to the best of my abilities.




'The Tweet'



References:
NZN. Major education shake-up as schools shift to digital focus, Retrieved from: Newshub 

Timothy, A (2016). How Technology Benefits Learning. Article written for eLearning Industry

The Mind Lab (Monday 19 March). New education platform empowers Kiwi teachers in the 21st century, Retrieved from their Media release



~ "People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs ~

Monday, April 16, 2018

Seesaw... no turning back!

Although I've always aimed for my students to have a digital portfolio (trialling and using many different platforms in the past), I had not been convinced that Seesaw was the way to go.... BUT oh boy, was I wrong! Seesaw is an excellent platform for housing student work and sharing it with parents. The feedback and communication is instant.

The Ministry of Education have seven key principles (Ako, Focus and coverage, Foundations for learning, Student responsibility, Motivation, Technologies, Checking in with parents) that guide effective reporting and information sharing. After using Seesaw for almost 3 months now, I already recognise the benefits of this student-driven digital portfolio and I believe that if Seesaw is being used effectively it has all the tools to fulfill this MOE 'requirement'. Hence (after having a chat with my favourite online mentor Sonya, @vanschaijik) my decision to apply to become a Seesaw Ambassador to support teachers [further] with integrating technology effectively into their teaching and to serve as an expert resource to other teachers, by sharing how I use Seesaw in my class.

I love that I can create and assign activities for my students when planning 'lessons', but that is not all... students can post to their journal and reflect on their learning instantly! It also gives me insight into their understanding and enable me to track progress over time. Parents can also look back at all the learning that their child added to their journal and see how much has been learned. This 'tracking' can easily be done when using folders when posting.

Some examples of how I have been using Seesaw with 5 year olds:
1. Goal Setting and Reflection...

2. Reading / Phonics / Sightwords...

3. Writing...

4.  Maths...

5. Discovery / STEAM / Key Competencies

6. Some others...

The Values that Seesaw stands for speak for itself... 

Therefore, I consider myself lucky and feel proud to be part of the Seesaw family...

Reference:



~ "It's more important than ever that educators collaborate to continually improve and support the success of each learner." - Dr. Gene Carter, CEO and Executive Director of ASCD ~