Saturday, December 20, 2014

End of year reflection (2014)

One of my goals this year: 'Educating Life-long Learners'

Reflecting on My opinion:
I was able to build good relationships with my learners and had build their confidence and skills to ensure their learning is successful, enjoyable, meaningful and lifelong.

Reflecting on: My aim this year?
Learners were motivated to be active, engaged and connected learners for life, whilst getting them to use and apply the NZC Key Competencies and any other resources available to them through KidsedchatNZQuadblogging Aotearoa and 'Pass the Blog'.

Reflecting on: How will I do this?
1.  Learners were educated on how to make choices, how to think and learn
3.  Each learner were valued for what they do well (using weekly assembly awards)
4.  Learners knew they matter

With my 'Teaching as Inquiry (Maths)' my main question was: "How can I accelerate the progress of my focus group of students to where they should be in relation to the National standards?" and My Inquiry became about: "How can I support these students to show and explain their thinking?"

  • What impact has my teaching had on my students? -> After introducing a concept, I encouraged student recording. Outcome:  Students were happily engaged in maths activities and considered it to be "their favourite time of the day".
  • How do I know, what is the evidence? (Assessment/Student feedback - feed forward/Observations) -> Outcome:  Evidence about it here
  • What do I need to do next? -> I provided students with the opportunity to [independently] explore and experiment further. -> Outcome:  Students created their own problems. See some examples here
Taking everything in consideration (as well as positive feedback from classroom observations), I feel confident that this inquiry was completed successfully.

I have also completed reflections on my eFellow14 inquiry, Reading Recovery training, uLearn14 experience and TeachMeetNZ presentation.

~ "Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off." - Mary Lou Retton ~

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reading Recovery - a year in reflection

I have always been keen to try out new things to enhance my learning and improve my teaching, but when I learned that I will be involved in training as a Reading Recovery Teacher this year, I was almost struck with fear. However, that fear was quickly laid to rest when I experienced the specialist guidance, incredible support and positive feedback from our tutor, Wendy.  As a group, we fitted in well with each other and we were able to discuss many aspects of our teaching and training together. 

My thoughts, reflections and general comments on this year:
  • The training course give me insight into how children read and write and I realised that many children who have managed to learn almost all letters and sounds and to read and write several words still cannot read the simplest text.  To successfully read texts children must divide their attention between meaning and other sources of information and make decisions in the same way that mature readers do, but within their limited repertoire of knowledge.
  • I became aware that I've changed my teaching to focus on strategies to enable children to use efficient strategies to get meaning from texts as they read for meaning as this increased their ability to use print as cues and phonological cues to generate, confirm or alter their responses.

What aspect of the course did I find most challenging?
  • What? Making sure I use & complete the right forms at the right time (Observation Survey excluded). Why? Everything was new and there are multiple forms to be completed for different aspects in the programme.

My biggest highlight and lowlight:
  • Highlight: The problem-solving that the children did as they pursue meaning through the reading and writing of whole texts that built the store of words and word-parts that they can identify and recall.  To experience how proud the children are of their progress and how their self-confidence has grown.

Feeling grateful to have received this positive feedback from a parent:

Lowlight:  Slow progress/acceleration and limited support from home for some children.

Thank you Wendy (our Tutor), Gayle, Angela, Karen, Robyn, Haylee, Sharon and Heather for a wonderful year of learning and laughs!  We have worked hard and although we felt unsure at times, it was great to experience how we've started to believe in ourselves and how we have grown in confidence. Yay, we've made it!

Our Celebration lunch and last get together as a group....

~ "The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice" - Brian Herbert ~

Friday, November 28, 2014

Connected Rotorua - Last meeting for 2014

We kicked of our last meeting with Sara, talking to us about Excel Rotorua and how we as Connected Rotorua teachers can connect with them.  We are really excited to be able to be part of this project.

We also had some 'nibbles' to get the conversation going... 

Then, Tanya introduced us to 'Binary Code' which is a coding system using the binary digits 0 - 1 to represent a letter, digit or other character.  All computer language is based in binary code. Thus, when you learn most types of computer programming, you will touch upon the subject of binary numbers. Who knew?

Tanya used cards to explain the pattern of  even and odd.  She also challenge us with the question "What is the biggest number you can represent using 8 bits in binary?" Hmmm....

We were introduced to ASCII and started crafting some binary messages, using... stickers, paper and pens!

Although one had to be onto it, it turned out to be an afternoon of great fun of CS Unplugged magic tricks, binary counting and coded messages.

~ "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon" - Paul Brandt ~

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My eFellow Inquiry presentation to the Cluster Principals

One thing that is being expected of you as an CORE Education eFellow ito share your learning, approaches, practices and inquiries with the wider teaching community.  

Thus, when asked by my Principal to present on my inquiry at the Cluster Principal meeting, I agreed (as I have had already presented my inquiry at uLearn14 and at #cenz14)

Some of my presentation slides:

A short extract of my presentation:
  • Where and how do I start to facilitate personalised learning was just one of my questions. Through my networks and discussions with other teachers, I found that many were asking the same questions (especially in the junior school area)
  • I focused my inquiry on pedagogy and technologies (rather than the physical aspect of MLE) and although I was already using technology with great success in my classroom, I was driven by a desire to make learning even more rewarding and purposeful for my students
  • Questions arise about how I could support my students to carry out learning in purposeful and meaningful ways
  • I started working on supporting students to take more responsibility for their learning and how to make choices.  They have a choice of how they want to present their learning (iPads/Notebooks or via their Individual blogs).  When students know they have to share with peers, family or the teacher, it gives them accountability as well.  When they know they have to reflect on how that activity went, they have to have done it. With this I ensure no one is falling through the gaps under the guise of just "doing my own thing"
  • Is this working in our learning environment? Definitely! I will now walk into class after lunch and students will be engaged in a learning activity without me telling them what to do. Where as earlier they were just sitting on the mat, waiting for me to direct them

I left them with these questions:
  • What is your vision for your school, you learners?
  • What changes need to happen at your school / classroom level?
  • What would be the first thing you will be thinking of changing in your pedagogy?
  • Do you think Personalised Learning has potential in your school environment and what would be your first step to support teachers to implement this?

In the end it all came down to Student Agency and the "power to act" as Derek explained in Trend 1 of CORE's Ten Trends for 2014.

~ "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin ~

Monday, November 3, 2014

EOTC and the Classroom - #primedchatnz with William Pike

After a couple of technical issues, the #primedchatnz Google Hangout went Live where the organiser James Hopkins as well as Kate from Learning Network NZ discussed EOTC with William Pike.

Reid and I worked behind the scenes as moderators, with me putting up questions on Twitter and Reid answering other tweeters, while we both engaged successfully with people who made time to join us and tweeted some of William's views on EOTC and the classroom.

The participation of other educators on Twitter was once again incredible. A warm thank you to everyone who has contributed to the discussion. I have learned so much and feel privileged to have been part [once again] of #primedchatnz.

Here is my Storify of the discussion that was happening on Twitter:

~ "Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the mountains and the stars up above. Let them look at the beauty of the waters and the trees and flowers on earth. They will then begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education." - Davi Polis ~

Friday, October 31, 2014

Connected Educator Month - #cenz14

Connected Educator Month in NZ-Aotearoa kicked off with a bang!  I joined the celebration and listen to some amazing presentations.  We were in for an amazing 31 days of Connected, Professional Learning.

The following are links to some Workshop recordings.

Day 1: (1st October)
  1. CEM Launch - Kick off session with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Sandy Philips, Derek Wenmoth, Wharehoka Wano, Phoebe Davies, Anthony Faitaua, Karen Melhuish Spencer
  2. Introduction to the Starter Kete 
  3. CEM NZ Showcase - Carolyn Stuart, Sonya Van Schaijik, Te Mihinga Komene, Anthony Faitaua, Allanah Kind, Tessa Gray
  4. Stories of Connected PLD from NZ - Aotearoa   (Connected Professional Learning - Shared notes) - Hoeard Baldwin, Trevor Storr, Phillipa Antipas, Alana Madgwick, Tamara Bell

Day 2: (2nd October)
  1. Modern Learning Practices and the connected world (Shared Google Doc) - Stephen Heppell, Derek Wenmoth, Janelle Riki, Mark Osborne
  2. Change Leadership: Connecting Maori and Pasifika (Shared Google Doc) - Dr. Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai, Keriana Tawhiwhirangi, Maria Lemalie, Togi Lemanu, Phoebe Davies, Tahy Paki
  3. Connected Voices, Whatunga Korero project - with the link to the project
  4. A powerful blend: ULearn14 and Connected Educator Month: What's in store
  5. #blogsync launch: Chris Waugh, Karen Meluish Spencer

Day 3: (3rd October)
  1. Connected learning: Plotting pathways, navigating mazes - Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, Tom Barrett, Togi Lemanu, Karen Melhuish Spencer
  2. Book Group kick-off: NZCER's Key Competencies for the Future - Rachel Bolstad, Sue McDowall, Sally Boyd

I made the decision not to link to all the Workshops I watched after Day 3, as I was getting ready to prepare for uLearn14 and soon after that it was back to school again.  However, the calendar for all events can be found here

Other events that I committed myself to throughout October was:

~ "We are all strangers CONNECTED by what we REVEAL, what we SHARE, and what we TAKE AWAY.... OUR STORIES" - Libba Bray ~

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My fabulous #TeachMeetNZ experience

Today, I have had the opportunity to present [a second time] for #TeachMeetNZ. This was a special session, as we worked collaboratively with #TMSydney for Connected Educator Month.

Sonya [as usually] was an amazing host, which helped to make this experience even more enjoyable. Thank you for being my inspiration, Sonya!

When asked to base my presentation around a 'Connected Educator' I happily obliged, as I am a connected educator.  I have build a Personal Learning Network with incredible educators, locally and globally.  We are able to develop our shared visions and common goals and can discuss the needs for future focus learning.

We know the world is changing at an incredible pace for our students and if we want to prepare them for their future, it is important that we, as connected educators also become the connected learners.

Being a connected educator provides me with ongoing inspiration and support.  It is my wish that more educators would see the value of being connected.

I was blown away when Justine asked if she can share my presentation.

I felt humbled when reading the kind words of Kimberley. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to be in a #TeachMeetNZ session with you, Kimberley.  I think you are doing amazing things with your students and  I do hope we can have a proper chat in the near future!

Having the opportunity to grow my own practice, to question, to experiment and to make mistakes is invaluable.
I acknowledge that I have grown immensely [personally and professionally] since becoming a connected educator.  However, this is just the beginning... I know that there is still a lot more to learn and experience.

So where to next?
I am going to utilize the Google Hangout tool to get in touch with educators around topics that would make learning even more rewarding and purposeful for my students. 

A Storify:

~ The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live. - Mortimer J. Adler ~

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My #eFellow14 Reflection

For me, this year's eFellowship was an inspiring year of challenges, research, learning and laughing. I will always cherish the memories I was fortunate enough to build with Bec, Anne, Tim, Vicki, Rowan and Ben.

When I got THAT phone call from John, telling me that I was successful in my application, I did not know what I was really in for! However, I realised that I was going to be pushed [even further] out of my comfort zone. I felt a tad of fear, but at the same time I was filled with excitement as John's enthusiasm was really infectious!

With 80 eFellows to date, I feel extremely proud and privileged to be part of the influential eFellow community.

There were many days that I felt confused, not sure how to start/ where to begin.  And just when I thought I had it, Louise brought me back to earth with her endless "Why?"  We were reminded to maintain an objective perspective throughout and to question not only what we read, but also on our interpretations of responses.  Thank you for challenging my thinking all the way, Louise!

Together, we explored what 'transformation' means and I have enjoyed learning about it's relevance for my inquiry.  We unpacked what we learned during our 3 day Master classes - we worked hard, but we also had many laughs.

I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be part of this incredible journey, thanks to CORE Education and our amazing mentors John and Louise, who guide us along in our inquiries.

We will definitely be #eFellows14 for life!

To conclude our journey, we also contributed to Connected Educator Month where each one of us presented a quick look into our inquiries.

~ It's not the end of the book, It's just the beginning of a new chapter - Unknown ~

Sunday, October 12, 2014

uLearn14 - "The ultimate modern learning & teaching conference"

One of my highlights this year was the uLearn14 Conference.

Not only was this my first year attending, but the one in which I presented on my eFellow14 inquiry.

uLearn14 also gave me the chance to meet some of the wonderful people I have been interacting with on Twitter [and to catch up with the ones I've already met].

However, it was not all about 'socializing'...

The CORE Website stated: "The uLearn14 programme was structured around three key strands that focus on aspects of modern learning and leading:
- Modern learning practices
- Modern learning environments
- Modern learning technologies"

Therefore, I've chosen my breakouts carefully to as far as my eFellow schedule allowed, as uLearn was after all really about learning how I could enhance my practice.

  • Breakout One:  Making the Most of the Early Years: Learning to Learn & Inquire at 5 with Bridget Casse
This workshop covered the SOLO Taxonomy, Inquiry & Pedagogy in the Early Years and we looked at how a learning environment can contribute to the education of young learners.

"Our youngest children are natural wonderers; from birth, every moment is a new experience. Our youngest children could well be the MOST experienced at creating new learning! What if we made more of a conscious effort to talk with them about how and why they think they are learning? What positive outcomes could result if we expect and encourage our youngest to explore the learning process while they explore the world around them?

We frequently converse with children about what they are seeing, doing, exploring and finding. How often are we talking with them about how this learning is being constructed?  What if we use the common language of learning to deconstruct their learning with them? Is ‘kidspeak’ really necessary? Are we making the most of the early years when our children are so creative and open to learning by empowering them and teaching them learning to learn strategies and skills?"
"We explored how the use of SOLO Taxonomy and modeling of an open to learning disposition can help overcome young learners’ fears of making mistakes. Together we realise ‘not knowing’ is the first step towards understanding! Even better, we know exactly how to meet our goal! Meeting our very next step is attainable. Ownership and pride in creating new understanding is contagious and intrinsic motivation is naturally triumphant."
  • Breakout Two:  iPads - a day in a junior classroom with Marion Kirby & Alison Willis
"Integrating technology, embedding technology, blended classrooms - all phrases for how we use modern technology in our classroom programmes."

In this workshop Marion & Alison shared their journey of how they use iPads throughout our day to enhance children’s learning.  From oral language to writing, reading, maths and more. We learned about the apps (Book Creator, Explain Everything, Dropbox, Camera app, Doodle Buddy) they're using - the how, why and when, activities

Day 2:
  • Breakout Four: It's bigger than Inquiry with Lane Clark
"What does it mean to learn?
Is there a difference between knowing and learning?
What is authentic learning?
What is integrated learning?
Is there a difference between theme and authentic integration?
What does real learning look like?
What are the similarities and differences between ‘real life’ learning and ‘in school learning’?"

According to Lane "If it‘s our goal to see an increase in student levels of engagement; an increase in levels of high school retention; an improvement in student performance standards; and learners skilled and ready to contribute to their world, we need to re-think what we are doing, and how we are doing what we are doing, in schools.  We need to teach our kids how to think and how to learn through a comprehensive learning process that mirrors the way in which learning occurs in the outside world.  We need to ensure that intellectual rigor, depth of knowledge and understanding, authentic, relevant and purposeful curriculum, our priorities   We need to change the way learning is planned, designed, implemented, assessed and evaluated."

And then time for the Gala Dinner...

Day 3:
  • Breakout Six: Developing a vision for school leaders with Rob Clarke
"This session shared an example of a facilitation approach for developing a shared vision. This approach ensures that everyone has a voice and an equal input into developing a consensus for the ideas generated." 
We've heard that the quality of questions we ask, will have a strong influence on the quality of dialogue. Also that a vision should not be static, but fluid.

Keynote Speakers:

Keynote 1: Prof Yoram Harpaz - The Ideologies of Education : In search of the pedagogical sentiment

Keynote 2: Adam Lefstein - Teacher Professional Discourse and Learning

Keynote 3: Dr Katie Novak - Universal Design for Learning

Keynote 4: Quinn Norton - MacGuffins, hackerkids and the troublesome 21st century
Note: I was unable to attend Keynote 4, as it was time for our last lunch as eFellows14 together... 

Two of my favourite Blog posts about uLearn14:
ULearn... I thank you - James Hopkins
Embracing the Tigger in Us - Reflections on #Ulearn14 - Annemarie Hyde

As part of Connected Educator Month some uLearn14 events were also Live Streamed.

~ "Man's mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions" - Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. ~

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Normalization and Stereotyping" - Master Class #4 (#eFellows14)

When I woke up at the start of this week, I realised that this would be our last time together as eFellows14... I was in awe that our time had passed this quickly.

When everyone was settled in yet another beautiful location for our time together, Louise started with using the Russian nesting dolls to demonstrate how there is a tendency to try and know people. We put them in boxes and categorize them...

The complexity of human nature is huge, therefore categorizing people is one thing, or putting them in a box or even thinking you know them, could be really problematic. As soon as you peel back all those layers, you realise that those are just some of the descriptives that are attached to us.

This was a great session, discussing normalization & stereotyping. Yes, we need to look through the layers at the real person, don't make judgements.

We were also reminded that if we do transformative work without exploring identity, categorization etc. then we are not really doing transformational work.

After this, we had a session with Deanne Thomas on Cultural Responsive practice. It is about knowing the learner, making connections and involving everyone (not just priority learners). 

Manu Faaea-Semeatu talked to us about what the term Pasifika means to us and how to realise student potential.

eFellow Anniversary Dinner (8 October 2014):

We enjoyed a great evening, celebrating 10 years of the eFellowship.

In his speech, John congratulated us for what we had achieved and Louise talked about how the purpose of our times together was twofold. One to build our research skills and the other to develop our critical thinking skills.

During our sessions we learned how to bring a transformative lens to our research. Thank you John and Louise! You were awesome mentors!

We were also presented with our own Year Book.

eFellows14 and some past eFellows at the dinner

Our [last] Adventures as eFellows14:

uLearn 2014 - Memories:

~ "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." - Dr Seuss ~

Thursday, October 9, 2014

uLearn14 Presentation

Today was indeed D-day for the CORE Education eFellows of 2014...

After embarking on our year long journey of inquiry and searching for answers, as well as trialing what we've learned, it was finally time to give feedback on our questions, answers and findings.



A warm Thank You to everyone who've had attended my session.  I really appreciated the time given to come and listen to what I had to share with you.

~ "We never know which lives we influence, or when or why" - Stephen King ~

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#primedchatnz - Future Focused Learning with Tony Ryan

This was this year's second #primedchatnz and my first where I've been asked to moderate for #primedchatnz with James and Kate during the Live Google Hangout with Tony Ryan.

I was also responsible for pledging this event to Connected Educator Month.

I knew I would have to multi-task, as this was also one of the days [in the week leading up to uLearn14] where our #eFellows14 came together for our last sessions with what John and Louise had planned for us!

While the other eFellows were busy in a session, I was busy tweeting questions on twitter, while listening to the live conversation with Tony.  What an inspiring, thought provoking and inspiring session to have been part of.
Thankfully, I was able to [also] record the eFellow session and discussion for listening to afterwards.  I really can't imagine my life without technology!

My Storify of the discussion on Twitter:

And then... after working online together, the amazing moment when meeting #primedchatnz organizer James face to face...

as well as Kate from Learning Network NZ!

~ " Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - Anonymous"

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Connected Educator Month - #Blogsync

We all have something to say...

I love that I can use my blog to share my views and to reflect on many things.  My blog is a wonderful tool that I use to look back on my posts.  It enables me to reflect constantly on my past and current thinking.  It shows how my thinking has changed and what I have learned [or not!] 

On day #2 of Connected Educator month, I watch the launch video for #blogsync and as a blogger, I found this session and tips on blogging to be very useful.

Chris Waugh mentioned that he's noticed that people who write blogs are sometimes a little bit afraid of the process, and I can't agree with him more.  I sometimes find it quite frightening to lay bear my thoughts.  But then he also mentioned that if you have a blog and you decide to write on a topic, it is completely yours, you curate it and decide on the tone and content. Yay!

With blogsync you just have the opportunity of more people taking notice, in particular people who might be thinking of the same things than you are.

We were invited to join and connect to a blogging community. Yes! That would be my next step.

Thoughts from Karen Melhuish Spencer and Chris Waugh:

- Use the 'connectedness' of the internet to make what we do in the classroom real and authentic to the students.  It is also for us [as educators] to connect with the wider world as most of us work in schools settings where we're isolated from our colleagues most of the time.
- Cracking open of what's happening within the four walls in your school is incredibly powerful  - that making visible. Especially if you're teaching in a quite traditional model school where it is you and your classroom and your learners and people rarely see what you are doing. Blogging can then sometimes be the only window that you offer on your practice and that shared, collaborative conversation can come through something like blogsync. It helps make our profession visible through the stories of the practitioners

What is blog sync?
- Blogsync is for educators who is looking for something deeper and more critical in terms of reflective writing and connecting to each other around that reflective writing.
- Some of the benefits are, you can expand your thinking and the reading of and responding to each other's blogs leads to a depth in discussion.
- This is also a way for people to express their personal view, but also to do it in a form that allows for wider discussion

Topics for this month:

Week One: 1 October - 10 October:
'What it means to be a connected educator' - my learning life online, and how being connected has affected my work in education.

Week Two: 13 October - 17 October:
'Diversity and inclusive practice' - What does this look like for us as Educators? For us as learners?

Week Three: 20 October - 31 October:
'Leadership in schools' - Modern leadership? Leading change? Leading with moral imperative?

Week Four: 27 October - 31 October:
'Student agency and voice' - Making students' contribution meaningful, giving it agency

Tips for writers?
- One of the most powerful things a blogger can do is write from personal experience. Yes Chris, I agree,  it does take a little bit to get comfortable with!
Bloggers who write from their own, experience in the classroom or experience as learners themselves, are often the ones who attracts the most interest.
- Be confident that your own personal experience is interesting to people and that you're personal take on something is valuable.
- You don't have to regard yourself as an expert on to the topics chosen.
- Be confident and comfortable with your own view
- Don't write too much at a time.
- Tell your story in a medium that works for you (Use just words or use them in combination with pictures)

~ To Blog is To Share, To connect, To create, To inspire - Anonymous ~

Connected Educator Month - Modern Learning Practices in a Connected World

Day #2 of Connected Educator Month started with a Workshop on 'Modern Learning Practices in a Connected World' with a supporting Google Doc.

I was really looking forward to it, as this topic tied in with my eFellowship inquiry. I will also have the opportunity to share my findings at ULearn14.

With presenters like Derek Wenmoth, Stephen Heppell and Mark Osborne, this  workshop was all about what 'connected education' might look like for future-focused organisations. I really enjoyed listening to Janelle Riki story about how they started and their first steps into Modern Learning Practices in a Modern Learning Environment. 

My Storify sums up this session:

~ There is no such thing as as an unmotivated student.  There are, however, students in unmotivated states - Eric Jensen ~

Friday, September 26, 2014

Innovation in Schools - a live conversation with Grant Lichtman

During the last week of Term 3, #edchatNZ hosted a live conversation with Grant Lichtman on Innovation in Schools.

Danielle stated: "How might you think differently about innovation in schools if you had the chance to visit, interview and observe sixty-four schools? Grant Lichtman did just that. He interviewed 600 teachers, administrators, students and parents and talked to them about innovation." 

It was an hour well spent, listening to his stories and another great professional learning event! 

My Storify:

~ "Innovation is change that unlocks new value" - Jamie Notter ~

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Traditional vs Transformational" - Master Class #3 (#eFellows14)

I was looking forward to catching up with everyone again for this Masterclass... and when we got a tweet from +Karen Melhuish Spencer that said: "Plotting some #eFellow #Wellington goodness for this week... ;)" I just knew that we would have an incredible time.

Together again [at last] at the CORE Education office in Thornden, we started with Louise discussing the analysis process of our inquiries.

With this visual Louise demonstrated that we need to trust our gut feeling, but that we also have to follow this up with careful interpretation of our data.

Our accommodation on the Kapiti Coast was a slice of heaven . Quiet, with just the sound of the ocean that can be heard at times, it was the perfect venue to work on sorting and analysing the data we've had collected for our inquiries.  Discussions also kept coming back to our uLearn14 presentations in the research strand.  

On Thursday morning, after Louise did a bit of revision with us about the process of organising our data, we continued to work on sorting our data.  This whole process has became clearer in my mind.

Afterwards, we went to lunch where we were so relaxed and social, that John had to put on a timer, which only gave us a couple of minutes to be finished and back in the van to be on time for our visit to Amesbury Primary School, where I've also had the opportunity to meet Matt, one of my 'Tweeps'
This school visit was quite interesting and raised as many questions as answers for us, while challenging us at the same time.

Discussing the themes that emerged from our visit back at CORE's office, we did realise that we have become more critical as we now know, how to dig a bit deeper and to look past the surface.  We were also reminded by Karen that we have to be prepared to be provoked by things that we see or read or even by people we talk/listen to.

We've also discussed how we could contribute to Connected Educator month by sharing our journeys.

As we noticed people arriving, we realised that it was time for the potluck dinner.  It was great to meet Nathaniel, another 'Tweep'

Although it was hard to end our conversations at times, eFellows do have time to relax and have a bit of fun, as this photo shows on how +Anne-Louise and I were photo bombed by +Tim+Ben and +Rowan, while posing for a photo with CORE's stunning +Karen. What an amazing end to the day!

On our last day we woke up to a grey and rainy Kapiti Coast. 

At the CORE office +Chrissie Butler talked to us about Universal Design for Learning. I have heard about this before, but never actually got myself as far as looking into it.   

Chrissie used these images to illustrate that we have to rethink our approach to inclusivity as UDL is, after all, a framework that addresses learner diversity.

Universal Design for Learning:
Know the learners. Identify and remove barriers to learning. Provide multiple learning pathways. Offer a range of universal tools and supports to everyone at the outset. (Butler, 2014)
Further reading can be found on Chrissie's 'Passonable' blog

After lunch and a mind-boggling three days, we were really tired.  Louise did a great job in keeping us on track, while pulling together her last key message about analysing our data.

And then we were on our way home.

On my way to board the plane, I look out of the window to see the sun set on yet another fabulous eFellow14 Masterclass

See you all at uLearn14...

~ "Transformational leaders don't start by denying the world around them. Instead, they describe a future they'd like to create instead." - Seth Godin ~

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#eFellow14 Storify - Wellington

As #eFellows14, we experienced another three amazing days in Wellington. Here is a quick snap shot of our Master Class #3 and a little bit on what we were up to.

A detailed blog post will follow soon.

Storify by Anne-Louise:

~ "Experience all that there is for you and discover who you truly are. Be all that you were meant to be, will help you follow your dreams and transform them into reality" - Anonymous ~

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Virtual Learning Network: 5-day Challenge

I've decided to participate in the VLN 5-day challenge for a bit of fun and because I am not one to shy away from a challenge.

Our challenges were:

  • Day 1 - Update your profile page with more details about yourself. Add an image if need be.
  • Day 2 - Join two new groups of interest
  • Day 3 - Have you found, read and LIKED a post
  • Day 4 - Find two new friend, read their profile, click ADD friend and await their reply
  • Day 5 - Have you read and responded in a discussion thread of your choice?

What I liked about these challenges set by Tessa Gray?  It was "SMART" (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Time-bound).

After I eagerly awaited each challenge every morning, it then came as a big surprise that I won as the Ultimate 5 Day Challenge winner. Thank you Tessa & VLN!

"This short presentation gives a quick overview about how these activities can help us (as community members), to get the most our of this professional learning community." - Tessa Gray

~ "Let's put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children" - Anonymous ~

Monday, August 4, 2014

Learning together with Coding!

I want my students to code, I want to learn to code...

And as usual the question was: "How and where do I start"?
I therefore started looking for further information and found this interesting read. Getting involved in coding chats on Twitter, also helped.

Then [at Educamp Auckland] Lesley shared her coding slide in the 'Smackdown'... and I was intrigued.

I am now part of that G+ "Code Club for Teachers" and have completed my first Hour of Code.  I am looking forward to further coding challenges and to ongoing personal learning & development.

Last week I used 'Lightbot' to introduce my 5 year old students to coding. What an amazing experience for all. They really enjoyed the session and seeing the engagement and co-operation amongst peers, were priceless.

I am looking forward to having this learning journey continue alongside my students. I am certain that we will make lots of mistakes, but [most importantly] we will all learn together!

I have also participated in an #aussieED chat, where we had interesting discussions around coding.

~ "In fifteen years we'll be teaching programming just like reading and writing... and wonder why we didn't do it sooner" - Mark Zuckerberg~

Sunday, August 3, 2014

"WALT" or not?

What is the use of the WALT (We Are Learning To)?

The need to have this displayed or introduced before every lesson is very evident in some schools.  When I came across this picture in 2013, I just had to re-tweet it on Twitter.  I would have never imagined that (almost after a year I've posted it) my post would still attract some feedback!

What is your view on using the WALT?

~ "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us to new paths" - Walt Disney ~