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." ~