Friday, December 22, 2017

Changing the Paradigm

I finished in my role as Learning Facilitor with Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru on 6 December 2017. I really cherish this time in which I have been privileged to be working alongside teachers to enable shifts in teacher practice. At times, teachers were reluctant about changes they had to make, but they were encourage to adopt 'a beginner's mindset'. 

At times the journey was unpredictable, but when meeting with teachers, I had been looking at the challenges they might experienced and how to overcome difficulties to enable change. What also impressed me was their willingness to seek feedback once they tried something new that I introduced in the learning environment. 

The outcome was one of great satisfaction, as shifts were made in practice and teachers were eager to move forward [even more] to support students in their learning journey.

~ "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams ~

Friday, December 15, 2017

End of Year - A Quick Reflection

With my 'Possibilities, Options and a Course of Action' post at the start of the year, I was looking forward to pursue the many things that was twirling around in my head...

Unfortunately, I did not always 'stand firm' mentally and emotionally when challenges arise, so my one word, prudent (adj) 'acting with or showing care and thought for the future' did not always come to fruition, as there were days I was not ready for some unexpected challenges / bumps in the road.

One of my biggest 'problems' was that I felt tired, tired and tired. I question myself constantly as to my lack in motivation to effectively use my PLN (Twitter, VLN, EduCampNZ) and colleagues to create productive working relationships by learning from others, asking questions to find out the thoughts of others and to reflect understanding. 

Many days, I felt like "Forget Everything and Run" rather than to "Face Everything and Rise." (the two meanings of F-E-A-R according to Zig Ziglar).

The following post on a closed group also made me wonder if this showed what teaching became for so many in 2017... yes there are other stories too... unfortunately.

Throughout my unexpected challenges, I think I stayed true to my students... one example:
Two of my ‘at risk’ Māori students (Student 2 and Student 3) experienced difficulty with oral language. 

I reflected on why this might be and came to the conclusion that the pronunciation of Māori vowels in relation to English is quite different, which could very well contribute to their specific areas of need. A ‘non-confident’ Māori student, can find this extremely difficult and result to them finding it hard to follow instructions, process information etc.
I planned deliberate activities that meet the needs of these learners, whilst also capitalising on spontaneous authentic learning opportunities that support oral language development. 
Steps was to:
- Locate, create and utilise a variety of activities/resources support sequencing development.
- Use Big Books and Cards, and use the planning support that accompanies these to develop oral language.
- Use guided reading lessons to continue modelling and promoting retelling of text with a focus on oral language.

Although Student 2 still requires some support, I am delighted with the overall progress - as this was a student who did not talk at all to start with.

Progress can be seen as shown in the end of year spreadsheet below. 
All the blue areas, were areas of concern. Now it is only the two green areas, which I am confident will be shifting further [as well] in the coming year.

One of the best parts of this year [for me] was working in classes alongside teachers and ākonga to develop capability in pedagogy (teaching and learning) and the use of technology as a tool to support learning in my role as 0.2 learning Facilitator with Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru. Part of our (my) role was to working through and with the wider community to enable ubiquity (every where, anytime) of learning, honouring an authentic Rotorua and Arawa context, foster collaboration for learning across Rotorua (I have a G+ community for junior school teachers where we share resources / ideas) and to build knowledge about Future Focused Learning. I have been working with teachers and school leaders (I engaged regularly with principals about growth in teacher adaptive confidence and professional development) by embedding effective future focused teaching, using learning technologies to build learner competencies. 

End of Year Highlight:
Received a choc bar with this lovely message from a student! #EndOfYear #FeelingBlessed

~ "Ships don't sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don't let what's happening around you get inside you and weigh you down... stay up." - Unknown ~

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Constant Improvement

Our school had been very fortunate to secure Anne from CORE Eduaction and CLA as facilitator for our PD this year. One focus was on parent engagement... This has been something that I have been talking about in one of my past Inquiries... How can we get parents ENGAGED in their child's learning? Many people think that attending sports events means that parents are engaged, however; parents are here only 'involved' in what is happening at a school... therefore the importance of getting them engaged... in students' learning, especially class and individual student blogs as an ePortfolio is crucial.

A good starting point for us as a staff was to look at the elements of a positive learning environment for us individually. This also help us to understand each other a bit better (I think)...

Anne lead a session with parents around the eLearning Planning Framework. Feedback from parents and teachers both were very valuable...

As teachers, we also brainstormed our ideas...

Closer to the end of our PD, we went back to a Padlet we started at the beginning of the year and revisited our ideas...

So where to next for us at this stage?

Exciting times ahead...

~ "Excellent schools don't believe in excellence - only in constant improvement and constant change." - Dan McCabe ~