Wednesday, January 31, 2018


I've always believe in creating a positive learning environment for my students and where they feel that they are excepted. It is also important to establish a strong learning environment where students can experience success.

Dalton and Smith (1986) believe it is important to 'organise materials systematically so that the students have easy access to them.' It also states that for students to 'function independently they need to know what resources are available, where they are housed and how to collect, use and return.'
Therefore, Room 4 got a complete overhaul, with a variety of learning opportunities, lots of little corners for students to work at and to use resources (easily displayed) when necessary and if they so choose.

Dalton and Smith (1986) believe it is important to 'encourage children to learn with different people, for example by themselves, with a partner, in a small group, with older and younger children or with adults.' We will [again] have learning buddies (not set) in our learning environment and engage with the older students in the school via buddy reading.

Cultural awareness is important as students come from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures. I believe my learning environment should embrace the diversity and uniqueness of all learners to enable them to be confident in their identity, language, culture and abilities. I will use and develop the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in our learning environment and will be responsive to Māori celebrations (Matariki / Māori Language Week). Karakia plays an important part in my daily programme, as is the participation in a weekly Kapa Haka session.

McGee and Fraser (2008) said that 'caring and a sense of community are related to feelings of belonging in the classroom, and students' motivation, achievement and efficacy beliefs are enhanced when the feel they belong'.

Having a positive classroom community also creates a sense of self worth and belonging which will help to develop a 'team work attitude'. Students were learning to use the Virtues of 'Respect' and 'Co-operation' on the first day...!

Dalton, J., & Smith, D. (1986). Extending Children's Special Abilities - Strategies for primary classrooms. Victoria, Australia: Ministry of Education Victoria.

McGee, C., & Fraser, D. (2008). The Professional Practice of Teaching. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.

~ "Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere" - Chinese Proverb ~

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

School Virtues and the Key Competencies

As a staff we looked into prioritising the daily use of our 20 school Virtues in a natural and meaningful / contextual way. Therefore we decided to 'unpack' the Key Competencies and linking them with our school Virtues.

In past years we have been weaving the Key Competencies and Virtues into the planning of learning experiences, but now we are reflecting on how we could / would make this work better for our students and how this could help them with their reflections on learning outcomes.

As stated "The key competencies element of The New Zealand Curriculum brings with it exciting possibilities for making students’ experience of learning more relevant, engaging, meaningful, and useful. Key competencies-rich programmes will enable students to be confident, connected, actively involved learners in the present and in the future. They will encourage lifelong learners who are equipped to participate in rapidly changing local, national, and global communities." (NZ Curriculum Online, 2014)

Why do key competencies matter?
Constant change in the nature of work and technologies means that learning is a life long pursuit and students should be taught to think, to work collaboratively, to be creative and to discover. The key competencies support this and brings with them a future-focused outlook to teaching and learning, where students are at the centre.

Some things to ponder...
- Skills required 'today' is not being taught in today's schools
- Think about how many students might finish school without knowing their potential...

NZ Curriculum Online (2014). TKI - Culture / Leadership and the key competencies

~ 'Thinking': "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thingking we used when we created them" - Albert Einstein ~
~ 'Participating and Contributing': "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." - Helen Keller ~
~ 'Relating to Others': "Always put yourself in the other's shoes. If you feel it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too." - Rachel Grady ~
~ 'Understanding Language, Symbols and Texts': "The more you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn the more places you'll go." - Dr Seuss ~
~ 'Managing Self': "The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life." - Hal Elrod ~

Monday, January 29, 2018

'Teaching in the Rain"

"Learn and grow from the drizzle, surround yourself with a support system to help you through the downpour, and remember that there is beauty to be found once the rain has passed." -  Chuck Poole

Listen to the Podcast: Teaching in the Rain

Monday, January 22, 2018

Walking on a tightrope

  1. Get-up-and-Go (be determined and full of energy) 
  2. Stop and celebrate [even little] Successes 
  3. Look after myself (no school work after 6.00 pm)
  4. Continue DOing [something] despite difficulties (stick-to-it-iveness) 
  5. Do what I believe to be best for ALL my students as they are my number one priority 
  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 
  7. Blog more regularly
I will DO more of what I like to regain my energy and to be successful.

For me, 2018 would be like walking on a tightrope... balancing and keeping my eyes to a fixed and un-moving point at the far end of the wire, not to say that I won't take my eyes of that point... but if I do loose my 'balance/focus' for any reason whatsoever, I will return my vision to 'that point/my goal' to regain my balance. And if I get tired walking on the rope, I will stop and take a minute to catch my breath again. If I fall, I will pick myself up and although falling hurts, I will remember that 'the show must go on' and the only thing that I can do to get myself back on the tightrope is to get focused on that point and continue on.

The un-moving point will be my DO 'one word' and if I persevere, not give up and hang in there, I will accomplish the almost impossible this year...

~ "Critics risk nothing. It's the creators who must face the vulnerability of failure with the possibility of success." - Justin Dillon ~