Friday, 11 December 2015

Reflecting on the Teacher's Criteria!

Reflecting on the Teacher's Criteria!

The importance of reflection is evident when going through the teachers criteria. I am able to see what I am doing well, and I am also able to see what I need to work on.

There is also some satisfaction with seeing how much work I have done over the year!

Definitely an important thing to do, EVERY year!

Here is a link to my Teachers Criteria Table with links to examples from my teaching!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Teaching Piano!

I love the randomness of teaching. EOTC week at Tamaki Primary, and I am surrounded by 20 Year 8 students who are having a sleepover at school! During this time, I had the privillage of teaching two students how to play a simple duet on the piano - so much fun, and the incredible JOY it brought to the students - one of my favourite 2015 moments :>

Starr n Maasi Piano @ EOTC from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

i-Pads in the Juniors!

I am so enjoying learning about how to use explain everything in the junior school. 

Going into Room 2 yesterday, I caught these pictures of students doing maths games in their classroom. Was so exciting to see them enthused about their maths, and so independent when using their i-Pads. 

Can't wait for more ako learning from our Kia Kaha team!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

iPad PD (@ Stonefields)

Today I learned how to use Explain Everything and iMovie to make a movie!

I can't believe how simple it was!

Definitely something I am going to use in Reading Recovery, or even for Art! - What a cool way to share your learning with a wider audience!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Art Technology - Mandala Madness!

There is nothing I love doing more than getting stuck into a new technology subject - and this term it is no different!

I have been fascinated by Mandala art - it is found simply everywhere! From the middle of kiwifruit, to shells and ferns, from flowers to mazes and labyrinths... Mandala patterns are everywhere. Sharing this with my students today, I could see this 'wonder' pass to them. Already this afternoon I have had some students come up to me - "Miss there was a Mandala pattern in my tomato sandwich!"

I can't wait to see what else is inspired this term :>

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Keep Calm??

What to do when a child is yo-yo'ing between levels in reading? There cannot be anything more frustrating that giving specific, targeted teaching, and then listening to a child struggle through a text that they SHOULD be able to read (or was even able to read fluently the day before!). One such child was in my office today. We struggled through - 'Dogs', a book he chose and devoured on Tuesday, but today? Robotic, stilted reading. Coming up to words and making something up - it didn't make sense, it didn't use the same letters, or even look the same! "Some dogs are socks (instead of big)."

Sigh. There is a real frustration in this. As teachers we are appraised on our ability to do our job well, and to get results. This child has moved from level 5 to 6 then back to 5, then 6 (etc) for the past two school weeks. I have sent home word lists, we have made memory games, we have read mountains of books and practiced writing our basic sight words on the concrete...

Oh well. Tomorrow it is back to level 5 again. I have talked over possible ideas of what to do at home with both his brother and caregiver... I guess time will tell... In the meantime...

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Home - Actively watching? Passively listening?

Oh, that shock of getting ready for the first day back to school for the term! To kick start our solar system inquiry, we are going to be watching the movie 'Home'. I wondered if there needed to be something a little extra that we add to this activity, as it is so easy for even adults to switch off while we are watching something and forget we are meant to be 'actively' watching, rather than passively listening... Thus the crossword activity. However, again, how do you create a digital version of a crossword for a movie that you haven't even seen!! We are so lucky to live in the digital age - finding the synopsis (with spoilers!), creating a key word list, then writing clues... 4 hours later we have a crossword ready for our back to school students!

Now, just wish us luck for getting through the first week!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Busta and Pong - Two Years Later!

Tamaki's Busta from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

The moment learning takes off! In 2013 Room 5 and Room 3 (our buddy class) made this movie about recycling! We found the music on youtube and made our own movie emphasising the important lyrics.

A week later, after posting it on our individual blogs, we received an email from England, from the writers of the song -  asking if they could post our movie onto their website - how exciting for our class!

Fast forward two years.... I am sitting in Room 9 with a new set of students who are all very excitedly watching this same movie on Vimeo. I had no idea that they had learned the song through our movie and even our **amazing** dance moves!

Inspiration breeds inspiration :>

Monday, 21 September 2015

What A Beautiful School

'There is room for a lot of growth, and I'm proud to be a part of that.'
-Michael Ward

Whenever you have a large space to be filled, such as a school with many blank walls, there is a quiet pressure to get "stuff" up! The balance is to put up work that is both inviting and beautiful to look at, but is also tangible authentic evidence of children's learning.

I've enjoyed creating some different displays this year when I am lucky enough to work with a class, or a group of students that are enthusiastic. Here are some recent examples:

Welcome sign - reminders for parents (created by Art Club children)

Tamaki is... (created by Art Technology Group, T2, 2015)

Welcome to the Library! (Created by Whole School throughout 2014)

Welcome to the Library! (Created by Whole School throughout 2014)

Welcome to the Library! (Created by Whole School throughout 2014)

Before and After - Production Backdrops

'Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.'

Pablo Picasso

What a crazy couple of weeks! Below is the vision we had...

 ... and here is what it ended up as!

There are moments in a teaching career where you feel quietly satisfied. The canvas on the left was created by year 5 and 6 students. The one on the right by three year 7 girls.
The canvas in the middle was created by a group of students in the sun in a two hour block. 

What an honour to be part of this! Can't wait for the production on Thursday!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Moments of Pride

'Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.'
-Rabindranath Tagore

Is there anything better as a teacher than watching a child take incredible pride in their work? One of my students completed this piece of art in Art Tech today. She has had 2 hours less than the other children, and has been chomping at the bit to get into some of her own ideas rather than the scaffolded teaching for the last 5 weeks. Today I watched her find this piece of inspiration on her netbook, sit for 5 minutes as she figured out the steps she would need to take to create it, then go for it! She even took my advice and made a couple of changes to make it unique to herself, rather than a direct copy of another artist.

So. Proud.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Collaborative Intervention

'Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.'
-Helen Keller

Reading Recovery means teaching for 30 minutes per students. When you have 2 hours to zoom through 4 students, it is incredibly hard to get it all done, and done well! Thank goodness for amazing colleagues, who not only help you through the murkiness that IS teaching Reading Recovery, but also helping me figure out tight timing vs quality teaching...

The jury is still out on whether I will actually achieve this EVER on my own!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Dr Seuss books - what a lifesaver!

'The more you read, the more you know...'
-Dr Seuss

Relieving in a class today... Children finished their set work... where to next?

Dr Seuss books - what a lifesaver! Working with the small group of children, we used some of Blooms Taxonomy words to create a reading activity for them. Onset and rhyme came up quickly (of course!) but so did favourite parts, favourite characters, boring parts... It was fascinating to see what they came up with !

Manaiakalani Movie Time

'Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.'

Its Manaiakalani time in Panmure! Teachers and students discussing storyboards, props, strategies, camera angles... Brought back memories of this stunner - written solely by year 9-10 students. 'You are Special', by Max Lucado was their favourite book of 2013, and they turned it into a movie. 

Re-watching it brought tears - there is nothing more beautiful than softhearted children enjoying sharing the story of kindness.

TPS Room 5 - You Are Special from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Making Connections

'Everbody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life beieving that it is stupid.'
-Albert Einstein

Today I have had the privilege of being in Room 9. We have discussed koi fish and their origins, we have explored the ideas behind Albert Einstein's quote (below) and we have been out for basketball! Imagine our surprise when our coach turned out to be Coach Adrian - from the Philippines! As soon as this connection was made their were Tagalog (filipino) phrases being thrown in with English - "sumalo"(catch) and "pumasa"(pass). The kids were fascinated with being able to share how the tagalog words sounded like words from their own language. As we left we called "Salamat" (thank you) and Coach Adrian called back "Walang Anuman" (that's okay). Marwa was very excited to realise "Salamat" in tagalog was so similar to "Salam" (Hi) in her language.

Love these days of making connections!

Cha Cha!

CLIP0008 from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

Looking back in the Vimeo file, I found this gem. I remember the process of trying to teach the kids to 'get over' holding hands with a member of the opposite sex, I remember cutting out circle skirt fabrics 'til very early in the morning, and helping my mother sew, I remember looking through my wedding box and finding the bow-ties that my students wore then... What a lot of organising...and yet! I am so filled with pride watching this group of students perform again, and re-live the memories of such a good night. And then to watch the seniors transfer these skills to their end of year disco where they cha-cha'ed with each other then... so precious :>

I am seriously proud to be part of a school that allows their teachers to try something a little different :>

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Pancake Carnage

Making Pancakes 2015 from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

Oh how things have changed. I sit around the table on family night and hear my grandad complain about how the 'young ones these days' (meaning my generation) 'have no respect for their elders', and I roll my eyes at my brothers and we think it is a huge joke. Yet, at work I find myself thinking EXACTLY the same way constantly! Whether it is the child who doesn't respect the reliever, or the 5 year old child who practices their graffiti tag in chalk on the wall.

Today however took me a little by surprise. While making pancakes this morning I was informed that they were not right... in fact they were apparently "yucky!!"Was it the ingredients? No! Was it that way that they were cooked? No. It was, as asked by Chance - "Where is the golden syrup?"

'In my day' (I can't believe I am saying this) making pancakes at school would have been so much fun! Where is the golden syrup? WHERE IS THE GOLDEN SYRUP?? Oh how times have changed!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

i-Pads?? Help!

P.D Notes!

Such a reminder of where I was pre-Tamaki Primary days! Today I went to an i-Pad training day, representing our junior team of teachers (who actually know how to USE an i-Pad!) and sat completely overwhelmed through the whole training!

Site creation? Easy!

Blogs? Piece of cake!

A class of 30 children on 1-1 devices? No sweat!

i-Pads .... I am running for the hills!

Thank goodness for a team of teachers around me, who actually know what they are doing! At least I had learned how to turn on an i-Pad before I went!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Changing our Competencies?

The idea was brought forward that we should change our "TRUMP' acronym for our key competencies to something else... (in light of what is going on with a particular figure in he spotlight...)

Here's an idea...

Relating to others
Understanding signs and symbols
Managing Self


Our TAMAKI Competencies!

Achieving our Best
Managing Self
Associating positively with others
Keen to participate
Interpreting signs and symbols

What a Hoot!

'Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. '
-Roger Lewin

Milkshake Madness! from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

Today I had just a fabulous time with Room 6 - creating milkshakes as a reward for their amazing behaviour over the last two terms! Being their PRT release teacher, I have the pleasure of teaching them one day a week, split into three blocks over the week. Bit by bit, they have been building their points up until they had enough to choose a prize! As I have taught most of these students at one point or another in the last three years, I wasn't surprised that they chose to make milkshakes - definitely an all time favourite of my past classes.

The fun for me came with the challenge of how to adapt this activity to challenge the critical thinking of students - some of whom I have taught for 2+ years. Because I love an enquiring mind I decided to incorporate higher critical thinking skills.

These skills we have all taught at Tamaki, but I have found that some of our students, a huge majority ESOL, have found it hard to understand the actual MEANING behind some of the words, and to be honest, I was surprised what a great activity this was to teach them!

First the class split into four groups and chose a work area that I had set up. I then gave them three objectives - using critical language, encouraging each other and challenging themselves to do better. They then brainstormed their milkshakes after looking at their ingredient table. They were only allowed to use 5 ingredients in total. Once giving this a try by making small testers for each of their groups, they then adapted their recipe depending on a group discussion. And what discussion it was! I couldn't believe the vocabulary coming from the groups! Check out the movie to see what critical thinking language they used and the amazing concoctions they came up with.

What a fabulous afternoon :>

Friday, 24 July 2015

Keeping Up!

This feels incredibly accurate for me right now! I come home at the end of the day and my husband asks me, "How was your day? What did you get up to?" I'm sure I am not alone as a teacher wondering how on earth do we answer this question?! 

For example, today I took 6 running records, worked one-to-one with 4 year 2 children with their writing, marked 24 writing books, created then printed then laminated then cut out then attached labels for an entire maths, reading, writing and stationery area in a new classroom, planned a weeks worth of maths activities, replied to emails........ and taught! Was I successful? I'm not sure. Yes, lots got done, but sometimes I feel like our job is like the above image - trying to unscramble a ball of tangled wool! You come away from the day a little stunned, a lot tired and with even more on your 'to do' list.

In true reflection, I sometimes wonder if the job is being done as well as it was when I started teaching ten years ago, and spent more time teaching and less time on assessment and paperwork.

Hmmmm. Food for thought. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Giving 100%

'Wherever you are, be all there.'
-Jim Elliot

It is interesting about how 'life' both enhancing our teaching, and takes away from our teaching. I have been fascinated to look back on term two of this year in the tenth year of my teaching career, and see the ebb and flow of how my personal life has affected my professional one. On one hand, it can be hard in the midst of reality to remember that a job is simply just a job, but on the other hand when is teaching ever just a profession? Surely it must be one of the jobs that you are either born to do, or not - simply due to the nature of needing to give 100% constantly in order for it to be successful. Sometimes I feel like I am doing this beautifully, other times, failing spectacularly!

Let the roller coaster of teaching continue!

Link to article
(Please forgive the American dates!)

Friday, 3 July 2015

Pink Day - Stop Bullying!

"Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves"
-William Hazlitt

What a great day, watching the whole of Tamaki Primary get behind the ideals of 'Pink Shirt Day'.  An amazing assembly run by student leaders in our school meant the whole school had a chance to get involved and support each other.

At lunchtime, I had over 40 children come up to me with their 'compliment' sentences. Even though it was a simple exercise, I cannot begin to share how 'warm and fuzzy' I felt when each child read off a pre-written compliment. - My favourite? "I think you are as much fun as rolling in bubble wrap."

I am hoping that I can remember to continue this - let the compliments begin!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Using Blooms Taxonomy to bring Higher Order Thinking to Mathematics

'Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. '
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a great idea we had from Sue Pine in our staff meeting today! Using Blooms Taxonomy to bring a deeper level of questioning to mathematics teaching is a fabulous tool to developing critical thinking. 

  1. Memory: The student recalls or memorises information
  2. Translation: The student changes information into a different symbolic form or language. 
  3. Interpretation: The student discovers relationships among facts, generalisations, definitions, values and skills.
  4. Application: The student solves a life-like problem that requires identification of the issue and selection and use of appropriate generalisations and skills.
  5. Analysis: The student solves a problem in the light of conscious knowledge of the parts of the form of thinking.
  6. Synthesising: The student solves a problem that requires original, creative thinking
  7. Evaluation: The student makes a judgement of good or bad, right or wrong, according to the standards he values.
(Taken from worksheet given at meeting, written by Jenni Way)

  When thinking along these lines, constructing questions for mathematical challenges seems very clear - life-like problems, identifying the issue, selecting appropriate strategies,  finding patterns and relationships, identifying mathematical language, evaluating one's answer.

What a useful resource to help with encouraging critical thinking. 

A Good Reminder

"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude."
-Ralph Maston

This week has been a good reminder of the importance of a strong foundation in teaching in the early years of education. 

A child with less than 10 recognised words, less than 5 words he can write, and unable to use almost any cues to decipher unknown words is reminding me to remember the value of attitude. 

His enthusiasm towards his learning, his enthusiasm towards new facts and new words, and his enthusiasm towards new experiences is infectious. 

May we all learn from him the value of attitude when learning!

Lino's Car!

Here is the beautiful Lino. During Reading Recovery, he created a movie reading his book. We changed the words to make it - 'Lino's Blue Car."


Lino's Car from Tamaki Primary on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Art Technology - Term 2, 2015

"The practice of Art isn't to make a living. It's to make your soul grow.'
-Kurt Vonnegut

It has been so exciting working on my Art site. I am thinking of adapting it to make it more of a general technology site. Going back over past pictures reminds me of the passion it took to teach art all day! Talk about the cleaning... whew!

The art group I am working with at the moment are doing 'doodle art'. It has been so exciting to watch this particular group blossom as their skills grow. They happily sit for almost 1 1/2 hours and simply doodle. Even children who are often in trouble for their behaviour bring images that have inspired them to their art lessons to practice. It is so exciting to watch their interests take root and fly!

Such an inspirational group of children!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Watching Children Succeed!

"A child is an uncut diamond.'
-Oscar O'Malley

Today I read with a beautiful student who has been struggling with his reading for the first 2 years of his schooling. With a bit of one-to-one help, he has now skyrocketed! I feel super privileged to help him along his way, but this still serves as a reminder of taking our time with students to see how they learn, and then using this knowledge to teach them more! 

Learning through their strengths, not weaknesses. 

That Awkward Moment...

"I alone can't change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
-Mother Theresa

I love those awkward moments where you realise that you haven't blogged in over a year! Time to get back on it!

At the moment I am in the middle of Reading Recovery training. It is my first time teaching Reading Recovery, and is also the first time in 8 years that I have worked with juniors again. It is so easy as a senior teacher to forget just how much foundation needs to be built at this earlier stage in order for the children to have steady progress throughout their schooling. With our school being so digitally focused, most of our students only have their 'junior' years to be working with the traditional 'pencil to paper. ' And yet what in important skill this is.

I continue to be inspired by my Reading Recovery students. The huge progress they make in a small length of time astonishes me! But best of all must be those 'a-ha!' moments when they learn to decipher a word without the help of a teacher.