Mooncake 月饼 Yuèbǐng

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Next week we celebrate Chinese Language week. My school continues to experience much change over the last ten years, particularly in the demographic makeup of the school. Our total Asian group has increased in the last decade from 43% in 2007 to currently 68%.  At present our biggest ethnic group is Chinese children who make up 26% of our school role and that number has nearly doubled in 10 years.  So particularly for them we celebrate Chinese Language week and this gives us the opportunity to find out more about our children, about their language and to learn something about their culture. 

This year Monday 24th of September is the celebration of the Moon Festival. Chinese tradition celebrates the moon festival as the culmination of harvest. This is when the moon is the brightest in the sky. The day is celebrated with family coming together and much preparation is undertaken with the food delicacies prepared. One of these is moon cakes or 月饼.  Making moon cakes is to do with the story of Houyi and Chang’e and story goes that moon cakes were one of Chang’e favourite delicacies.

I usually retell the following story of their love.


The story of Houyi and Chang’e.

Legends are like the shifting sands of a desert.

This legend is no different, and there are many versions. But this legend is special because it is retold by Newmarket School.

The Jade Emperor was ruler of Heaven. He had ten naughty sons. One day, they changed themselves into ten suns.

They burnt the earth from high up in the heavens. Unable to stop them being naughty, the Jade Emperor called for Houyi.

He was an archer known for being a straight arrow shooter. The emperor told Houyi to teach his sons a lesson.

Houyi, was a half god and was very strong. He came to Earth and saw its suffering with his own eyes. Everything was burnt and there was not much life, and the people were in pain. Houyi was angry.

So he acted. He took 9 arrows  from his bag and aimed at the hot suns. First one fell down, then another. In the end, nine of the Jade Emperor’s sons were dead. Houyi left only one sun alive, to give the earth light and warmth.

When he heard the news the Jade Emperor was furious.

He sent Haouyi and his wife Chang’e from Heaven.

The emperor took away all their powers. They were now forced to live on Earth like ordinary people.

The pair found human life hard. Houyi had a single wish. He wanted to return to heaven with his beloved wife. She did not need to suffer.

Fortunately, Houyi remembered that the immortal Old Mother of the West, who lived on Earth. She had a rare supply of medicine that could let them live forever. The hopeful archer left to find her. He reached her palace and met the Old mother.

When the Old Mother of the West heard the story, she gave Houyi two things. One was the medicine and the other was a warning. She told Houyi to share the medicine with his wife. Drinking half the medicine will let him live. The entire medicine will let him live forever and send him to the heavens. Houyi thanked the old mother.

When Houyi returned home to his wife Chang’e, she was very happy.

While her husband rested from his journey, Chang e could not resist looking at the medicine that he had brought back. She really wanted it and so she drank up all the medicine.

Before long, she felt her body grow sleepy, and she began to float into the sky against her will.

Because the jade emperor had banished her, she could no longer return to heaven. Earth was now beyond her grasp as well. With nowhere else to go, Chang’e drifted to the lonely Moon.  

She coughed and there was a little bit of medicine left. It changed into a rabbit.

She spent the rest of her days in the lonely moon palace with the white rabbit. She cried for her husband Houyi.

But he was had to live the rest of his days on Earth as a man. Chang e looked down on Earth and could see her husband with lots of delicious food waiting for her.

Now each full moon you can see Chang’e with her rabbit against a blossom tree calling out to her husband on Earth and hoping he is still waiting with a feast for her return.


This year some of our fundraising leaders asked if they could make moon cakes and I agreed to help. So I thought I would share our recipe with you.  Our recipe has the sweet red bean paste filling  红豆沙.

How to make Moon Cakes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 50 mls of Peanut Oil or vegetable oil.
  • 1 tsp of Alkaline water (I cup of water with 1 tsp of baking soda added.)
  • 140 grams of golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 200 grams of flour
  • Extra flour for kneading and to stop mixture sticking.
  • 500 gram packet of sweet red bean paste 红豆沙
  • 1x egg

Method

  1. Microwave Golden syrup until slightly runny. EG: 30 sec High
  2. Mix golden syrup with alkaline water and vanilla essence, mix well using a spatula.
  3. Add the oil and mix well.
  4. Make a well in 200 grams of flour in a large bowl.
  5. Pour in Golden syrup mixture and mix well (Mixture should look wet and sticky.
  6. Cover mixture with plastic glad wrap, leave for 3 hours or more.
  7. Knead the mixture until it is smooth and shiny.
  8. Divide the mixture into 4 even pieces.
  9. Then divide them into 4 smaller balls, about about 25 grams each.
  10. Roll them into balls and set aside on a piece of greaseproof paper.
  11. Roll the red bean paste into 35 gram balls ( A little bit thick and sticky).
  12. Flatten the brown balls so they are nice and thin. As you work the ball the oil is warmed by your hands and you can do this easily.
  13. Place a red bean ball mixture inside and pull up so that the red bean ball is covered with the flour and golden syrup mixture. Set these aside.
  14. Continue with the rest of the mixture until you have 16 balls.
  15. Use a traditional mould, and brush on a little flour.
  16. Then press the mixture into the mould.
  17. Use your palm to gently flatten the top.
  18. Tap the mould against the table and the uncooked moon cake will pop straight out.
  19. Place on a baking tray.
  20. When they are all done, spray water over the cakes.
  21. Bake at 150C for 10 minutes.
  22. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  23. Brush on beaten egg and put back into the oven for 15 minutes.
  24. Take out, cool.
  25. They can be eaten immediately or put in a tin for a few days.

Time

  • I made the pastry skin mixture the night before. The next day it took us nearly 1 hour to craft the moon cakes. If you measure the balls well there should be very little left over.

The murmurings of an across school leader.

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Starling Murmation By Kate Taussig taken in Nelson

“There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom’, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” Paulo Freire

 

Background

Several years ago, I began blogging and in my earlier writing days I wrote a piece about learning and used Mangroves and how they adapt and evolve depending on what is happening within their growing environment to make a comparison about learning Several years later I wrote about Distributive Leadership and used flying geese as an analogy for leadership. Earlier last year I joined a global webinar and spoke about the learning and networking I do as a Global Educator.  Then I worked with other Across School Leaders in different Kāhui Ako as I ran a webinar for #INZpirED.

More recently I shared about learning at a local school and spoke about networked leadership and again compared this to Mangroves.

 

This week I reread the article on “Discussion Leadership for Communities of Learning” and thought about starlings when they murmur or fish when they shoal and believe that this is how Across School Leaders look like as Networked Leaders. When I began in the role two years ago, I felt like the starlings moving as a murmur with little understanding of direction but instinctively knew that this was the future of leadership. If you watch videos of murmurs you will understand what I mean. If you are new or not so new to the role, you will also understand what I mean. The discussion article referenced “Five Think Pieces” and after rereading this second article I thought I would unpack my understanding of what leadership looks like as an Across School Leader.

So below is what I have written and if you have any feedback, ideas or suggestions I would love to open up discussion via twitter and use the hashtag #EdBlogNZ.

 

Definition of an Across School Leader

An Across School Leader (ASL) is an educational leader and is different from leadership in schools because their focus is to operate as a networked leader within a Kāhui Ako.  Therefore an ASL is also part of the wider community of Kāhui Ako so they are a part of Government’s Investing in Educational Success initiative.

 

They have different facets to their role description. The primary focus of ASL leadership within Kāhui Ako focuses on actions that will shape the culture of learning more powerfully and develop the professional capital of teachers as a group.

An important ASL skill is awareness. Awareness that they are part of a larger networked system and so they seek ways  for the collaborative development of their leadership. An ASL identifies conditions required to enable them to work with each other, across sectors and with related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development. They identify responsibilities that they  have to the Kāhui Ako beyond their own schools and own school leaders. An ASL helps provides access to people, information, and resources. They develop and use networks in ways that builds relationships and strengthens alliances in service of Kāhui Ako work and goals.

 

Systems

An ASL has confidence in their own knowledge and strengths. They have identified gaps in what they know and have the skills to network with others who can support the work they do. They have an understanding of complex adaptive systems because they know they are system leaders and it is important for them to identify what those systems are in order to strengthen their work. Complex adaptive system opens up new ways to work, with ideas advocated in complexity theory which is the study of complex and chaotic systems and how order, pattern, and structure can arise from them.

An ASL helps establish the systems and structure on how the Kāhui Ako will report and track on student and process outcomes each year. Some of these include transparency of record keeping and communication. ASLs work transparently because the more public they are, the more order develops in their work, the more easier they are found, the more opportunities come up for networked learning. Another part of their work is about being data informed and learning from failure. Knowing and working with data helps the ASL identify patterns in learning and track how successful the Kāhui Ako is towards their goals.

 

Coaching

An ASL understands that they are partners in leadership and learning and that they are partners in the Treaty of Waitangi. Therefore as leaders they work in learning partnerships and in collegial team coaching groups with a focus on learning and development.  They are project leaders and can network relationships across developments within and across Kāhui Ako. They are coaching leaders and understand about changing their own practice in order to coach others to do the same.

The ASL operates within the networked paradigm, promoting high levels of collaborative inquiry and activity, activated by strong mentoring and coaching relationships.

 

Community

An ASL needs to be aware of community learning needs in order to target a particular type of learning that is not yet already available. They lead project initiatives within the Kāhui Ako and foster community relationships. Their role is critical for achieving the standards of education leaders in education. Their leadership is inclusive, strategic, and above all collaborative. ASLs are distinguished by not just being leaders for the schools that they work in but also be part of the wider network of community leaders and have a clear obligation to the Kāhui Ako community. Their focus is on the development of a leadership community of practice, and to advocate for the kind of professional learning required by network leaders. At the same time success as an ASL requires individualised commitment to their own Kāhui Ako goal.

 

Networked Leaders

Overall  Across School Leaders must operate as Networked Leaders. They look for ways to maximise interaction between themselves, the In School Leaders that they work with and the senior leadership teams of the schools they work with and their community. In addition they go beyond themselves and cross sectors and identify related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development.

 

ASL must develop their own leadership in order to be effective in terms of developing professional leadership and any form of leadership development programme should operate within the network. They must develop their knowledge of social media in order to tap into Kāhui Ako regionally and nationally and to connect with other learning communities globally to learn with and from them. They seek opportunities to share learning and regularly reflect in a transparent way. Some of these ways these can be via social media, through blogging and presenting. They hear all voices in their community and actively seek ways to create dialogue. They keep transforming and know that they are evolving and changing with the needs of the communities that they work with. The work they do is based on changing their own practice and to develop networked system leaders for New Zealand schools.

 

To finish with I believe that to be a successful ASL I must move from making connections, to collaborating, to coconstructing, to copresenting, to coreflecting.

Reference:

Education Council (Ed.). (2015, November 17). Leadership for Communities of Learning. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Discussion paper_leadership_web.pdf

Bendikson, L., Robertson, J., Dr, Wenmoth, D., Durie, M., & Gilbert, J. (2015, November 17). Five Think pieces. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Five Think pieces.pdf

Reruns and the chance to give a shout out to some tweeps.

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On Thursday I sat in a Cafe in Mount Eden waiting for a meeting with colleagues. I had caught the bus in from home. Once seated found out that there was no WIFI.

Shock and horror, now what. So I drafted this post using old school as in used a Word document and no I did not use a pen. The quiet time gave me a chance to reflect on the year and so I thought I would write this post like a rerun we might watch on Netflix.

This year has so far been an interesting year. I have been quite sick health wise. Last year I picked up a cough which is just sitting there.

Those of you who follow me know I had a wake up call from my doctor and spent a good part of this year redeveloping my fitness level.  I am getting there. Using my  Fitbit I have continued to track my steps and have managed to increase this to 12,000 per day.  I am consciously monitoring my screen time so you might not see me as ‘busy’ digitally as you have in the past. I have been consciously trying to eat clean. (Except for cheese.)

My writing has taken a bit of a back seat too so my blog is like my garden. The weeds are visible and the order is not quite as strong as it should be. However this year I believe I am getting better at being the the wind under our teachers with encouragement. With our ACCoS teachers I have been there encouraging them to make what we do visible. This year I can definitely see the work being shared both via our ACCoS Blog and via the Community of Learners Facebook Group.

So this post is to highlight some awesome teachers that I work with. I include their twitter handles so do follow them. 

From Newmarket School we had two teachers present at the Google Apps for Education conference. I give them both a shout out here so follow them on twitter. @MissSMorrison1 @MrsEReihana

Most of our teachers have completed their Mindlab Digital passport for the new Digital Curriculum that is being introduced to schools. I give a shout out here for @KishanMani2 as he has taken on board the role of leading the DC|MH at our school. With his gentle persuasion, most of our teachers completed their online learning and were able to show him their certificates. A shoutout here too for our Senior Leadership team who were interviewed by Mindlab. They were the first teachers to complete their Digital Passport from our school. @newmarketschool @ginnynz01.

Teachers who use Seesaw at Newmarket School have all achieved their Ambassadors Badge. I am really proud of then for that because it means they can problem solve any difficulties they face using Seesaw. @MissSMorrison1 @MrsEReihana @Nikki_From_NZ @JamiesonVeni @Reubinai @rushikanz @newmarketschool and @ginnynz01.

Some of our teachers have passed their Hapara Champion Certificate. I give a shout out here to @newmarketschool and @ginnynz01 our senior leadership team who took on the challenge to achieve theirs as soon as I put out the first call from Hapara for teachers to do the online course.

Earlier this year I visited Samoa for a family funeral and had the chance to catch up with extended family and meet the next generation. Another wake up call to be one of the ‘aunties’ now. Aunties as in I am now the older generation. You can read my journey here.

Coaching wise I have had a coach in a young teacher and have thoroughly enjoyed the discussions and the way she can nail me for accountability. I have enjoyed relearning how to phrase statements from her so that the onus is on me to problem solve.  I give her a shout out here so do follow her on twitter. @Nikki_From_NZ. Alongside here is @w0rdsbyshay. Just popping him in because he achieved quite a few likes with his support tweet for her.

I have been mentoring another teacher to take on the role of ESOL funding application and how to use the data as part of the process so a shout out here to @JamiesonVeni

This year I have been leading the Mathematics/Pangarau initiative for the Auckland Central Community of schools. From my school we have Belinda and Ainsley who are the ISL for Newmarket School. Here is a shout out for them.  @BelindaHitchman @AinsEliza.

Again I give @ginnynz01 a massive shout out because again she has been my mentor during the year and has continuously reigned me in when I start plucking at baubles for the team that I work with across the three schools.

I have picked up the role of Travelwise again for my sixth year and I give a shoutout for the amazing student leaders I work with who have driven the school wide events. I give a shoutout here for @AklTransport who give me Robyn and Delia who support me in the work I do and to Megan from @TrackSAFENZ who is just awesome.

Finally a huge shout out to the teachers who I work with across the three schools. These are the ones who now are on twitter. @BryceMills16  @clararosekim  @mathsdr @andyp_lawrence. There are several others who I will slowly bring them on board to connect with other Kāhui Ako on twitter. Yes check out the list here and if you are reading this and are not on the list, please tweet me. @vanschaijik. I also add @JillFarquharson our ACCoS lead principal here as she has been listening and encouraging some of what I say in regards to being visible in the work that we do.

  Members of our Mathematics/Pangarau initiative have willingly agreed to present our narrative at Ulearn this year. I am extra  proud of them. They have helped me write the reflections for our ACCoS blog which makes my task so much easier at the end of the year to create a summary of what we do.

This piece really does feel like a Television rerun and yet writing this gives me the opportunity to think of how much has taken place in our school this year. If you have been wondering then yes I have also completed my Seesaw, Hapara Digital Passport certificates too.  

Where to next for me

I am still working on my health, I have been accepted for the Hapara Trainer course, I have put my hand up to coordinate our ACCoS summary for this year and it will be in video so of course will use TeachMeetNZ format but will use my school account because I can take up to 15 in the Hangout, the team are presenting at Ulearn with me,  mum still lives with me and this year she turns 90 so a party is planned. 

 

 

 

Even shifting is a collaborative process.

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Collaboration:  “Kia ngātahi te waihoe” – translated this means rowing together in unison.

This reflection is timely for me as I have been mulling over collaboration in my head for several weeks because we have begun the shift over into our new building. With the physical shift also comes the mental shift. As a school we always address challenges as they surface and develop systems to minimise impact as it happens.

Last week I watched the upheaval in the known as physically furniture and teacher treasures were wheeled between the old space and the new space and wondered about the stress that develops with the unknown.

Maori have a word ‘whanungatanga’. Put simply whanaungatanga is about respectful relationships and at the same time whanaungatanga is much more than that. As we shift let us be mindful of not just our students but also our teachers. I have shared before about relationships and its importance to collaboration.  At the heart of our learning environments we must go beyond the physical space of what we see and focus on the ‘who’ inside.

Recently I was reminded of learning spaces in the new building and how different it looks and the focus of the ‘who’ by one of our students who created a short introduction to our spaces. She said, ‘The space comes to life when the people are inside’. From her narrated video I was reminded about manaakitanga which flows from whanaungatanga and is one of reciprocal care. Manaakitanga is about the care we give to people around us. I stress here that my translations of the Maori words do not do justice to their true meaning but by highlighting them helps us understand the meaning and the strength in their terms. So during the upheaval of shifting, are we practicing manaakitanga and ensuring that we look after each other to minimise the stress of shifting? Yes shifting has to be done. Yes things have to change. Yes some things are non negotiable. And let us keep manaakitanga at the core of what we do.

Keri Facer (2011) talks about ‘Gently rowing into the unknowable future, looking at all the possibilities floating out behind us from our actions in the present.’ I give shout out for my old friend Zita Martel. Zita has a matai title Vaimasenuu and is known for being the first woman to lead a fautasi to victory.  I often see her image online pushing from the front as captain. In Samoa the fautasi rows backwards. Zita standing on her fautasi guiding her team of rowers is the perfect analogy for Keri’s quote.

Wairuatanga is the principle of  integration that hold all things together over time. It is more than being spiritual. I liken wairuatanga to the space between the nodes. The unseen. For example the fish does not see the ocean that it swims in. The space between the nodes can be termed hyperconnectivity or the unseen.

Finally when I think about collaboration. I am reminded of a quote from Chris Lehman  who stated that ‘ Its no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it in Couros, G. (2016). With this is I think about the ultimate of collaboration, visible co-creation. So show me collaboration. Show me how you have co-constructed learning with your colleagues. Show me how you are reflecting on your journey.  Show me your videos, blog posts, articles, presentations. Show me examples of how you work in your learning environments. If the link is locked and I cannot see it, then what you have done does not exist. Evidence speaks stronger than words.

So as we continue forward with our shift into our new block, let us practise whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, wairuatanga. Let us reflect on where we have been and use this as a guide to where we are going. Let us find ways of sharing our learning journey and include both the highlights and the challenges.

We are not there yet. The wairuatanga is still turbulent and like a boat on rough waters we know we will eventually come back to calm waters. Meanwhile let us row together in unison.

Reference
Couros, G. (2016). “11 Books To Further an #InnovatorsMindset.” The Principal of Change, 24 July 2016, georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6522.

Facer, K. (2011). Learning futures: Education, technology and social change. London and New York: Routledge

 

 

 

Teachers do not need fixing

Poipoia te kakano kia puawai:

Nurture the seed and it will blossom.

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Our #NPSFab Team in our new meeting room.

Teachers do not need fixing and our students will achieve just by breathing. There is not much we as teacher can do to learners that harm them.

Hattie States: “All you need to enhance achievement is a pulse.”

 

I stumbled on and rewatched John Hattie’s Ted Talk from 2013. ‘Why are so many teachers and schools successful?

As I watched the clip I noticed all the questions John asked which is currently relevant in my situation of leading the Mathematics Initiative in our Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS) Kāhui Ako. Mind you all that Hattie talks about is relevant for all teaching and learning. Below are some of the questions that resonated with me.

Hattie asks

  • So what is impact?
  • How do we know our impact?
  • How do we build the expertise around us?
  • How do we build the coalition of the willing and of the successful to have a major say in our schools?
  • How do we get a ladder of excellence in our business of teaching?
  • How do we get away from the common notion that all teachers are equal?
  • How do we demonstrate the impact we are having on our students?
  • How do we give back to our teaching profession?
  • How do we get our teachers involved in helping each other up the ladder of excellence?

Some of the statements I regularly use with our teachers include:

  • How do you know that your students are achieving?
  • Have you scrutinised their data? Can I see their extrapolated data from our student management system?
  • If you are not prepared to be a learner then why are you still teaching?
  • If I cannot see what you do then it does not exist.
  • How are you sharing your learning with your colleagues?

Hattie has been extremely visible in my recent learning. I have just completed my Hapara Champion Scholar certification and I was delighted to find out that the system designers had created a Student Learning System based around the research of Hattie about what works in education with the greatest impact. This is particularly noticeable in the tool Hapara workspace.

Then I shared at one of our Cluster Schools about using SOLO Taxonomy which Hattie has stated is a sound learning structure because SOLO highlights the gaps in learning.

On Thursday I pressed submit for our Ulearn 2018 abstract. This abstract involves the work we have been carrying out in our three schools with a focus on the learning strategies that have the greatest impact.

Yesterday I took three of my colleagues to Mindlab to share their learning around gaining their Digital Passports in preparation for the Digital Technologies Curriculum that will be taught in schools by 2020.

Then to stumble on Hatties Ted Talk allows me a chance to reflect on my current situation. I continually struggle at his class size data and have often wondered about some of my class sizes. For example as a young teacher one of my first classes had 38 children. I recently uncovered information about my current school where teachers at the beginning of this century had class sizes of just over one hundred students. I am reminded of my own class in Samoa when I was in standard 2 (Year 4) where my teacher had 48 of us in class.

Below  are some of the effect sizes that Hattie highlighted in his 2013 video. This is not all of them but I wanted to highlight the ones that caught my eye. Currently these are the ones that we discuss regularly at our school and within our Kāhui Ako. However Hattie points out that these do not have enough of an effect size to make an impact on teaching and learning.  Remember that .40 is a years effect so anything below that number makes very little difference.

Structural effects

  • Class size .21
  • Ability groupings 0.12
  • Cultural diversity .05 effect

Attributes of the students

  • Diversity of students in the class .11

Deep programmes

  • Inquiry Based Learning .31
  • Problem based learning .15

Technology in Education

  • Computers and mathematics .30
  • Web based learning .18

Basically the distractions we put out there as teachers that affect learning are a big no and have little effect on what we do.

effect.jpg

Interestingly as a Kāhui Ako initiative we have recently created a student survey that focuses on student attitude to maths and their learning in maths. We had high numbers that stated they love learning online with a device and loved learning with their friends. One clear high number showed us that students loved their teachers telling them that they are doing well in maths and that they loved their teachers playing maths games with them. They also love being tested by their teachers. I am still evaluating the data with our In School Leaders.

So Hattie states that the greatest variance that has the greatest impact on student achievement is teachers who work together collectively who evaluate and understand their impact.

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The teacher’s job is to understand their impact. He talked about expert teachers and reinforced that  teacher expertise is not highly correlated with years of experience.

What is Teacher Impact?

Teacher impact is the importance of knowing where each student is in order to challenge them. With the ongoing debate around National Standards, just be cautious about chucking out all assessments. Because National Standards has a lot to do with assessment. Yet it is really important to know where the students are at with their learning and the only way of doing this is with assessments and understanding our curriculum levels and what this looks like for our students. Personally I know assessments are challenging to complete and have up to date. But if I do not know where my learners are at, then how can I help them? Yes I can provide lots of creative learning experiences yet I must keep my eye on the prize. Keep developing the love of learning and keep moving my learners forward.

Reinvesting in learning for our students.

The starting point is for us to understanding very clearly what the students know already and we do this via assessment or by asking our students about their prior achievement either through a portfolio of learning or what their last score was.Then we need to know what success looks like and we do this via the learning progression framework. We show our learners up front what success looks like and the more we can show what success looks like the more engaged our learners are and the more they love learning.  We can use SOLO Taxonomy to support us in framing what success looks like because SOLO helps us structure feedback and identify next steps information. We provide multiple opportunities for ‘just right’ learning using deliberate feedback to reduce the gap of where they are to where they want to be by using the Goldilock principle of not to hard and not too soft, but just right. Therefore our students are continually targeting or goal setting as they move forwards.

Outcome is increasing the success.

So often the learner does not know what success looks like in the series of lessons of lessons we plan for. So often the learner does not know what the goal of the lesson is. Remember the olden days of stating the learning intention and sharing the success criteria? I often thought that this was more for the teachers than for the students and it was. However we must not lose sight of its relevance. If you don’t know what the goal and outcomes for the lessons are then how the heck will your students?

In my school where we have a sense of urgency for our second language learners aiming to catch a moving target. I believe it is even more important to know where my learners currently are and to identify the target cohort they are catching.

If you are new to all this then my advice to you is you will have some failures. But fail well, reflect and use this information to move forward. As schools we must create a climate of trust that it is OK to make mistakes and errors as professional. However we must provide feedback to our teachers about their impact. Again the best way of gauging our impact is via data. The point of gathering assessment data is for teachers to understand their impact.

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A second language learners reading data over a year.

If we keep failing in shifting our learners forward then we are failing our learners and their families who have placed their utmost trust in us as professionals. At my school this is even more important because of the sense of urgency for our learners. I continually look at data and I love data that stands straight up heading to where it should be. Data that stands like a line is accelerated learning. I especially pay attention to historic data because I know that data gathered over one year is not clear enough to predict learning outcomes.

SOLO Taxonomy

SOLO Taxonomy helps us understand that the students must know the surface details before the shift happens to making connections within their learning to authentic everyday situations. Those of us who love SOLO remember those students who state, “I believe I am good at maths because my teacher says so.” My response is “What is Maths? Show me the strategies you know to tell me that you are good at Maths? Can you show me your result from……..? How have you taught a friend this strategy?”

We must teach our students the effective learning strategies so that they can deliberately practice with us and coaching to reduce the gap from where they are to where they want to be. That is how using SOLO helps us. If you read Pam Hooks site of how to teach with SOLO Taxonomy you will see these three simple statements.

  • What am I learning?
  • How is it going?
  • What am I doing next?

Sharing learning as professionals

Our third code of professional responsibility is to the teaching profession. So how do we encourage our expert teachers who understand their impact to give back to their profession? How do we structure this into their learning and get them involved in helping others up that ladder?

For us involved in the ACCoS Kāhui Ako Mathematics initiative I have encouraged our In School Leaders to join me in sharing their impact at Ulearn 2018. By involving them in the process of sharing in such a public way I believe they will help others within their school share their learning. I also encourage our Across School Leaders to continue their sharing via our ACCoS blog.  

For our In School Leaders at Newmarket School we have created a Hapara Workspace to curate and share our learning from our professional learning groups with a focus on maths. This is visible to everyone and you can check it out here. http://j.mp/2FyK0xU.

Teacher Impact

Overall teacher impact begins with data to show where the learner is at. Then we use the Learning Progression Framework to identify where they need to be and we use SOLO Taxonomy to show how they can get there. Next we use just right goal setting and just in time feedback to propel them towards where they want to be. After that we have our students talk about the process of learning. Finally as educators we share our own journey with our colleagues and include our mistakes and our achievements and our own next steps as educators. We encourage our colleagues to do the same.   

Te Ti Tutahi

Taku rekereke, Taku tūrangawaewae

“Where I plant my heels is where I make my stand”

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Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1017-2′ 

I have struggled to find a one word for 2018. Over the past few years I have taken a Maori word and spent the year unpacking concepts that underlie what the word means. However this year I have struggled to find another ‘kupu’ that spoke to me. Recently I realised why. Because I had not fully grasp what my 2017 one word, Tūrangawaewae was. I accept that and will continue to spend this year unpacking what it means.

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our tūranga, our kura, our akonga, our wānanga.

Recently I returned to Samoa for a family funeral. But again it ended up being much more than that. It was a chance to visit the land of my birth and spend time with my eldest son. He and I ended up having lunch with Tupua Tamasese and his Masiofo Filiga. The discussion led me to come back and read some of his latest publications. One that caught my eye was his Keynote Address to the Samoa Law Society & Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa Joint Conference in July 2016, Apia, Samoa.

Tupua spoke about ‘Tulaga vae’ in his address.  He spoke about the the concept of “tu” as in “tulaga vae”, meaning the place where one stands and how aga is the concept that alludes to the old ritual of burying one’s pute (umbilical cord) and/or placenta (fanua) in the land of one’s birth. I love how all the connections click into place as I have previously shared how my pute is buried under the pulu tree in front of the house where I grew up. This is literal because again the reference is about the place that shaped me.

Once I read this I realised my understanding about Tūrangawaewae was still shallow and I knew why. I had not made connections using my Samoan language.

On Friday, we were in our new staff room and no our building is still not finished, but we are getting really close. Wendy, our principal pointed out an etching on one of our glass panels. I squealed with delight. It was Te Ti Tutahi. We have a link to our past in our new building. Te Ti Tutahi stands again.

Newmarket is central to all our schools in ACCoS, Auckland Central Community of Schools. So knowing about Te Ti Tutahi, a notable tree of the area, is also important for our Kāhui Ako because Ngāti Whatua are the Maori of the of our area.

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The historical name for Newmarket is Te Ti Tutahi. Te Ti Tutahi literally means the single Ti or Cabbage tree that stands alone. However Te Ti Tutahi was much more than that. The tree was significant for Ngāti Whatua, Maori of the area. Te Ti Tutahi was the tree where the whenua (placenta) and pito (umbilical cord) of newborn babies were buried. The placenta was placed in a specially prepared receptacle and buried in the roots of Te Ti Tutahi. This practice reinforced the relationship between the newborn child, the land of Aotearoa and the area where they were born. Therefore Te Ti Tutahi te ingoa wahi, means Ti Tutahi is the sacred name of Newmarket. 

I have spent a long time talking with Jane Kaa who was Deputy Principal at our school when I first came to Newmarket School. Jane was the person who first alluded me to our school having a massive history. Over time I have curated and gathered every piece of written records that I can source digitally and placed links to one place.   

One major piece of information was Te Ti Tutahi. Ngāti Whatua call Newmarket,  Te Ti Tutahi. However our school uses the Pohutukawa for our emblem. That is because we are surrounded by these beautiful trees. Our uniform is based around the colours of the Pohutukawa. Even our new building is red. Yet these trees were not there fifty years ago so in reality they are a much more recent addition to the area.

Historically as a school nearing 150 years there have been huge changes. For example we used to be where 277 currently sits. In the early part of the 1900s, the stories go that the principal had the ‘old’ cabbage tree cut down because he was sick of the rubbish the leaves made. I found a reference to the cutting down incident dating 1913, in papers past. However regarding the principal, these are stories passed down. I carried out further investigations and found out that F. J. Ohlson was the principal of that period.  He left Newmarket to be the F. J. OHLSON principal at Maungawhau.

I have taken images from the old buildings and placed them strategically so you can see how it might have looked. These are all my guestimates and I have studied heaps of photos, maps and read so much about the area. If you can visualise Mortimer’s pass as a bullock track, with Te Ti Tutahi at the bottom. When I look now I realise that the building did not take up that much land and was probably more than generous in its dimensions.

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When Te Ti Tutahi was cut, all the remained was a stump.
From Simons (1987: Pg, 43) I found this reference to Te Ti Tutahi. ‘The Buckland family of Highwic carefully preserved a sacred cabbage tree which had the personal name of Te Ti Tutahi. This was wahi tapu, a sacred place, where the umbilical cords of chiefly children of the Waiohua were buried. Many ceremonies were performed there. The real name of Newmarket is Te Ti Tutahi. The tree stood near the school until 1908 when it was cut down “as a danger to children!” Members of the Buckland family rescued the stump which grew in a reserve near Highwic until smothered by weeds. Cabbage trees growing in gardens nearby are from shoots; Te Ti Tutahi still lives.

I also found 1908 was the date referred to o  the back of one old image located in the Auckland Museum Archives.

When you visit Highwic House in Newmarket, you can see some of the descendants of Te Ti Tutahi planted in the gardens by Bucklands children.  This photo of some of our past students taken in the grounds shows one of them in the background.

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At Newmarket School, Wendy Kofoed our current principal collected shoots from Highwic house when she was first principal here and planted them around our school.

Unfortunately we had to get rid of two trees for our new carpark. But as you come up the stairs past the pohutukawa tree you will still find a magnificent specimen growing.

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Over the years I have paid attention to this tree and observed its cycle. I have watched Tui coming and drinking from the flowers or or sucking the fruit. I watch for the flowers because this turns the tree into something absolutely spectacular and I become excited at the changes that take place, kind of like markers of nature.

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Sometimes teachers ask me to come and tell stories about our school and I always talk about Ti Tu Tahi and its significance for the area. I share about how we have Grandbabies growing in our school and how we must take care of them as they are links to our past.

I often take photos of the one by the stairs because it really is just a magnificent tree and wonder about the devastation to Ngāti Whatua when one of our old principals just chopped down the tree with little regard for its significance. But probably more out of ignorance and naivety than anything. At the same time, this story is part of our school’s history just as Captain Cholmondely Smith, our first school principal, used to fight in the Maori wars and heaps of our children died in the first and second world war.

To me Te Ti Tutahi is Tūrangawaewae. At my school of Newmarket I must applaud Wendy for ensuring that the memories live on in our school and with our children. As our children pass through our school, many have come from a different country and have their whenua and pito buried there. Therefore even though they now live here they still consider the land of their birth their Tūrangawaewae and we must not forget that. Just like one cannot ask me to forget Samoa because it is my island home and  my tulaga vae.

We cannot simply change back our current school emblem to reflect Te Ti Tutahi however we can incorporate the memories and stories as we move forward. Just as we must remember and acknowledge our historic motto of ‘Not self, but service’. Just as we must also acknowledge the Tūrangawaewae of all of our learners. Somehow we must embrace and acknowledge the languages of their birth and ensure that all students have strengths in their own cultural identities. We must incorporate both into all that we do at our school. 

Therefore by acknowledging the significance of Tūrangawaewae of all our learners we bring into our teaching and learning an understanding of who they are, their families and whānau, their language, their culture and develop our own empathy about the challenges they face coming into new lands learning a new language and learning new ways of being. Together we learn about Ngāti Whatua, the Tangata Whenua of our area and learn about their Tūrangawaewae so that together we can move forward and grow in our understanding of Tūrangawaewae because after all the next generation have birth places in Aotearoa as their Tūrangawaewae.

 

More about Te Ti Tu Tahi

References

Efi, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi. “ ‘Where Is Our Island?’ Navigating Language, Vision and Divine Designation in Samoan Law and Jurisprudence.” Samoa Observer, 10 July 2016, www.samoaobserver.ws/en/10_07_2016/local/8480/‘Where-is-our-Island’-Navigating-Language-Vision-and-Divine-Designation-in-Samoan-Law-and-Jurisprudence.htm.

Simmons, D. R., and George Graham. Maori Auckland. Bush Press, 1987.

The new dawn.

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Over the past few months I have been a learner. I decided that I needed to upskill myself in Hapara. Hapara is an instructional management system that wraps around google. Hapara means new dawn. Kind of like this image of our new school with the sun rising.

Basically the designers took the top 10 accelerated effect size from Hattie’s research and created a system for learning that utilised all of what is below.

  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Collaboration & Relationships
  • Formative Assessment
  • Visible Learning
  • Learner  Agency

 

I applied for was accepted into the Champion Educators Programme back in February of this year. I completed the programme and wrote a reflection about my learning that you can read. The Champion Educators develop a solid grasp on how to use Hapara tools as well as time to think about and practice using them meaningfully. During my training I learnt how to design a workspace for learning. This gave me a chance to revisit my understanding of designing learning and reminded me that it is really important to make visible what the workspace is for. Even though I only needed to create one workspace for my learning, I was so excited that I actually created 5.

Here you can check out my youtube clip that explains about my workspace created for assignment.

Following passing the Champion Educators Programme I managed to persuade our senior management team to learn how to use Hapara and they applied for the next cadre intake and were also accepted.

As they were learning how to use Hapara for teaching and learning, I decided to carry on and delve more into Pedagogy so applied for the Champion Scholar programme.

Champion Scholars develop an understanding of the pedagogy and best practices associated with Hapara tools. I have just about finished my course. My final requirement is to reflect on how my workspace lines up with what I have been researching. So that is what this blogpost is all about.

What I have learnt is basically to read about what other systems that help drive teacher’s learning. One of which is ISTE, the  International Society for Technology in Education. However what I really learnt more about was our own professional registered teachers criteria. I developed a deeper understanding about our values and codes as a profession. 

  1. Commitment to Society
  2. Commitment to the Teaching Profession
  3. Commitment to Learners
  4. Commitment to Families and Whānau

Here you can read Introducing the Code and Standards [pdf] created by Melinda Stevenson. 

Do check out my workspace about Teachers and their learning. A lot of similarities are there between the ISTE Standards for Educators and our New Zealand Code of Practice. My workspaces covers the Commitment to the Teaching Profession but for the sake of what I was learning I focussed on the ISTE standards for Educators, Standard 1: Learner.

Through the design process I learnt to include a variety of ways of showing learning, including using video or a creating a diagram.

I also included opportunities for learners to work together.

I managed to add a SOLO Taxonomy rubric so the learner was clear of expectations.

There were several examples of artifacts that the learners could look at to help them with their learning.

Overall during the training process, I was put through the steps of what I would expect from my own learners. I really liked having the Google+ Community for discussion. With our own primary school students we could use Edmodo for this part of the process. I believe we do not use Edmodo nearly enough and as teachers still rely on the face to face discussions. What I liked about the digital discussion was its asynchronous element. We did not have to be there at a certain time to take part in the discussions, but could come in when we were ready or had a few moments to spare.

I was super excited to share many of the projects that I have led with educators and felt quite proud that I am already doing most of what an ISTE teacher learner does.

I really like learning with and giving and receiving feedback with educators from across the globe. Our tutors on the course led by example and were visible in what they were doing to guide us.

The next call for Hapara Champion Educator training has just closed and I loved seeing even more of our teachers from Newmarket School apply to do the course. If you are interested in Hapara Training then bookmark this link to check out when the next call for abstracts are.