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.

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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.

titree

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.

 

O a’u o le Samoa moni.

Pe o fea o lenei lalolagi e te aumau ai,

e te manatua ai lou atunu’u moni

Samoa, no matter where you are in the world, Samoa will always be home forever.

E i loa le Samoa moni i lana tu ma lana tautala.

 

You can tell a true Samoan by behaviour  and speech.

 

I recently returned from Samoa with my eldest son for a family funeral.  I reflect of the song by Vaniah Toloa, Samoa e Maopopo mai.

Vaniah sings about the Pacific Duck known as the Toloa and shares the analogy between a Samoan and the Toloa. Wherever the Toloa migrates, eventually they will find their way back home to Samoa.

 

I last visited Samoa in 2011 with my cousin and sister and before that I had brought my boys over for my auntie’s funeral in 2008. Each time I return to Samoa, it is like the song. The smells, the sites, the language and the people remind me that this is who I am.

 

Samoa was truly gorgeous and pristine. The border rocks had all been whitewashed, The malae were swept clean and of course the colours were super bright.

 

I caught up with several members of my extended family, Aiga Lautele and met some of the next generation that I had not yet met. Meeting them was really special because knowing who your family is is part of being Samoan. ‘Ta te aiga.’ is an expression I heard a lot when I was growing up, so much so that I started tracing my genealogy just so I could connect who exactly members of my ‘aiga’ were.

 

My son did most of the driving so I was able to enjoy the view. We visited where my mother was born in Tafitoala and predicted where their ‘fale Samoa’ would have been but has now been reclaimed by the sea. Again reminding me of Global Warming affecting the pacific islanders who have contributed very little to Global Warming but are affected the most.  

 

I was able to tick off To Sua off my bucket list, number 47.

If you use Google Street View, you can see To Sua from a 3D perspective.

One of my cousins informed me that the trench is where sharks used to give birth. I am not sure how accurate that is. However I am glad I knew that after I had been swimming around in the spot.

My son and I visited a few tourist spots such as swimming amongst the Giant Clams and revisiting Papaseea. However the focus for our short trip was family so much of our time was spent with family and reminiscing on life in general.  

 

Digital Teaching Philosophy (First Draft)

DigitalCall me

Greetings everyone, if you have any time to give me feedback on my current assignment for my Hapara Scholar Certification, I would be most grateful. This is my first draft and eventually I would like to have a clearer and uptodate teaching philosophy that incorporates our new Digital Technologies curriculum.   

Technology improves the quality, timeliness and richness of the information and information flows. (Unknown)

Overview

I have taken the ISTE Standards for educators and incorporated them in my new digital teaching philosophy.  ISTE is the  International Society for Technology in Education.

The ISTE Standards are standards for the use of technology in teaching and learning  and are a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments.

At the same time I want to include our New Zealand standards for teaching that have a slightly different focus. For example our code and standards for teaching  have 4 values that underpin Our Code for teaching and Our Standards. They define, inspire and guide us as teachers.

These are:

WHAKAMANA: empowering all learners to reach their highest potential by providing high-quality teaching and leadership.

MANAAKITANGA: creating a welcoming, caring and creative learning environment that treats everyone with respect and dignity.

PONO: showing integrity by acting in ways that are fair, honest, ethical and just.

WHANAUNGATANGA: engaging in positive and collaborative relationships with our learners, their families and whānau, our colleagues and the wider community.

In addition we have 4 codes of professional responsibility such as Commitment to Society, Commitment to the Teaching Profession, Commitment to Learners and Commitment to Families and Whānau.

Using the Maori word of rararanga and the samoan word lalanga, from my first language, both of which means weaving I will endeavour to weave both standards into my new digital teaching philosophy.

I will then share about an important digital tool that has an impact on designing learning and unpack effective strategies that has been researched to have the greatest impact on student and teacher learning. Following that I will acknowledge the importance of analogue tools and to continue using a balance of digital and analogue to foster and support a student-centered, thoughtful, classroom. In addition it is already 2018  so I will remove the word 21st century learning because our current learners who are nearly finishing high school were born in this century and I believe it is time to put aside 21st century learning and just focus on learning.

Finally I will summarise why as an educator that I must be a model with what I teach by sharing my own learning.

Introduction

In my school I primarily teach in the areas of second language and I support teachers in using digital tools.  I also work across eleven schools as an across school teacher in the Auckland Central Community of Schools.

My goal as a teacher is to motivate teachers and to continually improve my practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. I dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.

I have special training in second language acquisition and I have an awareness of the Treaty of Waitangi which is embedded in all that we do as educators in New Zealand.  Therefore I would endeavour to provide opportunities for the continuing acquisition of language of children from ‘kohanga reo’ and from other language backgrounds. Using digital tools is the future for survival of our pacific languages which are currently being eroded at an alarming rate. Learners who speak Pacific languages have greater access to other speakers through using communication tools. I also believe that parents and community need to be closely involved in children’s education by ensuring that students, parents and education stakeholders are part of the learning community to build agentic students. Being of Pacific Island descent, I know that the ‘whanau’ has an important part to play in the learning of the ‘tamariki’. I endeavour to be open to all cultures, without bias or prejudice and to respect the views of others. I believe in continuing with my own second language learning so that I may better empathise with children learning a second language for example I am currently learning Chinese which is my seventh language.

As a teacher with leadership responsibility, I believe in the leadership model of service and example. The pastoral, educational and managerial dimensions of my leadership should reflect the principles and practices of stewardship. I seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. In my administration I seek to be sensitive to the needs of the whole school community, – children, staff and parents. I inspire students and teachers to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.  I facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement.

In describing my leadership style – I lead by example. I set myself high goals and am resourceful and flexible. I prefer to deal with immediately relevant issues and tend to excel at defining goals, along with a plan for reaching them. I design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability. I understand and use data to drive instruction and support students and teachers in achieving their learning goals and often show teachers how to do this.

I thrive on involvement and can be extremely persuasive.  I excel at marketing, fundraising and motivating others. I undertake given tasks with enthusiasm and am successful at supporting others to ‘come on board’ with new ideas. I respond well to incentives and rewards and especially acknowledgement. I am comfortable in a leadership role.  I constantly monitor how leaders, whom I admire, manage change and innovation.

Hapara

One important digital tool that I have identified that can help me with my work is  

Hapara. Hapara is an Instructional Management Suite, which includes Workspace, Highlights and Dashboard. Hapara enables me to organize my students and their assignments, track their activity and progress and dynamically personalize instruction across different metrics.  The Hapara Instructional Management Suite consists of three tools that all give teachers greater visibility into student work and activity:

Usually educators begin with the dashboard tool. Dashboard does speed up access to documentation and allows the grouping of learners but not alert the students of this. Dashboard helps with the management of digital artefacts.

Our teachers need access to Workspace so that greater customisation of students learning can take place. Without workspace educators would struggle to create a student-centred, thoughtful, 21st century classroom because workspace allows educators to manage what students are doing, see that they are on task, give them instant feedback and as a teacher to be able to access their work with a single click.  

Hapara Highlights helps teachers see what learners are doing in the Google Chrome Browser in near-real-time. Feedback mechanisms allows reinforcement of pro-learning behaviour and helps re-direct unfocused behaviour.

Not to shut any sites students are viewing without warning, however open a site to help redirect their learning. Teacher can send a message to highlight positive behaviour.

Highlights can be used to track the sites visited to help identify trends and can also be highlight who is not using the space appropriately and can be seen if they are on task.

Over time compare viewing trends for individuals or groups of students. Use the data to share back use of time for learning in positive ways.

Effective Strategies

In his research Hattie, (2012) identified several effective strategies for successful learners such as Direct Instruction, Note Taking & Other Study Skills, Spaced Practice, Feedback, Teaching Metacognitive Skills, Teaching Problem Solving Skills, Reciprocal Teaching, Mastery Learning, Concept Mapping, and Worked Examples.

Whenever I choose new digital tools, I use SOLO Taxonomy to improve the impact of how and what I teach because SOLO teaches Metacognitive skills through direct instruction and concept mapping is an important part of learning using SOLO. Feedback is clearer with SOLO and the learners can see the feedback in an explicit way.

SOLO is an acronym for Structure Observed Learning Outcomes and is the research of John B. Biggs and K. Collis. SOLO is a proven research that produces outcomes that has been in education for over 40 years. SOLO is often sighted in Hattie’s research.

I choose the best digital tool or tools for the task. As our children become more digital I offer them the choice of which tool to use. I use several strategies such as those having been identified by Hattie to leverage technology in a student-centred  thoughtful, 21st century classroom and I know when and why to use them. I have several tools that I continually use and my current favourites include Google Draw for mapping ideas, creating videos, voice thread for feedback. I also choose tools that can be collaborated on such as Google Slides, wevideo and padlet.

 

Hattie, J. A. C. (2012). Visible learning for teachers. London, UK: Routledge.

 

Analogue Tools

Sometimes analogue tools will be used in a student-centered, thoughtful, 21st century classroom because sometimes putting pen to paper creates different pathways in the brain. At the same time as our children curate their analogue products for their digital portfolios a combination of technology is used to capture these creations. For example a scene could be drawn from a book using colouring pencils on paper. Then the image is captured using the chrome camera, uploaded to Seesaw and an audio added to explain what is happening.

Students will practice being citizens by supporting their classmates in their learning and respecting the rights of other students to learn whether it be face to face or digitally. They will be encouraged to look up answers at every opportunity using both the analogue way of using the library and the digital way using online databases, and Google.

They will learn and be supported in finding the right or best answer or solution to real life problems through using current productivity software to solve problems, analyze data and communicate with others. Sometimes the best way of capturing this is with a camera as they learn how create videos and photomontages to tell a story, provide information, or help solve a problem.

Students will become familiar with social media and how to responsibly maintain a presence on the Web by being exposed to as many examples as possible of how social media can be used in a positive manner to enhance their lives and often this happens when sharing with friends in a face to face way.

 

Summary

In summary, all students and teachers have the right to learn and I encourage them to actively participate in their education through the use of technology in the classroom at every available opportunity. When they leave our school I expect our learners to be savvy tech users and model digital citizens prepared to tackle any challenge they may experience as they go through life. As an educator here in Aotearoa New Zealand I believe it is important to continue with my own learning so that I can be the model learner for the students and teachers that I work with. I do this by being actively involved with developing my digital learning and my face to face experiences of learning. I learn online such as currently completing my Hapara Scholar certification and have recently completed my Digital Passport to unpack the new Digital Technologies curriculum that will deliver key competencies in digital technologies by 2020. The Hapara Scholar Certification enabled me to learn with educators around the world and learn about their teaching standards and in doing so better understand our code and teaching standards in New Zealand.

Old School planning or Hapara

Hapara

Sometimes Old School way of doing ‘stuff’ to our learners is no longer good enough.

I am an experienced teacher with both research and practical classroom experiences under my belt. In addition I have just about done every job that can possibly be done in a school.

Today I want to share with you my experience with planning for learning.

My classroom experience spans well over three decades. In that time I have seen the shift in teaching from the front of the class with 38 little faces in front of me, to developing group teaching where students are levelled against their reading, writing and mathematics levels.

In my earlier years in the early 1980s, there was no photocopier and I used butchers paper to handwrite task sheets for my reading groups. I used crayons because this was before the time of marker pens.

When the banda machines arrived, the giant sheets became A4 size and I would meticulously create the carbon masters to try and extract 30 copies for the master folder.

During that time too, my daily planner was hand ruled up each week and I would meticulously recraft the week like a timetable but with resources labelled.

Then in the early 1990s the photocopier changed the way we operated in the classroom. The banda sheets were repurposed into photocopier sheets. The weekly plan was copied and handwritten on. What a fabulous invention. I no longer had to rule dreaded templates. Following that we could buy a years planning book, but as our thinking changed, one book was not enough and we had two planning books. One for Literacy and one for numeracy.

After that the computer became part of the package and those of us who could, did. We bought our own computers and our own printers and started creating planning and worksheets using computers.

Before school wifi, we shared resources using floppy discs and that photocopier turned out to be our best friend and a headache for schools budgets. If only we had one in each class.

Each teacher had pretty folders with all their planning and assessment and some teachers were rated on how neat and tidy these were. Personally I found them a nightmare and only kept one because I had to and for no other reason then for when I was checked that I had one. My senior teachers ‘preferred paper’. But by then I had bought my own laptop and was using my planning digitally. I could never understand why I could not share my planning via floppy disc and always had to produce the dreaded paper folder.

This was before the TELA scheme.

The TELA scheme changed the game again and some schools realised that with a server, all teachers could share their planning. However I still found some team leaders loved those folders and to get teachers to share their planning via a server was a challenge.

Following on N4L kicked in and suddenly we had fast broadband and access was unlimited. WHOOHOO. I then saw a shift of planning moving to the cloud and being much more transparent with the use of Google Tools for Schools. However at the same time I could see a repurposing of planning. Rather than the printed off Doc for the planning folder, I could see the Doc sitting in a shared folder. Going back over a few decades, that doc kind of looked the same. Maybe a bit fuller as teachers copied and pasted from government planning sites.

With the cloud, teachers started to play with other planning formats and some used sheets or presentations as the tool. Some teachers continued with the doc format as they were able to just upload the word copy and duplicate the process in the cloud. Last year I wrote a post to unpack some of my thinking around blogs and sites and you can read that here.

As I tracked other schools I could see an evolvement using sites and blogs to curate all planning. The online spaces became like a folder and the planning was curated neatly using sites or blogger. Some adventurous teachers trialled My Portfolio or Wixsite, or wikispaces.

Last year I worked in the senior part of our school and was blown away by the use of calendars to support the children take control of their own learning. The children used a class calendar and dropped any workshops they needed into their personal calendars.

I immediately saw my understanding of lesson planning was no longer relevant for our current learners or for how fast we were moving as a school.

Recently I have undertaken learning to be a Hapara Champion Educator. I wanted to know more about the teacher dashboard tool and how it impacts on my understanding of what planning would look like. I also wanted to see the relevance of using the tool to support our learners to be more agentic. Those of you who might be interested in the course can apply for the next cohort of champions.

Within a very short time I have learnt that my concept of teacher planning is outdated and in order to keep up, I needed to be in the same working environment from both our learners and our teachers viewpoint. The Hapara Champion Educator course is approximately one month long. However how and when I complete the modules is entirely over to me, within a given timeframe. I choose when to begin the work. I choose when I am ready to share it with my teachers, I choose how to build my learning and choose how I will share that learning. I have access to flipped learning where I can watch videos created by my teachers to support my learning. I can rewind parts I am unsure off or fast forward sections I am already competent in. When I am ready I can sit tests that allow me the opportunity to fix any gaps in my learning so that I am happy with the results. I press submit and if there is still time and my work could be improved, my teachers can send it back to me with feedback of how to make it better.

Finally I have access to asynchronous communication with my peers and my teachers so that I do not need to see them facetoface for discussions.

Where to next for me: I am building a learning workspace and can see the value of doing this that far outperforms traditional digital planning as I know it. I had been struggling with creating a digital space using blogger for one of my groups. Hapara has already revealed where I needed to focus in order to run a much more efficient learning space. I like the way it talks to all the google tools and to links so that everything is in one space. The space is super exciting because once I started building I could see where my planning gaps were for my learners.

I especially like the way I can duplicate the format I have created, adjust it and repurpose it to suit another group of learners. I can take parts of it and target individual learners who a) might be struggling, or b)might need extending.

The most exciting part of Hapara is sharing what I am doing but keeping my learners personal details private so the framework is available to other teachers. If I invite teachers into the space from my school we can co construct the digital learning environment together.

I haven’t yet completed my course but I am already changed in the way I see planning and the way I can better incorporate Hapara into transformative instruction.

 

My question for you

Is teacher planning still monitored in your school and if so where are you up to with overseeing the professional teaching criteria?

Does your school still insist on a particular way of presenting planning or are your teachers encouraged to be agentic with their planning?