You can tell a person by their deeds and actions, and the way they treat others.
At our school, our three core school values are kindness, respect and perseverance. We have a Maori version too but remember that translating the Maori core value back into English can have an impact on meaning.
This week I was in one of the junior classes and for their writing the children were describing our school values. Each day the teacher modelled one value using shared writing strategies. In addition she provided the children with sentence starters to help them frame their writing and support them depending on their abilities. Then the children went and wrote their own version. What the children wrote about our school values left such an impression on me that I thought I would also have a go but write them from a teacher perspective. So what I have done is put the values together and used the Maori version to help strengthen the English value.
At Newmarket School kindness is one of our school values We teach our children the importance of being kind. As teachers we model being kind with our words and actions. We show empathy for each other by choosing the words we use when we are together and are conscious of the impact of our words. We are role models for our children and for each other by upholding a high standard of what we say and how we say it. We show kindness by taking pleasure and pride in our team work and produce great lessons that our children remember. We show kindness by building relationships with our children and their families and take the time to greet them using eye contact and remember their names and where they come from. Kindness is important because kindness is central to who we are at Newmarket School. We value people above all things and in doing so, we are ourselves uplifted. The very act of talking and writing about kindness encourages our children and us to be kinder. Let us make kindness visible. We can smile at people and ask how they are. We can make an effort to connect and act in kindness. We can practice being approachable by being gentle with words and actions. Kindness sits at the heart of well being.
At Newmarket School respect is another one of our school values. We teach our children the importance of being respectful with a focus on manners. As staff we highlight respect beginning with greeting each other, our children and their parents whenever we see them. This year we have spent the year unpacking belonging and what this looks like in learning. The concept was developed by our student curriculum leaders. As a staff member of Newmarket school I am conscious of my rights as a person and also my responsibility to our children, my colleagues and our families. One major responsibility we have with our children is to build that reciprocal relationship with their families. At Newmarket school we have a history of creating shared experiences for our children. Their favourite event, as was highlighted by our leaving year six children, is our annual camp. This major event sees a huge input from our families and staff to ensure a safe and memorable event for our children. Respect is important because it serves to strengthen each member of our school group.
Our third Newmarket School value is perseverance. We teach our children that perseverance is about never giving up, giving things a go, trying one’s best. However we must also remember that perseverance is also about duty and not just the playground grind. It is more like service and for us at Newmarket School it is about acknowledging our historic motte, ‘Not self but service.’ Perseverance is about knowing our heritage through storytelling and sharing our story. Again this was an area highlighted by our curriculum student leaders in their planning for learning for 2019. Our children wanted to know more about our school’s history. Perseverance is important because it is about guardianship and looking after our surrounding environment sustainably. It is about building a legacy for future learners. It is about leaving our school in a better place.
Overall in today’s climate of learning, it is important for schools to have a core set of values that underpin all that they do and are communicated clearly with all involved. Often when we design learning ,we focus on what we can see and yet the greatest learning space is the space between the ears. When we focus on values, we focus on actions and again we focus on what we see and yet the greatest action is how we treat others.
When I first approached our teachers with the idea, I suggested that in order for the project to work, they themselves must also create a migrant story about themselves or a family member. They must also use book creator to craft their story so they could experience that challenges their learners might have with the app. I shared my own journey to New Zealand that could be used as a model by both teachers and children.
I applied for and gained book creator ambassador status and this opened up further ideas for collaboration.
Another idea was for each teacher to share the code to their class library so that all teachers could learn from each other. This they did.
Teachers used Seesaw to communicate with families. Most of the images came in this way for the children. Some teachers created a page in Google Docs and saved the families links there. That was so the children were then able to access their images. For art the children created patterns from countries that they associate with and this was also included in their books. They also included a reflection on the art process.
All in all, the unit of work was successful. We learned so much about who we all are, belonging, and the diverse cultures that make up our school.
Our families gave us positive feedback because the children came home and asked so many questions that conversations around family photo albums were animated and exciting.
In addition several families needed to contact extended families overseas for further clarification for some information.
When the books were completed, we printed out one paper copy for each child and also shared the digital copies with families in a hidden link via Seesaw.
As an added bonus, I was also able to cocreate a story book with some of the children about the area that we live in. They created all the images using the new drawing tool. The book is called ‘The Patupaihere of Tāmaki Makaurau’ and retells the story of how the mountains appeared in Auckland.
Where to next: I cannot stress enough the importance of going through the learning yourself first as a teacher. Two parts of the learning included: ‘How to write a recount’ and ‘How to learn to use Book Creator’. In addition, be really clear about driving the learning deeper and I do this using SOLO Taxonomy. Finally remember to leave time to reflect on the process. I can hear Ginny now, “Where is the SOLO Taxonomy rubric?”
Over the past few days I noticed a surge in twitter followers. As in previous years I spotted they appeared to be coming from Stockton University. Today when I followed a group, one immediately responded with
I was then able to direct message Mason and ask, how come I was being followed by students from the university.
Here was his response: “Hi! There is a class where we are learning how to create PLN and other global learning techniques! I also believe your Twitter header is in our textbook and your page is a great one to follow!”
I asked for a screen shot of the page and straight away, it was the entry from ‘The Global Educator’ by @JulieLindsay
Aw such a small world.
Mason shared the hashtag they were tweeting with #GEN2108.
To be honest, the discussion made my day. This past year, I have been feeling a tad disconnected from twitter especially after losing wikispaces. This past month I had felt really disconnected when I received the youtube message that I am no longer able to live stream a Google Hangout. So yes tools come and go, but human connections is what helps keep us grounded.
And Mason, @masonstockedu thanks for reminding me about acknowledging when I get followers. Good luck with your studies and tag me when you blog.
She was already teaching at Newmarket School when I arrived and I had the good fortune of relieving in her class for the first term in 2009. It had been a while since I taught 5 year olds and coming down from senior students I might have spoken a bit stronger with the children than I intended. But Jane was there to subtly remind me about other people’s children.
That first year I was reintroduced to Smarty Pants by Joy Cowley, one of Jane’s favourite children’s authors, and my senses were flooded with crazy 5 years olds interpretation of being a smarty pants. Those MASSIVE drawings took up the whole wall. I was also reminded about giving the 5 year olds extra time to have their breaks. Jane ensured that they began eating five minutes before the school bell rang.
The week we had swimming, she asked me to lead like a mother duck. Those of you who know me know I walk really fast. I got halfway down Broadway before realising I had left Jane, the extra parent helpers and the children around the corner still coming up Nuffields street. When I got back to her, she shook her shoulders, smiled and said “ that is why we leave a little earlier.”
Jane found out I was keen to learn about Tui’s and so she brought me old books to help me with my Global Project. We spend several sessions talking about Tuis and it was through Jane that I found out that Tuis don’t generally walk on the ground because they have curved claws from hanging onto branches. I also found out about their brush tongues through Jane.
I wrote about Jane before when I wrote about our schools history and how she alluded me to the fact how huge it was. It is because of Jane that I began collating images and historical artefacts about our school. It was through Jane that I found out about ‘Ti Tutahi’.
After she retired, Jane continued to work at our school supporting our children with reading. She always told me how amazing the children were and could stretch them through a passion. She would go out of her way to look for science books, insects books, story books, that would fit the level of the children she was working with.
She had two sons of whom she was immensely proud. Sometimes she would ask me if I had caught up with their lives on Facebook. That always made me giggle because I spent several years trying to get her to turn her teacher laptop on. However she discovered the ease of the smart phone for keeping in communication. I would sometimes bounce her tidbits of information that she could watch on youtube or read on her smart phone. She would respond in kind with photos of the grandchildren. Just last week I had rediscovered Emere’s speech on the environment and had thought how I must share that with her.
Jane had such an interesting life and she knew so many people. I remembered when the Prime Minister and Governor General visited to talk to our students about leadership. I often wondered if it was her connections that helped our case for a visit. She used to tell me about her life as a young wife for Hone Kaa. How the presbytery was the stopping in place for the various movements that passed through over the years.
She was interviewed by our children about her part in the springbok tour and I remembered what an incredible impact that was for the children to hear from someone who was there.
Jane hated photos and being photographed with a passion and had a way of sneaking away. But over the years I did manage to get a couple. When we set up the historic photos outside the hall, I even managed to sneak one of her in there. You do have to look for it.
Ah Jane I am going to miss our talks. No one else quite gets those Tui’s like you do. I think of all the service you gave Newmarket School, all the families you have been a part of the dinner tables conversations, and how you helped leave the school in a better place. I know you will continue to read my blog from where ever you are.
I have been using book creator on and off for a few years since @Allanahk introduced me to it. This year I began using it again but instead of an app on an iPad, I have been using it on chrome and absolutely love the new features.
Last term I worked with the year 3 students at our school and wanted to publish their science learning into a book. Which I did. Here is the link to see all the science books collated together as one large book.
I really like book creator because of the way I can control how the book looks.
My favourite part of book creator is being able to use it with my learners. This term I have a writing project and book creator is at the centre. I think it is the ideal tool to showcase the children’s writing.
As I investigated more about the tool, I found out that Book Creator headquarters is in Bristol, England. You can find out more about them here on their linked in page.
My journey to New Zealand begins a little before the day we left. Some of the earlier footage shows me between the age of four years old to 10 years old. There is even a really short clip of me in New Zealand washing dishes with my sisters. I would have been about 4. My story is helped because my father had a movie 8 camera and so the memories of our journey were captured in movie form.
Our travel story began at Faleolo Airport in Apia Samoa. The year is early 1973.
I was born in Samoa during the year of independence. My father was a New Zealander who travelled to Samoa for overseas experience. He met my mother whose father was Danish and whose mother was Samoan. They fell in love, married and had a family there. They lived together in Samoa for 14 years and had four daughters. I was number three. Kathie was the eldest. Dad nicknamed her ka’avale because her initials spelt Kar. Then Astrid, who was known as Aiskulimi, named by my great grandmother, myself Sonya, named after my godmother and finally Biddy nick named after my paternal grandmother, shortened from her real name of Brigitte.
My early years in Samoa were idyllic and I often view those early times with rose tinted glasses. I was able to grab some of those moments of sea swimming, of visiting grandparents each weekend, visiting Savaii and always seemed to be surrounded by cousins and extended family. I love Samoa, my culture, my language and my people. My childhood memories of Samoa are like a long summer holiday by the beach. The sun is always shining and the sounds of everyday life and life smells like the umu, ground oven fires, are vivid. The trees and grass are always vividly green and the sea and amazing colour.
My narrative began the year I turned 10 and our family had an enormous adventure. We were moving to New Zealand for good. We would leave behind an extensive extended family with heaps of cousins and we would also leave behind maternal grandparents and childhood friends.
So this day began at the airport. I was there with my mum, dad and three sisters. We had special outfits made for the journey. Us ladies were all dressed identically in pants suit with a white blouse. The three younger ones wore green. My hair was blonde and short. My eyes were grey more than blue. At the airport, all the extended family were there with us. Included in the farewelling family was my great aunty Else who was visiting my Grandpa. She lived in San Francisco. In the video there are snapshots of aunties and uncles and of course the cousins. Unfortunately I had to cut a lot of dad’s movies because of quality.
Memories I have of that day was the weight of wearing shell necklaces. Also being given American dollars and at the time the total of $5.00 seemed like a fortune. The most I had ever held previously was $1.00 Samoan money.
The biggest conflict we had as a family was deciding what was important enough to take with us. I do not remember much of the decision making, but can remember packing and packing and repacking. Mum had to downsize the house contents. I remember the wooden packing boxes, but little else. The treasures I brought with me were my doll collection, my stamp collection, my Langelinie Danish blue plate and my Hans Christian Anderson book of fairy tales. I cannot remember packing clothes but I must have included clothing.
Another conflict was saying goodbye to everyone we knew. Saying goodbye to grandpa and nana was the hardest because they were such a huge part of our lives.
After saying goodbye to all the family who had come to the airport to farewell us, we flew to Nadi, Fiji. I believe we overnighted there. My main memory of Fiji was being sick with my first migraine and my older sister Astrid taking care of me. She held my hair from my face while I was sick and she massaged the back of my neck. She kept wetting the flannel because I was so hot.
Our next stop was Auckland where we paid a toll to cross the harbour bridge and we stayed with my Uncle Einer and family. Those memories included picking and eating strawberries for the very first time. My aunty Sigrid whipped creme and again this was my first experience. We played and got to know our New Zealand cousins and those early visits remained such an important part of our extended family relationships. This family had a massive pohutukawa tree growing right in their back yard.
Then dad hired a car for the journey south. The car seemed enormous in memory but the video shows not that large. In the car we had our luggage and we all piled in. The memories of that trip included the sounds of the lamp posts whooshing past, like the sound of helicopter blades, We travelled really fast compared to how we would travel on the pot holed roads in Samoa. We saw hundreds and hundreds of sheep. Their noise sticks in my mind and there was a lot of open farmland.
Our next stop was Foxton where we stayed with my Aunty Shirley, my dad’s older sister and her family. We had fish and chips. I had never eaten that before either.
From Foxton we travelled to Wellington and we must have crossed the ferry but I have no memories of that part of the journey or of travelling down the south island to Christchurch.
My next memories were of the motel we stayed at while our house was being finalised. We watched Coronation street and I could not understand what the actors were saying because of the strong accents. Coronation street is an English programme.
We visited my paternal grandfather and he took my little sister and me down to feed the ducks on the Avon river.
Soon we moved into our new home and I remember thinking how small the new house was. There was not much land and the neighbouring houses were really close together. There was the most incredible vegetable garden with several fruit trees growing. The fence supported a massive grape vine with three varieties of grapes. We spent the rest of the summer making friends with the neighbouring children. They were curious about us and us of them. They all spoke so fast that I was continually challenged to understand them. I had grown up in the Samoan language and all of my previous schooling had been in Samoan. Even though we spoke English when dad was around, my English was not as strong as my Samoan language. Another memory I have is the telephone. In Samoa we had to call the operator but in New Zealand we could dial using a rotary dial phone.
Then school began for the new year and I was placed in standard three. (Year 5). My teacher was Mr Syme. I was the oldest in the class because in Samoa I was the generation that began school at six years old. For the rest of my school life I was always the oldest pupil in the class.
During my first week at school, I received an absolute growling because I had run on the verandah. I knew I was in trouble because of the teacher yelling at me. I had no idea what he said, but all I knew I was in big trouble. Luckily my own teacher rescued me and explained what I had done wrong and spoke with the growling teacher. I was terrified. My other memory of school was being asked to read aloud in class. I read the word guinea pig as gunner pig and all the children laughed. My second year of school was much better. I had a really nice teacher called Mr Marshall who helped me heaps with my maths. So I think at that time my maths was not the best. He used to read to us everyday and let us draw. He also played softball with us regularly at lunchtime.
The school seemed so rich with a large swimming pool and we had class lessons every day. My other memory of that pool was ice on the water before we got in. We would swim with the ice if we went in first for the day. The school had flushing toilets and they even had toilet paper. In Samoa we had to take our own toilet paper. The classrooms had windows and the desks were individual. So there was a lot to get used to. One was having lunch at school. Lunchtime at school always felt wrong and really weird because we were not used to that. The school days seemed so long too. In Samoa we began at 8.00am and finished at 1.00pm. I spent many lunchtimes in the library because I felt so odd and the other children would continuously ask me questions. I played softball and was really good at catching long balls. I learnt the violin which was an instrument my oldest sister Kathie played. One of my biggest challenge at school was learning the children’s names. The names were so different to what I had been used to. Names like Carmel, sounding like camel. Robert, Stephen and Nicola are some names I remember.
The other difference was the school we attended was a state school and in Samoa we had attended a Catholic school. Dad bought us each a second hand bike and I was soon riding to and from school. That first year, Canterbury had heat waves and chickens died on the farms. Then that winter we had snow and got a week off school. I had never seen snow before. I biked to and from school regardless of the weather. I biked when it hailed and I biked when it snowed. The winter season was always so cold. I wove a scarf on the school loom that I wore to keep my nose and ears warm and I made myself some gloves from sheepskin. I have no idea where the sheepskin came from but those gloves saw me right through to high school. In those days we did not wear hats at school.
Years later I found out that we had moved to New Zealand for two reasons. One was to be closer to my fathers aging parents and the other was so that we could have a good education and go to the local university.
Dad continued to travel back to Samoa for his work while we stayed in New Zealand with mum. When he returned he always brought island food and letters from Samoa. This was before the internet. On some journey he brought us tape recorded messages and so we could hear our grandparents and cousins voices.
The food was a challenge. I remember eating cauliflower for the first time and at how disgusting it was. The coffee was instant and we were used to bean coffee back in Samoa with heaps of sugar. I missed eating taro and having fresh tree ripened bananas. The store bought bananas took a lot of getting used to, if we could get them. Other than that we were able to buy rice and eat similar food to what we ate in Samoa. We hung out for palusami and ground oven cooked taro when dad came back.
My father’s father passed away in the second year we were in New Zealand. I am glad we were able to spend some time getting to know him. We all had a good education and a couple of us went to university.
Before I know it, I have lived in New Zealand for over forty years. The years have flown by and I now love New Zealand and call New Zealand home. But Samoa will always be my first home.
I still visit Samoa when I can and have taken my own sons back for visits. I still speak Samoan and recently learned how to master chop suey like how my grandmother made it. I have learned to make palusami using spinach leaves, but the taste is not quite the same. I learned to love cauliflower when I discovered that it needed serving with cheese sauce.
Sometimes I do wonder about what might have happened if we had remained in Samoa. I wonder what my life would be like now. I wonder if I should have returned and brought my sons up in Samoa when I had the opportunity. I also wonder what I would take if I moved to another country.
Like the bird in my proverb, I already was grown and had all my markings when I left Samoa. Coming to New Zealand to a new environment does not change who I am. What the new environment does is add to my story.
For you reading this:
Are you a migrant, or a descendent of a migrant?
What is your story?
If you write one, can you please share your story with me?
Those of you who know me will understand why this reflection is endorsing Hapara Workspace and how fabulous it is for leading professional learning. I have all my badges for Hapara and here is my Hapara Champion Trainer certificate to confirm that I have completed all three levels of training.
I love using Hapara Workspaces for learning and this year I added all our Newmarket School teachers as learners in Hapara Workspace. As part of my Champion Trainer Certification I built a workspace for teachers. However I did not build this from scratch. I took our 2018 PLG workspace that our ISL and I collaboratively created, made a copy and then ensured that it was framed with Visible Learning Concepts in that all the goals and rubrics were clear and explicit for each section.
Our current workspace ensures that our Newmarket School teachers can learn from the In School Leaders (ISL) in our school and they can do so on their own time, without the need for face-to-face meetings or substitutes. Our workspace allows us to experiment with leading professional learning in our school. Each section is packed with resources including readings and videos to help explain the focus of each professional learning strategy. Each part has a landing page so that everything is one click away. Each part has an assignment that we ask teachers to do to help drive their own learning deeper. These have been framed using a SOLO Taxonomy rubric co-constructed with the ever fabulous Pam Hook.
For us as ISL and ASL in our school we can quickly pull up examples of our teachers professional learning and lessons that are active in the workspace.
Within our workspace, my favourite section for 2019 is our newest section.
We asked our teachers to ‘To video teaching a targeted strategy which gives attention to student learning.’ and to share the link on Hapara.
This part has been really exciting because by the end of term 2, all of our teachers had carried out videoing a mathematics lesson and nearly all had shared it on Hapara. My principal asked us how did we manage to get our teachers to do this. My response was, transparency using Hapara Workspace. The goals and the rubric were clear. Also our ISL expected it to happen and continually reinforced this during staff meetings and team meetings.
I took many of the ideas from the Hapara trainer course and incorporated these into our workspace.
I have to give a shoutout here for our fabulous Senior Management Team at Newmarket School. They were the first to line up to complete their Champion Educator Certificates using Hapara for teaching and learning. They would never ask us to do something that they were not prepared to do themselves.
Also for our teachers at Newmarket School because just about all of them have completed the Hapara Champion Course. Just waiting on a few more then I will get a Hapara Grelfie, ‘Group Selfie’.
I also give a shout out to our ISL leaders @Nikki_From_NZ and @BelindaHitchman who lead professional learning in our school and were the first to get their maths lessons videoed and shared with their teams. Talk about Teacher Agents at Newmarket School. They make things happen. What a fabulous evidenced example of teachers preparing to share their learning with their peers and to give and receive feedback.
I wonder if I can push our teachers just a little further and see if they are willing to take up the Hapara Champion Scholar course. This second course focuses on pedagogy and looks deeply at learning from student perspective. This course also ensures that learning is really transparent for the learner with goals and forms of assessment really clear on their workspaces. They need to be aware that they will get feedback on their workspaces from their peers in the course. I also wonder if our teachers would be keen to video and share a writing lesson.
Imagine the resources being created for our future teachers by our current amazing teachers.