10,000 is the magic number.

 

1742ab90415d01300e80001dd8b71c47

http://dilbert.com/strip/2013-02-07 By Scott Adams 

I had been reading around  the 10,000 hour rule that was shared by Gladwell. You can read all about the research and also how and why it was recently criticised. 

At the same time I have been analysing our student data against national standards. At this time of the year I usually have a look at how we are doing and particularly how my ELL students are doing. I have written about this process before. 

I looked at our writing data and wondered about the hours that we put into daily writing. A 40 hour work week multiplied by 5 years equates to an estimated 10,000 hours.

Children should be having approximately 1/6 of that or about 6,000 hours worth of school learning by the time they leave primary school. I am taking into account the 40 week school year. So 25 weekly hours face to face multiplied by the 40 week year.

If we want to see a shift in our school’s writing data then we have to be targeting that number. However the realities of school life indicates that writing happens more like 200 hours per year. I thought about the usual class timetable that schedules an hour a day for writing. I haven’t carried out any research into this claim but am just putting it out there. In order to fulfil a daily writing schedule as educators we have to be focusing on writing across the curriculum. I have been working in the senior part of the school this term for an hour a day and have the fabulous opportunity of being part of an experiential timetable. One way I see around this dilemma of practice is encouraging students to write at home in the same way that we encourage them to keep a reading log. 

I wonder too if a 2P in writing equates to 600 hours worth of crafting. The article mentioned a direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement. No shortcuts. No naturals. So I wonder too if we can fast forward a 2P to a 3B if that requires another two years years or another 200 hours of writing practice.

Personally I also believe that teachers too should be writing. They should be crafting their own work and working on their own skills. I believe it is not enough to teach writing but should be happening as part of teacher’s own learning.

One way of gaining motivation to undertake writing is to create a reflective journal. I read with interest some of the comments teachers on the New Zealand Primary School Teacher’s Facebook Page gave in regarding to keeping a digital portfolio. I believe that part of my portfolio includes me reflecting on what I do in a visible way and I do that by blogging. I wonder how these same teachers evidence their professional teacher criteria. Surely if you teach writing you should be working on your own skills.

If you want to find other New Zealand teachers who reflect in visible ways and who practice the craft of writing then look no further than

http://www.edblognz.blogspot.com

I wonder what are your thoughts on educators teaching writing. Is it enough to teach writing or do you also believe that teacher writing and teaching writing go hand in hand?

I look forward to the dialogue.

 

Three Level Guides

I am always up for a challenge and there is no one like my mentor to give me the push I need to reflect and think through pedagogy.

Just before the end of the year, I always go through the end of the year class data and identify my English Language Learners who could slide in reading over the summer period. Therefore over the summer period I give them a bag of books with the understanding that I will test them when they come back to school and I expect them to have either maintained their level or moved up one level depending on where they sit on the PM benchmark or using early probe levels.

This week from testing the children after the summer holidays I have several year 4 and 5 children at turquoise level on the PM Benchmark. So we are looking at level 17-18. Those of you who understand our system here in New Zealand will know that this is well below where they are expected to be by year 4 & 5.

But stop!

Have a think about this piece of information. Many of our ELL children came to us two years ago with no English. Therefore against our system that is the progress they have made within two years beginning with no English. If we look at our data and our school standards level 17 and 18 is the benchmark that we aim for for children after two years at school. In addition these children have achieved that benchmark and often began with no English. Therefore are they ‘failing’? Linguistically they have made accelerated progress because they have had to go through the silent, watching period and then learn basic interpersonal communication skills so they can communicate with peers and now they are beginning to gain cognitively applied language proficiency as we start the next process of developing inferential skills in reading. They have caught up over two years what a first language learner achieves after 7 years old. Pretty amazing and always makes me proud.

From the recent testing analysis I have identified that at the text level or the surface level of reading, their decoding skills have improved markedly from last year with a 95+ % result.  However the analysis identifies that they could do with help unpacking between the text and beyond the text comprehension strategies. Those comprehension questions continually trip them up at inferential level and stop them moving up to the next reading level.

Those of you who are ESOL teachers will probably know the work of Herber (1978)  who devised a comprehension strategy known as ‘The three level guide’. This comprehension strategy is a pre/post reading activity that gives students the opportunity to evaluate information at the literal, interpretive and applied levels based on a reading selection. The comprehension strategy was developed further by Morris and Stewart-Dore (1984) to help students think through the information in texts.

Myself I have trawled our fabulous TKI ESOL site to revisit ESOL comprehension strategies that I learnt about during my Diploma of TESSOL with Sue Gray and team. Furthermore this time I have used my SOLO Taxonomy hat to unpack the information using an information transfer chart. I have created 3 level guides in the past and have used them with great success.. However over the past few years I have been focussing on writing with my English Language Learners as this is another area that continually needs support.

Three level guides means just that 3 levels of comprehension. The comprehension strategy has teacher created statements that occur with searching for information at surface level of text, then has between the text statements that the reader applies the information from the text to real life contexts and explains reasons for this in paired or group discussion and then finally it has beyond the limits of the text statements that the reader critically evaluates the information and relates it to what is already known and justify their answers and their views.

Using SOLO I have identified exactly where each level sits and why but from the writing research I have recently carried out I know that unistructural level in SOLO Taxonomy is also a really important level to go through and this does not feature in three level guides.

The three level guide sits comfortably at multistructural, relational and extended abstract. I now know that is why I have alway found them extremely effective in teaching inferential skills. Therefore as I have unpacked the guides against SOLO I have identified the unistructural part. That is reading or decoding the text. Our ELL are fabulous at that. Decoding is especially noticeable when they are literate in their first language. They fly through the PMs and then when inferential really kicks in at level 17 and 18 they plateau. Often I observe the data and see them sitting at this level for far too long. Several ELL can sit there in class for a year. Personally I believe this is not good enough and we are undervaluing what can be done to push them forward and especially if they are to match their peers after 6 years at school in New Zealand.

Therefore for this first term I will provide explicit teaching and feedback using three level guides in order to scaffold my English language learners to develop reading strategies. I want them to be able to infer from text and think critically independently. By doing this I expect a shift up of one level over this term. Personally I will aim for two levels but I know from past experience if I push too hard then they sit at the next level for three terms.

I have begun the first step by identifying the gap in their learning. I have gathered my data through carrying out reading analysis using running records. I have looked at their historic data and have identified that they have been sitting at level 17-18 for longer than they should have. I have identified that decoding skills are strong so can move straight to multistructural discussion by looking for information in the text. They can retell the story as this is another early indicator of understanding. In SOLO Taxonomy retell is at relational thinking as this demonstrates an understanding of sequencing and progression. For the clarity of this intervention I will look at sequence from a unistructural perspective and think of it as listing progression in the text.

Prestructural

In SOLO before I even begin to teach comprehension I need to identify where the learners are at. One way of doing this is sharing with them their comprehension data or their latest running record. So with my support they can begin to define what comprehension is and list the difference it can make to their reading.

Unistructural

Once done, I begin the Three Level guide strategy. So the students are using one comprehension strategy. The learner can decode the text and retell the text simply by listing the order of events.

Multistructural

At the surface level the learner finds the answer to literal questions on the page and point to them. This is looking at surface level of comprehension. At this level the learner can decode the text, retell what they read and find literal answers on the page by pointing to them.

Relational

At between the text, the learners will be paired into similar levels and they will interpret what the writer is saying by discussing their answers of what is between the text. They will do this by interpreting and applying the information from the text to real life contexts. They could use a variety of relational thinking such as compare and contrast, analysing, part whole thinking, classifying, cause and effect or even analogy.

Extended Abstract

At beyond the text  the learner critically evaluates the information and relates it to what is already known.They will explain their answers and justify their views and come up with a single overall statement. I like the I wonder statements and so will begin with these ones.

At the end of each article the children will identify their next steps by using SOLO Taxonomy rubric to reflect on their growing understanding of inferencing.

Using a follow up test I will see the difference that this intervention makes.

I am really lucky at Newmarket School because the teachers who have these children are into their second year of researching and teaching using innovative learning pedagogy. we also have teachers who are enthusiastic at what I achieve with the children and regularly query my methods therefore I have been able to articulate clearly what I do in a visible way.

In addition I have a mentor who gives me clear feedback and regularly prods my thinking so that I am always ready with research and data. If I am not then I say so. By having these regular minor learning discussions I have grown confidently in my pedagogy.

I have also been thinking about February’s #EdBlogNZ challenge of creating a photo of my learning space. I have begun by setting up my SOLO Taxonomy writing wall. If you want a copy of the words then look out for SOLO Taxonomy and English Language Learners available very soon from Educational Resources. Pam and I are very proud of our collaborative book. If you want the SOLO Taxonomy postcards then these are available from http://shop.pamhook.com/

writing

My ongoing goal is to make learning visible and SOLO Taxonomy is fabulous for doing this. I usually create ‘messy’ walls because they help me think and reflect on my pedagogy. I will complete my reading wall now that I am really clear on what it looks like.

My challenge to you, ‘How do you make learning visible for your learners?’

For all things SOLO, visit http://www.pamhook.com/

Update: My mentor mentioned I had omitted prestructural in my thinking. Therefore I have added that. (that is me thinking I do not really need to be adding that.) However presrtuctural is also an important part of thinking.

 

References

Herber, H. (1978). Teaching Reading in the Content Areas. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Hook, P., and Van Schaijik, S. (in press). SOLO Taxonomy and English Language Learners. Making second language learning visible. Essential Resources Educational Publishers Limited. New Zealand.

Morris, A. and Stewart-Dore, N. (1984). Learning to Learn from Text: Effective Reading in Content Areas. New South Wales: Addison-Wesley.

 

 

My personal Inquiry

Personal Inquiry

This year my personal inquiry focussed on the following statement.

Changing pupil outcomes depends on changing practice. What we have always done is no longer good enough.  Do teachers participating in virtual learning networks, reflective blogging, using social media  make a difference to student learning outcomes?

The challenge I have is how do I measure the results of teachers participation? I know that often it is not just one intervention that makes a difference to student learning outcomes but a range of strategies.

I know from Hattie’s research that teachers are one of the factors that does make a difference to student achievement. It is what teachers do.

So again how do I measure the results?

As the year roller coasts towards the final term I thought I would reflect on some of the online work I do that is over and above what I do in school.

The reason I take this on, is the immense satisfaction of seeing teachers come together to share their learning. I also wonder about the impact that this has on student learning. Being a teacher with over thirty years experience I am aware that what happens in class is no longer enough. Teachers must make connections with educators outside their domain to lift their own practice. They must see what others are doing and use this knowledge to lift their pedagogy. They must be part of active collaboration in order to bring about this same change to the content that they have their students create. I think about them collaborating together with sufficient magnitude and question how much of a difference this makes to their student’s learning.

This year is no different.

I set goals that by the end of this year, every teacher at Newmarket School would have a blog and be connected on twitter. That goal is at 99%.

I found from my involvement in the edblognz project that the blogging goal I set for our Newmarket School teachers is very high as I have identified very few edubloggers in our New Zealand system in comparison to the number of registered teachers there are. As for our principals who blog,  At the same time I know from experience that edubloggers are a certain type of educator. If I use the 1% of content creating rule I guess that applies to most schools. I have been tracking our teachers involvement through their contribution to the education community. I regular remind them that it is not enough to just take part in professional learning but to leave some kind of legacy that is easily seen. If I cannot see what they are doing? Does this mean that it did not happen?

So this year again, I know that before I push something at my school I have to be actively doing the same activity that I would ask of teachers. So it is seen that I would never ask them to do something that I was not willing to do myself.

Blogging

This year I have written 36 entries on my reflective blog. I have actively given feedback where I am able to and responded to feedback on my own blog. I have used twitter to celebrate what teachers do. I have just passed 18,000 tweets.

Know my impact

I have coordinated and run three TeachMeetNZ for New Zealand educators with two more still to go.

So far this year that involves 23 educator stories. In that group I had 2 teachers from my school share their stories. If I think of the impact on the number of students that these teachers are involved with say approximately 25 x 23 would guestimate an impact on 575 students. How this affects student learning outcomes, I am unable to clarify.

In April I encouraged 3x teachers to present at Google Summit and because I presented twice I was able to bring in a 4th teacher. You can read my reflection here. I had two teachers join me in an Educamp held at Tamaki college. You can read my reflection here. I work hard at getting our teachers to actively share their learning. I know I can be insistent but again, I remind teachers that they expect their students to do this but where is their evidence that they are prepared to do the same.

In April I was fortunate to attend the WELLs Conference with my principal and Assistant principal. It was great to have them write their reflections of the experience. My ultimate is to co-create a piece of writing with some of our teachers. I will get there using baby steps.

We have developed our #NPSfab twitter hash tag and that is being used more and more as more of our staff see the relevance of making connections with educators outside their immediate learning bubble.

I have presented twice this year at Eduignite and have left a legacy on my Slideshare account. I have presented my student inquiry to our Board of Trustees and have made this visible on our staff site.

So where to next.

Teachers Collaborating. I believe that before teachers can collaborate with each other successfully, first they must make a connection. I have set up a large collaborative initiative using google+ communities. I have approximately 28 educators involved in the EdbookNZ collaborative project. Again, how do I measure the impact of something like this? I have some idea. I can do this via active involvement. As for measuring effect on student learning outcomes I believe the area is still quite grey.

The teachers are working together to create an artifact for the education community. But for me the real goal is seeing if teachers can work collaboratively outside of their own school environment. The measure would be in seeing the product and in seeing the blog reflections that take place. I also aim for teachers to ask me lots of questions as this would clarify my thinking too as part of my own ongoing inquiry.

Overall I think that teachers working together will enable them to see what other teachers are using and what tools they are using as part of their own learning. This will raise their own benchmark of what is possible.

At the same time I am learning from others. For example, I created the google+ community after experiencing what it was like to be actively involved in one. This enabled me to see what is possible with the tools that are available to us as educators.

In the past I have struggled a bit with creating communities. I struggle too with being part of communities but I now realise that virtual communities ebb and flow. I go in and out of them when I am learning just as I am aware that the educators who have joined the current one are doing the same. They want to see how an active community operates. I hope to see them go on and create their own communities or use the skills that they learn with me to finetune communities that they currently lead. How do I measure the effect of this you might ask? Again I have no idea. I am always gathering data on involvement and use the data to create something better next time. But I am not sure how to use the data to measure affect on student achievement.  

Relevance to teaching and learning

By creating a virtual community, I can see how I am able to engage and motivate the students I work with in a virtual community. The teachers in the Edbooknz project do not need to be there so I have to be experimental, motivated and inspirational to enable them to participate willingly and most importantly actively. I am leading my moderators so that they will actively give feedback to the teachers that they work with.

In addition I am part of two global communities and I am also learning from the best. I have brought on board three of our Newmarket School teachers so that they can begin to take part in communities outside of school and learn how to inspire and engage the children that they are responsible for in the Flat Connection project. I am also moderating in an educator’s group using very different tools to connect, collaborate and create with.

As I move around our school I observe our teachers and I can see the teachers active online in a variety of ways. They are the ones creating content with their students. Their lessons are engaging and they teach their students to be persistent in their learning.  The ones who are not so active are consumers of content. I believe that being active online contributes to teachers creating content with their students. How do I measure this against student learning outcomes? Maybe I am focusing too much on student achievement and should be focusing on students creating content and students engagement in their own learning. Maybe I should be identifying the teachers who persistently encourage their students to reflect on the learning process.

Maybe my question should be, is there a relationship between teachers creating collaborative content and their students creating content? This I could measure using our involvement with Hapara. This is what has given me an incentive to have teachers collaborating because I still see very individualised content in our students folders. I would like to see much more collaborative content and much more teacher and student reflections on the learning process.

Ah well blogging is about clarifying one’s thoughts. But at this stage I think I am more muddled than ever.

The tool for the job.

I have an interest in boys writing and have been fascinated by some of the stories our children write around Minecraft.
I was first introduced to Minecraft a few years back in 2010 via Natasha Walden @MissNWalden a teacher at our school. She told me that this game, Minecraft, was taking the gaming world by storm. However I had no idea what she was talking about except to feel quite scared when we were in Minecraft. Then nighttime arrived and I was not ready in and for this Minecraft world. I now realise we had entered Survival Mode.
So I learnt there was a difference between Survival Mode and Creative Mode. Survival Mode has the monsters come out at night and Creative Mode is when you can fly around and see the world that you have made. I think that if I had seen Creative Mode I might have been persuaded to take part. Natasha is one of those teachers that drags me along in her online gaming world. Through her I had seen the inside of WOW and Minecraft before they were even spoken about in lay education circles.
Fast forward to 2013 and I watched my nephew create cheat videos to access pathways on his server. He showed me a Minecraft map that he had created and has had a massive download. Normally a quiet and shy fellow, his eyes lit up passionately as he explained what he was doing and why. But again I was not quite ready with my understanding. I was still a lurker and observer.
Then Shaun Wood @mrwoodnz presented on TeachMeetNZ and I was intrigued again with the Minecraft World.
I started to learn about servers, and about the Minecraft Edu version. I began asking questions about the logistics of bringing Minecraft into our school. I spoke with our technical people about setting up our own server. This year however I have been consumed with Google Apps for Education as we established our domain name, learnt how to use GAFE at school, set up the architecture for teacher use and learnt how to set up and use Hapara. This is still a time consuming journey. So Minecraft sat in the back and simmered.
As is with all fabulous professional learning, I spotted this #educampminecraft event via twitter. This year when Annemarie Hyde put the call out to attend I could not resist finding out more of what other educators in New Zealand were doing with Minecraft.
So on Friday night, straight after school I drove down to Rotorua and joined several other educators for #educampminecraft at Mokoia Intermediate School.
You can find out more about the event here on the educamp wiki.
Annemarie created a collaborative presentation using Google slides and different people added their ideas before the day http://bit.ly/1r7vnXQ
During the day, Monika Kern kept the conversation broadcasting to the rest of New Zealand via twitter and challenged us to complete a blog post about our experience of the day. By doing this I can grab a digital badge for my portfolio. I am always open to a challenge and this keeps me motivated to reflect on what I learn.
I contributed by creating a twitter list of all the teachers talking about Minecraft in New Zealand and that can be accessed here.
Here is a folder that I created and added photos that I took during the day.
Straight after the event Reid Walker created a Google+ Community for teachers using Minecraft group and that can be accessed here.
During the day it was particularly powerful to have some students there sharing their expertise with Minecraft. How often do we see students at education events? So I thought this was forward thinking of the organisers.
However I do think that the students would have probably run the session in a totally different way. I loved the way they showcased their work.
I loved how Kassey Downward  had her students share their learning and then guided us in ours. I learnt about griefing, when you destroy creations. One student said to me that is what I was doing when I left clicked the mouse and had great fun pulling down buildings that others had created. She said, “In Minecraft we practise citizenship and do not destroy other people’s creations.”
She taught me how to right click and put the blocks back. However I probably had already created quite a bit of havoc. We got to hear too from Natalie Dodd and her students about how they used Minecraft. 
My learning from all this is to go down the Minecraft Edu pathway because of time. According to Shaun who came in via skype and shared how he had set up a server, a lot of time and technical know how is required to set up a server for the children. You can read more about this on the slides.
I had my questions answered and more. I saw how Steven Katene mapped using Minecraft against SOLOtaxonomy. I say how his students crafted their Minecraft planning using Inspiration. I saw how they shared their creations with family via hidden youtube URL. His school has a 1:1 ipad programme. I can’t wait to have further dialogue with this amazing educator.
I had gone to Rotorua specifically to find out how to set up a server and the logistics in running Minecraft at our school. There would be legalities involved in hosting a server separate from Minecraft Edu where children take part and learn. In addition, the space would require adult supervision because our children are under the age of 14. I still observe what happens in Skoodle and know from experience that the most active online time for our children is straight after school. Some can work quite late at night. Yes we can lock it down to certain hours but also know from experience is that the children will move to other social media sites to communicate with their friends when we lock down their sites. I had been mulling over the idea of buying our own space because I initially thought the Edu licence seemed quite expensive and I am always looking for a cheaper way of doing things. However because we are dealing with student safety Minecraft Edu would be the preferred option. 
Another idea that I found out is that Minecraft requires a hard drive therefore striking our chrome books out. I don’t know why I had not thought about that. I thought Minecraft was an online game and did not realise that we would need plugins to download.
https://minecraft.net/store A singe computer licence costs $33.16 and this can be downloaded. 
The Minecraft Edu Version costs $22.15NZ per single licence and a single server licence is $50.45 NZ. However with the Microsoft school’s agreement deal I wonder if this would change because of the recent takeover.  At Newmarket School, we would require 1x server licence and $22.15 x each senior syndicate student and a netbook per student. So that cuts out what I had planned for the senior team because our senior classes have chrome books and Minecraft cannot go on a chrome book.
I also see that there is also an iPad  licence that costs $8.99. However this does not work with the Edu version. I have not yet investigated if this can be bought on the VPP store. But think that this could be an answer for us. I need to speak more to Steve about this and I have heaps more questions for him. Michael Fawcett confirmed that the pocket versions could talk together. So the Androids can talk to the iPads.
Our middle school use ipad and netbooks so at this stage they are the best place to put in a copy of  Minecraft. My recommendation to school would be to purchase 30 iPad licences and aim Minecraft for the middle school. But I would only do that if a teacher is willing to take the time to trial it with her class as part of teaching and learning. Like with everything on the iPad, Minecraft would go have to go through Configurator. Because we do not have 1:1 devices we would have the challenges of saving games and a shared central location of creations to deal with.
So where to for us.


When I think ahead for us as a school I recall the weekend conversation I had with Annemarie regarding the tool for the job. As a school we are conscious about sinking too much money into one platform as things change so quickly.  The ideal tool for Minecraft appears to be a netbook, with a mouse. To make full use of the collaborative and community aspect we would require a server licence and individual licences for the students involved. We would need someone to set it up and have a teacher dedicated to be an online moderator.  The alternative is to have it set up on the ipads but like with everything on an iPad, there are challenges for sharing because of the ages of our children and because they do not have 1:1 ipads.
If someone can talk me through a workaround, I would love to discuss this more. I am @vanschaijik on twitter.


Teachers at Newmarket School, if you have any further ideas, do let me know. My thinking around Minecraft for learning is how absolutely fabulous. We all know that learning is a social activity and what better way can we hook in our children with learning then with connecting, collaborating, creating and sharing in a community environment using a space that they love and several already know so well.


Reid, you were looking for a further challenge after completing your Code challenges. How about if we go in together as educators into the Minecraft world and create something for our own learning. Maybe we could create our ideal school. I would put my hand up for that.


Annemarie, Monika, Kassey, Steve thanks heaps for organising an amazing day of learning for us. Unfortunately I have come away with more questions that fortunately I can ask on the new Minecraft community.
To find out more about Mincraft in New Zealand Schools, Visit the site created.To find out more about #educampminecraft, Visit the slides created.

To find out more about education licences, Visit the Minecraft Edu Wiki space.
The big news of the weekend was that  Minecraft has just been sold to Microsoft. Delving a little into the Minecraft history brings up two names.

Markus Persson @NotchAlexej Creator of Minecraft. @jeb_ Lead developer for Minecraft



Connected Educator



The Connected Educator at Newmarket School.
Very soon Dr Wendy Kofoed and myself are presenting at Ulearn14. Our presentation centres around our teachers. The title of our presentation is ‘Before collaboration teachers need to make connections.’ Do join us at Ulearn. We are Breakout Four A on 09 Oct 2014 at 13.45-14.15. This post has developed as part of my teacher inquiry around ‘Connected Educators at Newmarket School.’
In our school’s revised strategic plan, one of our guiding principles is Whangaungatanga or connectedness. As Wendy and staff have been working at crafting our strategic plan I have been revisiting my own understanding of whangaungatanga. For me as an efellow that is about my understanding of hyperconnectivity which is all about the relationships we build and how we build them. The Samoan word for connectedness is Va Fealofani and in Maori it is Whanaungatanga.
So some of my own questions include:
·                What does a Connected Educator at Newmarket School look like?
·                What tools do they use and why?
·                How do they share what they are learning?
As I have been thinking and reflecting on connectedness Wendy has been looking at the big picture. Her own inquiry centres around ‘Challenging Learning Design.’ I look forward to her sharing her own inquiry.
At Newmarket one concept we have is whakatauki which is sharing our stories. On our boundaries and dotted within our school we have Harakeke growing. In the springtime when the Harakeke flowers we have Tui come and drink the nectar. So I begin my post with the following proverb and have changed the word kōmako for Tui because we do not have bellbirds.
Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei whea te Tui e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau;
He aha te mea nui o te Ao?
Māku e kī atu
he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
If the heart of the harakeke was removed,
Where would the Tui sing?
If I was asked,
What is the most important thing in the world”?
I would say
It is people, it is people, it is people
If I frame this post around the current three school values I am already confident about our presentation focus. Our three values are whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga.
I use these concepts and their definition to frame my current thinking around Connected Educators.
What is a Connected Educator at Newmarket School?
Whanaungatanga – Connectedness
Being connected requires learners to develop a secure sense of their own identity and agency to think and work towards where their potential might lie.
Newmarket School is already a strong learning community that collaboratively constructs knowledge to form a foundation for learning. In order to achieve this we aim for all our teachers to be connected educators. A Connected educator at Newmarket School understands the concept of whanaungatanga. They are someone who focuses on building relationships with each other, our community and our children.
A connected educator at Newmarket School knows how to use the managed online tools to find people and how to connect with them. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions. They actively use Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google+, LinkedIn, and other media tools to make connections and to build their own personal learning network. Because we are in New Zealand a connected educator at Newmarket School’s learning kete includes some New Zealand managed tools such as Pond, Virtual Learning Network, Myportfolio and the School Google+ community to find other New Zealand educators and to actively connect with them and build learning relationships.

What tools do they use and why?
Manaakitanga  – Generosity of spirit
Developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions.
A connected educator at Newmarket school knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. They know how to get the learning needed to improve the craft of teaching. A connected educator at Newmarket School knows how to use Google Apps for Education to crowdsource and share ideas. They are participants in online learning communities that can be found on the Virtual Learning Network and via Google Apps for Education. They take part in twitter chats such as #edchatnz to connect nationally with other New Zealand educators. They know which chats connect them with educators globally. They use a wiki, blog and or google sites as a sandbox to test their learning with online tools and show what has been learnt. They attend online New Zealand webinar such as the Virtual Learning Network monthly sessions. They curate their own learning using Pond and make connections with other New Zealand educators to share what has been found and learnt online. They know how to bring back what they have found and learnt online and share it with their school community via a reflective educator blog. Personal learning is transparent, visible and accessible by all.

How do they share what they are learning?

Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship
Ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions in environments both local and distant.
A connected educator at Newmarket school knows how to build their community of practise that has active participants like guest speakers and where everyone co constructs knowledge. A great example of this is #TeachMeetNZ that takes place each term.  They know how to reflects on what they have learnt and make this available for all via a blog, Google Doc, wiki and or a site.  

I began this post with a whakatauki and I end with a whakatauki.
·                Ka rongo, ka wareware
·                Ka kite, ka mahara
·                Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.
·                I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, but through doing, I know.
Overall a connected educator at Newmarket School knows how to grow as a professional and to empower each other and their students to build their own personal learning networks to learn using the technologies that are available. Much is learnt from each other, with each other, and with the children that they teach.

As an update, a few hours after writing this, I revisited some of the education terms that have been popular in recent times. I realised that I have been doing the same thing and that is highlighting a key education term. What the originators have done is take a key word and added a descriptor to it to make it sound different. However the key word it self is fine if we view it through an extended abstract lens. Those of you who are SOLO Taxonomy educators will know what I am talking about. I created a visual to better describe what I mean.
So returning to Connected Educator and the whole point of this blog post, I finish with ‘ A Connected Educator at Newmarket School is a Newmarket School Educator.’ 

(When I write I create a rubric from Pam Hook’s site using the SOLO Taxonomy Rubric Creator. 
I use SOLO Taxonomy to frame my thinking and clarify the direction of my inquiry by asking clearer questions. Here is my Connected Educator rubric.)




Travelwise

Today was our  Travelwise Lead Teacher day held at the Trust Stadium in Henderson.
One of the most important aspects of these days is the opportunity to network with other Lead teachers from around Auckland and curate ideas that we can use back at Newmarket School.

A real highlight for me was seeing Christine Allen and Veronica Verschuur from Marist School. I worked with them many years ago.

Russell French designed the introductory session so that the information was front loaded using a QR code activity. We moved around the room scanning QR codes in order to locate correct information of facts asked. We could have also googled this information but the opportunity to try a digital activity was fun. Russell then shared with us the rest of the information via his presentation.
He then continued and introduced us to the work of Robert Cialdini and how to link this to our days learning.
Cialdini’s 6x principles of persuasion and apply it to Travelwise

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment (and Consistency)
  3. Social Proof
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

We moved around the stations of activities set up by the CTCs and we covered a lot of information in a variety of ways. 


    WOW www.atwowcalendar.co.nz . I was interested in seeing the WOW calendar set up as a way of children taking responsibility for data entry using the new online system.
    The day was fabulous as it reminded me of what I still need to do at our school.
    So here are my goals until the end of the year.
    • Complete our time zone map and photograph hazards.
    • Revisit our Walking School bus idea. Particularly as we are going through a rebuild and we don’t just have a hazard at the gate we have a Tsunami.
    • Set up a Travelwise display board. At this stage I have no idea where to place it as we are going through a rebuild. Maybe I will create a digital display and resurrect our Travelwise pages on our school Enviro wiki and revamp that.
    • I really liked the idea about surveying our parents and identify where they drop our children off so will create a google form for that.

    After lunch, I presented our school’s trial with the Tracksafe resource framed using SOLO Taxonomy. My pechakucha ended up being presented eight times so by the end of the afternoon I was hoarse. However I was excited as I could see where Virginia Kung and I need to improve on for our Ulearn presentation when we share how we have used the resource at Newmarket School.



    Clesol Day 2

    Saturday
    Keynote Speaker: Deborah Short, TESOL International
    Using Sheltered Instruction to Develop Essential Academic Language Skills

    http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/
    Averil Coxhead 

    Give the children something interesting to talk about.
    Give verabal scaffolds for elaboration
    SOLO Taxonomy at relational by highlighting key vobabulary.

    Using word wall to make signal words explicit.

    I was fortunate to sit in on Rosa Kalauni session where she spoke about
    Secondary  Success
    At her school they choose Pasifika Teachers and put the median band children together.
    These same children attended the same classes with a Pasifika chosen teacher or a literacy class with a Pasifika chosen teacher. Rosa spoke with passion for the Tama Toa Project. Her session was well thought through and put together and I came away motivated to implement even more focussed projects at out school for our learners.

    Today was the day I shared my #TeachNZ project
    http://teachmeetnz.wikispaces.com/TeachMeetNZ_2014_3
    If you go to this link you will find my slides and also all the 3 minute presenters slides.

    Over the next few days, I will take the video and cut it down in three minute slots that the presenters can add to their digital footprints. I am excited to see the reflections begin to come in because I know that here is where the real learning takes place.

    The exciting part of running a TeachMeetNZ session is watching the confidence and interactions develop between the educators who take part. The challenge with running a virtual session face to face with a live audience is ensuring a a balance between presenters sharing their stories and having time for the face to face audience.

    After a break we moved into ‘In conversation with – Janet Holmes’, Victoria University of Wellington
    Janet gave a great presentation and I really liked the way she incorporated photos and video to break up the just listening to Death By Powerpoints that seems to be the focus of a lot of presentations I have seen at the CLESOL conference.

    I left the day early to have  rest. Then walked to the evening dinner.