New Zealand Chinese Language Week

clcw

Newmarket School recently celebrated its first Chinese Language Week. In New Zealand Chinese is the fourth-largest ethnic speaking group. However at Newmarket School it is our largest group. Our school is nearly one third Chinese and we wanted to celebrate who we are.

As a school we promoted Chinese language and culture through a range of activities. Students were involved in several events such as calligraphy, traditional Chinese games, making and cooking dumplings, investigating and creating Chinese art, eating Mooncakes, and a celebration assembly. Our children also used WeChat to talk to a kindergarten and then our sister school in China.

We had a special day on Wednesday when children were invited to celebrate their own culture by wearing traditional dress. We asked for a gold coin donation to help with the publication of a student created book telling the story of Chang E. I am still working on this with our children.

Friday was a special day for us because the youngest members of our school led our assembly. The whole school had been learning songs and a dance that we incorporated into our assembly. Mandarin has been identified by our school community as being important. So much so that we offer after school classes in addition to the language being taught in all our classes.

We have undertaken this journey because our Ministry of Education research shows that Mandarin is an upcoming global language. I also know from experience that learning a second language contributes to literacy skills in our children’s first language. As a school we are part of the Asian Language Learning in Schools (ALLiS). Therefore I am a student of Mandarin and am teaching the language to our five and six year olds.

The week long events highlighted our Chinese students and chance for them to step up and be leaders. At the same time many of our senior school students stepped up too and led morning tea game activities and supported many of the in class art activities.

We were one of the lucky schools to receive funding from the Asia New Zealand Foundation to hold events. This funding was used to purchase art equipment and Chinese food ingredients for our children.

We also had Lily Lee as a guest speaker who shared her book Sons of the Soil and told us stories of her time at Newmarket School.  Confucius Institute Auckland supported us with a guest calligrapher and support team who shared his skills with us. In addition we were most fortunate to have parents who gave time to share their skills too.

For clearer photos, do visit our school’s facebook page.

Where to next?

This coming weekend I have been invited to share our story at the Oceania Chinese Language Conference. Here is a link to my slides.

Our junior classes will continue to flatten their walls of learning as we take part in the Flat Connections Project beginning in term 4. The project is called K-2 Building Bridges to Tomorrow. We will be working with schools from around the world as we connect, collaborate and share our learning together. One way of doing this is using WeChat and all our junior school teachers are signed up and on board.

July School Holidays

I have an exciting fortnight coming up. Soon it is the New Zealand school holidays. We have two weeks and it is the middle of winter. However at Newmarket School you would not believe what an amazing day we have. I am back at school on a beautiful Saturday to work on my upcoming presentations and to finalise ELL data for term three distribution of our in class support. Those of you who know me know I look after my aging parents and this past six months have been full on as they require more of my time.

So these two weeks coming up means I get a chance to have a break as my sisters step in to support me. They know how much I enjoy sharing our learning so have agreed to take over the care of my parents while I am away. My sisters support me daily with them but during this time they will be the primary support team.

Meanwhile I will be in Nelson, then Hamilton, Auckland for two days and finally I will visit Christchurch to make up for two days missed on the TPDL course that I am involved in this year.

Part of the NZALT preparation has included gathering artifacts to share. I have been working with my Thursday student Mandarin tutors who are helping me prepare my personal introduction in Mandarin. Yes it is really hard and they are tough on my pronunciation. On Monday our Mandarin dance group have agreed to perform for the school’s leadership assembly so I will have an example of that too. Of course SOLO Taxonomy continues to drive what I do and I am especially excited to be sharing SOLO Taxonomy and English Language Learners at CLESOL and at the PPTA Pasifika Fono.

As we race towards the end of the term our school has reporting to parents and of course the leadership week.

However I know that as crazy as it seems all my colleagues are in similar situations and are hanging out for some sleep ins, the chance to do some PD in their PJ’s and the chance to catch up with each other as we share what we do in our schools.

Do share what you are doing in that fortnight. I am particularly interested in those of you taking some time for mindfullness  and well being activities. This non contact time might also be a perfect opportunity to update that blog you have been meaning to do. Remember to use the #EdBlogNZ hashtag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday presentations

Last week I attended the #GafeSummit in Auckland. The event was held at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. I have inserted access to the three presentations I attended as well as access to everyone’s presentations via the Summit Schedule.

Summit Schedule

Richard Wells Learner agency: No matter what! Slides
Molly Schroeder Google Classroom and Introduction and Best Practices Slides Google classroom can only be happy with the same domain. 

Integrates with Drive and calendar.

Can have co-teachers.

Archive with students work.

Chris Harte My World, My Maps. Slides Gets the chn curious to locate and ask good questions

Each session enabled me to  make connections and reconnect with other educators and for me to reflect on my own learning. I was excited to see some of the #TeachMeetNZ presenting for their first time and had intended on supporting them, however became very sick. So once I presented my first session and  the first day ended I went home to bed and put in apologies for my second session. For this presentation, I included several hands on moments after showing the attendees examples of what our students had created using google draw. Included also are links to educators who have a way with visual and graphic skills:

Here is my session description and my slides are above.

  • Session Description *Sonya will share how she uses Google draw to create thinking maps. She has recently used this strategy with students as part of Flat Connections Global project where students from around the world contributed to shared Google Draw maps. She has also used Google Draw with second language learners to help them plan their writing.

#Etwion Global Networking Webinair

List of presenters

My ongoing personal inquiry is teachers and how they share their learning. I am really excited to be joiningArjana and Bart   and five other global educators   ,on Tuesday 26th of April for a global networking seminar as part of their programme for European teachers called The Networked Teacher.

I will be sharing parts of my personal inquiry but from my prospective of how I have built my personal learning network. I have been asked to focus on my New Zealand connections so am extra excited to share about our part of the world to over 200 European educators in the eTwinning programme. The hashtag is #etwion so if you are up around at 5.00am do follow the hashtag. You can also follow along now and see what the attendees are learning.

 

EducampAkl

EducampAkl is amazing professional learning for teachers. This years session was coordinated by Fiona Grant and team. The hosting school was Tamaki college so we got the chance to see inside a different school.

The incredible part is that it is free and you have the opportunity to find out more about a burning question or issue that has been a little difficult to answer. You spend a day on your own professional learning and learn about edu stuff that you want to know more about. Technically the day is about you as a learner. You say what you want to learn and someone helps you learn it. I was really excited to have Belinda and Waveney join me from Newmarket School so they could see what I rave on about every year.

nps

Saturday 25th of July was fabulous and I got to meet and make connections with lots of new people and reconnect with many virtual acquaintances. One reason I attend #educampakl sessions is to put the face behind the twitter handle.

SmackDown

During the SmackDown educators are given the opportunity to share. You can access the slides from here with link,

edcamp

Photo by Fiona

I shared the upcoming #edchatnz project that I created to bring teachers together for virtual collaboration. Therefore free PD in your PJ’s.

#EduCampAKL Smackdown 2015 (1)

I shared about a twitter app called Periscope that has the facility to live stream. I have added a summary to my slide and embedded the short demonstration clip I took during Fiona Grant’s introduction.

#EduCampAKL Smackdown 2015

Today I attended sessions by @lenva @tanya @gmacmanus @codingpoet.

Pond

gerard

Gerard spent time with me and a few other visiting Pond. One of my burning questions was how easy would it be to set up a Newmarket School group in the POND. He showed us how to activate the Geo map and see our teachers and I really like this image that was generated in regards to Newmarket School.

pond

I had another lesson in curating and sharing content.  He was patient and awesome but I still had the feeling that our teachers have when they work with me and tell me you are going too fast. POND as a tool is amazing and I will continue to put in some hours to learn it because it is worth it.

Hapara Workspace

lenva

Lenva from Hapara covered Hapara Workspace. The workspace comes live on Monday.

I believe we should upgrade our package to include Hapara interact. This costs a little extra on the package and is something I will recommend we do for when we renew our license as this will allows us to help keep our students safer. We already love Hapara and the extra facility will support teachers in their work too. Anything that helps our children and teachers is worth a little extra.

TeachMeetNZ

I called together any presenters who have been on TeachMeetNZ to come for an obligatory photo, the task was like trying to herd puppies, so in the end I created a montage. Even then I still missed James. The exciting part of Educamps is meeting up again and having a bit of a catch up. I pulled in Fiona too to this one because she is presenting on the TMSydney combined with TeachMeetNZ in October. Here they all are so do follow them on twitter.

   

CKvGyJcUYAAzW-1

Photos by Waveney and Justine

I give a shoutout here for the upcoming Virtual Learning Network Webinair ‘Personalising PLD using social networks’. So pop along and register. I will be sharing TeachMeetNZ and Danielle Myburgh is sharing Edchatnz.

When: 15:45 – 16:45, 12 Aug 2015

Venue: Adobe Connect

Blogging for Educators

Tanya was running a session so I popped in and had a listen. I ninjaed her notes.

tanya

Image by Tanya

You can also find a fabulous list of New Zealand educator blogs here. You can also add yours if it is not there.

Configurator and Meraki.

codingpoet

Image by Tanya

After Tanya, I listened to Clinton sharing about Configurator and Meraki. I really like the way he speaks, as in the practicalities and how to save school money. I have found configurator a real challenge especially with purchased apps. When a teacher asks me about adding new apps to the system I now totally ignore them. However from now one I will put across to them to trial the app first on their teacher iPad using their class budget to buy the app, test it with a group of students and then write me a proposal of the value of purchasing the app for the ipads. If they can be bothered to do all that, then I can be bothered to spend hours fighting configurator to install it.   The last holidays I just could not face spending another full week updating the system. There must be a better way. I wonder if there are schools who could do with a refresher and together we fly him up for a day’s training. Clinton said that he would create self help videos so I look forward to those. Again notes are from Tanya. I also found out that iPad 2 system charges for apple apps but these are given with later models.  Clinton also cautioned against giving children printing rights on a chrome. I agree with him. I still cannot understand teachers who want children to be able to print from the chrome. As we move more and more digital, are they not aware that the doc can be shared?

Highlights

  • Learning with teachers from Newmarket School.
  • Catching up with TeachMeetNZ presenters.
  • Connecting with others watching the twitterstream.
  • Building my own learning.
  • Finishing off with pizzas and drinks from Network4Learning.

Reading other attendee reflections such as 

GAFESummit 2015 reflection

Recently I attended the GAFESummit North Island sessions held at Albany Senior College. Last year we had 6 teachers attend the summit from Newmarket School and when we returned we moved very quickly as a school. As a staff we embraced Google Apps for Education and all planning became collaborative as we moved into the transparent environment. Each team had folders and a site.

But the changes really took place this year as team leaders took control of their team sites and team blogs. Each team member had full ownership rights to both. I watched with pride as the learning spaces evolved and the speed at which information was shared with both teachers and their students.

 

Then this year, I had three teachers and myself accepted to present at the 2015 Gafesummit. As their mentor, I felt huge pride at the process each teacher underwent to prepare and then present in front of their peers. They had fabulous feedback via Twitter. I was away for the week leading up to the summit and the team got together in my absence and practiced a run through. They gave each other feedback. The experience enabled them to tweak their session and step through what they wanted to share. The practice session also enabled them to share ideas and identify how they could make their presentations even better.

 

I have been at Newmarket now for nearly 6 years and I have seen the growth in professional learning blossom as our school leaders and teachers move into making their own learning visible.

 

Myself and the management team have recently returned from an international conference and the trip confirmed that we are well on the way with what we are doing with our teachers and to continue encouraging and developing them as leaders in education.

 

I have identified that we need to provide further opportunities for collaboration outside our school. Each teacher has a Twitter account, they are all on the VLN and they all have their pond account activated. As they continue to make connections with educators outside our school I know that this will continue to have an impact on their practise and thus affecting the learning for their students.

 

I know that the educators who presented at this years GAFESummit have been changed by the experience. They were ready for the challenge and will return to school buzzing with more ideas. They will identify what they need to do next and their enthusiasm will generate the next group to step up

 

Some of my takeaways from the sessions include

  • Do not be a complacent expert but a restless learner
  • How do we find the adjacent possible in our classroom?
  • Disrupt Boredom

 

Myself I shared the TeachMeetNZ project and also took an advanced youtube session. I use youtube to mentor teachers and as a platform for them to share their learning.

Here are the teachers’ reflections who presented at GAFESummit

Here are the slides to my session ‘GAFE 2015 TeachMeetNZ’.

Here is my video introduction for my advanced youtube session.

Science

Science has been dominating my time this past few months and it has been exciting.

@mattynicoll approached me to lead the 24th of February #ScichatNZ and of course I said yes. I know Matt because we were both on the steering committee for #edchatnz and he is one of the teachers joining the #TeachMeetNZ meets #Science session.

I enjoy teaching science and learning through the Nature of Science. For those of you interested in learning how to run a twitter chat, I use the #GlobalClassroom training shared with me from @mgraffin. He is an Australian Science passionate teacher that I have met on twitter. I set up a google Doc and divided the hour up with questions. You can see the one I set up for #SciChatNZ here. Matt was fabulous is supporting me by giving me the topic. During the hour chat, I have learnt too from @ussieEDchat the importance of using a graphic for questions as this helps hold the chat together. So I created a presentation of the questions here . I exported the presentation as jpgs and tidied up the images leading up to the session.

The session was storified by @NZScienceLearn so do go back and revisit the session. I was grateful for the #SciChatnz team who rallied around me and helped ensure that the twitter chat flowed. In fact it didn’t just flow, it stormed and we trended on twitter.

One of the important lessons I learnt from @julielindsay is about keeping a record of the sharing. So I like to see some kind of an archive of chat history. This is something that the #SciChatNZ team do very well.

The other big Science collaborative project I was involved in was with Cath @NZScienceLearn. We had been coordinating a #TeachMeetNZ meets Science Session for the 21st of March. You can read more about that here.  We had a team of 8 science educators joining us and they are well known in the science education community partly because of their twitter activity and their involvement in various science projects such as #scichatnz and Science fellowship.

As part of my collaboration with Cath I was interviewed by Melissa @NZScienceTeachr on behalf of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators. You can read that interview here.

My goal this year is to understand how social media works and so I had investigated how everything linked across platforms and how traffic was driven. I observed the TeachMeetNZ youtube channel with interest. Through the work of @abfromz and @BartVerswijvel I stumbled across Thunderclap. I activated a thunderclap to help broadcast the science session and also so I could see how it drove traffic. I set up tickets in Eventbrite and I could see the huge integrations that this site had with Facebook, Twitter and instagram. In addition, I activated my Mailchimp account that had been dormant for a while. I used the TeachMeetNZ meets Science session to play with many of the tools.

Science at Newmarket School has many links. In particular the work we did with @S_Heeps. I had @BelindaHitchman join me from School in the TeachMeetNZ session. In addition we had @Doctor_Harves join us at school for a visit.

My SOLOtaxonomy thinking hat is excited because I believe that my work with TeachMeetNZ is moving into relational thinking. I am having other educators put their hand up to host a session. Yes I can already see where it needs to go for extended abstract thinking here in New Zealand. But I need a few more strong Google + educators with a working understanding of youtube.

Hey Tony, thanks for sharing a viewer’s perspective. The fun is in the connecting and collaborating sessions. Thanks too with your support in Pond, Google + and Twitter.

The term is nearly over

Reflection near the end of term allows me to sort out my thoughts and helps me make sense of the speed that sometimes happens in my thinking. This post is a way of sifting through how I am thinking.

 

Science

Science at Newmarket School has many links. The school has recently completed a science contract under the guidance of Susan Heeps. Last year Virginia Kung and her work with science was featured under the Future Focused Learning site.

During the recent #TeachMeetNZ meets #Science session Belinda Hitchman @BelindaHitchman from Newmarket School shared her work that was carried out in regards to using coding. She explained the links between understanding coding and understanding science. Recently I led a #scichatnz live twitter chat. You can read about the how the session was developed on a post on the Scichatnz blog.

The TeachMeetNZ meets Science session was a collaborative process between myself and Catherine Battersby from the Science Learning Hub. However what began as a duo chatting face to face soon became a full group of science educators making connections on twitter and google +, creating a presentation to share in a google hangout, learning and supporting each other with the tools, celebrating during and after the event and then sharing via a reflective blog post for the education community. As part of my collaboration with Cath I was interviewed by Melissa @NZScienceTeachr on behalf of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators. You can read that interview here.

Using Social Media for learning

My goal this year is to understand how social media works and so I have been investigating how everything links across platforms and how traffic is driven. I observed the TeachMeetNZ youtube channel with interest and was particularly interested in the way the channel took a spike during each session and then how this was sustained over a period of time after each event.. Through my online involvement  I stumbled across Thunderclap which is a social media tool that allows broadcasting across several social media sites at the same time. A thunderclap was activated to help broadcast the TeachMeetNZ Science session and also  to see how traffic was driven. In addition I set up tickets in Eventbrite and could identify the integrations that this site has with Facebook, Twitter and instagram. In addition, I have reactivated my Mailchimp account that has been dormant for a while as this allowed access to subscribers to events.

I used the TeachMeetNZ meets Science session to play with many of the social media tools.

 

TeachMeetNZ goal

Recently I had a discussion with Julie Lindsay and she asked me what my goals were for TeachMeetNZ. My  goal for TeachMeetNZ is for the process to continue to evolve. I have identified that my work with teachers and the site is moving into relation thinking using SOLOtaxonomy because each year I have had a teacher take on the task of hosting an event. Therefore other educators are making the link of the importance of teachers sharing their practice. A few other educators have indicated a willingness to host a session. So far I have had Tim Gander hosted a TeachMeetNZ meets PE, Steve Mouldey hosted TeachMeetNZ meets Geography and now Cath Battersby hosted TeachmeetNZ meets Science. Coming up there is a session for Samoan teachers and a session for Maori teachers. In October Matt Esterman has agreed to cohost with me again as we run a second ‘Across the Ditch’ TeachMeetNZ where we combine TeachMeetNZ with TMSydney.

The real goal of TeachMeetNZ is about educators making learning to network and make connections with each other outside their school bubble and having fun learning collaboratively.

 

Youtube as a vehicle for sharing continues to evolve and for the next topic focussed TeachMeetNZ  I recommend a drop in presenter numbers and having a larger support team. For example having a separate time keeper then enables me to move silently in the background and concentrate on cameras and sound. In addition having the twitter broadcaster join the hangout and even have a live blogger record the event in progress. It does take time to train a team, however the event quality is worth it. For the next subject specific TeachMeetNZ these recommendations will be put to the host because ultimately the session is for a teacher to practice reciprocity and help with coordinating and running the session.

 

Leaving a legacy

TeachMeetNZ is about teachers leaving a legacy for the education community. This can be in the way of twitter microblogging and being curated using storify, it is in the youtube clips, the slides that are made available to the community via the wiki, it is in the reflective blog posts that eventuate about the sessions and the process.

Where to Next: 

Currently  TeachMeetNZ educators create their own presentations on something they are passionate about. Each session is about bringing a group of educators together to make connections with each other online and to share their learning.

Using all of my own learning frameworks, I have identified that my next big step using youtube is all about collaboration. I am planning for teachers to work together and create an artefact like I learnt how when becoming FlatConnection Certified. Through the work I do with Pam Hook, I have identified networking to learn as thinking relationally because teachers working collaboratively together strengthens their understanding about making links with each other and with a topic.

If an artefact is co-created  then abstract thinking is extended. This was highlighted in the edbookNZ project that happened during Connected Educators month. The educators taking part informed me that they had more fun learning with each other during the process.

 

Teachers collaborating and networking to learn

So the edbooknz collaborative site is ready and I have put my hand up to organise and coordinate this during Connected Educator month in October. I will use all my learning around social media and educators to drive this years #edbooknz project. It will be wiki based so all learning will be public. This will drive extended abstract thinking because many educators come together, make links and cocreate a product in live time and with a realtime audience.

 

Final Question

Will you say yes to this collaborative opportunity? Will you allow your learning to be on display in real time? If you are keen to be one of the team leaders, then let me know.