Parent Engagement and Participation

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I learnt how to use this fabulous tool on youtube where the transcript can be extracted. Earlier this week our Across School Leaders in the Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS)  presented their years work as a short video. I exported the transcript into a spreadsheet, removed the times, copied and pasted the text into a doc and then created a word cloud using https://voyant-tools.org.

What came through strongly in the key terms used were agency, teacher, student and school. Other words to be expected were learning, leaders, professional, collaboration, feedback.

However the word I would love to see appear was parents. But this was not. I know in our  Pāngarau/Mathematics  Initiative which I led, we had parents as one of our key areas.

As we move into 2019 I wonder how we can include parents and whanau more into what we do as school leaders. Our initial achievement challenge document included this key area and we fought to have it included and passed for our ACCoS but it seems to have fallen under our headlights.

Maybe each initiative can include our parents and ways to include them as one of their goals when they create their Action Plans for next year.

Again I am looking at this from a leadership view across our schools  but as I dig deeper and push right down into our professional learning groups within schools or PLGs, I wonder what their improvement plans look like and if parents even receive a mention.

We are so much better at focussing on our agency with our children and now our teachers. Maybe it is time to also highlight agency with our parents and families. By stressing a focus in this area, a greater consciousness will be raised of the importance of parents and whanau in their children’s learning.

What are your thoughts? Do your parents and whanau feature strongly in your Action Plans in your Communities of Learning. Can I see this if I search for it?

 

Gaualofa: A trip back down memory lane.

E LEAI SE GAUMATA’U, NA O LE GAUALOFA

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What you do out of love will live forever.

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Gaualofa in Okahu Bay. I ❤️ this this photo which includes the self made buoys from left over Jandal material and bound in netting. Effective use and repurposing of rubber.

An old school friend Maselina from St Mary’s Savalalo, Samoa tagged me on facebook and said did I know that the Gaualofa was back in Auckland. She suggested I take some time to come down to Okahu Bay and show my support.

I was super excited.  In April 2011 I had been privileged to catch a ride on the Gaualofa. You can read that story here.

The Gaualofa is  an example of Samoa’s double-hulled voyaging canoe. To this day I still have fond memories of the excitement I had sailing on this traditional Va’atele and remembered stories of my great grandmother sailing between islands. You can learn more about the Gaualofa by reading this description.

In 2012 Gaualofa was gifted to the Samoa Voyaging Society by Okeanos Foundation for the Sea founder by Dieter Paulmann and his wife Hanna.

I got the chance to speak with Schannel Fanene van Dijken, President of the Samoan Voyaging Society and who works for Conservation International Samoa. He explained, The Samoan Voyaging Society (SVS) is a non-profit Samoan organisation that is reviving the heritage of traditional ocean voyaging/navigation and environmental stewardship with new generations of Samoans and other Pacific Islanders. The Society is the caretaker of the Gaualofa, a 22-meter Samoan traditional Va’a or Vaka (Ocean sailing double hulled voyaging canoe) which is used as a platform to deliver traditional navigation/way-finding and ocean and environmental education programming around Samoa and surrounding Islands. The Va’s is our floating classroom with our main goal to enhance the environmental knowledge and importance of caring for our environment amongst our Pacific people, provided by our 14 – 16 trained crew onboard. Since 2009, the Vaʻa Gaualofa has sailed more than 40,000 nautical miles. The Society’s work has been recognised and supported by the Samoan Government, the United States, Chinese and NZ Embassies in Samoa, Okeanos Foundation, Disney, and Conservation International.”

Schannel  stressed that “the New Zealand voyage is an important one. Not only does this allow us to honor and celebrate our shared ancestral bonds with our Maori aiga, but also highlight to our Samoan based aiga who we are and what we represent.”

Via Conservation International

The theme of aiga is an important one to the crew and to the wider Aiga Folau because the not-for-profit organisation works not only to revive Samoa’s traditional sailing and navigation skills but also our past stewardship responsibilities that promoted sustainable land and ocean resource use amongst communities.

  • Read Samoa Planets article: Aiga Folau o Samoa bring the Gaualofa to Aotearoa to get an insight into Aiga Folau President Schannel Fanene van Dijken and Vice President of Aiga Folau, and Tulafale for the Gaualofa, Lauaki Lavata’i Afifi Mailagi sharing about the hopes to strengthen bonds with their Maori whanau.
  • Maori TV ran an excerpt on the journey to Aotearoa and the  Samoan Observer followed the conversation of the SVS and the work they to raise awareness about the environment.

The Gaualofa event is also a reminder for us at Newmarket School to continue our enviro work. Our children completed a beach clean up at Okahu Bay a few years ago and it is a timely reminder to keep revisiting our schools goals of being sustainable. I know my recent visit to Tiritirimatangi was a bit of a shock because I was there soon after a storm and spent a few hours collecting plastic off my favourite beach. But not just the soil and water sustainability but also the air because we need clear skies to read the stars. So the sustainable work I have done with my students in regards to clean air all helps.

The crew will spend the next month preparing their vessel and participate at the Auckland Anniversary weekend Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival.

They will then set sail north to the Bay of Islands for Waitangi Day celebrations on the 6th of February. After that they will sail alongside Haunui and Ngahiraka mai Tawhitithe down the west coast to participate at the Pacific Climate Change conference and the New Zealand Festival in Wellington as they are part of the central participants at the ‘Waka Odyssey in February’. 

The Gaualofa will be in Wellington until 28th Feb then sail up west coast again to Porirua for another set of community events, going into early March. Finally they plan to leave New Zealand from Kawhia mid March and make the 2000 mile voyage home to Samoa in April.

The crew will be engaging with the public and schools during these sails and events. There will be many public sails, school visits with the goal of promoting culture and environment.

Maselina and I spent a few hours down at Okahu Bay catching up.  I have not her seen face to face for forty five years.  But because of social media time is not that important. In addition I met several members of the 2018 custodians of the Gaualofa such as Trevor who comes from the same district of Falealili as my family, Jamal who is from the Tamasese family and Xavier. I found out later that Xavier has one daughter called Nafanua after the Goddess of War. Nafanua’s weapon of choice was known as Ulimasao and that is also my online name.

Later I was also able to meet several of the other crew members. I was super excited to catch up with Fealofani Brunn who now captains the Gaualofa and also Kalolo Steffany who is now the navigator for the Gaualofa.

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          Some of the crew enjoying some lunch.                                                  Myself, Maselina and Fealofani.

The current crew of Gaualofa.

Anna Bertram Secretary
Sa’oleititi Caroline Duffy cultural affairs and protocols
Fealofani Brunn Captain
Jamal Tamasese Crew, Recipient of 2017 Environmental Heroes Leadership Programme
Kalolo Steffany Navigator
Kevin Samia
Leo
Lauaki Lavata’i Afifi Mailagi Vice President and Tulafale
Maoluma Onesemo Crew Representative on SVS so executive committee.
Roman Waterhouse Crew
Sai Crew
Schannel Fanene van Dijken Conservation International Samoa –

President of the Samoan Voyaging Society

Semo Crew
Seniu Crew
Sose Crew
Trevor Crew
Xavier Lui Membership and outreach officer on SVS executive

To give you an idea of the sort of activities  SVS are doing with the Gaualofa, check out the following links to see the pilot community program carried out earlier in 2017 with taking the Disney movie “Moana” around Samoa.

For more information


To support The Aiga Folau o Samoa and their journey to raise awareness about our ocean 

you can contribute via their website and head along to one of two upcoming fundraising events in January to raise funds for the general maintenance of the Gaualofa and provisioning of the crew.

South Auckland

WHERE: St Mary’s Parish Hall Papakura

WHEN: Friday 20 January 2018

Central West Auckland

ticket

Other ways you can help.

http://gaualofa.com/support-svs/

Below are some of what I saw that you could help with.

$1000.00 help us replace one of our beams. We have 12 beams that need some loving.
$200.00 helps us buy our weather jackets. We have 16 crew members.
$100 helps us waterproof the storage boxes. We have 4 of those.

Anyone have access to a communications provider that can help them with mobile DATA access?

$100 helps us buy a week’s worth of food provision per member.  Again we have 16 members and we are in Aotearoa for 14 weeks.

 

Bah Humbug to 2018.

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This is just a reflection of 2017.

Aspects of 2017 that were most rewarding or satisfying and why?

Probably my most rewarding outcomes was my work with teachers. Some example include working with the ACCoS Community. I was excited to see the growth of members of the Across School Leaders as they took up the challenge of sharing their work on TeachMeetNZ and at ULEARN.

I was also excited to complete another #EdBookNZ project where educators from around New Zealand write 1000 word blog post.

I continued to work in the background with my colleagues and curate #EdBlogNZ where we share teachers blogs.

I passed Google Educator Level 1 and learnt heaps in the process.

I attended #EducampAKL hosted at Aorere College.

Within my own school, I collated our student data as I have normally done and analysed changed in ethnicities, progress and general trends.

I was also really satisfied with the outcome of visiting China as part of the China Scholarship Programme to Beijing developed by ILEP, Confucius, Hanban and the New Zealand Ministry of Education. I had my reflection post cross posted on several other sites. Part of my learning involved me developing a music programme using Mandarin formulaic expressions to create rhythms.

 

Aspects of the year that were the least rewarding or satisfying and why?

I have found learning Chinese a real challenge this year. I set up vocabulary in script form and have been endeavouring to learn them, but I have found the process incredibly challenging. I undertake this journey to continually remind myself how hard it is being a language learner and continue to build empathy for the language learners and their families whom I work with.

The other side of being an Across School Leader is the amount of time I am out of my own school. I needed to restructure my time to daily blocks or I felt that my own students were missing out.

My father passed away which kind of knocked me back. Probably more so during the holidays because I am at home. At the same time his death brought all my sisters and my sons home so it was a chance to reflect on his life.

I flunked two exams. Both I was not expecting to fail but fail I did.

What I have found interesting about this year is that I am not as busy on social media as in leading events and discussions but have found myself more as the goose flying at the back and supporting others leading at the front.

Where to next

My role at Newmarket School continues to change and evolve and with change comes the feeling of uncertainty. I am no longer in charge of ESOL or with ICT. I have stepped down from my role as the Travelwise Lead Teacher. This changes are to do with our Community of Learners- ACCoS. I am now leading the Mathematics initiative for our Communities of Learners and this involves two other schools. So again I will be the goose flying at the back supporting other staff to take the lead in these areas.

I am very much about growing others and look forward positively and yet with some trepidation at the loosening of the reigns of leadership. I believe we are in for another year of chaos. Our school has been gutted and our new building is still about a term away. We have a change in staff and that brings delights and challenges. We are tinkering with leadership responsibilities that heightens the concept of chaos and will test normal social and digital structures. So to be honest I feel like all scaffolding has been kicked out from under me, again.

I know that out of chaos better things happen, but at this stage on the first day of 2018, I just want to be the caterpillar. I have no interest in being a beautiful butterfly. I will be a butterfly in another post and sprinkle fairy dust when I can be bothered emerging from my cocoon.  

Blogs and Sites

This piece of writing is to clear my head. I have so many ideas whorling around that I am forced to take a moment to clarify my thinking. I am not quite sure where I am going with this piece but really wanted to clear my thoughts.

Blogs

The major idea is about transparency. I have been thinking about #EdBlogNZ where New Zealand teachers blogs are curated. For me personally the site has grown into being a reference of New Zealand Education and I often pop in to see current trends happening.

The site does not have everything about education on it, but what it does provide is a window to what is happening in schools nationally.

What I find really interesting about educators who take time from the busyness of the job to reflect on a variety of topics and share their learning is how do others in our profession do justice to the Registered Teachers Practice if they are not curating what they do in such a public way.

I guess I liken it to seeing folders stacked on the teachers table with their appraisal documentation and I state- So what?

The next steps I note is cutsey folders in the cloud with all documentation and again I state – So what? Yes it is digital, but I wonder how findable. I wonder how shared those folders are so that others can see? And yes you can create artefacts that gloss over names and personal data. At the end of the day blogging offers stories and the opportunity to glimpse a snapshot of what is happening that frankly, cannot be seen behind a locked digital or paper folder.

At my school this year we have 12 teachers and out of this 12 we had at least 4 regular bloggers. The others have not updated at all in 2017. Being a blogger myself, I had aimed to up my reflections to one a week, but again tracking back over the year, it was more like one a month.

Here are some interesting facts about EdBlogNZ. Currently there are 174 teachers who blog with 67.2% female and 32.8% male. Under principals there are 31 with over half male at 54.8% and 42.5% female. Under facilitators there are 29 with 79.3% female and 20.7% male. What the site cannot do is archive key words or ideas and in order to dig deeper with this would require accessing each site.

Often I hear school leaders say, oh we have most of our teachers who blog. I have been tracking #EdBlogNZ since March of 2014 so I believe we have built a reasonably accurate picture of reflective practitioners and what I conclude with is there is not nearly enough of educators who share their stories.

I often say to teachers if I cannot see what you do then it does not exist which was something I learned from my Flat Connections certification.

Planning and sites

I have embraced google apps for education for the ease of sharing that the tools have provided. I like the way the apps allows multiple access to the same artefacts that is totally easy to do. For example if a video is stored on youtube, I can link it in Docs, I can embed it into slides, I can embed it into sites and blogger. I can also embed it into wordpress.

When I nosey around planning I am interested in how the planning evolves over time and what tools come to the surface. For example, at my school I have watched one team embrace sheets for planning and have observed how the sheets are continually shifting and evolving as the teachers become much more knowledgeable at how to manipulate the information so that it becomes like a hyperdocument. I really like their use because sheets offer a terms planning using one document and tabs are used to differentiate for the different weeks.

I observe another team using calendar in an advanced way that is like an advanced planning system and the neat idea is this is accessible by the students in the team. This same team also uses sheets to drive the calendar. Yet I can see that calendar is much more efficient and really I believe they are duplicating the workload using both. As they bring in new staff who are new to the collaborative planning ideas, I think they will continue to use both until the new people have used and understand the system.

So the challenge can be when schools insist on one way of doing things and ‘coerce’ all staff to follow a templated way of doing things. Don’t get me wrong. Some items for accountability are non negotiable but I believe that teachers need to show how they are continuously evolving with the tools. We all know how fast these change. For example I am playing in new google sites and have always believed that sites are perfect for curating all manners of artefacts. Yet I struggle to find any teachers at my school who use sites for planning.

I maintain our staff site using Google sites and use it to curate important pieces of information and embed artefacts that aid the running of the school. In our staff site, there are slides, sheets, calendar, folders and docs embedded in a variety of ways.

We began using a staff site in 2014 and each year I duplicate the master site and added the year to the duplicate and then this was archived. Over the past three years the site moved quickly in structure and design. Until the current site worked. So for 2018, I created our staff site using new google sites and used the lessons learned to structure it in such a way that it is much easier to navigate. But am not sure what to do at the end of 2018 when I generally curate the site and restructure it to show our current school trends. New Google sites cannot yet be duplicated.

I look forward to seeing how systems continue to evolve in 2018. I hope to see other tools used for curating, reflecting and for collaboration. It is always exciting when I see teachers and students co construct artefacts for learning. What tools do you use in your work?

 

EdBookNZ

edbooknzEdbookNZ has just been published. Again I thank the educators who accepted the challenge of writing approximately 1000 words to unpack current educator jargon.

This is the third year that this project has taken place as part of October’s Connected Educator month.

So in total we have had over 30 educators take part in writing a 1000 word blog post. I want to give a shout out to them for sharing their learning with the education community.

If you want to read the series they can be found https://issuu.com/ulimasao/stacks/a27ca905f7894faebabbd29b9fc9d5f7

21st Century Learning Dr Wendy Kofoed –
Adaptive technologies Dr Michael Harves
Connected Educators/Learners Sonya Van Schaijik –
Cover Design & Explanation 2016 Terry Beach
Cover Design & Explanation 2015 Tristan Pang
Cover Design & Introduction 2014 Pam Hook
Cultural responsiveness Annemarie Hyde
Cyber/Digital Citizenship Monika Kern –
Data driven pedagogy Stuart Kelly
Digital Collaboration Craig Kemp –
Digital Communities Karen Melhuish Spencer –
Digital Learning Tools Richard Wells –
Disruptive learning Philippa Nicoll Antipas –
Effective schools Dr Wendy Kofoed –
Flipped Learning Nathaniel Louwrens
Future Focused Pedagogy Philippa Nicoll Antipas –
Innovative Learning Sonya Van Schaijik
Learner Agency – more than just a buzzword! Claire Amos
Learner efficacy – Leonie Bennett
Learners as creators James Anderson
Manaakitanga Te Mihinga Komene
Mindfulness Sonya Van Schaijik –
Modern Learning Environments Annemarie Hyde
On sharing the same space and good intentions Pam Hook
On teaching agriculture in our schools Christine Fernyhough
Steam: What is STEAM or STEAM Education? Kat Gilbert-Tunney
Teacherpreneurs, Twitter and Transformation Sandra Jenkins
The Collaborative Classroom Al Ingham
Ubiquitous learning Kerri Thompson
Wānanga Nichole Gully
Whanaungatanga Tahu Paki –

 

ToD

I had a go at visual notetaking on our Teacher Only Days. Below you can see what I captured from Lynne’s talk on Phonological awareness and Chris Clays session on Innovation. From what I learnt during the process, I have too much colour and too many shapes. I also need to work more on my layout and frame them using HOTMaps.

In addition, several staff microblogged via twitter using our school’s hashtag #NPSFab and this was curated using storify.

phonological awareness

Innovation

Walk2School Campaign

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Towards the end of last term  Newmarket School have taken part in the Flat Connections Global Project, ‘A Week in the life.’ I am one of the lead teachers in the project and I oversee 5 global student teams under the theme of ‘Environmental Impact on Health’. One sub theme is to do with Air Quality of which is important to me. I am Newmarket School’s Travelwise Lead Teacher. I have found out that Auckland city has double the air pollution of Sydney and sometimes our air quality is on par with Tokyo. As a school that is situated right beside the Auckland motorway and our school entrance shares the same road as one of that motorways busiest arterial routes, I have concerns about what we as a school can do to raise awareness about the quality of our city’s air.

I have been the Travelwise lead teacher for three years now. This week the Travelwise team contributed their part to helping Auckland’s air pollution problem by leading the whole school in a Walk2School Campaign. I wanted the children to realise that our city’s air problem is our problem and whatever small part we can play will help an overall global effort.

school Maptravelwise

It has been an interesting learning curve for me to try and sit back and encourage the students to lead. I worked with 4 main members and each had a task to oversee with support.

The main leader began drafting the week towards the end of last term as part evidence for his leadership badge. He created a poster advertising the campaign and then stood up at an earlier school assembly this term to highlight the upcoming event.

Travelwise Notice

He brought on board a second Travelwise member who agreed to support and help. She helped with advertising.

A third member was brought in who suggested setting up a google form to collate data.

campaign

This week the campaign was carried out and the rest of the Travelwise team were involved by walking with a designated teacher around our school to help provide incentives for children who are dropped off. Each day a staff member agreed to become involved and take their turn with the Travelwise team.

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A fourth Travelwise member collated all the data and kept track of the kilometers covered. At the end of the week we had walked 681km.  While we did not walk the length of New Zealand as targeted we did manage to pass Hamilton. Next year we will run the campaign each term and aim for Bluff by December. 

Each day one Travelwise member took the list of children who took part in either walking to and from school and or walked or ran around the school during break times and randomly selected a winning student. They won a daily Travelwise prize consisting of goodies distributed by Travelwise.

At the end of the week a special draw was taken and included in the big prize was a 3D medal  crafted by a year 4 student and printed using our 3D printer kindly donated by Newmarket Rotary. 

Badge

From our total school 167 children took part over the week or approximately 60% of our school. Some staff members also took part including our principal Dr Kofoed who walked to school and caught the bus home. 

This campaign is a beginning of something bigger that I have planned for next year with the Travelwise team.

Our next step is to learn more about air pollution in our city and at the end of next week we have a skype session set up with an air scientist from the Auckland regional council. My next step as a lead teacher in the Flat Connection Global student project is having the students compare cities air quality and list some steps that they can take to help the cause.

Air quality is important because it is part of our environment. Like other important natural resources we need to look after our air.

Of course being the Travelwise Lead Teacher, I walked every day. But I did not win any prizes.