Matariki

I already have a history with the waka hourua (double hulled canoes).

 In 2011 I was privileged to catch a ride on Gaulalofa. This year I spotted an advertisement on Facebook  for Tirotiro Whetū, a free event offered as part of Matariki and was sponsored by AMI Insurance. The opportunity was too good to miss and so I jumped at the chance to ride another waka hourua.

We climbed aboard Aotearoa One for a special vessel for a three-hour sailing trip out on the Waitemata Harbour. Aotearoa One is a modern take on a traditional hourua (double hulled) waka and was launched in 2003 for Te Wananga o Aotearoa at their Mangere Campus in Auckland. This evening the boat was skippered by Dale and crewed by members of Te Toki Waka Hourua. The main message from Dale was ‘Don’t fall in the water.’

We set out from Orakei Marina and headed out into the Waitemata Harbour. The evening was cold and luckily we had been warned to come prepared. So I did with thermals, a hat, gloves, scarf and a waterproof jacket. On the way the sun went down and the sails were hoisted. We sailed past Auckland Business district to a beautiful display of fireworks for Bastille Day. The sun dipped lower and lower and with it the changing evening colours reflected in the clouds. Eventually we were in darkness and the city lights reflected on the water. 

Unfortunately the sky was overcast but that did not stop the stories. We sailed under the Auckland Harbour Bridge and Ataahua Papa, Matariki Festival Director for Auckland Council, explained the Vector Lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge. She narrated us through the light sequence. She explained how this year’s host iwi for Matariki Festival, Waikato-Tainui, created the stunning display of lights. More can be read here. The full sequence took just over eight minutes.

As we motored back Hoturoa Kerr  shared his knowledge about traditional Maori and Polynesian culture and sailing methods. I loved hearing the stories of my ancestors. With the stories, we were served warm soup and a roll and then a mug of hot lemon drink. This came at a good time because by now the cold was settling in. 

Finally we arrived back at the marina and disembarked. 

My reflection, wow what an incredible experience going out at night on a waka hourua. I felt Manaakitanga as we were taken care of so well by the crew. I felt whanaungatanga as part of the events of Matariki that brings all of us together to share in an experience. I thought about my key word of Turangawaewae where I am learning more about who I am and my place in the world as I learn more about my past.

To everyone involved in the Matariki organisations for Auckland, thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for making this evening possible. To AMI Insurance, please continue with your awesome support within our community. To Ata and Hoturoa and the crew of Aoteroa One extra special thanks go out to you for your time and for sharing your knowledge with us.

Post Graduate Studies

Over the past two years I have been leading the Mathematics Initiative for the Auckland Central Community of Schools. (ACCoS)

This year I wanted to continue to develop and to maintain knowledge and skills relevant for my performance as an Across School Leader of Mathematics in ACCoS.

One of the areas I identified as needing further learning, was growing my own knowledge about Mathematics for learning.

I applied for and received funding support for a Post Graduate Paper in Mathematics.

I was also extra lucky because Virginia, our initiative Champion for Mathematics, is an Adjunct Lecturer for the Auckland University and Newmarket School is a university partner school. Through our school’s involvement with the university, the other part of my paper’s fees were covered.

Together Virginia and I undertook the paper at postgraduate level. EDCURRIC 714: Exploring Mathematical Thinking.

A decade has passed since I have studied at post graduate level and so I undertook the challenge of completing the paper. The extra pressure of having the fees paid for was my greatest incentive to complete the course. I believe that if I had not that incentive I could have very easily given up.

Those of you who know me might have wondered where I had disappeared over the past few months. I have been surviving.

The course overview indicated that we would focus on critiquing historical number systems as a way of illuminating theoretical issues, and informing our teaching practice, around learning number and place value concepts.

I always believe and say that I would never ask teachers to do something I was not prepared to do myself. I am conscious that my maths is not as strong as it could be and I remembered the year I spent extra time learning maths with one of my teachers when I first arrived in New Zealand. I also remembered a high school teacher spending time with me to help strengthen strategies in preparation for school examinations. My brother in law also spent many afternoons helping me with my maths knowledge and I passed high school maths, but only just enough to get me through.

So maths for me has always been a challenge.

This post graduate paper introduced me to Ancient Egyptian Mathematics and Ancient Greek Mathematics. We learnt how our ancient maths ancestors developed their systems of calculations and we made links of how we could transfer this learning for when we teach children. One section of tasks was to test our children and evaluate where their gaps were. The gaps we identified for was Place Value. As educators we must take this part of mathematics seriously because most of maths knowledge hinges on place value knowledge.

What I learnt doing the course was a lot of what I needed could not be googled. I used youtube as much as possible to help with explanations because the research reading we were given made very little sense. Maybe because the topic I chose was not an area of strength, like language acquisition would have been.

Some of what I did to help with clarification and understanding was to use digital readings and flick them through word clouds so that I could identify what the key ideas might be. I also used free summariser to shorten huge reading down into an understandable paragraph. Therefore when I reread the whole article, I had a sense of what it was about.

As assignment deadlines loomed, I also gave up hope of achieving with excellence and just focussed on completing the assignment and uploading it on time.

I created a couple of videos to help me explain thinking, but learnt quickly that one minute of video equals approximately 100 words of writing and yet took a whole day to create.

My learning from completing the paper was identifying gaps in children’s mathematics and what to do about it. But would I do another paper?? Maybe. However I believe my other professional learning developments add to my microcredentialling such as completing Hapara Training where we focussed on Andragogy, or the book I cowrote with Pam Hook using SOLO Taxonomy, or the Global Educator Certificate with Julie Lindsay, or the collaborative projects I lead such as EdBookNZ where I have worked with forty educators to create collaborative books for education, or the TeachMeetNZ project where I have worked with 120 educators sharing their learning in three minute videoed presentations, or all the conference presentations and staff development I have led, as well as twitter for up to date professional readings, have contributed more to my professional learning than completing a written paper on my own. My other challenge with post graduate studies at Auckland University is that none of my other achievements count towards a qualification and yet they accept educators coming in with a Diploma of Education at Masters Level. I wonder what their digital portfolios look like and if they even share them.

I had Ginny with me and we had plenty of discussion which really helped. However more could have happened in a collaborative way. Yes we had group discussions and group problem solving, but we did not take that collaboration further. More could have happened in co-construction and co-creating. The online learning seemed really surface. There is a massive range of tools out there that could be used to help with co-creating. The simplest being google docs. Knowledge is the start and that is what this paper did. But now to take that knowledge and set up ways that our teachers and students can cocreate with it. I have ideas for maths week.

My Cumulative GPA currently stands at 5.361. But that is still not enough just to do the research component, I have to go back and do more university papers at post graduate certificate level and like I said all the other collaborative work I have done makes no difference.

I finish by thanking my school, Newmarket School, the University of Auckland, the Ministry of Education for covering my fees. However my biggest thanks goes to Virginia Kung, our initiatives champion who prodded me into doing more than just leading the Mathematics Initiative.

Yes I did pass.

Dr Patisepa Vaitimu Tuafuti

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Dr Patisepa Vaitimu Tuafuti passed away last week.

Not only was she a teacher trainer, she was also a mother, grandmother, tireless community person and a dear friend.

I first met Pati in January 1995, when I undertook my first paper for the National diploma of Education. At that time Pati was Pasifika Education Advisor and worked in the Advisory service at Kohia Teachers Centre. She worked closely with Samoan teachers in the Auckland Region to establish the Ulimasao Bilingual Education Association Inc.

We became firm friends.

Over the years I learnt more about Pati and we connected through several links. Such as connections with our families in Samoa. Historically our Gafa crosses paths in the villages of Afega and Manono in Samoa.

She was one of the few people who did not hesitate to tell me if I she thought I was neglecting my learning. Through Pati’s gentle encouragement I completed my National Diploma of TESSOL whilst raising a young family and working full time. She took me under her wings and encouraged me to further my learning both academically, service to community work, and to growing my Samoan language and culture.

She helped steer me on the path of first language maintenance. When I first knew her my Samoan had become rusty through lack of use. However she encouraged me to present in Samoan and to run teacher workshops in Samoan and to speak at community events in Samoan. My oral Samoan is now very strong.

I was going through my photos of Pati and sure enough it was a real challenge to locate her as often she would hover behind. She would always pushing others to the front. That was her way. Always the mentor behind us. Push is not a strong enough word for Pati. Somehow or other I would always say yes to anything she asked of me. She had a gentle way of persuasion.

Together we visited Samoa in 2000 for the Fagasa annual conference and then visited her sister and family in Savaii and her brother and family in Afega.

We attended the CLESOL conference in Wellington in 2002.

In 2003, we co-presented at the LED conference in Hamilton.

Together we went and presented in Hawaii at the annual Fagasa conference in 2004.

We attended the CLESOL conference in Christchurch in 2004 where she was invited to be a plenary speaker and it was where she shared the earlier research of her PHD.

We were both on the Auckland CLESOL Conference Steering committee in 2000.

We were on the steering committee for both Ulimasao’s conferences. The one held in Auckland in 2002 and the second conference in 2005, one where 200 educators visited Samoa. Both conferences stressed the importance of Bilingualism but not at the expense of first language maintenance.

Over the years we have watched our children grow up. She would often attend my children’s celebrations and I would often be at hers. Over the past few years, celebrations centred around her grandchildren of whom she was immensely proud.

In 2016, Pati graduated with her Doctorate of Philosophy in Education.  Her thesis was titled ‘Pululima Faifai Pea.‘ Her expertise and educational experiences were in the areas of Language Acquisition, Bilingual Education/Bilingualism, Critical Theory & Critical Literacies, Empowerment Education for Minorities and Raising Achievement for Pacific children within the NZ educational system. Her research on bilingualism, empowerment, critical pedagogy and power relation was influenced strongly by the work of Jim Cummins and Stephen May.

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

You can tell a true Samoan by behaviour  and speech.

Pati was hugely influenced in fa’asamoa knowledge and epistemologies by experts such as Professor Aiono Fanaafi Le Tagaloa and Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese and many other Samoan elders. She followed their examples of service to the community. She would say to me that alongside research, one must always be an active member of the community being researched. 
Pati, manuia lou malaga ma e fetaui i le Pule muamua i le lagi.

Alofaaatu le uso pele.

 

Funeral details for Patisepa Tuafuti

Pati

Teacher Only Days- reflection

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Each year at Newmarket school we usually begin the year with teacher only days. I have been at a school that had them at the end of the year and both times have positives and challenges. This time I was ready for some learning because I have been really busy with family and my garden during the summer holidays. Usually I read heaps in the holidays but this vacation I have not done as much. Below is a summary of what I learnt


Emergency procedures

As a school Wade Harrison from RED Consultancy,  helped us revisit our ‘Emergency procedures’. We began the new year with several new members and so it was timely to go over Planning and preparing for emergencies and traumatic incidents.


PaCT Tool

Three years ago together with several members of staff, I attended my first training with PaCT at the Ministry of Education Symposium held at Ellerslie. Last year our ISL created a Hapara space on our Staff Workspace to guide teachers in using PaCT with mathematics. You can check that link here. The PaCT section is green.

This week we had Nadine Sorresen from evaluation associates run a days professional learning with us using PaCT.

The session with Nadine was just in time learning for me. She took us through the power of PaCT and reminded us about its interrelationship with the Learning Progression Framework.

To explain it simply PaCT is the engine that unlocks algorhythms when we make Overall Teacher Judgements using the Learning Progression Framework.

The Learning Progression Framework Illustrates the Curriculum visually.

Three key words from PaCT to know are

  • Aspects
      • Aspect are the big ideas within each curriculum areas.
      • Some aspects have smaller sets and this indicates smaller increments.
      • The aspects cover learning from Year 1-year 10.
      • They do NOT Correspond with curriculum levels and do NOT increase year by year.
  • Sets
      • Sets are within the aspects and break down those big ideas into smaller increments of learning.
      • Help with decision making as illustration examples are wide and varied.
  • Illustrations
    • Are visual examples of learning at each level so that as teachers we can track and confirm our judgement before using the PaCT tool to give a clearer picture.

Below are the Aspects we make Overall Teacher Judgement on

Writing across the curriculum

  • encoding
  • text features
  • vocabulary knowledge
  • think and organise for learning
  • communicate knowledge and understanding
  • literary purposes
  • influence others

Reading across the curriculum

  • processing system
  • text structure
  • vocabulary knowledge
  • reading critically
  • organise ideas and information for learning
  • using information and ideas in informational texts

My Takeaways

  • All of the Illustrations within a Set weights the Aspect.
  • PaCT does not happen at one sitting but as evidence is gathered over 1-2 terms across the curriculum. Nadine spoke about Naturally Harvesting.
  • Several week before confirming the final indicator within a PaCT a teacher can see where gaps still need to be gathered from.
  • PaCT works well when completed twice a year and is ongoing annually
  • PaCT can be anniversary collated for our year 1-3 reporting cycle.
  • Teachers can track progress of
    • Individual students
    • Class
    • or other groups

Overall PaCT supports teachers to understand how students develop their expertise in learning. Currently PaCT is set up for Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

As we naturally harvest learning we look across curriculum for evidence to help us make our overall teacher judgement.


Belonging

Last year I worked with a group of students to look at planning for 2019.

Together the children came up with the overall theme of Belonging.

We used SOLO Hexagons to clarify thinking around what we believed to be important ideas for learning. The children wanted to know more about our local history and wanted to know stories about our school and area.

As a school we were fortunate to make connections with Pāora Puru from the Ministry of Education who was then invited to share his historic knowledge about our Maunga, Maungawhau.

As a staff we were going to have the session on the mountain itself however the weather had other plans. So Pāora came to school. Pāora helped define what is unique and distinctive about Auckland.  We garnered information not just about our local area but the whole of Tāmaki Makaurau. He shared rich historic heritage. This heritage reinforces our sense of belonging, our identity as Aucklanders and a sense of pride in our beautiful city.

As a green gold endorsed school this learning enriches our knowledge and pride about our environment.

During his session we had two visiting teachers from Parnell School who are working alongside us as a Green Gold Endorsed school. In addition we had Nicky Elmore our liaison from the Auckland Regional Council.

I cannot wait to share some of the stories I learnt with our children. Every two years we visit our local marae of Orakei and this year is our year so again there will be more to learn and to share.


Teacher only days are usually days of professional learning. At Newmarket School I always enjoy them because of opportunities that are created to make connections with each other. Our Senior Leadership team always ensure that we are well fed and watered both physically and mentally. There are always next steps through Goal Setting and that will come soon. These days give us the chance to reflect on what is coming and to set in motion ideas and opportunities for learning.

This year I am in class with a beginning teacher, I have our support staff programme to oversee and coordinate, I will continue to look at the trends in our ethnic and learning data, I have my across schools role for ACCoS, and I will continue to support the staff wherever I am needed.

I have had a good break and feel refreshed and excited for the new year.

Message for my son

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Photo by Margaret

O le a lou manatu i le uiga o le savali i le pogisa faaleagaga?

What do you think it means to walk in spiritual darkness?

One word for 2019

Wairuatanga

Mā te whakapapa tūhonotia ai ngā mea katoa, whai māramatanga ai hoki ngā kōrero atua, kōrero tuku iho, ngā hītori, ngā mātauranga, ngā tikanga, ngā āria me ngā wairuatanga ki tēnā whakatipuranga ki tēnā (Te Ara 2015). / Whakapapa binds all things and clarifies mythology, legend, history, knowledge, customary practices, philosophies and spiritualities and their transmission from one generation to the next.

(Maori Dictionary)

Every year, I think of a Maori word that I hear in my educational context but do not really understand. I take that word and find out as much as I can about it to deepen my understanding. This year my one word is Wairuatanga.  In Samoan the word is ‘Faaleagaga.’

Last year, I learnt to use my Samoan language to help with unpacking Maori concepts. The challenge I have is that I am not of Maori blood. However I am Samoan and historically we share ancestors and traditional spiritual practices that are intertwined with our environment.

When I refer to the introductory statement in Samoan I think back to Fanaafi, when she wrote:  ‘A leai se gagana, ua leai se aganuu, a leai se aganuu ona po lea o le nuu.’ When you lose your language, you lose your culture and when there is no longer a living culture, darkness descends on the village.

Yesterday at my nephew’s wedding, my eldest son shone a light on our Samoan culture as he proudly stood up in his ‘ie faitaga’ and his ‘ofutino elei’ wearing an ‘ula fala’. He had been practising a translation in Samoan to say at the wedding. And he did it. As a Samoan mum, I could not have been more proud. He had also made some Ula Lole and made a big fuss with presenting them. The couple received 2 strands each and one strand had $10.00 notes in between. So if you can visualise this very handsome young man calling ‘Tiuhoo’ and racing up before the ceremony began to present his gift. Behind the couple we faced the beach so Tagaloa was our backdrop. In front of the couple the ‘Uo ma Aiga’ had gathered and were seated. So we have all the next generation witnessing something like this for their first time and therefore the transmission of a practice. Around us we have our ‘Faalupega’ both living and deceased so there is live history happening.  

At a wedding, the focus is always on the newly wedded couple. However if we dig deeper we can see the occasion as an opportunity to revitalise who we are, make connections to our past, our ‘gagana’ and our ‘aganuu.’ The chance is there to do something about ‘Wairuatanga’. If you just think about it,  the moment to act is soon gone.

The backdrop of Tagaloa is a timely reminder too to act. The wedding allows us the opportunity to reflect about what we say and do. Tagaloa and who we are as Pasifika are so intertwined. As inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean our islands are drowning in plastic and so the reminder is there to look after our natural resource.

So my son our customary practice of gifting ‘Ula Lole’ does need a revamp. Maybe our next ones do away with all the plastic and we just weave money into natural materials. As we sat making them you and I discussed how creating these gifts sets a benchmark for the next wedding in your generation. So let us take up the challenge together and see if we can create something just as stunning, but with a lot less plastic. At the same time, hold your head high. As a young man, you already have all the qualities we hold dear. Your knowledge of our legends, our family history, our customary practices, philosophies and ‘faaleagaga’ holds you up as a light in my heart.

SOLO Taxonomy and reflecting

Yes I know multistructural as in have just listed my reflections. However I am OK with that. So far I have had a lovely break. Caught up with family.

Been riding the busses with mum and that is always heaps of fun. Slept in most days past the dreaded 5.30am alarm.

Major life events that happened over the year;

Notable challenges or mistakes;

  • Lost and regained weight
  • Letting go by building the expertise around us
  • Was really sick
  • Took on Travelwise again for my 7th year.
  • Both boys shifted away
  • Did not escape to Tiritirimatangi because of tooth.

 

Notable successes.

 

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?