Participatory Oriented Citizens:

In October of 2012, I attended Ulearn as an attendee. From the flood of information that washed over me I set two goals.

The first was to run a TeachMeet in New Zealand using Google Hangouts to provide a space where teachers can share their stories. That goal has eventuated and has grown into a curated resource for education that currently has over 70 teacher stories in 3 minutes.

The second goal was to to have our children collaborate on a Global project. This second goal is drawing closer. This year a school global project will be launched that was developed as part of my #FlatConnect Global Educator outcomes.

In the past we have coordinated and run two global projects and have taken part in a few others. Our coordinated projects involved hosting an author in the hot seat. The first session was hosted face to face at the National Library and we hosted Sandra Morris. We had six New Zealand Schools involved and one came in via Skype. Most of the asynchronous communication took place via email. Except for two teachers via twitter. During the global event we used synchronous communication such as Skype and the children used the ‘author in the hot seat forum’ on Superclubsplus to ask questions of the author.

The following year in May 2012, our children took part in a Global Project coordinated by the BBC. You can read more about that here. The asynchronous  tools used were email and youtube. Later that month we ran anothercoordinated global session using Superclubsplus and this time directly from our school. We hosted Ant Sang, kiwi graphic artist extraordinaire.  The story was featured on TKI as part of the Snapshot For Learning series. The link can no longer be located so have added the link to the shared doc used to create the entry. Virginia Kung our assistant principal was the driving force behind this project as part of her inquiry and I coordinated the tool supporting her. Again our synchronous tool was the ‘author in the hot seat forum’ on Superclubsplus. Note here, Superclubsplus is now known as Skoodle.

Where to next? 

As 2015 begin, I think about how our next global project will eventuate. As a Travelwise school with a focus on reducing traffic at the gate, we will take a leading role in this Flat Connect global project and this time I want the children much more involved at the connecting, collaborating, creating and sharing process. I have observed some of the global work we have been involved in and have led and have identified the one offs. Using SOLO Taxonomy this is multistructural in thinking and in order to move to relational thinking we need to create learning experiences that last longer than a one off synchronous session. The skype in the classroom our students were recently involved in was another example of these one off sessions. I regard these one off sessions like a tourist hopping on and off the bus. ‘Stop, take a photo- here is the evidence I have been here and taken part.’

At Newmarket School the #FlatConnect Global Project Travel2School for children will focus on students as participatory orientated citizens as framed by Westheimer and Kahne’s (2004) conceptions of citizenship. We will unpack what this means by identifying responsibilities such as.

    • take skilled and active role in groups that work for the common good
    • know effective strategies for collaborative action

Connections between students will be more than a one off communication session. Collaboration between students will involve students working with others outside their own schools. Across schools an artefact will be co-created that will make a difference to school communities. The students will celebrate learning by globally sharing and reflecting on their part in the process. Underpinning this project will be citizenship. You can read how my thinking is evolving around the term citizenship here.


Routledge.Westheimer, J. and Kahne, J. (2004). Educating the “Good” Citizen: Political choices and pedagogical goals. American Political Science Association

Goundhog Day at Newmarket School

In 1877, Newmarket School in Auckland New Zealand was established on the site where 277 is today.
On the weekend I was excited to have our current principal Dr Wendy Kofoed take part in an online discussion about learning with educators from around New Zealand.
This discussion will continue throughout October as part of #CENZ14.
After the discussion I put a call out to Pam Hook to read what we have so far accomplished as I wanted to ensure that the project is framed by SOLO Taxonomy. 
Pam flicked me a link to a sceptics log she and a team of creators had made in 2006 and the discussion was the same. In addition she linked me up to Chris Bigum who had been part of that original discussion and he started feeding me readings and video links via twitter.
The outcome of all that weekend learning is this reflection.
One particular idea that I had read about and awoke with was groundhog day. 
We are such an old school. I thought of our first school leader, Captain Charles Ross Cholmondely Smith.
in his single classroom with his room full of children.
The stories I have read about how the children learnt is hilarious. 
But if we revisit those early days of education, we know that the teacher was basically a coach.
They used the older children to teach the younger children who in turn taught the younger ones than themselves. In addition he would have had a team of children leaders who took care of various activities to help with the running of the school, kind of like our student leadership programme.
If a child needed extra help they would know who to ask for support.
They would only go to the teacher when absolutely necessary because he ruled his classroom in true military style of the time. 
Newmarket School on current 277 site of today
As the years passed and the school grew and new teachers came in, the process continued with teachers using each other as support. There was no professional development in those days only personal learning.
They relied totally on the community for everything because there was no local $2.00 shops to stock up or colour photocopying for the walls. They used local resources in their programme kind of like the glocalisation concept. (No, not a spelling mistake.)
The children would have continued to support each other and most had a job to do to help keep the school clean and tidy because there would have been no school cleaners in those days. This is like how we structure our enviro programme.
I was thinking about our current situation with the discussion centred around learning and thought we are moving back to those times not because of circumstances but because it just worked.
Teachers are reminded about the pool of learning amongst their peers. Our current head teacher continues to lead by example in her own learning. She in turn guides and coaches her team in their learning, who guide and coach the teachers in their teams with their learning who guide and coach the children in their classes and between classes as we move back to ”it takes a whole school to teach a child,’ and we move back to the notion of a single building on the site where there are no walls and we learn with and from each other. 
We have a variety of interesting developments happening in our school and this is raising teachers to the surface with their learning. Even more exciting is that they are sharing their learning with each other and several have begun the journey of reflecting in a visible way for our global school community via  a blog that you can read on the right hand side. If I have missed anyone, please do send me your link.
So in our old grounds, in our old buildings that are being demolished and rebuilt I can hear our head teacher, teachers and children ancestors giggling and watching from the ruins saying, here we go again. And you know what, so what. This teacher with 30 years experience finds it exciting to watch the cycle of education life go around again. Just like I love watching our 100 year old tree go through its cycle of life on a yearly basis, change and grow bigger and better, Just like I love talking with teachers and hearing their learning stories and sharing their learning stories. Even more exciting is the change happening. 
Children ancestors of Newmarket School

Nature of Science

Over the past year, Newmarket school have been learning the Nature of Science with Susan Heeps.

This has involved professional development with hands on activities, the opportunity to revisit the National Science curriculum and the chance to learn from each other. In addition we have been learning about the importance of children making real links with what is going on in their lives.