Saturday, 30 May 2015
Thursday, 28 May 2015
You know when the floodgates open it's either going to be good, great or disastrous.
I'm hoping that after this Friday's eLearning session at our Teacher Only Day we will not be so so worried about the disastrous. Though I realise during this session we've planned out - not once have we talked about digital citizenship. Maybe I need to make a cheat sheet for staff...
I am super looking forward to our eLearning workshop.
To get to this point - there was quite a lot of movement and mindsets that needed a bit of shaking and our awesome DP Donella has done this and then some. She's talked with the BOT at their recent Strategic Planning meeting and have given them some things to think about: equitable access, Hapara teacher dashboard, staff PLD among many other things too :)
I'm incredibly stoked because in a short amount of space we have set up an eLearning committee and have developed our ideas and collaborate with each other often. Absolutely love the opportunities this has created.
Imagine if I brought ten people from school for the next educamp!!!
Or if they joined into a Twitter chat!!
Or if they came to ULEARN!!!
I see the huge potential. But I also see the areas of risk and pessimism as I discussed in the last post.
I just hope that we've thought everything through enough so that they can feel safe as well as ask for help when needed.
We'll need to have floaters and monitoring going around while we facilitate the learning.
We've set it up like a classroom. With Dojo points being awarded for participation and mini tasks and assignments. We've used Google Classroom as the base for our eLearning and used Google+ to build our school community to share advice, resources, ideas etc. I've got interactive activities, sit and type activities, viewing and discussing, collaborating and sharing activities as well as a bit of listening too.
I'm pretty damn stoked that we're being allowed to do this. It shouldn't be a case of being allowed - but at this point that's how it feels. I just can't wait til the staff see the possibilities and can learn together on the how and the why.
I'm not quite ready for the sticky questions or the knives in my back - but know that they may come.
We're changing. And not everyone likes change.
I hereby announce that the floodgates may open.
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
It's hard too when you offer help and it's not taken. Nor listened to.
But everyone is on their own journey, doing their own thing - and really I should just be happy that things are taking off and that some people are becoming early adopters in different areas. That they're doing things that they're passionate about and really keen on developing things for our school.
I have to remind myself that it's a good thing and that I shouldn't feel gutted that I'm not involved in what they're doing too. Yes I'm passionate about that as well - but I'm just happy things are changing and developing, evolving and improving.
This coming Friday is going to be awesome. We have an action packed session for teacher's only day and although I'm nervous about doing PLD for the staff and the reactions during and afterwards - I've done it before so I shouldn't really be that nervous. It's different at school though because I see these people every day. At conferences or Educamps it doesn't seem that big a deal because there is already a safe environment of sharing and collaborating built into the way we do things. At school I don't have the same reputation as I do in my PLN circles... and I swear I'm trying to say that as humbly as possible.
My colleagues here at school know that I'm into different techy things but it's going to be quite a bit blown out of the water come Friday... and am interested in how things happen afterwards.
I was hoping that we were going to be in the hall - because it's more of a neutral space and I feel comfortable sharing in there...
In the staffroom - the way it's set up is very transmission style and I teach from the side. It's going to be harder to collaborate and move around in this setting. Because it's organised into little groups and cliques. The same people sit in the same place and there isn't a lot of moving around.
I want people to feel comfortable with each other enough to share and change their mindsets. But staying in these groups will only allow the same old thoughts to congregate in those areas.
Of course - I could truly be optimistic and think that after our session we will really have changed mindsets... but I know the reality. I'm still pessimistically optimistic... if that's even a thing.
Am looking forward to sharing our ideas with the eLearning Committee tonight after school too to bounce off and get some stronger perspectives from them all.
The environment is key. If I can alter that somehow... then maybe that might help in some way to develop change.
At least though I'm not in this one alone and I have an awesome support network and group of colleagues with me who believe in change.
It's really cool that I'm not the Lone Nut anymore... my own perspective has changed and I'm aware of the others out there who understand too. Can't wait to build that collaborative network further.
My mentor just told me that I'm young enough to take the knives. True. until then just DO>
Sunday, 24 May 2015
It's the second article I've read that seems to put Class Dojo in a negative light.
The article's main points:
- issues with child data usage
- naming and shaming children's behaviours
- rewarding behaviours with point systems
I personally don't use student's last names. I've talked extensively about my issues and need to have policies around media release and photography use at school and in publications. I believe very strongly in digital citizenship, and with that comes the need to keep as much data as possible private. Unfortunately, as other commenters have said - the likes of Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Google etc - take a TONNE of data. They mine for it daily. I am much more concerned about how our students use those platforms than they do with using Class Dojo.
As for the possibly valid point of data being used in years to come - sure. But how will knowing a students first name and their positive behaviours help to define them or locate them in our world? Regardless - what is even more concerning is that there is so much data already following our students around.
Negative Pinkies at our school - used to notify our middle managers of behaviours that need disciplining outside of our classroom control and also to ensure that we follow up on behaviours in class - follow students around, year to year. Deficit theorising too - continues to be a huge aspect in teaching - despite how much work has gone into Te Kotahitanga training and teaching teachers to be aware of the impact their words, actions and behaviours have on their students. It makes me physically sick when I hear teachers say, "(This student) is such an unmotivated kid and never does any work. He's from (this kind of) class." That kind of thinking - follows those students around. As does the MASSIVE paper-trail from school to school. At some schools - they even allow you to look at that information before you even get to know your students.
Personally, I think that what's more important is that students are being recognised for their fabulous effort and growth mindsets. They show initiative and develop an awareness of their own behaviours in relation to others. That's a key competency in the NZ Curriculum. They participate and encourage each other to work more positively and ensure full class contribution. We should be happy that our students are displaying these behaviours - not being angry at the teachers for using a tool that actually works and builds a positive mentality in the classroom throughout all of the students.
In our class - we have aligned our positive behaviours to the values we have at school: Wisdom and Honour = Heights and Success. Along with these are the key competencties: Thinking, Relating to Others, Using Symbols, Language and Text, Managing Self and Participation and Contribution.
As for the issue with publicly showing students behaviours - I'll say that we do this in our class.Why? Because it encourages positive mentalities in our class - because we use positive behaviours and we work to a class goal of points by the end of the term. Having the points on the projector - and usually in the background with the sound off, and sometimes on - especially during the beginning to get the buy-in from students - helps to encourage students. They check their own behaviours and points on their own apps - or they ask to see their pie graphs.
The naming and shaming issue too isn't something that I think occurs with Dojo because I don't use negative behaviours - because I use restorative practice in my class. My deep and meaningful conversations are well known by my students. We talk quietly and sometimes outside so that other students can't hear what's going on - and the students discuss why they're acting out or what's going on to qualify their negative behaviours. When it comes to students really not listening or focussing, we have a disciplinary process as mentioned above that works incredibly effectively because our middle managers work together with the students to create a better plan. I focus on building positive behaviours in our class because it's important to identify behaviours we as a class, and as individuals, need to work on. We develop a stronger consensus of what is appropriate behaviours in class.
Many students I have taught come from homes and environments where certain behaviours that aren't acceptable nor appropriate in our class, are completely acceptable and appropriate at home. This is why I believe that Dojo helps to reinforce those Positive Behaviour for Learning areas of focus that we as a country are working towards. With the rollout of PB4L - sure it was already being done with Te Kotahitanga - we are again ensuring that students are modifying their own behaviours, being accountable and responsible for their actions. This - is why I use Dojo. Because each student knows how they're doing and through using Dojo they can take accountability for their behaviours. Sure some students would prefer a more stricter way of life in class because that's what they're used to at home or need to have more structure and stability. I know though, that the way I nurture and encourage my students is appreciated by them.
There seems to be a wide range of views when it comes to the comments section from that article and while I can understand the different points of view - the majority of the naysayers - aren't teachers. They don't know the daily grind and the difficulty in engaging unmotivated students or students that just do not enjoy being stuck in a class all day. Those students who love school also need extending and encouraging daily as well. They too need motivating and recognition of their effort and growth mindsets towards their work, learning and of course their positive and, unfortunately at times, negative behaviours.
By encouraging the positive behaviours - we ensure that all students are on-task. No we don't use it at every moment of every lesson. But when we do use it - the engagement is more focussed and students are more receptive to feedback and feedforward of goals and appropriate actions. Some students need continuous encouragement and Dojo doesn't always work straight away for them because they have deep-seated issues that need altering first. And any app can't solve those issues. As a teacher, I can help, listen and try to understand. I encourage them to believe in themselves. When they see that Dojo is related in some way to this - some of those students become more engaged - and for others - they didn't really need the extra encouragement because they already have so much resiliency and can achieve well without it. For those students that just don't buy in to this or other systems of management and encouragement - at least they're in a safe space that when they're ready to join in - they can.
I also take offense to this particular statement: "Such an anecdotal approach does not sit well with evidence-based educators."
Why? Because nearly every single one of my blog posts has been from my own anecdotal experiences in my classroom and professional learning. Because without it - how are we meant to know how our behaviour management and encouragement systems are working? I am an evidence-based educator. Each class's evidence is clearly shown through our use on Dojo, their goals as learners, the daily formative and summative assessments we do in class and the students' overall feedback and feedforward about how we use Dojo and what we can do to improve our behaviours and focus each day.
So while I understand some of the commenters and some teacher's misgivings with Dojo... use it and see how it works for you. If it doesn't seem to work perhaps you're already doing systems of management and encouragement in your class that work for you and your students.
I just know that it works for me and that my students absolutely love it.
Saturday, 23 May 2015
I've been thinking about the apps I use and the kind of person I am.
I'm a curator.
I love to collect and sort through and categorise things.
It has a lot to do with why I love libraries, reading and the mundane tasks like doing the dishes or peeling the potatoes.
I also have an addictive tendency to new apps or things in my life - and sometimes - they stick. Other times, they fall away never to be used or played again.
Pinterest, Memrise, Blogger, Facebook, Class Dojo and Twitter of course are my easy favourites at the moment.
I've had a Pinterest account for a while but I didn't quite get it a few years ago - why you'd use it or even how. The accessibility of the app makes it a tonne more easier than using it via the browser. I like that I can hold a picture down to move in three different difections for options and that it's incredibly simple to create new boards.
I like that I can categorise everything - however - it still looks messy - if there were a way of combining some and deleting old boards - that would be brilliant.
Blogger of course - because I can share my ideas and tag them for later use. What worries me though is when I don't categorise them clearly enough so that I will definitely find them later for future use.
I've had a few online journals - LiveJournal, a Kiwi one and Blogger too. These are in sync with my real life dealing with big issues journals - which I haven't written in for a year now. I don't feel the need to write it down by hand anymore - because I've made the transition properly to typing. Partly why sometimes on my blog there are issue type posts....
Am loving the Facebook app at the moment. In fact I like it a whole lot better than the browser functionality. It's so easy to share different links to different pages, groups or timelines via the app and now that I've made a transition to sharing my edulinks onto the 'Evolution and Imagination' page - it's way more clear and focussed.
On my timeline I post statuses, weird and wonderful links as well as issues that I feel strongly about. On my class pages - it depends what our focus is. On E&I I post edulinks, what I've been doing recently as well as ideas for the future in my classroom.
Class Dojo has quickly become one of my favourite apps because of it's usability. I can check points and develop new behaviours all in the app. I can message parents and check reports of students.
What I'd like it do more of is be able to write something beside the report bubble for next steps and feedforward to parents and students who have the app. Would make writing their reports easier too! Am looking forward to using it as a showcase for parent teacher conferences too.
Our students would like to add a messaging capability to it as well so that they can contact me when needed - especially if they don't have an email..
Memrise too is a nice quick and easy favourite. I love it's latest update - with the quickfire review session. I have learnt so many new French words over the past month or so and I'm just so incredibly grateful I found it.
The transmission and staying power of the words through gamification is something that works so so well for me.
Favourite words so far: dire, de la biere, du vin, malheureusement, important, aucun, pas possible, porc, Russes and vache.
I've begun thinking them more often and have started accidentally writing them in place of English words.
What I'd like next is for Memrise to have te reo Māori too. That way I can keep building on these two languages.
Lastly, if not maybe more important than the rest, is Twitter. Yes I love Twitter. I love that on Tweetdeck I can have categorised columns of different chats and searches. I love that on the app it's easy to switch between accounts simply for different tweets and checking notifications and mesaages.
As an extension to Twitter I use Unfollow - which tells me my latest unfollowers - but more importantly who aren't following me back. To break through that magic 2,000 followers, I need to have all of my original 2,000 people I followed - follow me back. And when I first started out I followed people and companies that wouldn't follow me back.
Am slowly cutting out different accounts that actually don't benefit me or my learning - or that I actuallt don't ever see tweet. I try to keep the newbie Twits on there because eventually they will come back to use Twitter when they see other people using it or join into a chat.
I love helping people see the benefit of using Twitter and think that it is incredibly useful to not only develop these collaborative skills but to ensure that people are getting their own relevant PLD.
And that - for this morning - is enough app unboxing :)
Thursday, 21 May 2015
My new f2f friend and Twitter colleague @BrianHost shared Blendspace with me the other night via GHO.
It is awesome! Used it to do my relief for today's social studies lesson.
Actually wish I were there with them for this lesson! Hope that it goes well and that there's no technical issues.
Just need to get someone to put a note on the classroom door and tell the library staff that my class is coming in.
Looking forward to hearing how they did today!! :)
Still buzzing out - in the words if Beau Monga - about our chat last night. It was awesome seeing some of the new primary teachers get on board and try it out as well as my awesome EngChat team helping others out.
The best thing last night was probably the video and how it began to develop and influence people's opinions about adopting a growth mindset. Was just thinking before about how I had written a tonne of questions for my own clarity - but chose the specific few that would make the chat not only well-rounded and organised - but ensured ultimate reflection and relating to our student's perspectives.
I think the change of night has helped as well as the promo I did in the week and days prior to the chat. Building the chat back up again is going to take more time than I thought originally but it was pumping last night!! I couldn't even keep up just favouriting and retweeting.
What I'd like to happen next is for someone to moderate alternate weeks so that I have time to participate as well. Also - have certain people delving deeper and challenging the recurring members thoughts like how Danielle has the Devil's Advocate now in #edchatnz. Would be cool to assign roles to different people each week - retweeting and curating via the @EngChatNZ account and even doing the Storify and promotion for week to come.
I think that with a few more chats under our collective belt we'll be able to build the chat up even more so.
My big aim this year is to ensure that our topics are accessible to any person in any sector - where it be ECE, Primary, Secondary or even Tertiary. I'd like to have guest writers and inspring people help mod our chat like imagine if we could get Glen Colquhoun or Maya Angelou! Or even Sarah Kay and Phil Koyczan and the spoken word whanau at The Front Line in Auckland.
So many options and we can only keep building on it. :)
Sunday, 17 May 2015
After my #YesYear last year I needed a bit of a break from a lot of things - particularly running #EngChatNZ. I'd been doing bits and pieces behind the scenes, getting the whanau back together and forming a committee so that I'd have more help this year too.
We've had two #EngChatNZ chats so far and they both went really well! Great discussions and fabulous kaiako sharing and learning from each other. The only problem for me was that I wasn't able to give my all to the #DojoChatANZ chats that were running at the same time.
So I've decided to change the night to Tuesday. That way more people can make it and it won't clash with my Rotaract meetings either! :) Also - the #SciChatNZ chats are on at the same time so it will be useful for those who are interested in both and builds capacity for professional development via Twitter as well. Loved having the two chats running side by side last year. :)
So this coming Tuesday night at 8.30pm we'll be discussing the inportance of having a growth mindset. Something that is current in my class right now as well as the fact that we as teachers need to realise what holds us back as well.
Empowerment and agency - two very important parts of student's learning. We need to develop our student's self belief and also encourage them to become self regulated and agentic changemakers of their own learning.
Very much looking forward to this upcoming chat - partly because I finally overcame my own enforced barrier and asked to join the Primary teachers fb group. Once I joined I saw just how much it was being used, to share and collaborate. I finally got up the guts to post there about #EngChatNZ. And... am happy with the way I chose to word it because I've now got heaps of interest and hopefully will be a great start in bringing the primary sector into Twitter and into the Live Chats :)
Pretty happy. Still need to tell the @EnglishOnline whanau too though!
Will be tweeting again sometime today and need to email the #EngChatNZ team today as well.
Saturday, 16 May 2015
Really liked this session. It reminds me of how I used to teach. Why have I not been co-constructing and allowing more student agency? Have I been trying to do too much? Or am I now too focussed on data and not the learning? Do I give enough time for students to be able to learn the way the need to or want to? What do I need to do to go back to my strengths and use the relational and relative style of teaching I used to do? Am I so focussed on doing what the curriculum dictates that I've forgotten to include the students in front of me?
Notes from korero:
Love this Poutama kaupapa!
Being taught by Troy and Nick about Student Agency.
Removed the labels or guided groups of students.
Focussing now on goals and what they need to work on.
Mary Ann Holten's 'Like a Staircase' - buying in to self-regulated learning.
Helping our students to build their own self-regulated learning.
We constantly regulate our own time management and focus - we need to build those skills up in our students as well.
You don't all have to do the same thing to practice writing.
Here's ANZAC - what could you do?
- Allowing them to choose the way they want to express themselves. LOVE THIS.
Love the beautiful piece of writing: Year 4 piece of writing. Allowing students to write something they're passionate about creates more developed and focussed writing.
What do artists do to build their style - students develop their own by modelling from others, some mucked up and ran with it
So - now looking at how it could work with PE.
James Noddingham - The Learning Pit: Putting yourself in the learning pit because that's where the best learning happens. Are they purposely putting themselves in the learning pit?
They need to be able to show their learning choices.
They learn to make good decisions by making decisions.
Management are now 100% behind them. The parents that have had the most concerns - the best way to get them onside was to have a teacher to sit down with them and having that conversation about what the students are doing and why.
Speedbump of learning going backwards before it goes forward.
Kids appreciate it when you're learning with them and telling them about it.
Making the teaching and learning transparent.
WHERE DO YOU START?
Slide called Poutama - their journey.
Make mistakes, muck up, try again. All learners are different.
It's so easy to be single cell. Giving the choice and what their next learning step is and how we can push them forward.
Knowing students as a learner.
Changing the mindset - that fixed vs. growth mindset and whether they can change their mindset around what they say and how they say it.
Feedback and feedforward. Colour-coded a lot of things.
Parental pressures - new and it's different. Mere exposure effect.
Crucial that you don't rush into it.
Their data was on point - tracked all of those 120 kids and their scales on the PAT results. Knowing that the kids on a Stanine 9 were already there. Over half the kids made at least a years progess.
Is it possible without senior management approval? If they don't - find a senior management that does.
If you want to do the practice - then you can still do it.
Friday, 15 May 2015
- Nathan Mikaere Wallis - Brain Development and the importance of the first 1000 days.
- PPTA Issues and Organising
- PPTA Establishing Teacher's Conference
- CTU Stand Up Conference
- PPTA Maori Teacher's Conference
- NZATE Conference
- PPTA Annual Conference
Thursday, 14 May 2015
A few people in the staffroom are talking about our reflections we do on a Thursday morning.
"Who in your department is even going to read them?"
"They're time consuming."
Laughter, "No-one will read them!"
I wonder what those people would do if I showed them the stats of this blog or even one of my favourite teaching blogs...
Because in a small way they're right. Unless you're sharing your Interlead reflections with others in your school - no-one will be reading them. With Interlead - there isn't an easy way to read them. You've got to find each blog through a different link - whereas it'd be easier if it was on some type of blog roll or blog list like Blogger do.
I've tried to pass on these changes to the Interlead tech team... but they don't really seem to want to alter it.
If there isn't a global audience or even one outside our school - you'll only ever get perspectives from the same type of people - especially if you've only shared it with people who sit at your table.
If there was a way to show them that reflecting was HUGE and that others around the world could see it... then perhaps they'd see a point in it.
It's still a new thing to them too. For forever they haven't needed to be self-reflective or share their struggles or inquiries with others. It can be seen as having lost your power even admitting that you're struggling to your colleagues.
Of all people - your colleagues should be the ones that encourage and support you to get through the struggles.
Still - the one thing that irks me is when people ask - what kind of class is it. My frustrated answer is usually - a bunch of the craziest, zaniest, happiest and brightest group of kids.
Not ever should you give a kid a label of saying- they're an S class or that they're in Diligence or in Extension or they're in TRP or...
Because the kids then think that label is who they are. They begin to feel that they are all that label is - ever encompassing - and more importantly - that they will never be anything more than that.
Gah. Stop labelling kids. How are they ever going to overcome challenges and build growth mindsets if you only ever have a fixed and set mindset about them?
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Tired. But considering our day today it's fair enough. Looking forward to tomorrow and seeing whether there is a reaction from the kids. Finally put bits and pieces on the walls thst I've been procrastinating doing. Still have a few pieces of marking to finish that I've been lugging around too. Need just a night to do it all. Or even a day. A day off from everything would be awesome.
Where did my #YesYear energy go?
I'm now typing stream of consciousness...
My amazing and inspiring friend Ros just tweeted this to me:
Don't have the energy to read it and take on board the whakaaro right now.
Am stoked with how our Rotaract meeting went tonight. Loads of really cool events coming up.
Couple of issues at school today during duty. Think I dealt with them okay... teetering on the balance between maintaining trust and whakawhanaungatanga as well as ensuring safety.
Finally tidied the two areas in class that have been bothering me: my desk (mountain of paper) and the shelves at the back with the kid's posters... another shelve of paper and needed organising and things chucked. A whole box of screwed up paper later... and with each scrunched ball I felt guilty for the tree. Doing sustainablity in Social Studies at the moment..
Still need to tackle the in class library shelves and sort out why they think it's okay to put their rubbish in the shelves or behind curtains. Mainly laziness. If I put a bin at the back would they use it? Experiment time I think.
Also... need to find a time to tackle the back cupboard. After having to move out of my last class and into the one I'm in now... I'd expected the back cupboard to be as empty and immaculate as I was leaving my previous one. No. I'd spent the better part of two weeks during the holidays sorting it out after Xmas and the teacher leaving spent an afternoon. So... yep.
I didn't have the heart or the state of mind at that time to re-sort another back cupboard... so my stuff was just chucked in there. So frustrating. What I'd like to do is get a few students to help and delegate roles to them - de-hoarder, paper chucker, organiser of single copies of work, digitiser and dj.
There is a cool bookcase in the back cupboard that I'm not using that I used to use for my students work. Now that I've got the big shelves at the back - I can use the other one just for teaching resources.
Been thinking about my teaching lately. I've relied too much on the digital space I've created and not continued teaching how I normally do. The digital space should be a complement to my normal blended teaching - not as a talking point or the sole focus. So now I'm back to myself and just need to figure out how I'm going to use it effectively as well as use the learning that we've done to ensure that students are ready and what else needs doing to move forward. Because yes the Site is cool. But more cooler is how passionate I am about what we're learning about.
Still stoked about the last meeting for eLearning and the possibilities and opportunties. Looking forward to taking the PLD at Heights on the Teacher Only Day on using GAFE. Think that having someone older, male and paid to do it would make a lot more people listen and go with it.... rather than me. I worry that people feel intimidated or that I'm just some young girl who doesn't know anything.. Gah. Anyway.. bedtime.
Sunday, 10 May 2015
It's not often I talk about these two passions on this blog. Partly because this blog is for my reflections on teaching and my evolution as I grow to become better and better as a teacher and learner.
Both Rotary and Māori Women's Welfare League allows me to do this as well.
Since November 2013 I've been involved with Rotaract - a fantastic group of like minded people who are interested in giving back to the community and who love fundraising - plus the fact that I had over 10 instant friends explains the fellowship side of it. Very quickly into my time in Rotaract I became the club Secretary and I've kept the role ever since. Mid 2014 we had our changeover and I was given the role of incoming President as well as current Secretary. This year though - I decided to give up my incoming presidency to a friend who is just so much more organised, has amazing ideas and a lot more time to give at the moment. She is going to make an amazing President for our club in Rotorua this coming year. So I stay secretary and possibly move into Presidency mid year 2016...
Rotaract is part of the Rotary family. It's a huge organisation built on strong foundations. When I grew up Rotary, Lions and other clubs were what I called 'Old White Men' clubs. And... for the most part it's stayed that way. Over the last 20 or so years, women have joined in and helped to continue making Rotary one of the largest charitable groups in the world.
As a member of Rotaract, you tend to be between the ages of 18 and 35. After that time you can become a Friend of Rotaract or join Rotary. If you're younger, you can join your school's local Interact club.
As a teacher at WHHS and a Rotaract member, I help to facilitate our Interact club. Not that our students need much help but it was definitely good last year to have Interact being run consitutionally and having Changeover from mid year to the following mid year. July to June. It works well in the Northern Hemisphere but it works well at Heights too because it's broken up the tradition of the Y13 students, often the prefects, running it and then leaving it with no succession plan for the coming year. By running Interact constitutionally, changeover requires a younger student, possibly a Y12 to step into the role of President for the coming year so that when they're Y13 they have half of that year to do as much as possible and then hand it on to the next Y12 in July. This also enables the club to keep running as the Y13s tended to drop everything to focus on their studies at the end of the year - and while that is a good focussing stratevy - it didn't help the structure or life of the club. At the moment I'm helping them bring in younger members to build more capacity.
In all three Rotary divisions there are areas where you are able to work with others in areas of passion. For example, the youth director in each Rotary club works with Rotaract and Interact. The Rotaract International Director works with our international focus areas to build a stronger fellowship and connections. The Interact Club committee ensures that everything they do is being recorded and collated for years to come, as well as build membership.
I was once told by a Rotary member that building membership was the most important thing and it was not always done properly. In Rotaract at the moment we went through a stage where a lot of people left, due to previous club drama and we have basically had to start again. We are slowly creating more of a presencd on our club's Facebook page and putting more effort into being seen by the Community and ensuring others know that we're out there.
Our most recent events include Happy Hour for a Cause where we fundraise for a particular charity- often local; SPCA fundraisers like Free High Fives and water stops in the Redwoods; working with the local Rotary clubs in big events like the Walkathon, Marathon and ShelterBox.
It seriously is such an awesome organisation and so many people just don't know about it or unfortunately have the same perception as I did while growing up. Rotary have brilliant funding opportunities as well as school exchanges overseas.
We finished up our #Rotary9930 conference today and it was a seriously amazing opportunity. I met a tonne of awesome people, learnt about the professional development and more opportunities that are available as part of the Rotary organisation. I wish more members from my club could have come. We have big plans to build stronger systems for the youth divisions here in Rotorua and we're looking forward to developing a stronger and consistent focus. Learning about the International Fellowship programme was fantastic! I'm definitely going to find out more about that. Rotary is a trusted organisation... it still boggles my mind to think that there is a little purple book with all of our details, partners, workplaces, past roles in Rotary... and the immense power and possible connections that can be made and used to develop a stronger and positive community... it's just fantastic. The international fellowship allows you to find different Rotary members to stay with, fly with, go yachting with... if you have a passion then there is a fellowship for you to join. So so cool.
After the conference today I headed to my next hui - with the Rotorua Māori Women's Welfare League. Such an amazing group of women who share similar goals to improve our community and uphold our values. They awhi and tautoko so many different people and programmes. In our roopu we have a majority of elder kuia and it's been my passion for a wee while now to begin a rangatahi (youth) division in our branch to build up the younger women in our community.
Today at our meeting two new members joined, a life member from another branch and a new (young) member. I was so stoked that it was the first thing I said... Laughed it off because I love our kaumatua and they are just absolutely brilliant. It is nice though to see another young(er) face too :)
Within this group of wahine I feel supported and part of a bigger and hugely historical organisation. With our tupuna, the likes of Te Whina Cooper and others who fought long and hard to build a healthier and stronger community for Māori women and Māori whanau.
The League works closely with a range of different groups in our community such as Plunket, kohanga reo, young and older children, holds oratory competitions and develops on-going focus areas to improve our community. We fundraise a lot too which I love and build beautiful connections with our people in the community.
The recent big event at Puketawhero park 'Give it A Go' day was a beautiful insight to the kaupapa of the League and it's something that is inherently passionate in me as well as pushes me to be consistently better every day. To be the best I can be, model positivity and be supported by kuia who are just so loving and very funny.
Hearing te reo Māori is one of the other reasons I go each month. Because it's not often something I hear every day. Perhaps I need to use more reo Māori so that others remember I understand and am somehow worthy of being spoken to? It's a different way of being here in Te Arawa - because not only is their dialect just a bit different, they seem to have a way about them where the reo is held close and not shared. Which I find weird because we're in a city of tourism, Māori tourism at that and the Te Arawa people are well reknown for their guiding and touring natures.
At least in the League I can count on hearing beautiful waiata, karakia, jokes in te reo Māori and kaupapa Māori. These toa wahine and mana wahine teach me daily how to be a better person, a better Māori woman and to develop better relationships with the people around me.
The only issue I have with both the MWWL and Rotary are their immunisation programmes. While I completely applaud them for their efforts, in eradicating Polio and improving child wellbeing (tamariki ora) I just can't seem to get past my feelings and anxiety around the issue.
On top of that is the need for our Rotary clubs to be more aware of the realities everyday New Zealanders face day to day as well as the need for them to be more aware of te ao Māori. To use te reo Māori more appropriately and be the forerunners of correct pronunciation.
That would be awesome.
And... for tonight - that is all. :)
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
As a high school teacher - who has been finding different strategies to not only engage my students and create strong relationships with them - it's been imperative to find the right tool to develop those areas but also to maintain positivity in the classroom.
I feel a lot of the tools out there are great - but with Dojo there is the instant gratification of the gamified aspects as well as the cool little avatars that are changeable per student. This buy-in is invaluable for high school students.
Last year when I used it with my Year 12 English class as well as the Year 9 class - it showed that even the seniors were into it - and despite my thinking that they might have thought it was stupid or too babyish for them - they bought into to kaupapa and encouraged others to get more points by displaying appropriate behaviours.
This year, I've tutu'd with it a bit more - developing more focussed behaviours in each class as well as generic behaviours that I want us to look out for. I've asked my students about goals they'd like to achieve as a class and the next step is individual goals.
My Social Studies class is very ambitious - they're trying to get 450 points by the end of this term. My Y11 English class have just started using it yesterday and are already buying into the process and probably just need a bit more focus in terms of the areas we're going to be concentrating on with them, like Growth Mindset and Delving Deeper, using SOLO and Essay Structures appropriately.
What I'd like to do is somehow use Dojo as part of my Gamification in my Social Studies class where points are collated to gain badges along the way as well as build class reward systems that are both intrinsic and extrinsic.
As this year has progressed I've been using it more and more frequently, finding alternative methods to me just adding points. Our Y10 English TA Ria was rewarding points today to students who were working really well, completing work on time and having generally fantastic attitudes. Having used Dojo with some of these students previously - they have a mini-buy in. The issue last year was that I hardly ever had it up on the projector. Even if it's up there just so that they can see the banner come up - it really helps to encourage more students to create more positive attitudes.
I was observed by one of my mentors today using Dojo and in that Social Studies class we have begun going down the class list alphabetically, where each student gets a turn to reward points. My Y10 SS class have bought into the programme so well that they are using the language and developing more appropriate behaviours more consistently.
With my Year 11 class today, we were working on Events and plotting them on the exposition, rising action, climax etc line to show their understanding. Some students were fine and others needed more growth mindset to push them forward. Giving out the invites is always slightly time-consuming because they eventually realise (after I say it about five or six times) that they can change their avatars once they log in on their own at home.
One student took the last few moments of class to jump on my computer to do his and showed the rest of the class how to do it. Very impressed. Showed our TA Marie how to reward the points as well as it will help to integrate the ideals into our class when it's coming from both of us - and plus it's just really cool noticing awesome behaviours.
Of course, we already have a PB4L system - where we give positive pinkies for the students who do well. It was previously done online but has now gone back to a paper system - because the Heads of Houses just don't have enough time to do it online... though if I were a Head of House - I'd more likely lose the bits of paper and would have my phone or laptop on me at all times.. I'd probably invest in a tablet actually...
Anyway... I think that eventually when there are students who are being consistently awesome - then not only will they get their class badge - but they will get positive recognition in their assemblies as well.
What I just found out tonight was that you can add student's pictures up instead of monster avatars! https://classdojo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/202027529
Over the past few weeks getting the tote bags, stickers and my Dojo Shirt from Jenna and the CD team for when I present on Class Dojo at conferences, I've slowly but surely begun to make more of an impact in school. My new drink bottle was AWESOME. Love love love presents and especially ones from Class Dojo because by having them - they become talking points and I can share my knowledge and experience with the app and ensure that others are using it to help improve their classes as well. Sharing the taonga helps as well because they become talking points for my colleagues as well.
Best comment yet though was when I walked into class with my marking in one of the tote bags - one of my students said, "Oh - so Class Dojo is actually a real thing then..." Love it.
I think using Class Dojo without having previously made a connection with the students would have been harder because - for me there needs to be a lot of moulding of parameters and ensuring students are safe, and focussed. But mostly having students in a healthy headspace that they can functionally be there in class - not just physically. Also - developing strong bonds comes with time - and while Dojo definitely has the potential to maintain and build on those bonds in future - I just think that there needs to be a bond prior to beginning the CD journey with your class.
Looking forward to the next few days with using Class Dojo and seeing how it progresses with my Year 11 and Year 10 English class.
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Am still buzzing after that discussion after school today. Was so good just to get started. To bring together people from differing departments who had ideas to share and questions to ask. To bring together those that had a strong understanding and those who had prior knowledge and advice to share as well.
There was a tiny little voice though that popped up in the back of my mind later... when I wondered where those people were when I felt like I was fighting for it on my own. The problem was - we were all fighting our own little battles because we couldn't face the bigger issue on our own. Now we can. And damn it feels so good to be a part of change. To know that there is a group of people who have been asked to help, who are interested and wanting to improve our school, our working environments - but mainly the outcomes for our students - is amazing.
Probably the first real moment I realised I was losing the role of the 'lone nut' was when these amazing teachers began listening to what I was saying and actually sharing their ideas too. Where had they been prior to this? Perhaps I had my head so far down into the sand that I just didn't realise they'd been there the whole time. Maybe I was so focussed on the negativity and being frustrated by it that I couldn't see the positivity and the support we do have.
Thanks to Donella - our amazing DP in charge of IT and our facilitator of our eLearning Committee. Working with her over the past six months has been so so invaluable and it feels like we've finally broken through the wall - can see the beautiful digital world on the other side and just need to keep breaking off chunks to get a stronger view.
I really really really look forward to working with everyone. Especially Kevin! Google Site buddies - think I might ask him to be my 'critical friend'.
Stoked that I brought up the Google Plus question and using Communities to further develop our PLC as the eLearning Group. Will see what happens as a result. :)
Changes are a coming.
- Brainstem: survival brain - keeps you alive, keeps your brain alive, heart beating
- Cerebellum: co-ordination brain - movement skills, co-ordinating the thinking in the frontal cortext. Movement is way more to do with learning - getting kids to stay completely skill shuts down a students brain.
- Limbic system: Mammal brain - Home of your emotions.
Best suggestion for students who are over 12 - from now on? Can’t go back. The scale thing applies on a day to day basis. You’re going to be an amazing grandmother now that you know about this! Adolesence is a real difficult thing. Have some empathy for where the teenagers are in. Talk to their emotions rather than their logic. 99% of her reality is her emotions. Children will do as you do, not as you say.