Wednesday, 14 December 2016

End of Term: Last Day with Students and Big-Time Reflection

Today was full of mixed emotions.

It felt good to be so proud of my students and the prizewinners. Felt good to observe another kaiako working with the same students I struggled with this year. Felt good reminding myself, through his teaching why I love having the honour to be in this role.

To be so instrumental and inspirational in my students' lives. To know the power I have to help guide and mold our future generations. To be the frontline in identifying issues and helping students to make the first steps in overcoming and managing their problems.

Today I read the reflections that I'd had both junior classes write this week. The same kind of things popped up: their love for choice and group work, their love for helping to guide the learning programme and their love for my caring nature and support. On the other hand: their frustration with my lack of discipline, the noise levels created by the disrupters in class and the lack of self-management on their part and their need for more guided and structured learning.

All things that I know and try to work on each year.

However, I read one of the last reflections and realised I should have read it earlier.

This student wrote something in the answer to the question - what will you be doing in five years time? And I didn't see it til today.

If I'd taken a mere moment between the moment he'd finished typing it and the moment when he was in his next class, choosing to do something incredibly stupid - I might have been able to potentially stop it. He's okay. But we, his teachers and his peers, his whanau and his support network are incredibly concerned for him.

I've also been thinking about the peaks and valleys that has been my year this year. Big highs, big lows. Finding it difficult to keep the energy high while being pulled under by the weight of the job. Finding it difficult to keep the passion flowing with continuous setbacks and issues keeping students motivated. Struggling to keep going in spite of the incredibly awesome stuff my students have done and achieved this year.

Today I contemplated opening the letter an old friend sent me from prison earlier this year. When he'd sent it, he'd sent it to school. I found it in my pigeonhole. It felt like an electric shock when I'd turned it over to see who the sender was. Chucking it back in my pigeonhole, grabbing the arm of the Principal's PA, as I led her away from it as if it was a bomb and explaining why I reacted that way.... I still don't think I'm ready to read it. In fact I had a dream a few nights ago where I literally told him I wasn't ready yet. My subconcious gets it. The psychological trauma of that event and the underlying issues continue to plague my thoughts.

Perhaps the thought of opening it today after getting myself down about the texts I'd taught this year with my students and the impact that could have had on his overall decision... perhaps if I'd read it there and then it would have been like ripping off a plaster. But to be honest, having dealt with the fact that I know what that old friend did and that he's in prison and that he'd sent me a letter... has been enough to seriously make me rethink my love for teaching.

But at the end of the day... I'm not like him. I never will be. I may still need to get some grief and trauma counselling to truly deal with it... seeing as it seems I'm finally ready to talk about it properly...rather than just through the blank faced shock that I was in at the end of last year and beginning of this year... but I know the boundaries.

My students are amazing. I'm their support at school and often the role model for many students. They care about me and I do my best to care about them. Unfortunately, the events of that old friend has really tarnished the way I interact and engage with my students. I have kept a larger distance this year and my students have noticed that I haven't been as happy or bubbly this year. Heck, I've noticed it.

I've been searching for something else this year. Something to make me feel like myself again. Conferences haven't helped really, I was sick and/or busy with other things on my mind to fully engage. I applied for three different jobs this year. Two of which I didn't get and the last I'm still waiting on.

I'm happy at Heights though. The staff I work with are all amazing in their own way. I have a strong support network that wraps around me when I need. But I have to remember to ask for help when I'm struggling, to help lighten the load or discuss what I'm feeling.

Our students are crazy incredible. Students would be awesome wherever, for sure. But at Heights, they're something special.

I gave out certificates and hand written post cards to each one of my junior students. I gave small thankyou presents to a select few who had truly pushed themselves this year.

In return, I recieved happy, thankful students. One class of which who spent the weekend desiging me a certificate, a board of thankyou notes, chocolates, gifts and thankyou smiles and hugs. My other class were kind of quietly blown away and all took their certificates home. Which  said something really powerful and respectful, particularly for those who need to put more effort into their learning next year.

I still have a handful to give out, post or drop off at people's homes. But I'm just thankful to have been part of these students' lives this year.

Whatever comes my way - I'm just thankful that I have people backing me, supporting me and helping to guide me further. I just must remember to look back and see them there pushing me forward. Because, as always I stand on the shoulders of giants and am proud to have come as far as I have. Thankful to those who have always been there for me and thankful to those yet to begin being part of my life.

Ngā mihi nunui ki a koutou katoa.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Self-Care and Pacing Ourselves

After a particularly stressful day today, tired after Crystel's prizegiving (pics and vids to come), sorting out last minute assessments by seniors, refocussing my social studies class and helping them focus in prep for their goal setting day next week, many many reports to write, kai in the staffroom, indepth creative writing sessions for junior English students with the Game of Awesome cards and the new game they made yesterday, discussions on next steps, discussions on goals.... we had a particularly good first meeting with some seriously knackered and hopeful people to start a Health and Wellbeing group at school.

Initially I wasn't going to go because I was just so tired. Workload made it feel impossible to find a few more minutes for something that would be actually beneficial. I dragged myself over to the meeting spot and sat down, reluctantly.

And then our DP gave us a slimmed down Term 1 Heights version of Dr Ian Vickers 'The Good New Habits' book. It all came rushing back. His korero at the NETs conference last year. The way in which we need to self-care more often. How we need to take time to look after ourselves and our well being.

After a day like today, after weeks, months of looking after others, I finally said no to a school activity tonight. It was above and beyond something I normally would have dropped everything to go to. But tonight - I just couldn't.

After the energising korero with the new Good Habits crew, I wish we'd started something like this a long time ago. Really looking forward to next year. Identifying solutions to make obstacles more manageable is definitely my A Game.

Still, after the meeting I walked ever slowly away from school, forgetting that an energising convo really only lifts the spirits, not the energy you actually have inside. So to home I went.


Feel better now but still gutted I chose not to attend the school performance. But for now, self-care.

If I'm in this teaching game for the long run, I need to pace myself. Got the message loud and clear last night from my amazing kaiako still at MColl. Pace and longevity, despite the wrinkles.

We've got this. Not long to go now.

Need to enjoy time with our students, not regret time spent not doing other things. 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Sticker Charts - Visible Success

Last year I spent a RIDICULOUSLY long time colouring in blocks of rectangles to show student's credits.

This year... I was smarter.

I went to Uncle Bill's (seriously the most amazing $2 shop-esque in Rotorua) and found stacks of neon coloured round stickers. Grabbing four different colours, Orange for Not Achieved, Green for Achieved, Magenta for Merit and Yellow for Excellence, I headed back to plan out how this new sticker chart might look.

For future reference next year...

Each sticker is 2cm - diameter.
Name stickers were 7cm long.

With those measurements I created sticker chart sheets for all three of my senior classes.

A few things:

I started these in Term 2 - if I'd started earlier to not only track the student's credits, but to identify students lagging from the get go... it might have had a more positive effect overall.

The Y11 charts look amazing. We do six internal assessments with them. But our Y12 class only do four (five if you count oral text but hardly anyone ever takes me up on it...) and this year what with the two students in 12L not finished their writing portfolio, the massive majority on both the 12L and 12A students who didn't participate in the visual verbal assessment... there are a lot of orange stickers.

I wonder whether making the Y12's writing portfolio have a larger space to add two stickers - one for each piece of writing they did - and then an overall sticker to show their overall mark?


Last week I made some sticker charts for my juniors. They had been asking for a while for their own also.

Pics to come. More analysis to come too.

Kia Eke Panuku Obs

Have been thinking about my Kia Eke Panuku obs from this week.

At the crux of it... I'd probably call my teaching style, organised chaos.

Students arranged at random, per choice of students. We don't do seating plans. In fact, student led decision making on where they sit and why has become incredibly important.

The shared power in the room - can be seen too. Learning tends to be more co-constructed and we learn from each other.

At any given moment with certain classes there is self-directed learning occurring. 

What this looks like is different in different classes, with different students.

There is constant monitoring. Awhi, support and encouragement.

Wondering about my shadow coaching sessions and how KM modelled her lesson off of what I'd done in mine. Very cool. Loved her Numbered Heads strategy as well as how she had all the students e tu to refocus them :)

It was good to see that in both obs my relationship strengths came into play and that my giggly, humorous nature came out very obvious in the ob too.

I wonder how different my classroom is to someone who is much more traditional.

Two areas of focus for myself:
- Wananga - need to make the most of teachable moments and use that time to dig deeper, one on one.

- Develop more confidence with my Y9 social studies class. The revision stuff we're doing is mostly new. So we need to find a more concrete way to share this knowledge. Google Docs? Slides even? Not sure. That's my plan for this weekend. Figure it out.

I'd like to do more obs too because I need to improve my way of observation. I'd like to see more and dig deeper.

I really like the shadow coaching too. Different styles there - the side by side and the korero and discussing different points that came up.

I wonder how I might further improve and capitalise on the organised chaos and relationships in class.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Parent Teacher Interviews: Thankful parents

Last night I experienced another really rare moment. This time it was two parents of two of my students who explicitly thanked me for what I do for them and their students. It was so nice.

Nice because we don't often hear that. And the sincerity and seriousness of what they were saying made my heart sing.

One of those parents was the same one who said this last parent teacher interviews. She noted that her daughter should be more thankful, and apparently has said this to her in the past, because I let her daughter read an alternate text for her novel this year. The parent commented that she'd told her daughter that this wasn't normal practice and that her daughter should be more appreciative of what I do.

Last night we talked about how her daughter was playing a game on her phone yesterday. The one time I catch her daughter out doing something she's not meant to, out of hundreds of days where she has been absolutely brilliant and completely putting all her effort into her mahi. We laughed because that relationship, to share that funny moment, was there and had already been built.

What I would like is to have that kind of relationship with all of my student's parents. To have them know what I do, to have their support, to improve their learning and overall engagement in their student's learning.

Last night there were way less parents who came. Perhaps this is because of the two other house tutor group day sessions for goal setting and option choices we've held already this year since the last parent teacher interviews.

Regardless, it's always something a teacher likes to hear. That we are actually making a difference and that the difference is noted and appreciated. :)

Friday, 14 October 2016

Financial Literacy: Y9 Social Studies

Yesterday we started a new topic: Financial Literacy.

We discussed what financial literacy means and why it's important to be financially literate.

I shared my experiences with being financially illiterate as a high school student through to being a university student. When I was growing up I was taught about paying bills off. I never got taught to save my money. I learnt how to spend money... but never to save it. I was taught about how to stretch and juggle my money... but again... never how to save and definitely not how to invest it.

Through my experiences... flatting, terrible boyfriends, taking landlords to tenancy tribunal hearings and the issues around bank deals and 'free' overdrafts during O Week... I was able to paint a pretty clear picture that I had to learn the hard way. That I didn't want my students to learn the hard way.

So... we talked about flatting. What you needed to do when setting up a new place. Signing tenancy agreements, finding flatmates, paying bills, setting up joint bank accounts, finding furniture, organising power companies and internet to be set up... oh and figuring out whether to buy food as a flat or individually.

So... after that awesome lesson - even during it I felt that we had some real, purposeful, relevant learning. I lined them up like we usually do when we start a new topic at the end of the lesson and asked them what new thing they'd learnt that lesson.

Many of them were truly shocked with the experiences I had while at uni... and those were the ones I could tell my grandmothers about haha. But I think it sparked interest for many of them because they understand that it's important to be smarter with our money. Perhaps this generation is more savvy than mine with money - perhaps they've learnt from their parents mistakes and won't make stupid decisions like I did while navigating my way to becoming more financially literate.

Yesterday afternoon I made play money. They're super cool. Photos to come.

Now I just need to print off some examples of tenancy agreements ... because today we begin a mock flatting situation. I just need to make some income cards, expenses cards, dilemma cards and winning cards to really make this game work.

Hopefully... playing this game will give them an idea as to how to make their own financial literacy game.

Next things to do... print off tenancy agreements, rentals in Rotorua, budgets, and... figure out whether to let them figure out power, internet, etc companies or print these out too for them... insurance, kiwisaver too...

Friday, 9 September 2016

Film Booklets - Visual Text Analysis (The Lovely Bones, The Intouchables, The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

I feel rejuvenated. This term I've taught all new films (excepting my Y11 film study of 'V for Vendetta'..) and they've been chosen through a joint process between myself and my students. I gave each class a few options and they decided on the one they'd want to watch based on my description and the trailers we'd watched. 

This term I've used:
  • 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' directed by Stephen Chbosky
  • 'The Intouchables' directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
  • 'The Lovely Bones' directed by Peter Jackson
I've added the booklets that I created for these films and student analysis below. Each booklet has different film techniques and pictures taken from the film. Worksheets have been made by me and there are specific ones that will be constantly reworked and developed based on my student's needs. I've got Google Slides for each film as well that we've been working on as a class. I've added these as links in the titles of the films which are above the embedded booklet. Each booklet and slide deck has the creative commons licensing on - feel free to use and share alike if the worksheets I've made are of any use to you or your students :) Let me know what you think! 

Byte Sized PLD - Practical Sessions at WHHS

Next step in the eLearning PLD at Heights is creating practical hands on sessions.

After the Byte Sized PLD emails I've been sending out we were discussing how we needed to move towards more practical sessions as well as the emails.

Donella came up with the awesome idea of Byte Sized Practical and in the last week we've taken this idea and run with it. So... here's where we are now.

Sessions run by staff - for staff. Empowering on it's own and hopefully SUPER successful.

My hope is that we'll be having more people come along to these sessions in the staffroom and taking advantage of our colleagues sharing their practice. What would be even cooler is more teachers feeling confident to share their learning with staff in future sessions next term.

We don't expect staff members to sign up to these sessions - but hope that they'll pop in. Get what they need and carry on with their day.

Having these sessions in the staffroom will make it more obvious, informal and relaxed. Hopefully staff will feel more comfortable in this setting.

Having this bigger space will also mean we can have small break out spaces when needed for more in-depth discussions or collaborative group projects.

Perhaps soon we will have student sessions being run - for students by students :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Encouraging Growth in Year 9 Students

Today I had two very interesting conversations with two groups of Year 9 students.

The first conversation was out of the blue... mainly because I was so interested with their overall use of digital tools for their learning in that class (I was relieving) and asked a few questions... which turned into a very deep and meaningful provocation where we discussed the concepts around equality vs equity and how we might rethink how we are fearful of stolen property as being our main concern about going BYOD...

The questions really just began around asking if they all used the network, google docs, google classroom... whether they feel comfortable helping their teachers with digital things or their peers in class. Whether they understood the issue around why certain teachers were more unlikely to use digital tools for learning compared to other teachers. Many of these questions were ones I ask of my own colleagues when we discuss around these big issues with future focussed learning.

How cool it was to hear these students articulate their frustrations and how interesting it was to try get them to change their thinking around what it means to be truly equitable compared to equal. How there are just different starting points for most people and why this is a problem.

Without saying anything about white privilege directly - this group of students were arriculating the issues I hear often from parents and staff. Lack of access, issues around security, managing behaviour, monitoring learning and student engagement, identifying next learning steps...

If our year 9 students are significantly aware of these things... how difficult would it be to change the mindsets of their whanau, older siblings... the community.

How our students are the future.

There was one moment today when they said something about how the future generation will have to sort it out... and I said, "The future is now." With a resounding sense of awe in the classroom as if I'd just dropped the mic... I then told them my name which I hadn't done at the beginning of the lesson and then the questions began to fire rapidly from the students.

Another moment when I was describing equity vs equality... and how I used both hands - one index finger on one hand, on the other hand the other index finger, significantly lower and then the pinky finger - naturally lower... holding this formation up - reiterating that picture of the fence and the boxes... difference between the equal and equitable opportunities. I used the analogy of the fence too and being able to see over it. We used it to discuss the issue around access without ever bringing anything up around racism or discrimination... a feat in itself... and these students discussed high level issues quite easily. The kinds of questions I would like my staff at Heights to knuckle into.

The second conversation was more of a just in time korero. I was a little late heading back to class after doing marking in the staffroom and some of my students were waiting by the Y13 area. I asked them all to come over and sit on the Y13 steps. A place they're not allowed to go yet.

We discussed what a privilege it was sitting there and how we might do our work there outside (partly because I didn't have a key for that room and also because it was nice and sunny). We had three seniors with us who were waiting for me to talk with about their happiness at completing their first exam essay for our class this year.

I talked to them (once inside) about why we were ot there. How it's important to make the right decisions to follow ourselves and be the best possible us we can be rather than following others paths... I asked them why I got them out there... how it was important that they realise that they need to change their attitude to ensure they can achieve that privilege in the future. Because every single one of them can. They just need to realise that what they do and say could have an impact on their lives in the future.

Two very different conversations. Both incredibly powerful. I hope I've planted some mind seeds today. :)

In fact... I truly wish I'd recorded today's lessons... for rewindable awesomeness.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Byte Sized PLD: Powtoon and Storyboard That - Video Tutorials

This week I did a couple of hilarious video tutorials... they're rather long but I suppose they help to see just how easy they are to use.

A colleague asked me if I could do some videos on different comic making apps there are that might be useful for her students.

Here they are:

Powtoon - Video Tutorial

Storyboard That - Video Tutorial

Definitely some better tutorials out there - but these were pretty hilarious. Check them out!

Let me know what you thought of mine haha

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Byte Sized PLD: Feedback on TOD and Next Steps for eLearning

Kia ora koutou,

This week I sent out a Google Form to collect feedback from staff around the learning we did on Friday and to identify areas for next steps with our eLearning PLD at Heights. 

The questions were mainly around our staff's learning and experience during teacher only day as well as their own needs for their professional development around elearning. 

Nga mihi,


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Social Studies: Exploration and Big O.E.

After my social studies lesson today I asked two of the boys to stay back to talk about their lack of participation. We had started a new partial unit within our larger one around Exploration.

Today they were asked to become the explorers and plan their O.E. The rest of the class were crazy engaged. Thinking and dreaming big.

At the end... I asked these two boys why I wanted them to participate in this particular project... he said, "Because you want to see us succeed in life."

This. All of this. Now to get him to dream bigger than going further than Taupo and Auckland.

Byte Sized PLD: TES Teach (Formerly known as Blendspace)

Kia ora koutou,

Blendspace is a very cool tool and I was stoked to be asked by Jiji last week about the programme. He asked if I could create a video to help him learn how to use it after hearing about Blendspace at his Mindlab course. 

Blendspace is owned by TES, a UK company. It's been instrumental in my own teaching and learning. Really cool programme to help build collaboration in your departments, help get students collaborating on different ideas and concepts and ultimately an easy way for students to have a wealth of research in one place without going down too many rabbit holes on the Internet.

Here's the video tutorial I made below:

Here's the link for our TES Teach (Blendspace) board for Byte Sized PLD: Heights Edition

Let me know what you think!

Also... Last week I got an email from Amy Lin, one of the co-founders of TES Teach (formerly known as Blendspace), to update me about the new iPad app that they've created for Blendspace. It looks pretty cool from what I can tell so far! I look forward to seeing the Android version on the app store soon too. 

Their new Twitter account is @Tes_Teach so go ahead and follow them there as well. 

Ngā mihi nui ki a koe,


Wednesday, 17 August 2016


I kept it relatively hidden... but I applied for a new job last week. I love my students and the staff I work with at Heights - but it was a new opportunity. Something I'd been waiting for. Something I had seriously wanted as part of my overall development as a kaiako.

Like I did with Hobsonville Point Secondary School at the first #edchatnz conference, I fell in love with Rototuna Junior High School at the recent conference. It's not just the space, or the fact that it's new or that it would be an awesome experience to start afresh without restrictions of history or school culture, access etc ... it's a combination of all this and then the fact that you're collaborating with some incredibly amazing kaiako who want to create opportunities for authentic learning and authentic contexts and relevant learning experiences for students.

When I came out of the interview I naively thought it had gone well. I was all smiles. Buzzing the rest of the day. Surely this should have been the first warning sign. I'd later cringed at how I'd answered the 'What do you do outside of teaching..?' - I have a dog called Mia, a cat called Zo and I read a lot. ... Not the best. There was heaps I didn't say.

It had been a long time since I'd done an interview. I'd been circled before by some interested parties a couple years ago but at the time I was exceedingly happy with where I was during my time at Heights that I allowed those trying to entice me into a new position to ask those questions about change and my ideas for future possibilities without too much weighing on the possibility I might actually want or need to move schools. Because I didn't want to move schools before. I would love to stay at Heights for a long time. To be so embedded that I become a Heights institution. But I know at Heights I feel crazy comfortable and I've actually become quite complacent. I got used to the ebb and flow. There wasn't any BIG change in sight and I was happy doing my own thing in my class, with a captive audience for my terribly punny jokes. I've become part of the school. My students adore my teaching and am always having refugee students seek out my help or asking to come into my classes. It's just that we're taking such a long time to get to where I'd like to see Heights be at. I know we can get there... I just don't want to still be waiting well into my 30s... or 40s and then regret the fact that I didn't try to go somewhere else for new possibilities. I'm an impatient person at best when it comes to change, despite how patient I am with my students and their development and I need to keep pushing myself to be the best teacher I can be.

And so... when I got the call on Monday night after a day of absolute bliss and hope and excitement of a possibility... I was a little gutted. Because it was a lost opportunity. All weekend, even prior to handing in my application, I kept reminding myself to stay close to the ground and not allow myself to be carried away by the dreams and clouds drifting away.... I did... kind of. But that hope - it's infecting. That kind of feeling is something I hadn't felt in such a long time. There are so many amazing things happening in the world of education and I so desperately want to be part of it all. Despite all the cool things we do and learn about in our little space in our classroom, despite my students loving the learning, despite all of this.. I still would like to try my hand at something new. Always a learner... and this unfortunately (mostly fortunately now that I've had time to digest everything..) has been a learning curve. One which I will be thankful for in the future.

The morning after - Tuesday... I had made the decision that it would be okay. That I was okay with not getting it. I was still gutted for sure. But like anything, I'd learn from this. I was still trying to figure out what the things were that I needed to work on in order to get a job like that in the future, but I went to school, heavy hearted, knowing full well my students and colleagues would bolster me and reenergise me. Reminding me why I love teaching. Reminding me why I do all this. Why I get so involved and so laden by the stresses and pressure to keep working towards being a better teacher.

I'd given my students (only my Y12 they had the most to lose with me leaving with their high level and amount of internals etc) the heads up that I was thinking about applying for a new job... I'd told them I had an interview... and now was happy in a way I could assuage them and stop them giving me dirty, upset and accusingly traitorous looks by telling them that I actually didn't get the job. They were beyond happy by the way. Gutted for me. Happy for themselves. I knew all this. And... now we're back to normal. I think now though there is this feeling of slight untrust that I need to nut out because I've made it my mission as a teacher not to be the one that will ever abandon them. Which is why during the interview I brought up the issue around the start date because I was uncomfortable about leaving them before their end of year exams if I'd gotten the job...

Yesterday afternoon I finally got the guts up to ask for some feedback after the interview and particularly around gaining a bit more clarification around what I might need to do in order to develop more experience in what was called 'extended pedagogy'. The term was new to me and I wasn't too sure what they'd meant by it. I get it now though. And I'm still kicking myself. Because I can SO EASILY explain myself when it is in this mode of explanation through writing. Ask me face to face though and I sound ridiculous. If we're talking about something I'm crazy passionate about - there are no stops or starts in what I'm saying. I can talk for hours. I'll talk your head off. No umming - no stuttering. I know I used to be able to articulate myself well. I did. Before. So... I need to build these skills up again. I've been using stronger verbal questioning skills with my students as a way to redevelop those connections in the neurons... and even so... gosh. Maybe I just need to suck it up and ask for clarification whenever I'm unsure rather than reverting to that meek, passive person I used to be while growing up...

The very incredible new Principal of RSHS called me tonight to talk me through some of the feedback around the interview. It was mostly things I'd already told myself off about on the drive home after conference... but the clarification around what I needed to know was that extended pedagogy stuff. It's not really a new term. It's the fact that I didn't really explain myself in the interview. I didn't show how everything was interconnected. I didn't answer the questions well. Maybe in that moment I didn't even really know what the questions were trying to dig at. It's the same rookie mistake that my students make when going into their exams. They completely miss the point. And I think that's what happened to me.

She mentioned about my strengths in cultural responsiveness and relational pedagogy - a section I didn't even need to answer in the interview as I'd obviously covered it in enough depth just by talking about myself and my manaaki for my students.

But why didn't I then use this as a base for all of the other questions? In everything I do... MindLab, Kia Eke Panuku, Restorative Practice, inquiry and goal setting, reflections, planning, teaching and learning processes.... this strength of mine is at the core. Because I connect so INCREDIBLY well with my students. Why did I think it was a good idea to nekeneke without any actual connection to the kaupapa? Gah. Ko hoha au. Hoha with myself. Because I know this stuff. I know it so well. I could spout off so much of Russell Bishop and Mere Berryman's research. I can explain the areas around the Mana Potential and Rock and Water programmes and how I use these as a base for my restorative practice pedagogy and empathy modelling with students. I can easily share areas around moments where I've shown high expectations with my students - they too can easily ariticulate this. Because I never ever give up on them. So much so that when I found out one of my students had left today and it was a massive surprise to me... my students said it was because she didn't want to tell me because she knew I'd be disappointed in her. Disappointed in myself that another student was lost to me. Lost and I had no way of helping them achieve their full potential.

The Principal discussed the answers I gave around how I'd dealt with conflict with a student and how I'd extend students, and how I'd use inquiry to form judgements based on evidence collated by student data. I messed these questions up because I didn't really get the question. I was listening for what I thought they wanted to hear... not for what the question really was. I wasn't showcasing myself at all.

I have no idea why I brought up the conflict that hasn't really been resolved yet with one of my students... It's still weighing on my mind. It's still bugging me that there is that space that won't be filled from her side where she is unwilling to cross and go back to normal. Why didn't I talk about how I don't call students out for silly behaviours rather than that one time I did and it blew up in my face. Why didn't I talk about how I encourage my students to push themselves when they give up. How I contacted the parents of one student when I was just getting nowhere with him at school in my normal humourous joking manner of prodding along... and found out him and his mates were doing stupid stuff to each other and how this helped open a new kettle of fish where I reopened the dialogue I'd created with these parents last year when I'd taught him in a junior class.

Why didn't I talk about the time last year with one of the most loyal students I have now? How she seriously did not like me last year commenting on her work while she was doing her resubmission. How we got on the same page with our frustrations of the requirements set by her teacher around what was acceptable... and how we tried to nekeneke by using digital modes for her assessment... and were both gutted when it didn't work... and she had to revert her VERY awesome assessment to something more basic, more handdrawn... and which although she achieved... she would have gotten an Excellence with her digital version because of how she'd edited it... How she has been an inquiry student for me for a long time because she has issues with accepting praise when she's done something well, or when she thinks she's not good enough... how she was a phenomenal help in our extra-curricular dance competition and raised herself to a leadership position quickly, being her humble and quiet self, and her angry and frustrated self when other students weren't paying attention to what us teachers were trying to say...How this year she has grown astronomically in her confidence levels and is beginning to believe in herself finally.

I know I didn't answer the question properly around how I extend students - I'd thought the question was more around the expectations of the parents.. I should have clarified the question to ensure I was being clear from the get go. I winged that question and that was the question which I could have easily connected with. I talked about how the students need to push themselves to their full potential. At no point did I mention I help scaffold them to get there where they can fly solo. I could have talked about our awesome sticker charts that we have in class that I've developed as an inquiry over the past two years and how these show the progression of student achievement and overall development. How these sticker charts, while back to basics, are a visual reminder of how we're going as a class. How these charts are a constant reminder of the students I need to pull up with the rest of us and the students who need constant pushing forward to reach their crazy awesome potential.

I could have talked more about the fact that despite my strengths being with encouraging my students who are struggling, I am also getting VERY good at more in-depth higher order thinking questioning skills with my students to make them think DEEPER and with a stronger focus around building the audience and overall purpose into EVERYTHING they discuss and share. I could have talked about how we've developed entire programmes together as a class based on student interests and how these overwhelmingly have enhanced my teaching as I've developed stronger and more in depth foci around my own teaching style and the needs of my students. How I've become so much more aware of my reverting back into traditional modes of teaching because of the restrictions placed on us and how asserting my knowledge around building 21st century skills in regards to collaboration, participation and overall thinking skills have helped to develop more enhanced learning opportunities for all students.

I also could have explained my use of assessment data to talk about my inquiries and how these relate back to so many different areas where I have strengths... how I created a Google Form for my Year 12 Alternative English class to evaluate my teaching and their learning processes. How the questions were framed in a way to ensure full student evaluation of their learning within my class and how I've used culturally responsive pedagogies in order to ensure better outcomes for all students. How this use of qualitative data outlined certain areas and issues in my practice that I had known but had ignored - particularly how I believe my Y13 students in that class will be fine, how I try to let them figure things out before helping them too quickly. How this actually doesn't make them feel safe or comfortable in the learning just yet. How I try to scaffold them to make them feel more comfortable and ready to fly solo. Using this data and the achievement of certain internal assessments to graph the results and then analyse the data in our professional learning groups showed that I can discuss the intricacies of relational pedagogy and more importantly the critical lens of AKO and Mana Motuhake. Why oh WHY did I not bring these up? Why didn't I elaborate further around this?

The last question I messed up was around integrated learning programmes and particularly how I've been part of enabling these. I talked about the Year 9 Heights programme of induction around English, Social Studies and Science. While this was cool, I could have talked about how I'm currently collaborating with the health and physical education department and particular colleagues to enable our students to succeed in both English and Health to ensure our students are making the most of their learning opportunities and how my fabulous colleague Sam and I have been discussing the need to share our resources (which we have at differing times - start of this year and a couple weeks ago) to help define the skills in which our students are using in our individual classes to try to connect their learning on a level platform - not so much single cell subjects... I could have talked about how I've been discussing the same kind of thing with my colleagues in the Music department about their performance standard and how we could use it for our Visual Verbal standard. More than just doubling up on the credits... or double dipping as others put it... how we want to change the way we're teaching and learning to ensure that our students get the best deal. That they learn that many of the skills we're all teaching in the different learning areas are actually connected - how they're interdisciplinary skills.

All of this annoys me.. because I know this stuff. I know it so well. I talk to anyone who will listen about this stuff. Because I believe in it so much. I absolutely detest deficit theorizing. I refuse to ever believe that a student doesn't want to learn. They just haven't been given the right opportunity yet. Sometimes sure a student lacks the motivation... but again this comes down to encouragement of their efforts rather than their ability. Growth MINDSET! Why didn't I bring this up - the Class Dojo geek that I am. Gah.

I think overall, like she said, it comes down to interviewing skills. I wasn't ready for the interview - usually I do so so much prep before I even apply to a new school. I embed myself so completely within their website, and any and all research I can find, that I know the mission and school charter better than many of the current staff at the school I'm applying at. True story. It had been a while since my last interview. I was nervous. God was I nervous. But I don't think I was hungry enough for it. I am now. Because that opportunity while lost... isn't the last one. There will be more opportunities. It's an expanding school. Next time I will be ready. I will articulate myself clearly. I will be clearly spoken. I will have a range of experience to gather from and nekeneke properly by connecting everything to my overall whakaaro. I will be absolutely sure it's what I want. I will dive headfirst. Because that's what I'm like... all or nothing.

For now though... my students are happy. My Principal is happy. My colleagues are happy too. It didn't quite feel like the right timing this time. It kind of felt like a false start in a race where I tried to outstrip the bullet in the gun before it was even shot out of the barrel. I wasn't quite ready. Eager, always. But ready? Not quite yet.

Ngā mihi nui to all those who helped me with my application. I'm sorry I let you down. I will do better next time. To those who supported me post-interview and post-interview result too - it's not an easy thing putting yourself out there and I'm glad I did it if only for the interview experience. Massive thanks to the leadership team at RSHS for the opportunity and for the chance to share who I am with you. I look forward to seeing where you all go in your planning for the rest of the year and can't wait to hear about the awesome things that will be happening there. Lastly, massive thanks to the RSHS principal who took time out of her day to talk me through the feedback from the interview. Not all Principals would do this and it meant a lot. Ngā mihi nunui ki a koe e whaea.

Encouraging Minute Change with Kotuku Tribe

At last weekend's #edchatnz conference I mentored a small group of NZ educators and our little 'tribe' was called Kotuku. Throughout the conference we were spoken to about the idea of possibilities. Our group's pitch was around 'Encouraging Minute Change' so we created a hashtag called #MinuteChange which we've started using already since conference finished. The whole idea around it is that for many change is seen as hard. Grant Lichtman (my favourite EduCrush) says that "Changing schools isn't hard. It's uncomfortable." This has been something I've personally held onto for a long while. 

I shared with Kotuku Tribe about what we've been doing here at Heights with our inquiries and goal setting. I shared later on about how a few weeks ago I started 'Byte Sized PLD' as a way to begin encouraging minute change here at Heights. It wasn't until the end where the group really began to flesh out their idea that I shared this and it seemed to accelerate the move towards the HOW they would encourage their minute changes into action. 

So - we began discussing how we might encourage minute changes. It begins with us. We have to decide this is the time to make those changes. For many of us we've been making small changes to develop our pedagogy for a long time. For others, perhaps it's time to realise that there is a need to change our pedagogy to suit our students in more depth. To have the learner at the centre of everything we do and ensure that we aren't just encouraging the whakaaro around credit farming. That the LEARNING is more important than the credits or what we're 'doing'. 

As a result. The hashtag began. Let's all start using it. Whether you add it as a tag in your blog like I have or begin using it to think about the small changes you make in your practice. Small incremental change becomes MASSIVE transformative change over time. 

What did you do differently today? (WIDD)

WIDD: I shared #MinuteChange with our staff here at Heights and hope that there are more kaiako that begin making minute changes in their practice. 

We live in an exciting world. Lots of awesome changes. So much potential for awesomeness. Let's get ahead of the awesome and BE the awesome. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Byte Sized PLD: Google Extensions (OneTab and Screencastify)

Kia ora koutou,

Today I thought I'd share a couple new bite-sized tips for your weekly PLD around the most time-saving Google Extensions. You'll need to sign in to your Google Chrome browser to use these - I've added a video below that might help. 

Last week I talked about the incredible Chrome Web Store. Below are two fantastic Google Extensions that are found in the Web Store. Try the Extensions out and let me know what you think.

  • OneTab: Collates your tabs. Maximises your time and research finds. Awesome Google Extension to help teach students and ourselves the value around saving important links for later!! 

  • Screencastify: Video making tool. Google Extension. Quick, easy and painless. Could be used for heaps of different assessments and as a learning tool too!

Here are the slides I made for quick and easy explanation in how to sign into the Google Chrome browser - as well as how to use these two apps. 

Signing into Google Chrome and Google Extensions video: 

Hope this was helpful! 

Nga mihi ki a koe,


Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Issue with Possibility...

I have to admit I'm slowly coming down from the high that was being with the #edchatnz whanau these last two days.

Being at Rototuna Junior High School was an absolutely amazing experience.

I had a job interview yesterday. At RJHS for Rototuna Senior High School. My first feelings was that it went well. I shared a bit about my story and who I am... where I'm from. Talked about my experiences as a student teacher at Matamata College and the complete contrast at Huntly College. Why this was so integral to me wanting to be a teacher.

I'm feeling now that I may have shot myself in the foot by not talking about the fact that I do have a life outside of teaching... because all I said was that I have a dog and a cat... and that I like to read. I also said I love my family. All of these are massive understatements and as I was driving home last night I kept thinking about all the things I could have said.

How I love watching Netflix and playing Pokemon Go. How I read a LOT during the summer... and throughout the year my time becomes devoted to professional development and learning with my students. How I have a LOT of nieces and nephews and have been umming and ahing about even having kids anymore. How I love to sing and miss performing in Kapa Haka. How I wish I could dance better than I do hahaha I always wanted to be a ballerina. How I love MAKING and creating things. How I'm a tinkerbell from way back. How I'm an innovator and an inventor. How I try new things constantly. How I adore cooking and teaching my sisters how to cook different kinds of food. How I love waking up to the sounds of cars driving past my house and the sun beaming through the windows. How I love driving and how badly I want/need to travel. How I've been dreaming for a life and how I've put it on hold til I truly found myself and moved on from my past. How I've worked hard to build a life for myself with such supportive friends and colleagues around the country and around the world. How Facebook and other social media is my main form of communication as I'm living in Rotorua away from my best friends.

But I'm glad my skills in cultural responsiveness got across. I'm glad that I was able to articulate my thoughts and perspectives clearly enough. (EDIT: Bahahahaha... nope). I'm glad I didn't stutter or forget what I was saying. I'm glad that there was a feeling of true interest in those who were interviewing me and that they were keen to learn who I was. It showed that they too value relationships and creating that connection.

I keep thinking about how I might feel if I don't get this job. If they go with someone else instead. I'm the best at coming up with a bad situation... or worst possible situation... that being I don't get the job. That literally is a possible situation. But I'd still have my current job. I still love my students and the staff that I work with. I still have big ideas on how to enable change and I'd love to continue with that... but there is finally a positive perspective towards that nagging in me. One that I've held off since stepping inside Hobsonville Point Secondary School. That negative nagging perspective saying that I'm holding myself back, that I'm not ready. But I think I finally am.

Like the principal said - there is never a right time to move. But if I don't jump at a chance like this I would have always regretted it.

I chose to stay at Heights for the past four years, loyal to my principals and my students.

It's time for me to develop myself further. Push myself out of my comfort zone. I wholeheartedly believe that there is a need for me at a school like that. It's a similar need at my current school too though. The need to embed myself into something exciting. To help where I can. That need to grow and develop. To connect wholeheartedly with the concept of Ako.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Edchatnz Conference: Part 1

Wow! What an awesome first day ;) We started off yesterday with a bit of a trek from the car towards Rototuna Junior High School, sun beaming behind it. Made a new friend as we both got out of our respective cars and were talking about our schools and the possibilities at RJHS. Now that I think of it, both of us were skirting the issue around how cool it would be to work there.. haha. More to come on that later...

The amazing thing about edchatnz conference is that the connections you make and the ones you originally made on Twitter to fully form face to face... are absolute gold. I can't wait to see who turns up today at conference!

Danielle and Phillippa talked to us about the possibilities and sharing of ideas. The need to continue being the lone nut and embracing the lone nuts in schools who help on the journey. Absolutely adored Danielle's korero. Awesome effort with her pepeha too!!!

We were welcomed from Fraser Hill, the principal of Rototuna Junior High School (RJHS), at the beginning of the conference. It was good to hear him explain in more depth about the area, how Ngāti Wairere gifted the names of the school learning areas, the importance of how deep the consulation went with hapu means so much to me - even down to the colour of the orange in the uniforms as pigment that was used for dyes, the carpet on the ground floor representing the peat from the area, the use of the kahu... ataahua.

Our day started off with finding our tribe. Sounds weird... I know.. but as tribe mentors, we were able to create discussions with our groups around what they might do to help their own situations in schools and how they might go about creating change. Our tribe is hoping to stay connected, for a long time, if not a short time... preferably through a Facebook Group.

We are the very ataahua Kotuku. Graceful, elegant and sleek.

At the beginning of today, I was trying to find a way in to ask about goal setting, it didn't work as fast as I liked. I started off with a quick circle up sharing who we are, where we've come from, how long we've been teaching. It was great to see them all sharing in this at least. To help explain that we don't want to be waiting for the next person to share once we began the big discussions I used Bogun's term 'Circle of Death'. I kept figuring out how to pose the question around creating a goal.... but backed off when there was radio silence... realised that we hadn't done enough whakawhanaungatanga and so carried on... We shared what struggles we had in creating change at our schools, how we might develop more risk taking in schools, how we might find ways to circumnavigate issues we wee currently having, how we might share without restrictions and collaborate with our colleagues.

The conversation that was generated from that was absolutely beautiful. So stoked. We finished our korero and went to our first session with the promise of meeting up at lunch again.

I spent a fair bit of time today talking to different kids at RJHS. I was a little surprised at how they circled me and wanted to talk to me after only a short few minutes. Sure I initiated the conversation and began building on the relationship by asking about their learning and their experiences, but I always find it interesting how quickly those bonds are formed between me and potential students. I loved that the kids were so articulate with their learning. Sharing what they were learning... not what they were doing.

The korero from Mel and the tour after by students of RJHS was awesome. Seeing the school through their eyes was great. Beautiful spaces. Awesome learning. Great teaching. Twos and threes. Integrated learning. Modules and flight time. Makes sense now that I've seen it in action.

We met up again - the tribe mentors - to discuss our progress and what we'd learnt so far. Some of the groups weren't quite gelling yet - I was pleased to share that our group was doing really well! We discussed the issue around the pitch and figured out essentially, what strengths did our tribe members have and what could we do to amplify this?

Last session of the day was to talk with our tribes again and drill down on a possible idea for a pitch. Using that question around how we might amplify something in our schools, we discussed how we might begin making small changes that lead to incremental changes that eventually lead to bigger changes.

The idea around risk taking was shared a lot. As most of my tribe members are primary sector it was awesome hearing about their experiences and issues with reading groups and writing... a lot of discussion around methods and alternatives to what was already happening. Discussion around needs-based groups and self-evaluation. Having the whiteboard tables helped immensely.

Our idea is awesome too. Our pitch is this morning. I look forward to seeing how they go.

Feeling a bit excited, way less nervous now that I've refocussed myself. Interview this morning. :) Night koutou.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

New Opportunities...

I'm currently in the process of rehashing my CV and teaching portfolio. A lot more work is needed to go into it and to be perfectly honest... I used to keep them both tip top shape... but I got settled and complacent.

New opportunity on the horizon. I may not even get the new job. I would be happy either way. I love our students at Heights. They are beyond awesome. Our staff are amazing too. There are just certain things that are taking too long to get started and I feel constantly held back.

Doing the new films this term with my 12's and Y10 class has helped remind me about what I love about teaching. But I keep falling back into traditional modes of teaching and I've fought so long to move towards more 21st century learning styles and modes of pedagogy that it bothers me a lot that this is happening. The silent game for example... seriously. Sure it works when used sparingly... I just never ever want to be one of those old kuia who get so uptight because things aren't working for them and take it out on the kids.

I need to be challenged. Whether that is somewhere new or at Heights - I just need to figure out my role and where I stand. I asked the question yesterday too when I talked to my principal about this new opportunity. He gave me a really honest answer about the looming issue around our roll and the positive carrot of possibility in the somewhat near future.

My cards seem to be laying face up on the table. Not too sure where to from here. Wherever - this next phase and step in my career looks crazy exciting.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Byte Sized PLD: Google Chrome Browser and Grammarly

Kia ora koutou,

This week for your bite sized PLD - I thought I'd share a couple tips and tricks with eLearning. 

Google Chrome browser

Google Chrome is easily the best browser to be using with Google Apps for Education (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms etc). If you only have Internet Explorer (the one with the Blue E logo) on your computer... it might be time to download Google Chrome. 

You'll find it runs much smoother and has better capability with using GAFE tools - even just Gmail! The link to download it is here. There are a bunch of tips and tricks to go with using the Chrome browser for example, signing into Chrome so that your bookmarks and extensions appear for quick and easy access. 


Grammarly is a VERY cool little Google Extension. It works within the Google Chrome web browser and is super easy to use. 

Whenever I'm typing something, the little Grammarly extension is checking my spelling and grammar and helping check what I've written. Perhaps issues around privacy - but for the most part students and staff would be using this app at school where we'd be using it for classwork. 

To access it - go to the Chrome Web Store - and search up 'Grammarly'. The link here will take you to this page directly. Under Extensions - you'll see the Grammarly button and you just need to click 'Add to Chrome'. You will need to click 'allow' a few times for it to be enabled. You'll now see that there is a little green G in the top right-hand corner of your browser. 

There are heaps more tips and tricks with using Google Chrome - let me know if you want some one-on-one tutorials or flick me a quick email if you need help :)

Ngā mihi,


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Social Studies - Expeditions Unit

When my HOD of Social Sciences first told me about the next unit in the Year 9 programme I could do I completely buzzed out. The idea of 'First Crossings' completely inspires me and makes me wonder about so many things. Like... what would have Ihenga's first crossing really have been like and what was Sir Edmund's real thoughts when he got to the summit?

Initially I was stoked because the idea around Exploration and Innovation is very very cool and there is a lot of lee way and planning that can be undertaken as a result. Lots of cross-curricular planning. Lots of student centred learning. Lots of discovery.

Today we kicked off the unit. Albeit it was a slight motivator as we were trying our best today to complete the Peace Crane assignment - theory side of the assessment... and we finally cracked the first section so we could finally watch the first part of the Motu River reconstruction of the 'First Crossing'. The two survivalists are NZ guys and have absolute respect for the stories they're retelling.

My students didn't know where the Motu River was. I was surprised! But I guess I only know where it is because my Dad helped build the tracks for the Motu trail ride when he invested in the biking business for a stretch.

Best part about this episode is that it's close enough to home. The first part is full of mistakes and the kids can relate to it. They laughed when the two guys were having trouble and cheered them on when they succeeded. The boats capsizing, tipping, getting stuck on bolders as they make their way down the treacherous river, finding solutions to problems.

I've been listening to my students properly the last couple weeks. Truly trying to hear them and what they're asking and saying - rather than trying to move on instead of allowing those teachable moments to occur naturally. Today was no exception. They asked a few questions. I pointed certain things out. The guys explained certain areas and issues about the trip and I reemphasized it for more clarity.

The bell went before we could get passed the first ad break - and so am looking forward to it.

Hoping to hear some questions from them tomorrow and getting them to remember key details about the experience so far.

Looking forward to the next few weeks. :)

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Byte Sized PLD - Kahoot and Plickers (Gamification)

Kia ora koutou,

Last week I was fortunate to sit in on a korero between Adam, Ryan, Manu and Jiji where they were discussing their use of a couple of new apps in their class. Kahoot and Plickers are great tools to gain formative assessment data on student's understanding using quizzes and are incredibly engaging. This week for a bit of bite sized PLD I thought I'd share these two apps with you. I've added links and how to videos as well - so feel free to skip over my written explanations if needed :)

Kahoot! - Kahoot is super simple to use - in fact there are a tonne (currently 8.9 million) of pre-made quizzes to choose from. Making your own quiz that are relevant to your own learning in class are just as simple - most questions are either multi-choice or true/false styled questions. The students absolutely enjoy this app and from our korero last week it was really cool to see how it was being used in different departments.

The link for teachers to set up Kahoot is: and the link for anyone playing the quiz is:

How it works: Set the quiz up on the projector, make sure you've clicked 'Show Game Pin Throughout' for the students late to getting to start (particularly once they see how cool it is!), and if any student creates an inappropriate nickname for themselves you can delete it so they can enter a more appropriate one. Students read the questions on the projector screen and answer on their devices using the assigned colour or shape answers. Scores are calculated by speed of correct guess and correct answer. Scores are shown after each question and at the end of the quiz too. If you use it often you can collate a series of awesome data for your students about their understanding of main concepts within their learning. Students will need to be using their devices to play this - so make sure your class has the appropriate use forms and (in future BYOD forms) signed.

Plickers - Plickers is a new tool for me but one that I'm very excited to get started using. The best thing about this app is that only the teacher needs a device. It's quite lo-tech in that sense which is good particularly if you don't have that many devices in class. Adam and Ryan have both used this app in class - Mary observed it's use last week so if you have any questions - check with them. Plickers unfortunately doesn't have the same pore-made quizzes available but it seems to be quite quick to create single questions for each round of Plickers.

The link for Plickers is:

How it works: Students have a numbered card which kind of looks like a QR code that is allocated to each student's name. Their cards have four options - A B C D - and each time you turn the card around the shape of the Plickers code changes. When using the Plickers app on the teacher's phone, you scan the room and collect the students answers with their raised cards. Each student's name is recorded along with their answer. At the end of the quiz (and perhaps as you go?) you get a series of results of student's answers and you can see a trend as to their understanding.

Let us know how you go!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Kahoot, Plickers, MindLab and Heights

Yesterday at interval one of my colleagues was sharing his experience of  using Kahoot during his extended House Tutor Group session.

The other colleague in his dept was talking about a PLD conference they went to and referenced Plickers.

Our other colleagues were asking questions and learning about these tools.

I really liked Adam's use of Kahoot and how he'd used it to get the students to learn more about each other as a digital scavenger hunt. Specific details about his students was loaded in as questions like ' Who is in the Pasifika group?' etc

When helping Manu understand how and why you'd use Kahoot, he said it would be cool to use it for students to figure out exemplars of work - Achieved, Merit and Excellence - and the right answer being the mark he'd give the piece. I loved this suggestion because it was something I hadn't thought about before. Even though Manu would be using it for art pieces, Adam thought about how he could use it for compositions and pieces of music and I thought about how it could be used for writing or static images.

I liked that Ryan was sharing his learning about Plickers as we often talk about the fact that not all of our students had devices which made it difficult to do some of the cooler learning. Plickers, as Ryan explained to us, was great because the cards acted like QR codes and were corresponding to student's answers. If the students used the same numbered plickers cards, then you'd have a really good set of results and data to use. I definitely need to investigate Plickers in more depth.

Jiji was asking me about his MindLab assignment. As part of the July intake, he is just starting his first assessment. We've had a couple really short sessions on his assessment and tools he could use. I showed Emma how to use Screencastify on Sunday for a few hours along with some other tools and she'd shared her learning with others this week at Mindlab which is awesome!

A student mentioned the new APs and the awesome WIFI signal we have yesterday and said "It's all thanks to you, Miss".

Exactly what I needed to hear after a stressful few days after recieving an unwelcome letter from an old friend.

It was just so cool being part of that korero yesterday. It reminds me that there are people at school interested, and like Manu mentioned about wanting to do that kind of thing more often, it's the lack of time to experiment with new ideas and the need to share that is most important.

When I really open my eyes - there is heaps of collaboration going on at Heights. Love that. :)