Tuesday, 20 June 2017

E-tap PD

After school today we had a PD session about E-tap. 
Thank you so much JJ who prepared this slide deck and presented it in a fast-paced, practice as you go way that was helpful and interesting.

There was a lot I didn't know about E-tap, and now I will be able to use it more effectively. 

Aireen also presented the new way we are going to log jobs for Fusion to fix, through the Fusion Dashboard. She took us through its different features and gave us a document that had everything we need to know on it.

Very informative afternoon!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Bob update

In order to help 'Bob' more effectively, I have asked for some help/training as I have no experience with learning at this age (reading at 5 years old).

He is on the STEPS programme, which is run by our teacher aides. As part of the RTLB meeting, we decided to check in that our teacher aide knew how to use the programme correctly. I asked to get some training myself as I had no idea how to use it, let alone how to support the teacher aide in her use of it.

One of the RTLBs came into school today to give us this training. It was designed to use the new data we collected about Bob to make STEPS work for him (i.e. using information about how he processed information, his memory skills etc).

Things I didn't know about STEPS.

  • The average child needs to see a word 10-12 times to know it.. Students who typically end up using STEPS need to see a word 700+ times.
  • Use wordlists (and create your own) to focus on particular sets of words at a time - these feed into the games as well. 
  • Activities need to be done in order as they link on from each other ( in sets)
Finding out that children with these kinds of learning needs need to see a word 700+ times to truly know it and remember it shocked me. Really?!?! But at the same time, it makes sense. Bob knows words and one day will instantly recall them, and the next day won't. It's as if he 'forgets'.. but really, did he ever really know it in the first place?

We had another meeting with the teacher aid, the DP, myself, the two RTLBs and Bobs dad. It was a really good meeting where his next set of goals was set and responsibilities for each person involved was agreed upon. I was happy to see that all the tasks I was required to do as his teacher, such as having his own box of books he can free read from (at his level), having him learn red level high frequency words, having flip cards with these words (etc), I was already doing. I felt proud that I was supporting Bob in the ways he needed before being explicitly told 'do this, do that'. 

I definitely think that Bob will make progress this year with so much support behind him. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Anne's observation (Term 2, 2017)

I had my observation with Anne (MDTA Supervisor) yesterday. I no longer stress about observations (after having so many last year lol), so was very happy to see Anne and have her hang out in my class for a couple hours.

You can read her full feedback here.

I felt it was a successful lesson and I was proud to show Anne that my kids knew how to debate (following protocol), but also that they could work together without much T direction. They ran their own discussions with me just suggesting things, rather than 100% directing them. 

Here are some snippets from Anne's feedback that I will take with me into the day ahead.

I came into classroom to see the roll running itself, being managed by the class, in Samoan. This was followed by their karakia and then they were ready for the day.

You scaffolded them with the kind of words, which would draw the reader into their argument and believe the strength of the argument.

Collecting their netbooks from the cupboard was quickly and efficiently done by the learners. You put a lot of the responsibility back on the learners encouraging them to be more self managing.

Providing the template for the learners to follow was a good scaffold and helped them to organise their thinking and ideas. You sat with the less capable group and helped to clarify their thinking and gave them immediate feedback from their writing.

The class work really well in a very relaxed manner and there is a sense of enjoyment in the class. You have a very malleable class, with only a couple to challenges, so you can get a lot of work accomplished. There were really thoughtful ideas being promulgated amongst the groups and they helped each other by sharing their work.

A very productive morning Ashley and you worked so hard to be inclusive for all the levels in the class. You have given such a commitment to those who are struggling and it is taking up a lot of your time so hope the IEP and RTLB can help you with those children. Thank you for sharing your class with me and allowing me to contribute ideas. They are a great bunch of students and obviously love you to bits. Relationships, more interest and enjoyment of learning and confidence to help with achievement success was Graeme Aitken’s recipe, and you are following this, so good luck! Your Blog posts are a joy to read and show a teacher who is excited with what she is doing, happy to share her ideas and working well to meet the requirements for registration. The toolkits and professional development you are doing for others, is greatly appreciated, as your skills increase weekly. Well done Ashley - love your work!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Using Ipads for reading - getting help from colleagues.

In my class I have a huge range of abilities - as all teachers say and do. 

For reading, I have one student, Bob, who is significantly lower than the rest of his peers. Due to the huge gap between him, and the next lowest student, I struggle to find time to give him adequate learning tasks and time. Everybody else is in a group, so if I am not there they can learn off each other. However with Bob, there is no one else at his level in this class. 

I have been giving him books to read at his level and trying to come up with activities that will appropriate (for the book content and his maturity level), but this is really hard when I have everyone else to think about as well.

Today I went to observe my friend and colleague Lucina, who teaches year 1 and 2. Although her students are lower than Bob is, I wanted to see how she taught them and especially how she integrated the Ipad into her teaching.

It was good to see her teaching, but I got more out of picking her brain about it. 

For example, I went through her Ipad and saw the different kinds of activities she does on Explain Everything for her kids (i.e. retelling the story, sequencing pictures in the right order, circle the punctuation) and then went away and made some for myself (at Bobs level). 

I went back and showed these to her and she was quite happy with them. She then explained some technical stuff about saving, locking pictures (Etc) that I didn't know and wouldn't have been able to figure out on my own.

But wait.. there's more!

Then she set me up with a teachers account on Sunshine Books and created Bob as a student on it, so he use that independently as well. 
I have never been on Sunshine books before but it is AMAZING. 

There are levelled books, with audio, and follow up activities BUILT IN.

Today has given me a lot more information and access to activities that I can make, and Bob can do, with some level of independence. It will be awesome to have something to give him all the time, instead of him sitting with me for 20 minutes (if we are lucky) and then kind of doing nothing for the rest of reading time. 

I am so excited! It's going to be great.

Thank you Lucina, you are a god send!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Cross-grouping in maths (reflection)

Monday 8th May

Today myself and my colleague (the other year 5/6 teacher) changed up our maths plan and decided to cross-group our students for this fractions unit.

We both have a HUGE range of ability in our classes (stages 3-7 in both classes) and this makes it incredibly difficult to adequately teach each students at all their various levels.
In my own class, I have students who can't subtract from 20 in their heads, and students who can multiply decimals. That gap is just too big to try to get them to do stuff together.

So today I took the stage 6-7 students, and my colleague took the stage 3-5 students and

Even within my group, I still had students who didn't get it, some who were ready for more and a big bunch in the middle who it was a good amount of challenge for. However, by the end of the lesson, most of them had gotten the concept.

It was so much easier to teach them when they were all ready and able to deal with more complex ideas, including comparing fractions (with different denominators) in their heads and telling me which one was bigger, or telling me how many quarters are in 7, or if 1/3 has 3 jellybeans in it, how many jellybeans are in 10? (Etc.)

I felt so encouraged that I could really shift the students and move them into stage 7 for this unit, as I could focus more time and effort on challenging ideas instead of trying to make one thing fit everyone (it just doesn't work sometimes).

Tuesday 9th May

Today we continued with our cross-grouping for maths. We didn't have as much time as did yesterday, so we got straight into it. Man, it makes such a difference being able to say something once and have everybody understand and do it. Teachers, you will feel me on this.

I gave the kids a piece of paper with a number line on it (0 on the left, 1 on the right) and I asked them to show me where 1/2 goes. All the groups put it in the middle of 0 and 1. Great! Hallelujah! Don't need to stop and re-teach what a half is. Beauty. Next, I asked them to put 2/3. This threw them a little, as 2/3 doesn't connect to 1/2, whereas 1/4 does because it's half of a half. However, they knew without prompting that thirds means three groups and so they roughly tried to divide the line into three parts. Not bad! Next, I asked them to put on 1/3 and 3/3, followed by sixths then quarters. Sixths was quite easy, once they understood that half of a third is a sixth (Thanks to my amazing drawing of a chocolate bar lol).

Quarters was much easier because they could half each half, thirds was a bit more abstract. A couple of the kids didn't quite understand why 4/4 was the same as 1 whole, so a bit of explaining was needed here.
I lastly asked them to put on 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5 and 5/5. I was AMAZED as one of the groups put 2.5 in the middle underneath 1/2. Although they hadn't placed the fifth fractions on the number line, by doing so they showed me that they were breaking up the fraction to try and compare them. Yay! I used this to teach all the other groups that if the middle is 2.5/5, then 1/5 and 2/5 must be on the left because they are smaller (closer to 0), and 3/5 and 4/5 must be on the right because they are bigger than 2.5/5 (closer to 1 whole). And of course 5/5 is the same as 1. (This same group even put 0/5 underneath the 0 without prompting - blimey!)

As a warm down I offered tokens to students who could answer my questions, which were
- what is the same as half? (3/6, 2/4, 0.5 - then some kids out of nowhere started saying 4/8, 5/10, 6/12 even though we didn't talk about those, they just noticed and understood the pattern).
- what is the same as 1? (2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5 and so on)
and what is the same as 3/4? what is bigger than 2/3? what is smaller than 1/4? how many quarters are in 1?

I loved having the students work in groups today as they were teaching each other without me prompting everything. I can see that they are pushing each other and helping each other understand the content/concept.

(I liked this groups piece of paper especially, because of all the drawings on it. They had been trying to compare the fractions all by themselves.

Tomorrow we are going to use our comparisons to find equivalent fractions, which will lead into adding and subtracting fractions.

Wednesday 10th May

Today I taught the students how to add and subtract fractions. We did a tiny bit of a flipped classroom, where they watched a Youtube clipped that explained the concept, then came back to me to practice and skill. 

Some got it straight away, some needed some practice, some needed 1:1 explanation, but in the end they all got it and were getting annoyed at each other if somebody called out the answer before they could figure it out (they wanted to do it themselves!).

For the ones who were cognitively ready, I challenged them to simplify their answers. For example, one answer was 40/40. They knew from yesterday that 4/4 and 2/2 were the same as 1, so when I asked them if 40/40 would be 1 as well, they all went 'ohhhhhhh!'. Another of the answers was 49/40, and some of them understood without me fully explaining it, that simplified would be 1 whole, and 9/40 leftover. Booyah!

Then they even asked me for homework so they could practice... what is life.

Thursday 11th May

Today we completed a worksheet that had both addition and subtraction, for same denominator questions and unlike denominator questions. As we had jumped to unlike denominators yesterday, the kids were a bit confused by having it given to them with the denominators already the same.. Then came the 'ohhh this is way easier'.

The kids worked very independently and discussed it in their own little groups. I was quite impressed how much they understood it and were able to help each other.

For some of the kids, they understood the strategy/skill but didn't have the basic facts knowledge (knowing their times tables) to be able to do it quickly. So we packed up a little early, and practised our basic facts.

Overall reflection
I think I love cross grouping.
In one way, it was awesome to see my kids from last year (the ones who aren't in my class again this year), and in another, it was so AMAZING to have a smaller range of ability in the class so you could really target learning and push them harder.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Writing - moving forward!

I was asked in a meeting this week if I model writing for my students, and it made me realise... no... I don't. I used to, all the time last year, but this year I don't.. So why is that?
I realised it was because most of our writing is online (using computers).

That is not an excuse, but it changes the way writing is taught. For example, to model how to self-correct, it is not a matter of crossing out and rewriting sentences, and drawing all over the page, but right clicking and auto-fixing. Writing on computers is just different; spelling is not as relevant, because kids use spell-check, sentence structure and grammar goes out the window, because the computer tells them if its wrong or not. If they miss a full stop, the sentence appears with a red underline so they realise something is wrong. It's almost as if computers have taken away the metacognition from writing, at least for me anyway. They don't think about it, because the computer tells them.

After being asked if I model writing, and it dawning upon me that I don't, I wanted to make an immediate effort to do so in some way.

Today as my students wrote a practice E-asttle test, I pulled down my lowest writers and I worked with them on their writing. Yes, this is different to modelling, but at least I was getting involved and being alongside instead of trying to get them to do everything independently.

One student I knew would write 2 pages of his own words, but I wanted to guide him on his use of paragraphs and his sentence structure (i.e. not having and then and then and then and then and then for two pages - where are your full stops child!?!?). Another I knew would write maybe 1 page max, but needed a lot of help getting his ideas into sentences (and also remembering that magic thing called full stops). Yet another was Bob, who will tell you what he is going to write, then by the time he puts his pencil on his paper, he has forgotten what it was. And yet another was a very bright kid who gets distracted by literally everything and anything - and sometimes nothing. For him, my task was to try and keep him focused.

I sat with them, guiding them and trying to help them out when they needed it. All the words were their own, I just challenged them to write more, leave gaps for paragraphs, read it aloud - 'see where you took a breathe, put a full stop there', etc.

After the better part of an hour (the test is supposed to be 45 minutes), I sent two of the kids to Mrs Sharma (syndicate leader, my mentor and the teacher next door) for them to show her their writing. They came back with smiles, tokens and fabulous encouragement. The other two kids who worked with me went a little while later.

I was blown away how much of a difference it made to just sit with them. I wasn't modelling. I wasn't directly teaching. I was prompting, reminding, pointing at a page to jog a memory that a full stop was needed, repeating back sentences Bob had told me so he could write them down. The difference between what they did a couple days ago, to what they did today, was huge.

Here is one of those kids story -

I literally almost cried. This is a kid who last year could barely string 3 sentences together without support. WHAT HAPPENED? WHERE DID YOU COME FROM YOU BEAUTIFUL ANGEL?

This kid in particular has been working so hard this year and it shows.

All I could think to myself was - imagine how much better he will get with that little bit of writing support (reminding/pointing/questioning/etc).

I really want to try and include more 1:1 and small group time in writing. The whole year I have been doing whole class, and it just hasn't done anything for these low kids who need support. 

Another highlight from this practice test, was seeing how the students marked each others work. I made a student rubric for recounts which the students use to mark each others work, in the same way teachers do (we literally use this rubric, but a more complex worded version). They have used it 2-3 times before today.

I again, almost cried, when I started marking some of their work - and they (in buddies) had given the piece of writing the same score I had. Like, exactly the same score.

This particular set of buddies were both year 5's, who I had last year as well. They began buddy marking with rubrics last year, so are pretty competent at it. I never thought they would be this accurate though! It made me laugh. They could almost do my job for me.

Although not all my students buddy marking was so accurate, it showed me that with practice they were really thinking about their writing, analysing it and discussing it. It also showed they can be critical of each other and mark honestly (while staying good friends!). Practice makes perfect.

I felt so encouraged by my kids and what they can do; I know I will put more effort into guiding their writing process from now on and push them even harder!

Monday, 8 May 2017

RTLB Meetings

If you are a long time reader you will know of a student I call 'Bob' who I had in my class last year, and have again this year.

Bob has an RTLB (Resource Teacher for Learning and Behaviour) who provides connection between agencies, family and school and extra support in school. This afternoon I had a meeting with his new RTLB and although I felt terribly underprepared during the meeting, I left feeling empowered.

At the beginning of the meeting, the RTLB asked me about his previous tests, documentation for the RTLB process and information about his interaction with outside agencies. About these, I knew absolutely nothing. They had documents from agencies that I had never seen, and knew things about his family members that I never knew (i.e. that there is a history of dyslexia) which have a significant impact on his learning. They asked me for this or that, things I didn't know what they were or didn't know I needed to have. I felt like a terrible teacher.

However, as the meeting progressed I realised I knew more about my student than those pieces of paper could tell me. I could testify to his HUUGE progress since last year and what he can/can't/won't do and the RTLB praised for me how far he has come, and how literally half of the things that he was referred for, are not concerns anymore.

The meeting finished with us making an action plan - setting dates for our next meeting, arranged when to do further testing and re-evaluation of Bob, arranging PD for his teacher aid to ensure all our goals are aligned and much more. It was such a positive outcome that I am excited to see the impact these changes will have.

Friday, 21 April 2017

GAFE Summit (Auckland, April 2017)

Although it is the school holidays, I have endeavoured to continue challenging myself professionally and attend the GAFE Summit.  GAFE is a HUGE part of what my life as a teacher involves, and also where I see myself in some kind of leadership role in the near future (hopefully!). 

As well as attending sessions, I also presented at this conference as well.
I was very nervous and a little thrown by technical difficulties at the beginning (i.e. can't connect through HDMI, get an adapter, computer wont recognise its plugged in, borrow somebody else's Chromebook, strained internet), but I carried on and the presentation went well. 
I definitely think I will only get better and more confident each time I try to present, so I will persevere! 

Click here to read through my notes from this conference.
Check out photos from the summit here.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

End of term 1!

Today marks the end of term 1 2017. 
What an 11 weeks it has been! 

I have worked my butt off to make my classroom safe, exciting and a place where students want to be. I think I have done this well, as my students often tell me how happy they are to come to school, how cool (insert learning topic here) was, or how much I am a cool teacher because I make it fun.

I asked my students to complete an end of term survey as a form of reflection for both them and I, the same as I did last year (read here, here and here)

Click here to read their full answers. Note that I have hidden their email addresses and other personal information for their protection. 

There are some gems that I just am so happy to see about my practice and the classroom culture - (highlighted in yellow when you open the link).

I have also marked some boxes in orange - these responses show that the student had learnt what their goal was for that subject, e.g. one of the reading goals was to summarise information, and a couple people said that was what they learnt. Success!

I also have marked a few in light purple, because I am just so delighted that these students said their favourite thing to learn was maths! Maths! Of all topics, this is usually the one kids hate the most because they think they aren't good at it and can't do it. Well, not in my class.. 

I have an had an amazing start to the year, and although this break is definitely needed, I am already looking forward to next term and all the exciting things we will be doing.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Ready to Read series - updates and changes.

Today Aireen, my schools reading recovery teacher, led a meeting about the changes about the ready to read series.

Changes in Ready to Read series -
  • the levelling process has been changed to make the difficulty more gradual and steady
  • Orange and above have a approximate year level equivalent 
  • Existing texts were audited and some were relevelled (either colours or sub-levels). Those that did change were re-printed and sent to schools with new levels.
  • They have identified gaps in the series which will be filled over time.
  • Planning is underway for more non-fiction books.
  • Students entering school at 5 years old do not need to start guided reading at Magenta level - rather their goal is to develop early print concepts (e.g. reading from left to right, expecting the story to make sense and have a message, words have meaning).
  • Here is a list of ALL the RTR books with updated levels
Questions I asked - 
  • How long is it supposed to take to move from one colour to another? One sub-level to another? If it is taking longer than that, what can I do?
  • Are you supposed to use PM/RTR or both?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Critical buddies (2)

Today we are sharing another video of our teaching and getting critical feedback from our peers.

In this video I used my place value counters and tried to get the students to move from using materials (what they have done before) to doing the thinking in their head or on paper.

Some were not ready for this step which is fine.

Here is my feedback from my peers.

What we liked...

  • Mixture of target and non-target learners. Creating a supportive environment for the group.
  • Repetitive questioning till children explain their working in full. Encourages children to get used to sharing their methods of working out
  • Great use of language ‘exchange’
  • “Is that what you are saying?” - awesome trying to encourage re-wording and talk moves.
  • Using talk moves “Who agrees? Why do you agree?”
  • Getting the ‘shy’ students to share their learning is awesome. 
  • I love your use of the whiteboard and small cards - you have really taken on board using materials to support and scaffold your students learning. 
  • Good to see you revising what you did in week 1 and 2
  • Encouraging students to explain their thinking
  • Good to see you using splitting of numbers
Things to take away..
  • Providing more questions for the learners who haven’t yet reached the same level of thinking as the others. While the other learners work out the other sums, T can focus closer on these learners.


  • Could have the students try to explain it to one another.

My reflection
I think this lesson was not the best work the students could have done. We did a lot of place value add/sub in the first three weeks of school, and have not visited it much since then. They have forgotten ALOT..
I also noticed the same thing while doing GLOSS testing last week, where all but one student had forgotten how to find 1/4 of a number, or even discuss what fractions were. This happened with ratios as well. I know that if they had a one off lesson on these topics they would remember it, but I couldn't teach them that during a test.

Next term I want to do 'maintenance Monday', where every Monday we practice skills or knowledge we already know, hence to maintain the knowledge. Then Tuesday-Friday will be the new math for the week. This will help students not to forget things they already know. 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Screencastify! (Leading digital learning)

After Anne's visit a few weeks ago, and my reflection that I wasn't using as many digital tools as I used to, I really wanted to start introducing more digital tools to my students. After all I am an MDTA in a 1:1 environment, I should be using digital tools..

I really wanted to expand the DLO options for my students, and as I knew that other Manaiakalani schools use Screencastify, I wanted to use it as well. I asked our Manaiakalani facilitator to unblock this Chrome extension and it took a few weeks to get it all sorted, but its here!

I introduced it first to my own class. 

Click here to read my blog post about it on my class blog.
It was fairly easy to introduce, the students understood it very quickly and were able to use it confidently pretty much straight away. Awesome! 
They were so excited to have something they had never had before - using Google Docs/Drawings etc can get a bit tedious if that is all you are doing..
(Click link above to watch my students first attempts at screencastify)

Today I went to my neighbouring class (Room 8 ) and showed them how to download it, set it up and use it as well. It went great! 
Read their class blog post here.
(Photo credit: Ottilie Morrison).

I repeated the lesson again a third time for room 6, my other neighbouring class who are year 4 students. They got it straight away as well. It is such an easy to use tool!

What I really loved was seeing this comment from yet another teacher in my school...
(Comment was posted onto my class blog post)

Miss Kyla teaches year 7&8s at my school and I was so flattered that she was even looking at my class blog, let alone using it for her own teaching. She told me later on that she had showed her class my blog post, they had watched the students screencastifys and then they had copied what my students had done.

Originally I wanted to use screencastify so the students had more options to use when they created DLOs and so I had another way to collect evidence of their learning. 
However it turned into a big thing that now everyone is using (and all the kids are so excited to use it!!). 

I am proud that I was able to plant this seed and hopefully in the future I can help lead digital learning in the same way (or better!). 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Spiral of Inquiry (Term 1, Week 7)

Last week and this week our class has been looking at Statistics. 
Because of this, we can't use as much materials as we have when we were learning about place value and decimals. It's more practically inclined.

Last week as a break from their maths, I gave the students a basic facts test that is broken down by stages. I gave my lower students the stage 4 test (addition + subtraction to 10) and they all did great, so I gave them stage 5 (the national standard for year 5 students at the beginning of the year). Here they began to fall apart. 

I quickly realised that two of the boys didn't have the skill, knowledge and/or confidence to count backwards from a given number (up to 20), or subtract from 20. They were fine with 10, but 20 they couldn't do.

Today I pulled these two boys out for some materials maths. I got out the trusty popsicle sticks and we practised subtracting from 10. They understood this already and were confident in doing their takeaways, so I challenged them to not use their hands (i.e. imaging). I would ask them subtraction questions and they would answer without touching the popsicle sticks (I could see them counting in their heads though..). 

They quickly memorised their groupings to 10 (5+5, 3+7, 8+2, 1+9, 4+6 and vice versa) and were able to answer quickly. 

Next we moved onto doing the same thing, but up to 20. This was a bit harder for them and took a lot more practice before they felt confident. 

I asked them to lay their 20 popsicle sticks out in 2 rows of 10. This helped them to understand that 20-12 isn't so scary, you first -10 then -2, leaving you with 8. Both boys slowly caught onto this and were able to show how they were thinking using the popsicle sticks. Again we practised our groupings to 20 (12+8, 13+7, 15+5, etc). They struggled a little here so we got the sticks back out and practised a few more times. 

Here he is showing 20-6, by taking 6 sticks from one group of 10 and he is left with 4 ones in one row and 10 in the other row.

Here Lopi covers 3 sticks, showing 20-17. He got the point where he didn't need to physically take away the sticks, but could imagine them removed and give me the answer anyway.

As a cool down, I asked them 'what comes before' or 'what comes after' whatever number I thought of. They were amazing with numbers to 20, as it was fresh in their mind, and good until 100, then one boy fell apart and wouldn't answer anything above 100. This lack of confidence showed me he was quite insecure about his number knowledge in large numbers which is something I can address another time.

Then we practising skip counting, which is another thing I know they are not confident in doing. 
We used the popsicle sticks to count in groups of 2 and we also wrote it down.

They both left feeling good about themselves (important! maths self-efficacy is always so low..)  and knowing they COULD do it. I want to work them again so they don't forget the subtraction strategy they were practising today. They also need to practice skip counting, and improve their number knowledge of large numbers (100-1000).

Friday, 10 March 2017

Anne's observation (Term 1, Week 6)

This morning I had my observation with Anne, the MDTA supervisor. I am so used to be observed now that I kind of forgot she was there (which is a good thing promise, it means I'm not scared!). 

Firstly we had our discussion about the journal articles we had read that week, and then we moved onto our activity which was sorting out our rubbish. I had asked the cleaner of our school not to throw out the rubbish from the upstairs classes (year 4-8) on Thursday afternoon, so that my class could sort it out on Friday morning. She even gave me a box of gloves!

We sorted it out, discussed, gave ideas for how to fix the problem of having too much rubbish etc, and the students did their create lesson. In my opinion it was an okay lesson - nothing amazing. 

Here is Anne's feedback. 

And here are some snippets which I particularly liked.

"You continually made connections - referring to a picture and probing and digging deeply into the text and pictures."

" The discussion was very lively and was full of energy, which you then ledvinto the core of the lesson, which was about rubbish in our school."

"Good to see the consistency you have with the learners and their behaviour."

"You have a good understanding of individuals in the class and keep on top of their behaviour and needs. After the experiment the discussion garnered all the ideas of what you could do to disseminate their ideas to the whole school to create more awareness of how to improve our environment and keep our school clean.  Good to give them choice about what they were going to do to advertise their cause. They self selected in groups or pairs or individuals and chose the idea from the board. Great to see them getting on with the task so enthusiastically and  excitedly. Putting the pressure on them with a time limit also good to keep the pace up and get them going.  "

During lunchtime, Anne came back and we had our discussion about how my year was going, especially since I am in my own class. It was a great opportunity to reflect on what I thought I had done well, things I had identified for myself as things to continue working on etc. Details about these can be read in the document linked above.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Taking a tool-kit by myself!

This afternoon I took a toolkit (a Professional Development session) about blogging. If you read my blog you know that I love blogging, and am pretty passionate about it.

The description for the toolkit was -

Blogging Life-hacks!
Tips & tricks to make your blogging life easier for all of your professional, class and student blogs. Best suited for those who already have some knowledge about how to use Blogger, but want to use this platform more effectively and efficiently.

Click here to view this resource.

Here is some feedback I received from those who attended - 

"The toolkit today was very successful. Your approach and character made people feel interested and relaxed. I felt very comfortable raising questions or making comments and it was obvious that others in the room felt the same. I loved how you had categorised the blogging tips into three sections. The truth is each blog has different expectations and things that make them separate so it was awesome to see it broken down so succinctly. There was lots of stuff I didn't know (and I wasn't even there for the whole session!) - the cross column, page views and even the different effective gadgets.  Congratulations Ashley on a really successful toolkit. You are a natural speaker, leader and teacher." - Ottilie

"Thank you for presenting this toolkit so well.  It was a friendly atmosphere.  Thanks for preparing the slideshows simple and easy to follow.  It was helpful to have three different blogging options presented separately.  As a beginner, lots of information are new and useful to me.  What you highlighted about Labels was good to keep in mind to be watchful not to create too many unnecessary ones. You are a great teacher." - Laadan

My reflection on the toolkit -
I think for my first toolkit (on my own) I did well to control my nerves and try to stay focused. I found it a bit awkward to try and get peoples attention to continue with the presentation when they were practising something I had taught, but I was always aware of the time and didn't want to give too much play around time, otherwise it would turn into a 2 hour session. I also felt awkward about having to sit so far away from everyone, but this was because the projector chord that my laptop needed was there, so I had no choice. I can't wait for when our school gets TVs and I can Airplay from my laptop to a large screen, while sitting anywhere in the class.
I felt very supported because my teacher-friends and mentor came to the session to support me, but were also engaged with the content and asked thought-provoking questions that added richly to the discussion. I'm glad they came! There were 2 teachers from a different Manaiakalani school who it seemed to not know a lot about blogger so they learnt a lot as well.
I definitely want to take another tool-kit in the future, to continue challenging myself with public speaking and developing my leadership skills.