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Showing posts from 2011

Y-Charts HOMs

I've been re-thinking my understanding of the HOMs lately (Habits of Mind) and I've found re-creating Y charts to be very helpful at looking at the Habits to gain a deeper understanding of them. This Stop and Think (Manage Impulsivity) Y chart isn't complete. Please feel free to challenge anything I've put on here, its always good to get other people's perspectives on what their understanding of the HOMs are.


Teaching wasn't my first career choice, however today reminded me
again why I changed careers to be a teacher. When I can take a
running record and be pretty much leaping around the classroom with
excitement afterwards I can't argue with my choice.We're busy testing at the moment a sometimes trying time but one that
is very rewarding in our class. Today even more so as I took another
running record with one of our struggling readers and realised that
yes we could put him up another level! That's two in a week. A feat
we were beginning to think wouldn't happen.So, it's time to celebrate! The teachers, teacher aides, student
teachers and family that have worked with this child all deserve to
celebrate! It's an amazing feeling that I know many teachers including
me don't take the time to just be in. Well I'm going to tonight, for
once, even if it's just a blog post it's probably more than I usually
take the time to do when a child reaches a…

Activboard Staff Meeting

Today we welcomed another 15-20 teachers to our school for the Activboard staff meeting. It was all about science and using the science learning hub as a resource for science lessons.

Here's the brief notes I took while listening.

I really enjoyed the chance to listen to other teachers ideas about how they could use the tools and ideas being presented. It was insteresting to see promethean's answer to a document camera in action. I'm sure any teacher would definitely love the opportunity to have such a device in their classroom, however I'm still not convinced that the investment is necessary. I think I'll keep playing with creating our own out of webcams for the time being.

Numeracy in Parent Speak

We're quickly coming up to our Parent Teacher conferences and as with previous years our school gives out information that will help parents to both understand and help their children with their learning.  This year I've re-done the numeracy information sheets we give to parents.  They aren't perfect yet and will probably go through a few tweaks before the final copy arrives that we give to parents.  As you can see Stage 6 isn't quite finished hopefully I'll get to that tonight.  I'd love so feedback on them, feel free to leave comments.

Numeracy Parent Information Booklets

If you would like a more user friendly copy please  leave a comment below with twitter or email address and I'll be in touch. 

Children's Leadership Presentation - Your Thoughts?

I'm about to attend a leadership camp with our house leaders and the leadership team (children).  I am presenting for about 20 minutes on the topic "you are what you think"  I would love to hear your thoughts and share them as part of the presentation if possible. 

If you are able and willing please leave a comment on this post.  I'm looking for things like
- examples of when thinking you can do something helped you to do it
- goals you've set and achieved and how you did it
- affirmations you might use
- how positive thinking helps you
- anything else you think might work with this presentation.

At the moment I'm thinking about producing a video with our schools leadership team and maybe doing a bit of role play during the presentation with a few of the other teachers at the camp.

Any suggestions would be appreciated :)

Excited about Using Technology

Children = no problem  I've never come across a child yet that hasn't been excited, interested and engaged when using technology.  The children have always been willing to learn something new without any reservations about it working or not.  Sure I've had a few say "I don't know how" or "I can't" easily solved by "yes you can" and "ask our expert..."
Teachers = a little harder Engaging teachers in tech has sometimes been a little more difficult.  I find this especially difficult when you have a wide range of abilities.  From the "I know how to do this I'm going to go on Facebook and update my status" through to the "hang on can you do that again I didn't get it, oh never mind I'll ask you later"  right up to "this isn't working, what are you doing in weekend?"  
We had another Activboard training today, similar situation to what I've seen in most technology professional developme…

video and image blogging via ipad

I'm keen to try this with our year 2/3 class tomorrow.  I've decided to use a youtube account and the mobile email address for blogging videos and the blog email address for blogging images.  I want to make the process fairly simple so that children can post themselves and so that teachers can post with ease as well.

I've created a couple of simple instruction sheets in Comic Life that I'll review with the children tomorrow,  it will probably need tweaking once they've had a go at using them.  I'm excited about this possibilities here as I think we've used the ipad apps like Puppet Pals to created great stories but we need to take it to the next step and share them with the world.  I also want others to see what we've been up to on our ipads. 

Here are the Comic Life Instructions I created -

Testing youtube connectivity

we're still working on the best way to send video created with ipad apps to my own blog and our class blog.  I think we may have solved the issues we've been having by sending video directly to youtube through our youtube mobile email address. ...

Hopefully we'll be able to get video uploaded faster and without too much fuss from now on :)

Testing images with iPad email

Testing Blogging on iPad

We've been using our iPads as much as possibly in the classroom these past two weeks. One of the things I wanted to start testing was how we can share what we are doing with a wider audience so the next couple of posts are going to do just that,..... Hopefully :)
Sent from my iPad

Term 2 Reflection

Another 11 weeks over, the year really is flying by.  I'm really looking forward to heading off to Melbourne to see my little sister and enjoying complete time out away from school for a few days!

This term I've created another video, however it's my whole reflection this time so no more typing I'll let the video do the explaining...

HOM Bootcamp

Four days of intense learning, challenge and great fun!  I really enjoyed the experience of bootcamp and I'm looking forward to implementing the Habits of Mind into not only our classroom but the whole school.

A few things stood out as highlights of the experience....

The first has to be breaking through a block of wood with the palm of my hand!  There are plenty of things that get in the way of myself and I'm sure many other people achieving their goals, breaking through those can at times be near impossible.  The experience was about doing just that, breaking through a plank of wood with your hand doesn't seem like something that's possible when you're first told about it but it is!!!  The video below shows me breaking through not only that block of wood but the things that are in the way of my goals.

The second amazing experience was listening to Art Costa in person.  He lives and breathes the habits and has so much to offer.  I was hanging on every word!  It wa…

Karen Boyes - Mini Conference

What a great reward!  We've been very blessed to have Karen Boyes at our school for two days during the term 1-2 holidays.  Here's some of the notes I took while she was there....   They aren't the greatest as I hadn't quite got the ipad sorted so used inspiration which is particularly cumbersome when you don't have a tablet to write on!

Term 1 Reflection

Managed to get through 11 weeks now time to relax with friends by traveling the country can't wait! But before I do time to reflect a little on what's happened this year.... We use our school values to give us headings for reflection they are - consistency, respect, integrity and persistence. 
I've created a video that shows the things I've reflected on under each heading.

Consistency - I've worked hard to keep regular hours and to be around for people to work with me both asking for guidance and for planning together. - I've introduced Google Docs, Calendar and have created an ICT issues form for all staff to use.  This has helped me to be more organised personally and allows me to let others know what's happening. - I've continued to remain open to learning especially through twitter. - I've experienced my first term of team teaching and have really enjoyed it!  It's great to have someone else to bounce ideas off and it's made it much easier for …

Digital Kids


What a great video, what a challenge!

Have you seen this yet...?

Watch the full episode. See more Digital Media - New Learners Of The 21st Century.
I really enjoyed watching this, although it's American it got me thinking about what is possible here in NZ.  We're discussing our theme for next term next week and I definately have a few ideas for this that should challenge us to get our kids into the digital world.  
I think too often as teachers we get bogged down on the having to learn how to read, write and do maths and we forget how much more powerful this learning is when it's linked to a purpose.  What if we made a movie, wrote a book, developed a game, create a showcase for our school, invited guests into our school to experience us (with the Rugby World Cup on its way to NZ this is definately an option).
So true "We have to stop thinking ... what if something goes wrong, what if one thing goes wrong"  " We have to stop thinking we have all the ans…

ICT - Sue West - Staff Meeting

Another great staff meeting bought to you by Sue West. What a great day, I've worked with Sue today and the Rowandale News Team to continue to develop our news within our school. We've also been able to work with Sue this afternoon in a staff meeting. Continuing to develop on the experiences we had at our Retreat in January.

I've created an Inspiration map from what we did in the staff meeting....

I really liked using ietherpad I think it would be a fantastic tool to use during a staff meeting or professional development session to share notes and ideas all at once, of course it can get very interesting and fairly competitive when you have a group of teachers who want their post to be the one at the top :).

I think it's also a great spot to collaborate with another classroom next door or across the world! I'm sure there are hundreds of other uses for ietherpad these are just a few we thought of.

Once again thanks has to go to Sue for her ability to introduce …

ICT - Rowandale News - Sue West

Rowandale News has now broadcast it's first 3 episodes at our weekly assemblies, the year 6 children have been fantastic at putting their mark on the broadcast. We've had so much fun interviewing children and teachers around the school. We've also showcased our classrooms in both the High Flyers (Senior School) and Busy Bees (Junior School). We've also had some great conversations about how to improve what we're doing including looking carefully at sound, using still images and video in interviews and starting to think about different camera angles.

We haven't yet published our news to the internet but we're looking at putting it up soon so check back to find the link to our news sites.

Sue west has been a great part of getting our news program up and running with lots of advice and suggestions for improving the program we're running.  A few of the children in the team have worked with Sue to improve their ability to edit the video and still images…

Advanced Phonics Training

Yolanda Soryl provided us with an advanced phonics training at staff meeting today. It was great to see a modelled lesson again and to affirm what I've been teaching for the past year. There were a few things that I had forgotten about especially the extra practice games. I think we'll definitely be doing a few more of those to get our kids through stage 4 and 5. I'll also be adding in the writing fluency which I have neglected a bit in the higher stages.

I really enjoy Yolanda's approach to phonics as it focuses on the teaching rather than the resources you might or might not use. I think it's a simple approach that really works! I have really enjoyed teaching it and have seen some fantastic progress in reading and writing while teaching it over the past year.

Here's the inspiration maps I made while listening to Yolanda's presentation this afternoon...

Yolanda has also posted some great videos of her teaching phonics, well worth a look if you haven&…

Young Picasso

hmmm I can actually produce some artwork that looks slightly better than my usual stick figures :)

We've been participating in course 1 of Young Picasso's over the last month and have had some great results. I managed to give the children a go via our teacher aide at using some of the techniques today. Mixed results with that one but have many ideas for what to do next time.

I think the best part about this art professional development is having techniques broken down, explained and then trying them for ourselves. I don't think I've ever had as much information as we're getting now on visual art. It's great!

Here are the display boards I created during each of the two sessions we've had...

Here are a few close ups of our attempt to include some of the techniques in our class mural today...


I've just listened to this presentation from Lane Clark, one of the Keynotes at Ulearn10 ... what a great inspiring presentation. Makes a lot of sense!

I created a mindmap of sorts while listening.... more later on how this might be implemented in our classroom.


In light of the tragic events that have unfolded in Christchurch recently I thought I would post our National Anthem.  I think it's one song that most New Zealanders recognise as being ours.  It's a song, for me, that symbolises the strong bond that we have to our country and all people that call themselves New Zealanders. 

My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch and those all around New Zealand that have been affected by this event.  Although no words can bring your loved ones back we know as New Zealanders we will go on, we will rebuild and we will be strong again.

English versionGod of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand. Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption gua…


During the second week of this term all of our staff participated in the SwimSafe professional development program. This was a chance for all of us to experience the techniques used to teach children how to swim. There were a few nervous looks as we got into the pool to try things out for ourselves after a classroom session that looked a bit like dead ants trying to escape from some sort of crazy threat :)

Our facilitator was great, she put our minds at ease and took us through the things we need to do with the children in the pool. It was great to have the chance to experience what children experience when we're trying to instruct them. It was also good to put a few more ideas under our belts with what to do with those non-swimmers and what to do when we can't get to the pool - yes you can still teach techniques outside the pool, to be practiced inside the pool at a later date of course.

We were also given a CD with all the modules in pdf format so we've got them hand…

Teacher Only Week - Tony Ryan

Model your smile, Enhance the Learning, Find out with ZEST, Share it, See it.

I really enjoyed listening to Tony Ryan today and although much of the information he talked about was things I'd heard before in different places I still thought it was a very worthwhile day.  The ideas above describe some of the main ideas he went over today.

Model Your Smile
It's so important to be inspiring in your classroom having that energy and enthusiasm for what you're doing is contagious.  Like anyone else though I have my bad days where things just don't go right.  Tony taught us today about finding ways to put a smile back on your face or at least getting yourself to think about your attitude towards things.  One of those was putting a pen in your mouth and then moving your lips away from your pen... it was a very funny sight to see a room full of 80+ teachers with pens in their mouths ... I really should have had my camera out!

I managed to jump on Tony's blog before listening…

Teacher Only Week - Google Calendar

Whew!  Today was a long day but it flew by and I'm glad that our staff now have a better idea of how to use both our Google Docs calendar and online SMS system.  I really like Google Calendar and especially like the ability to easily share it with the whole school and/or individuals.  I'm looking forward to seeing a digital version of our calendar being available throughout the year.

There are a few good videos out there about Google Aps/Docs/Calendar which I didn't show during my presentation but I think would be useful to show those that haven't used anything like the system before.

Here are just a few I've found:

This one is more about why Google has developed Google Aps for use with education and organisational environments...

2010 A Year in Review

And a great one it's been!  I've had a fantastic year in terms of teaching.  I've changed jobs, taught year 2's enjoyed getting to know a bunch of great staff, taken on the roll of Associate Principal and attempted to redevelop our ICT accross the school.  I'm looking forward to a great 2011.

Some of the highlights:

1. Our Great Adventure - 6 weeks travelling!!
2. Our first wedding anniversary ---- one of many more :)
3. Fantastic school events - the cultural festival, the art show, school open days!

So where to next?
I'm planning on having a nice relaxing holiday and looking forward to setting some goals for 2011.
I think 2011 will be another year filled with lots of great learning and a chance to continue to journey I've started at my new school as part of the management team .... can't wait!