Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Y13 English - Providing Options & Text Selection at OC

Providing options today...

Back in Term 1 my Y13 class and I had this EPIC day where we discussed and co-constructed text selection for the coming year. I'd chosen texts based off of what I thought would be suitable for a Y13 year with thematic connections and historical themes as well. However, they'd already tried reading the text the year previously and were not keen on the film.

That day we looked at film trailers and I took them over to the English department where I asked them to have a look through the texts that they were interested in. They came back with three texts: 'Animal Farm', 'The Book Thief' and 'Loves Me Not'.

When we got back to class - we talked more about these three texts and they began their reading from that point. Some continued reading several texts, some read and then stopped and started. Some finished. Some didn't.

Being Term 3 - with the knowledge that the texts needed to be read by now and that I wasn't sure whether they had or not (my problem - I should have been making them more accountable with their reading and shoulf have given them their novel study booklets back in term 1 and provided some sort of way to track their reading throughout the term... All learning and reflection!) I gave them the novel study booklets and very briefly went over the essay questions.

Last term they'd been wanting essay practice. I want them to be there - but without having read the text we can't do anything.

So today - I said, "If you haven't read the text yet - email me and tell me. I will send you a short story." I've since had two students own up and be accountable, emailed me and we now have a plan moving forward.

Awesome! Hopefully any others will still email me. And the majority will have finished/re-read the text by Week 3.

Week 5 exams!!! 😭❤️😂👐 So many emotions. We'll be sweet for film study essay. We'll have more time to do novel essays after the exams and prior to the externals.

If I can just have all my students feeling a LITTLE or a LOT more confident in their writing - then I've won. Therefore - we soldier on and finish close viewing.

A HUGE thank you Kim and Jaime from the Trident English Dept for their resources and benchmark exemplars, my incredible mate Pip at Mount Maunganui College for her ongoing support and to my incredible friend and colleague Tina Carlson from WHHS for the moderation during the holidays ❤️ #NgaMihi

#Y13 #evolutionandimagination #blogging #engchatnz

Friday, 28 June 2019

A reflection - Tihi

Am teaching our 9&10 Maurua Tihi class (bi-lingual) and it's definitely been an experience! Many whanau hui, restorative hui and hoha lessons later - the girls and I FINALLY have the boys on our side (still more work to be done though!) and we're making headway with the learning. Am loving the new mahi we're doing on protests and the rangahau (research) coming out from this has been really special.

Am learning to remember that not everyone has the same foundational blocks they should have when they enter the year level and that if I want to survive, I MUST differentiate to find any success in achieving my awesome students.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

The Eve of Mega-Strike 2019

In a few hours, I begin my strike.

Striking because:

*Teacher workload is real and so is teacher burnout.
* My students deserve better and so do I.
* I know that there are nights I literally cannot go to sleep because I'm thinking about EVERYTHING I need to do, ALL the issues I need to try conquer on behalf of my students the following day and mentally ticking off all the things I have done and still yet to do.
* Even though I have recently paid off my student loan, I am still not a good enough risk to the bank - I still can't buy a house on my own (even with my travel debt, kiwisaver deposit and MU, MMA responsibilities).
* I struggle to get the multitude of marking done. I spend hours and hours in the school library, in my classroom, in other spaces trying my hardest to get the marking done. It's just never enough.
* I need more time. More time to finish my marking. More time to create resources. More time to send info to parents. More time to engage with parents and students holistically. More time to develop better processes to ensure my workload doesn't get the best of me.
* I am overstressed, overloaded and underpaid. There is NEVER enough time to do the job. But I continue. Because I love my job. I love my students. I love this community.

Our students deserve better. Our teachers deserve better.

Come on Chris. I still believe in you. I know you have some money sitting aside somewhere. I know you have some awesome ideas in your mind of minimising our workload. We've got this. Let's do this. Please. Before there are none of us left.

#teachersareendangered #ppta #bringoutthebest #BelieveInUs ❤️

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Chimamanda Adiche's Ted Talk: 'The Danger of a Single Story'

Awesome korero. Check it out ❤️


The importance of avoiding listening to and only hearing One Story. There are many stories within people and of which we need to know before we make judgements. People need to feel comfortable sharing their own stories and share their perspectives.

If there was one story you've had shared about yourself, what else would you like people to know?

Me - a student asked yesterday if I went/go to MacDonald's a lot when I was growing up / now. That got my back up - because 1) I did grow up going to Maccas. I have a whole box of Maccas toys that I've lovingly kept for over 25 years. 2) I'm always going to revert back to that little kid who got mocked for her weight and am just now more decisive about how I respond to the question.

Another story I'd like people to know - is how hard I work to eat healthy food and how much I enjoy cooking and how much I enjoy gardening and how much I enjoy walking and running. These other stories are who I've always been. But sometimes my story has been hidden by my insecurity of my weight and also my hurt from growing up fat. All of the realities and the imagined realities that reinforced my thinking that I wasn't good enough. Other stories - how I have used my weight to keep people away from me. So that I wouldn't get hurt again in the future. Because it hurts to have your heart (and body) broken again and again.

Share stories. Be proud of all the experiences that have created you and acknowledge both the dark and the light in creating who you are now and who you will become ❤️

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Y9 &10 Tihi Timetable Change

Yesterday I was told about an upcoming timetable change that would mean I have the Y9&10 Tihi kids on Monday Block 2 as usual and Y9&10 on Friday Block 4 as usual, however I would now have the Y9s during Wednesday Block 1 and a colleague would have the Y10s on Friday Block 3.

At first this timetable change confused me and I was unsure how this would affect 1) the dynamics of the class and 2) the programme of learning.

At the crux of it though - this means I can properly focus on the Y9s Wednesday mornings and get them prepped in a few ways.

* Building their reading capacity
* Practicing their writing
* Building their confidence without the Y10s to help them
* Developing more skills in English overall

This will also help me figure out who's Y9 and Y10 😂

Plus having that time with the Y9s will give me more time to get to know them individually and build them up.

Next thing to work out is how Fridays will work as my colleague will be taking the 10s Block 3 before they reunite as Y9&10 on Friday. I need to have a sit down with my colleague to figure this out asap. Because I now don't have a double block to teach them it makes it tricky (but also better too in some ways) to get full assessments completed - like the recent 'Sad Joke on a Marae' illustrative narration posters.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Creative Commons 101

Creative Commons licensing is CRITICAL. I've been saying this for years. I've presented at conferences about it and each time people are shocked when I tell them the reasons why we should be using them. Seriously - we need to be adopting CC licenses in our kura.

What is it?
A creative commons licence is an open source copyright platform used to protect individual and collective intellectual property eg school resources that you make for your students. There are a range of different ways you can protect yourself through CC and more importantly share these licenses on your work. 

Why use them?
To me they're a better alternative to traditional copyright. More importantly - as you may or may not know - school boards of trustees own anything that is produced for the students at that school. Even if you create something in your own time, it will still be under the copyright of the school as you are employed via salary and employed by the school. Eg - the board of trustees own all of your resources you've made.

If you wanted to create a series of resources to share for example, you couldn't, because you don't own them. The school BOT does. You are illegally sharing resources if you do not have a creative commons policy in your school as you would be breaking copyright.

Another situation might be that you want to publish and make money from your series of resources - you couldn't because school doesn't have a CC policy. If it did - you could publish your work and use the CC licences of your choosing.

Also - if you've created resources in one school, moved to a new school - LEGALLY you can't take your resources. Because they're owned by the previous school's BOT under their copyright policy.

How do you use them?
Like I said above - there are different ways to use them. Usually I have BY-NC-SA -- meaning that if you used my resource you would have to say where you got it eg attribute my name in the adaptation, non commercial eg you can't make money from it, share alike eg you'd use it as is. To me - this is a very strong copyright. But flexible.

There are heaps of other options too though. And a really simple way of using them and figuring out which ones to use.

Where to access the licence?
Access it here: https://www.tohatoha.org.nz
There are heaps of helpful videos too and info for schools to use eg example policies and explanations of why we should use CC licensing.

Ngā mihi,
Alex Le Long

Sunday, 31 March 2019

OC Library: Update - New Books!!!

We've been so busy!!!!!!

Book club is going well.

I've weeded nearly ALL of the old magazines and am slowly distributing them to other teachers who might want to use them.

Yesterday Juls from the Ōpōtiki District Library came to help me with weeding the 700s and organising the chaos. We found SO many new books under the bench. Sooooooo many new books. Exciting!!! I straight up nearly cried. Frustrating but also awesome. Even a 2019 Guiness World Records. How early do you order those things? I thought it wouldn't have come out til early this year but someone obviously bought it last year and put it in a box and put it under the bench.

So much to learn.

So much to organise but we're getting there. The bench is clear. We have less books sitting in stack. Preferably I don't want a stack. It'd be great to have everything of use on the shelves. And weed anything that is irrelevant.

We're getting there. It's taking shape. I can see the vision in my head and now we just need to keep going. Bits and pieces and slowly we'll get there.

Loving the space so far. Moments of worry but also big moments of excitement.

Huge shoutout to Juls and my newbie librarians. ❤❤❤