Saturday, 8 August 2020

Reflection - Term 2 (Post-Covid)

I love our house spaces. The way the kids interact and communicate together has still got a long way to go but they're growing stronger together. There are connections and ongoing support. 

My English team are still so awesome. They literally turned into flipped classroom teachers over Covid and then into blended teachers during Term 2. They set work for SDL (self-directed learning) and used Education Perfect, different resources. I myself somehow got my Y12 students through their film study over Covid and Term 2. We are still catching up. But we're getting there.

I hear often from myself and the students saying... If Covid hadn't happened, we would have been fine, on track, there would have been less stress. 

But in reality - Covid forced us to take a step backwards and re-evaluate. 

Thinking about all that we've achieved, during lockdown and over Term 2 is incredible. Yes, according to our Programmes of Learning, we're behind schedule... But looking at how the students learnt new skills, developed their own understanding and resilience skills... Incredible.

Y13ENW - we are FINALLY up to Write a Report. Students needed to send me their three pieces of work to mark by the end of this week. I may need to follow this up over the weekend on GC. 

Last term we were working towards Write to Communicate - a really cool unit of work put together by Kura Solutions - where students needed to write three pieces of work that enabled them to show purpose and audience, in a short format. The three pieces included: an email to a friend they hadn't seen in a long time; short instructions about a task and a movie/game/tv show review. 

At the end of last term, students were working on their short instructions. Kura Solutions had previously indicated that it would be focussed on a recipe for the best sandwich. I showed my tauira that video of the dad who gets his kids to do the PB&J sandwich instructions and how he literally completed their instructions as they'd written them. Hilarious. 

Once my students saw the video they were determined to make sure their instructions were as accurate as possible. 

We spent the last lesson testing our recipes. It was hilarious. They tested mine and got my favourite sandwich ever. Smoked chicken, cream cheese, mayonnaise, guacamole/avocado, cherry tomatoes, spinach on croissants. 

I tested theirs and it was just as hilarious as the video. Some students took serious notes to improve their writing to make sure it was more accurate. Other students just enjoyed making sandwiches and testing out the recipes for accuracy. Regardless, it was a really cool opportunity for some authentic learning and to see the students grow in their vocab, their skills and their resilience. 

This term we're focusing on the report. The process itself from Kura Solutions is dragging along. Before I'd had the booklets printed - we were buzzing with doing the actual research. I think I've popped their bubble and now they may not have as much steam to finish this piece of work. Here's hoping that once they learn how the report needs to be structured - they'll find accurate information and research resources to help with writing their first ever 1000 word report. 

12THI - We're currently writing practice essays for prep for prelims in Week 9. I'm concerned that students aren't doing the work they're meant to be doing during SDL. The tasks I'm setting them don't get done. How to ensure this does happen?? Use the assignment/date function better on GC?

These students are overloaded with pressure. It's as much as I can do to keep them focussed at the end of the week. 

I'm so very over the half day of learning we have with the timetable this year. I miss the full days of English we had last year. My Y12s do too. I really think that the learning has become disjointed and students focus is disjointed due to the separation of this timetable. I have about four students who are still enrolled in this class that I will never be able to get up to date. The attendance is shocking. I don't know what else I can do. 

The rest of my students have worked hard. They watched Get Out over the Covid-19 rāhui. They completed work on their close viewing assessments. They worked on their resubs of their speech as a reassessment task with group analysis seminars. These were incredible at the end of the term. 

We're now trying to finish off our analysis, prep some external essays for practice before carrying on with what should have been the proper start of term 2. 

I'm completely rethinking the programme of learning. If Covid hadn't hit - by this stage we would have been starting Connections/Info Lit. At present - I need to teach them the written text for externals. We still have a written text study to complete before I can even begin to work on Connections with them. 

This is hugely problematic because I want my tauira to be able to get as many credits as possible. I'd also like them to do their visual verbal assessment. And get their L2 Literacy in English if possible. It might not be this year. 

So far most students have completed: 
Close viewing
1 practice essay for film
Reassessment task for speech - analysis seminar
1 creative writing piece

Looking at it like that... It's actually a big piece of work there. But it's still not where we should be up to if Covid hadn't hit. 

I need to be more supportive to myself though. Think about all the extra time and work I've put into making resources for this class over Covid. These guys have so many notes. They'll be fine for 2.2 external. If they can all get that assessment, that's part of our literacy work done. But it's the written text assessment we need to now focus on. So much pressure and it's only just finished up with Week 3, Term 3. 

11ENW - This class has really worked it's butt off. They've completed so many assessments, regardless of Covid. Part of the success here is the accountability with the grade sheets I put on Google Classroom so that they can visibly see where they're up to and what I need from them to finish work before I can take it again for resubmission. 

Because of Covid, some students haven't been able to begin their resub of 7121 and 2970 which we were able to begin before Covid and mostly finish during the rāhui. Some students weren't able to make the Zoom hui for differing reasons. 

Due to this - they still need to complete these before I can mark them off for 22644 and 22622. Steffi and I decided that with the first assessment 7121 - Search and Select Information (Skills) -- they had done significant writing about each task and could explain how the text was relevant to their interests. 2970 had significant reading attached to it that it could be used for the reading portfolio. 

With this in mind - it's just been a quick process to complete their speaking portfolio pieces in order to finish their overall literacy portfolio. Which should be finished marking and moderation by Week 5 of this term. That's an extra 10 credits. Done. Easy. 🙌🏽

Last term we were working on Fill in a Form. Easily the most pedantic task in the history of teaching. Somehow - I've made these kids into epic form fillers. They tell each other off when they don't use blue or black pen or when they see their mate hasn't used capitals. They wait to see my reaction when I mark and most importantly the reaction of their mate. Because they know, as they'd had the same reaction previously. It actually became pretty funny last term as we all worked through the practice forms together. 

I guess it really started with how pedantic I was being with the Ngata kids prior to our English class. They wanted me to be as strict on the rest of the class as I'd been on them. I was less strict but still got the same process as the Ngata kids became the enforcers of the rules for filling out forms. 😂🤦

Probably the most hilarious, useful and significant piece of learning they'll continue to think about as they get older everytime they fill out a form. Here's hoping they don't grumble my name too much each time 😂

Since that assessment has mostly been completed, we worked on the speaking portfolio while we awaited our chromebooks and network to be updated at the beginning of this term. I now need to watch and mark every video the kids have made. Three videos each. Either two individuals and one group interaction. Or one individual and two group interactions. It's a lot of paperwork and form filling, but if that's the only barrier to them getting their credits, I can't stand in their way. 

We've finally begun the next assessment - Write Personal Correspondence. Some students were given this at the end of last term. I should have given the booklets out yesterday before they all left class. I'll have to do a run around on Monday morning to every house space to make sure they have what they need. 

Really proud of the students in this class who keep leading the way and developing more competition to complete their assessments. It's one of the things that has kept this class trucking along. 

I think we're mostly on track, regardless of Covid. Our POL isn't quite the same as I'd planned but we need to adjust expectations because Covid really did create this divide between those who had access and those who did not. 

9 Tihi -- I really enjoyed our learning over lockdown. For those that could come to the sessions - we developed our writing skills, punctuation and grammar, grew our vocab and our communication skills too. 

We had shared writing tasks and projects. So freaking cool.

We have just begun our reading logs. Despite my best efforts to send home school journals with tauira before the last holidays for them to read - they're reading in class. Somewhat haphazardly, but it's happening. This is HUGE.

I'm really looking forward to Whaea Linda and Whaea Nicky's PPP programme (Pause, Prompt, Praise). It sounds a lot like how my nan taught me to read. 

Mostly though - I've enjoyed watching their resilience grow. Whether through the recent spelling bee or working on our research programme about a topic they're interested in. Working towards writing speeches and giving them accurate grammar check sheets. 

I need to catch up with Kahi and Wai to see how they're using their SDL blocks. 

This coming week I'm up with Kiwi for Weekday Wānanga for Maurua. 5-11pm. Noho at kura. Lots of learning can happen. Looking forward to it. Just need to plan it out and get the resources ready. What will it look like? Y9s doing research? Writing speeches? Y11-13 working on essay prep and writing pieces?

Maurua English Catch-up -- this has by far been the most interesting timetable ever. Why would te reo Māori and te reo Pākehā EVER be on the same line? 

This has caused so much disruption to our reo rua programme at kura. 

On my list originally was eight Maurua students. Three I teach, one my mate teaches and the rest would have been lost to the system. 

Yesterday I talked with more of the seniors. Lots of them want to go to uni. They'll need literacy i te reo Māori me te reo Pākehā hoki. 

It bums me out that the kids had to choose. I will always encourage reo Māori over reo Pākehā if they have to make a choice. Because you can get your literacy in both for uni. But they shouldn't have had to choose. 

Our timetable should work for the kids. It didn't. I've had so many students come to me who need Literacy help for uni. 

I need to identify which standards at kura have R Lit and W Lit. I tried doing this last year. Seemingly above my pay grade. But I'm CA English. So I should know. So I can help make the programmes accurate for our tauira. All it would take would be to look at everyone's POLS and work out which ones have Lit and which courses don't. 

My English Catch-up group for Maurua has risen in the last 24 hours. Students yesterday were identified as wanting to go to uni to become teachers. Possibly the pathway suggested to them from Betty and Taha at the last noho Wānanga. 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 

So now - I need to figure out the best course of action for them. I'm thinking Writing Portfolio, Close Viewing and Speech for most of them. We could also chuck in Visual Verbal but that's an added extra, even for my Y12s. 

Want L2 Literacy i te reo Pākehā hoki? Join our English Catchup GC! -- add code to W/B in Te Ahurutanga this week. 

I'm feeling it's going to be a bigger job than anticipated...

Looking forward to the noho this week to help with this though. 

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Day 1 of the Post-Covid19 Term 2 Holidays...

Day 1 of the 'holidays'... Laying in bed, fighting off the cough that started at the start of the week. Thinking about everything we achieved this term. The students who struggled, found success and those students who are still trying to get there. Our incredible staff who just got in and changed education literally in the blink of an eye and just kept going. The PLD and tech support and awhi and all round collegiality... Bloody incredible. 

Our school community who support us and appreciate the mahi we do, the way we awhi their kids and how we all work together to get what we need to do done. 

I'm incredibly blessed to work with such amazing wahine in my department. Patient, understanding and appreciative. They are the most hardworking people I know. 

There are always going to be more things to do and more things on the to do list... But for now, we rest up. 

If you know a teacher, buy them a coffee, give them a hug, tell them you love them. This was a crazy term and we just got it done. 🙌🏽❤️

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Goals for 2020

Even though we don't have to continue with appraisal systems based on our recent changes in the Collective Agreement and Accord - info here and here - I still continue to be a reflective and aspirational practitioner.

Goals for 2020:

* Survive Lockdown -- at times it's felt like waiting for the Purge. Other times I'm just damn grateful that I don't have children. Would this be what it's like having children? Stuck at home... ALL THE TIME? Gah. Mindboggling. I miss driving to see my friends. Being on an aeroplane and traveling to far-flung destinations. I miss being able to be completely free to go where I want, when I want. Being stuck inside has been HARD. For everyone. But harder still for those of us battling our insides and past trauma related to home stuff. I have so much aroha for those who are still in those dark, hurt places who are forced to stay in those spaces purely because of lockdown. How hard it must be to constantly be in that space with no hope of getting out. I just hope their neighbours have been actively listening and just being PRESENT for those people - so when the time comes, they will have help where needed.

* Finish my korowai -- last year in my appraisal hui we talked about my hobbies and passions. Something I'd missed doing all year was my korowai. Being so far away from Whaea Lorraine in Mamaku was hard and I struggled to even pick my korowai sampler up. This year I signed up with Te Wananga o Aotearoa... (yes, AGAIN!) and I've really enjoyed learning from Te Raita and her nan Roka. I've enjoyed researching Ngati Maniapoto kairaranga and whatu raranga like Rangimarie Hetet and her daughter Diggeress Te Rangituatahi Te Kanawa. I've recently been taught how to harvest harakeke but because it was my mate o te marama - I had to stand back and watch. Just you wait though... I know where to get the harakeke for muka now! Roka said I need to make 600 whenu. 600! That's going to be a LOT of prepping. Good thing I still have more samplers to do and to actually finish my korowai sampler too. It's looking so beautiful.

* Identify more places to travel to -- When lockdown is over - I am going to TRAVEL everywhere. I cannot wait.

* Sharing my tech geekiness with my colleagues -- I want to start ByteSized PLD with the OC whanau. It worked really well at Heights. Even if I was making more work for myself with little recognition from senior management... I was doing the mahi for them. But OC is different. At OC they seem keen on learning new things and happy for distributed leadership in those areas. I've waited back all of last year, assessing what needs my team has and figuring out how to best help people. I've really enjoyed doing PLD sessions with my team during lockdown. I've developed some PLD videos already for Whaea T, K and A -- and shared HEAPS of resources with S which hopefully helps with 3.8.

* More hui with English Dept -- I have LOVED doing our English dept catchup sessions each Wednesday and look forward to having time built into our timetable to be able to do this more often. Just being able to korero with the team about how things are going and what we need to do next to develop our skills as a team. It's been good seeing everyone and catching up even about mundane things which have become less trivial and actually interesting - the flip of lockdown I guess for me - recognising that this is why my nan always asks these questions about the weather and what I've been doing. Because it's actually interesting when you're stuck, bored out of your brain at home.

* Remote Learning -- I've learnt that there are MULTIPLE ways of doing online learning and that we still have much to learn. Even though I studied in Mindlab back in the ra, and all my studies, analysis, development of perspectives etc it reminds me daily that there are still laggards to bring along with us on this journey. These laggards have now been pushed like blue flamers into the late majority -- still keen to learn but not knowing how. For this, the lockdown has been useful too.

* Learning how to front those difficult conversations rather than continuing to avoid them to avoid confrontation -- the Effective Leadership hui we went on earlier this year is still in the back of my mind. I want to be better at communicating. I think though that the way I've fronted the issues which need most focus - has worked. Offering support, ensuring they know I'm here and waiting -- has actually worked. Proof -- hui this morning. AWESOME learning. It was truly so good. So much learning and more to happen this weekend.

* Developing resources -- Being commissioned by NZATE has been a really good challenge. I know I'm crap at deadlines. I also know I need processing and planning time. I gave myself a deadline I knew I couldn't meet, passed it and then asked for an extension. It's now only been a week since the deadline I should have given haha. I still have more to do. I wish I'd chosen to give a resource I'd already made. A win I guess, is that it allowed the discussion about Creative Commons to occur with my principal and the BOT.

* New leadership opportunities -- I wasn't shoulder tapped this time. But I was talked to about it, in a roundabout way. I was later told that they had brought my name up too but there was specific mandate NOT to shoulder tap me. And thus... I wait further. Hoping that my self-nomination is successful. Though I still would have liked to have more info about the role first haha. We'll see whether the association votes for me.

* External Moderation -- I still need to learn how to do this. I've asked for help from a few different people. Straight up - I just need someone to show me how. I know it's not hard. But it's my first time as a CA to do it on behalf of my team. I want to do it right and listen to what the MNA guy said last year too.

* Cross-curricular learning -- I want to do more of this. Let's work together!

* Localised learning -- I want to do more of this too!

* Lockdown has just been made SO MUCH EASIER -- thankyou cousin! We can now travel around the country to see our whanau. I CANNOT WAIT to go see our nan. YAY Level 2 - LOVE IT. Still stay safe. Stay vigilant and be on guard. Keep your contacts to a minimum.

* Distance Learning -- changes during Level 2 -- there will still be students needing remote learning available. More info to come.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Distance Learning Update:

At the moment we've been doing collaborative work on shared docs for juniors as a prelude to them doing their own individual work. It's taught them some VERY valuable skills 😂🤦‍♀️ I've really enjoyed seeing them work together.

My seniors on the other hand - has been more about wellbeing and checking in with them and then asking where they're stuck. We focus on those issues first before working on the learning I had planned. It's honestly just a day by day thing and we're getting there. Having a Google Slidedeck set up with notes for those missing the Zui has been super helpful.

My big concern at the moment is connecting with those students who haven't been able to come to the Zui sessions. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Collaborative Storytelling - Y9 Tihi

Straight up proud of my Y9 students today! 

What started off as a korero about how lockdown was going for them, turned into showing them how Google Classroom worked and what I had planned for them.... 

Then it quickly changed when I saw I'd lost them already and that they were missing our face to face agentic lessons. 

I asked them if they'd started their creative writing from the visual prompts I'd provided... And then they asked if we HAD to use those to do a piece of writing... No, I said, it was just a starting point.

And then the topic changed again when I asked them what they'd been watching on Netflix and Tv... I asked them whether they'd ever told other people why they should watch their favourite shows. Nope, they hadn't. So - reviews were out of the question for the moment. 

Back to Creative Writing... I asked them if they could write any story - what would it be about? What characters would be in it? Oh my GOSH! I've never heard so much excitement and enthusiasm in a Zui before. Far. Epic. 

We quickly set up some parameters and what would be included in the writing. 

Then I asked whether we'd do it collaboratively in a shared doc or whether we would work individually.... Some shared issues around people deleting their mahi. Others said they wanted to do it individually. Some said they struggled writing so we decided to do both. 

I set up a shared doc (what is attached below) that they used to plan out their ideas and also an individual doc where students could go off on their own tangent using the shared parameters.

They quickly learnt and decided they needed some rules when working on a collaborative doc. 😂 That's always the first hurdle. But they overcame that quickly. 🙌🏽

The best part was seeing their teamwork when they delegated and chose different characters to describe. They helped define what would be in the setting and also what events would happen. 

Sentence starters are always the hardest part. But wow - check those out! Yes, I wrote some too. But that's all part of the modelling and development. 

Next steps - writing collaboratively together. 🙌🏽❤️

#Covid19Teacher #OCstorytellers #Maurua

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Lockdown... let's call it what it is... #4


A rahui for papatuanuku. 



My body tried filling up the hours. Made friit salad for breakfast. I talked with lots of people via video chat. Had a dance party with the dogs. Ate feijoas. Did some gardening. Fell asleep. Woke up. Picked Crystel up. Sung. A lot. Did dinnner. And now... Back in bed. 

It's monotonous. 


But we're safe. Here in our bubble.

How the hell did Anne Frank do this? Hide while in fear of her life?

I'm just here, in the safety of my own home. Food. Shelter. Water. Family. Sanity. Supposedly. 

I'm grateful for....
- a warm bed
- health
- safety
- food
- money in the bank still!
- my sister
- my dogs and cats
- my garden
- my diy fix it skills
- my grandmother
- my time spent with Uncle Ken at Xmas
- the plethora of books to read... And all the time ever to read them 😂
- ability to choose what I do with my life

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Self-isolation #3

And just like that... The panic rises up into my puku, smothers me and then with a deep inhale breath, subsides. 


Remember everything is okay. 

You are in your own bubble. 

Your students will be okay.