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:
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.
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The amazing thing about edchatnz conference is that the connections you make and the ones you originally made on Twitter to fully form face to face...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.
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.
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. :)