Monday, 4 December 2017

Final Day at Spark HQ

We have had our final get together at Spark HQ for Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers. Lots of reflecting happened about our inquiries and our journey this year. It has been a great year - developing great friendships with amazing teachers in the other clusters while being challenged to think about our teaching and pedagogy.

As I reflect on my inquiry this year I first think about what has changed for me. I think I have further developed my leadership skills and am more confident to have difficult conversations with teachers. I have enjoyed watching teachers further develop in their collaborative spaces and make changes to meet the needs of their learners. Visible learning has been a great success - all planning is visible and children are using it to drive their learning. 

The following screencastify is of my presentation from ULearn. It explains what we have been doing in our school to accelerate progress for our learners.

Next time I blog I will be able to share the success of our year, for our learners!!!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Spark MIT Presentation

During the term 3 holidays the SPARK MIT grouped attended the ULearn Conference in Hamilton. All of the SPARK MIT Teachers presented their Inquiries in an ignite talk.
We had 6 minutes and 20 slides to present our inquiry.  After our presentation the audience had an opportunity to ask three questions beginning with WHAT? WHY? and HOW?
SPARK MIT 2017 @ ULearn 2017
Dot, Angela, Kelsey, Alicia, Troy, Hinerau, Sandy and Dorothy

Our Audience!!

Me presenting my Ignite about Collaboration, Visible Learning and Digital Tools

Everyone did an awesome job at their presentations. Thanks so much to SPARK and Manaiakalani for supporting us and providing us with this great opportunity to share our inquiries.
It was a very inspiring conference with lots of things to take away and think about.  I picked up some great ideas and great next steps for us moving forward in our collaborative space.

Here is a link to my notes I took from the Keynotes and Breakouts I attended.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Collaboration Framework

As part of the Innovation part of my Inquiry, I wanted to create a framework that teachers could use that related to Collaboration, Digital Tools and Visible Learning. I am about 96% happy with the framework BUT would love any feedback about what teachers/leaders/facilitators etc think.

Collaboration / Digital Tools / Visible Learning Framework

Below are a set of statements for you to think about your practice and where you sit within the context of working in a collaborative learning environment, being at home in the digital world and providing visible learning for your learners.

Term 3 - SPARK MIT

Another very thought provoking and successful day at Spark HQ for Term 3. It was great to re-connect with everyone again and listen to their journeys.

Our first task of the day was to think Fantasy - think about the Holy Grail. If everything in our inquiry was perfect what would it look like?

For my inquiry it would be:
Accelerated progress is happening for all learners. All teachers are working collaboratively - making use of digital tools to support the Learn Create Share Model, and visible teaching and learning evident (children using site for their learning - moving forward on their own). Blogging is a natural part of their learning.

We were then introduced to the SCAMPER Model. We had to use this model and apply a part or parts of it to our inquiry (Thinking Big Picture - we may choose to do it or not).
I chose to use:
Modify - Focus more on Digital Tools (Student Agency) now!

Put to another use - Cluster Sharing (Sharing our findings and what we are doing to make accelerated progress).

Next part of our day was discussing our Ignite Presentation that we will be giving at the ULearn Conference. 6 minutes - 20 Slides, 20 seconds per slide! using a great programme called keynote. Dorothy gave an example of this type of presentation. Such a great way to share the key parts of our inquiry. We also watched Karen Belt's keynote she gave last year through the eyes of a student. It was very clever!

Then it was our turn to start planning. Creating a table 20 rows x 2 columns to record our Image Ideas and Content thoughts. I was really pleased to get most of my thoughts and ideas down for my presentation and received great feedback and feed forward from Anne Sinclair.
Now I need to take time to rework / re-craft to make sure I am making the impact I want. And then it's writing my notes to match my thoughts and images.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Making Connections to other Inquiries

One of our tasks was to make connections to Inquiries of past Spark MIT Teachers. I have visited the Spark MIT site and read through many previous inquiries and well as watching their final presentations.

I found it quite difficult to make connections as my inquiry is focusing on the teachers and their practice rather than the students and their learning. But reading through the many inquiries what does resonate with my inquiry is the terms acceleration and achievement! I believe that my inquiry into collaboration, digital tools, and visible learning is a key success in accelerating progress for students, especially target students in literacy.

There are many ideas from some of these inquiries that the staff have used in their classrooms and have found them successful. Thanks to Lisa Tatum who was a Spark MIT teacher last year sharing with us.

Karen Belt
Matt Goodwin
Kent Somerville

Making connections with this year's inquiries I can connect with Hinerau - where her focus is about making teaching and learning visible to raise student achievement. This was one part of my inquiry.


Looking and discussing our data!
Recently we have held our Mid Year data discussions - with all the testing completed for Reporting.

We discussed our target learners and the progress they are making. It was great to listen to the progress that some of them are making and what the teachers have been doing that has contributed to this success. Teachers are making good use of the collaborative learning space to maximize the learning time. Reading progress continues to be a real success. 67% of our target readers have now met their target.  Feed in lessons are a real success for the priority learners. They are excited when they come to the lesson confident and ready to contribute to the group. Target student programmes are also very focused on their learning gaps.

Our school mid year data is very positive and is better than it was at the same time point last year. We had lots of discussion about why we think this. We think that collaboration has been a major factor in the success of our learners. The students are used to the learning environments and there is continuity. Teachers have identified what worked well last year and are building on this. All students in Year 3 - 6 are using the team sites to access their learning and less time for instruction is needed. Less whole class teaching and more group (both ability and mixed ability) teaching is happening.

Friday, 21 July 2017


As the innovation part of my inquiry, I planned to construct a rubric that teachers could use to assess where they were at with collaboration, visible learning and digital tools.
I was fortunate enough to spend a morning with Tania Coutts who helped me begin the construction of my rubric. I split the rubric into three parts for each of the three focus areas.  Eg: Collaboration - is I, Sometimes We and Always We!

After lots of thought and discussion I then decided to change from a rubric to: A framework with questions to encourage teachers to think about where they sit within the context of working in a collaborative learning environment, being at home in the digital world and providing visible learning for their learners.

I used the following resources to support me in the development of my framework.
Creating collaborative effectiveness - Sarah Martin and Chris Bradbeer - Stonefields School

Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Teacher Collaboration - Rebecca Gajda, Christopher J. Koliba

I then had a skype session with Dorothy and she gave me some suggestions about how I could develop my framework further. One of her suggestions was to get some opposing voice. I shared the framework with my colleague I work with and one of our facilitators to fill out - thinking about me as the teacher. I also marked myself where I thought I was for each area. My facilitator gave me good feedback and got exactly the same results as I did, which was really interesting as he has not spent a lot of time in my space this year. I am still waiting to hear my colleagues results.

I have just spent the last couple of days tweaking the framework. I am wanting to discuss the changes I have made with Tania and Lee (My Principal) before I post it up and use it on my staff. 

SO... Watch this space.

Monday, 22 May 2017

PLG -Sharing Collaboration

Our recent PLG for the Kaikohekohe Cluster was focused on each school sharing a 10 minute presentation on how collaboration is leading to better outcomes for teachers and students. This was a great opportunity to listen to what is happening in other schools that fit in with my inquiry focus. A lot of what was discussed was the use of digital tools by students that allows the opportunity for collaboration to take place.

One college shared about how two teachers from different subject areas are working collaboratively together and the impact this is having on their students. I think this is very exciting and look forward to booking a visit to see this in action.

Below is the presentation our school shared on how collaboration is leading to better outcomes for learners, especially our target students. The video demonstrates a targeted lesson that is taken by one teacher while the other teacher is taking the whole class for admin tasks in the morning. This presentation was presented by our junior team but this concept is happening across our school.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Another Day at Spark HQ

Today we had our second hui at the Spark HQ.
We had a great start to our day listening to everyone's journeys so far with their inquiries and making connections with our inquiries to others' inquiries in the group. It was affirming to hear that others are facing the same challenges that I am facing as I work through my inquiry with my colleagues.

It was great to meet up with my Spark buddy Christina today and discuss how we are going to work together throughout the year on my goals.
Meeting our Spark Buddies

The big challenge today was to think about the Innovation aspect in my inquiry.
My innovation is about assessing the teachers about where they are at in regards to collaboration, visible learning and use of digital tools to help accelerate progress.

As a staff, we need to work collaboratively to construct a rubric which we can use to assess where teachers are at and also to discuss how to use the rubric. We need to be having discussions about what we value, what collaboration looks like and what would we be seeing in a collaborative learning environment.

Teachers will be able to use this rubric to self-assess where they are at according to the valued indicators and decide what they need to work on and what they need support with. These self-assessments would also fit alongside classroom observations and reflections/surveys completed at the end of each term.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Target Students

End of Term One - Where are our target students at?

Every team completed an end of term survey to discuss how collaboration, visible learning and digital tools have contributed to student's learning, especially accelerated progress for our target students.
We then had a staff meeting and discussed the progress of our target students. We discussed what we are doing in our collaborative space, with the support of digital tools and visible learning to help accelerate these learners.

So of the key points were:
- Making use of time where one teacher can manage the team. The other teacher taking accelerating learning groups for feed in lessons of skills before their learning groups)
- Specific target group teaching times (split from the rest of the team) really focusing on their needs. Creating their learning pathways of what they need to do to move to the next level.
This is one student discussing his learning pathway at the end of Term One.

Quote from one of the collaborative teams.
"We believe the children have made accelerated progress by participating in the target group. They have made more progress than children at the same level that were not part of this group."
- Changing groups and teachers when the need arises, not waiting!! Students are not waiting for the rest of the group to catch up etc.
- Providing rewindable learning eg videos, slides etc that the students can revisit if they need to.
- Less whole class time. Students are making use of the class sites / visible learning to come in from break times and get on with their learning instead of waiting for teacher instruction.
Quote: "It has gained us more time to work in a flexible way 1-1 or in small groups with lessons targeted to specific problems as they arise."
-Using mixed ability grouping. Students are learning from one another.
-Students making more use of the commenting tool to provide feedback/feedforward to their peers.
-Having multi-modal sites for the students where they have choice in what they want to learn/create and share.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Sir Ken Robinson Video

So just watched this short video from Sir Ken Robinson talking about changing the education paradigm, so we prepare our student's for the future and how we are killing creativitiy. A very interesting watch and one that we as teachers at Ohaeawai school can really relate to. Towards the end of the video he talks about education still be single classrooms, separate subjects and how we should be getting students to work collaboratively as it is the key to growth.

In our collaborative working spaces at Ohaeawai we are getting students to work collaboratively, teachers are working collaboratively, children are moving to different spaces with a larger classroom space and we are working hard to integrate our subjects through our term themes.

This term our Manaiakalani Outreach themes are Creativity, Empowerment and Engagement.  We need to think carefully how we allow creativity for our students.

Monday, 10 April 2017


Visiting Collaboration!!!!

Collaboration is a hot topic. We have had a few discussions about this at our Staff Meetings. This has
followed on from our PLG around collaboration, as one of our KET Goals is:

Actively Increasing face to face and digital collaboration within our classrooms will lead to increased critical and extended discussions and learning outcomes across the curriculum.

During this PLG we discussed and shared:

  • How we plan for Learn, Create, Share for Collaborative Learning
  • How our google site and rewindable learning caters for collaboration
  • How our physical environment promotes and support collaboration
  • What action will you take to support your learners to work collaboratively
  • What digital resources/collaborative apps have been used effectively in the classroom to promote collaboration.

Back at School
We have had lengthy discussions about collaboration vs co-operation too. We have now come up with a very simple definition that we are using to define collaboration:

Collaboration is working, reflecting and acting together in a critical way that transforms thinking and learning.

We are giving our students lots of opportunities to collaborate and are making use of the digital tools available. Some of the examples include:
- A group of children working on a google slide presentation together
- Using Padlet to gather thoughts and ideas
Children using Padlet to brainstorm ideas that they can use in their writing.
- Students are becoming teachers and teaching others how to solve maths problems
- Using mixed ability grouping
- Children sharing their writing with their buddies and making use of the commenting tool to improve the writing.

Our staff room full of pictures, definitions, quotes etc about what we think collaboration is and what it looks like at Ohaeawai School.



Monday, 27 March 2017

Classroom Observations

I have now completed the classroom observations of both teachers and students. As I am the Maths Lead Teacher I observed everyone's maths lessons to kill two birds with one stone.
I used the same model as Woolf Fisher for the senior school observations, which gave me a really good picture of what was happening in the classroom for both the teacher and the learners. Some of what I observed linked back to the hunches I had.

Notes from my Observations
- Planning is visible for the children and available BUT are they making the best use of it. Teachers are still using verbal prompts.
- Target students are working with a specific teaching and have specific learning goals they are working towards. Recent assessment data has been shared with them so they know what their next steps are.
- There is still not much Student Agency happening. (There was choice for the order of tasks)
- Collaboration is happening between the teachers and some with the students BUT most of the time it was 'My Work'
- The nature of the tasks tended to be game based learning, constrained practice or non-digital.
- There was a variety of main teaching activities observed: Modelling, Conferencing, Instructing, Roving, and only some Management.
- In most cases the main teaching foci was on strategy and practice.
- Feedback given still tends to be Evaluative
- Still cases of whole class teaching happening. (During this time I noticed children not focused and off task).
- There were instances of 'Off Task' behaviour

After the observations I meet with the teachers and discussed the sheets. We have used these observation sheets and created some specific goals that the teachers are going to work on. We also linked some of them back to our KEN goals to make it more manageable.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Re-defining my Inquiry

So after returning back from our wonderful day at Spark HQ and reflecting on my inquiry question and with help from Dorothy, I have decided to re-word it.

My new inquiry question is:
How does collaboration supported by digital tools and visible learning contribute to accelerated progress in all curriculum areas for learners?

These are some of the hunches I have and things I would like to check out.

Some target students are making progress, so they do feel successful, but not at the rate that is needed for them to catch up so are still classified as targets.(Accelerating Learning)
-If children are 2 years behind and they are only making a year or a year and a half progress, they are never going to reach the standard.
Teachers are not making the most of the collaborative environment. -One teacher always taking the bottom groups not catering for their needs.
Digital tools are not being used effectively to cater for these learners (Affordances of Technology).

Do Target students know where they are and how are they going to get to where they need to be? Is data being shared with them?
How does more engagement in high quality teaching and learning activities contribute to accelerated learning? What does this look like for target students?
Are teachers making the most of Visible Learning?

Now that we have completed all our beginning of the year assessments, staff have been able to look closely at their data and decide where to next with their teaching. Data has been shared with students and learning goals have been made.

We have discussed our target students at staff meeting and what we have been doing for these students, especially in writing. We have one staff member who is focussing on our target writers this year and is carrying out regular class observations to see if the changes we are making are working.

Target writers from my team have created learning maps, with their goals for writing to get them to where they need to be. They have these in front of them all the time during writing and they have created a screen castify to share them on their blogs.

Here are a couple of examples of their maps:

Next week I am heading into the classroom's to observe what is happening and to see where my support is needed and to develop some goals with the teachers.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Spark MIT Day One

Welcome to my first blog post as I begin my journey on the Spark - MIT programme for 2017. What an awesome day it has been connecting with teachers from the Manaiaklani and Outreach clusters.
Today we have been challenged with thinking about and critiquing our inquiry topics and really deciding on what the problem is and how we are going to address some hypotheses we have. After lots of discussion I have decided to continue with my original inquiry focus.

How does strategic collaboration used in conjunction with visible learning and digital tools lead to accelerated student achievement across our school?

I am going to investigate how planned and strategic collaboration in conjunction with visible learning and digital tools enables accelerated achievement for learners, especially our priority learners.  I will be supporting and scaffolding staff to make changes in their practice and make the best use of collaboration. I will also be closely monitoring the progress that the target students are making and having conversations with them about their learning. 

Here is our group hard at work at the Spark HQ. Beautiful facility and delicious kai too.

My goal now is to go away and absorb what we have talked about today and think about the HOW.