Napier Intermediate were short a teacher so I went on school camp this week. My favourite spot, our old farm. Played in the river and had a captive audience as students saw what really lives in the water. We were looking for macroinvertebrates to see how healthy the Mangaone River was (perfect score :) but we also saw trout, tuna (eels) and kura. Pretty amazing tally really. Excellent parent help made things so much easier. Sure stirred up some great memories ...
Starting the year...
My year began with a noho marae at Waimarama, working alongside Te Aratika staff to develop the direction for 2021. Day 2 started at 4am as we headed to Waitangi to welcome the dawn alongside Kimi Ora School staff. Pēreri the orator was in his element, we listened and felt the stories come to life and make meaning as the sun quietly rose behind us. Thoroughly recommend weaving the Waitangi Reserve into your Local Curriculum folks, this place is powerful, accessible and a truly connected space for your students.
The following week the boys were at Kohupatiki Marae for three days, getting to know each other, learning a few waiata and our haka, and understanding the kaupapa of the school. It's all about relationships if you want the learning to happen.
Loved being alongside these 'Developing Men of Valour' during this important step.
I had the joy of working with the gorgeous tamariki and kaiako at Te Kura o Mangateretere during lockdown last year and this has grown into a really awesome relationship. I seem to have wheedled my way into this kura and now they are not going to get rid of me easily! Digital was just the beginning and they've really taken that bait.
Alec and I also had a chance to involve these students in the Maraetotara River Restoration Project when they came to plant trees at the newly cleared Te Awanga end of the Maraetotara river. Such a fun day and it ended at one of the trustees' houses with a sausage sizzle, talk to the tuna and a waiata session. Such fun!
I've been challenging myself, my thinking and approach to life in Aotearoa. I recently came across this series by RNZ that I feel everyone should view. Find the time, they provide both challenge and support, and honesty. If you are planning to work with the NZ Histories, this resource will be powerful.
Land of the Long White Cloud A documentary series that tells the stories of white New Zealanders who are confronting our colonial past and present, 250 years after Cook’s arrival. Made with the support of NZ On Air.
Nina Hood from the education hub has just sent out an email to schools that I encourage you to read. It includes some really useful findings from Lockdown(#1). These are just brief overviews at this stage, the full reports will be released soon.
Learning from lockdown: what seemed to work well?
Learning from lockdown: Trying to understand the variations in student engagement
Teacher aide PLD pilot fund
I love working with your super important support staff, the ones who do so much to help your staff and those students who have learning and behaviour needs. There are a huge number of ways your support staff can operate so flexibility is key to what a PLD programme could look like.
This MoE pilot fund "provides teacher aides with support to undertake PLD opportunities. It covers course fees, time to attend the courses, and some travel and accommodation costs."
Contact me to discuss this. I would love to talk through some options that will meet your school's needs.
Pilot fund information page - For information on the teacher aide PLD pilot fund, how the fund was established and how to apply for teacher aide PLD, read more.
If you get a moment, I thoroughly recommend reading this Thinking about Pedagogy in an Unfolding Pandemic report on approaches to distance learning during the COVID19 school closures. There are some really useful pearls of wisdom shimmering throughout.
I'm working in schools around Hawke's Bay that are making use of the MoE support package for Distance Learning. It's frantic, exhausting, but so, so rewarding. Fantastic working with teachers who are really open to ideas, who try them out and share them with me, clearly proud of their achievements. As am I. Zoom and Google Meets are impressive tools, giving students a real opportunity to build a learning community. Because they need to. One of my schools is recognising how much better their senior boys can focus virtually without the distractions around them. Their questions are heard, they learn with each other and get the work handed in. Tumeke!
While Papatūānuku is breathing, we are moving into a new paradigm of how we work with our students. I hope we'll be using these changes into the future.
Support for Distance Learning offered from MoE
I was fortunate enough to hear Ann Milne yesterday in her Colouring in Your Virtual White Spaces talk. Several really useful takeaways from this but one thing really stuck in my mind. We are going into our students homes through the digital connections, starting today. Today, we are manuhiri so have we asked whanau if we can enter? We need to be guided by the kawa of their homes. What are their protocols? Who needs to 'open the door'? What times suit them? Is there a space for this? One of my schools has responded already - they're ringing all whanau and asking these questions today, before they conference with their students. Would love to hear how you are managing this in your schools.
A really successful year for these taiohi and others at Te Aratika Academy. Stunning graduation performance, they really turned on the charm for their whanau. They smashed their UE and AS targets after a super human effort to get things across the line. Dedicated teachers showed their true hearts and I'm so proud to have been part of this mahi.
I've been working with staff and Napier Int this year to strengthen their digital fluency. We recently started focusing on enabling student agency by trialling ways students could learn to manage their time and task completion. Enter Gantt Charts - stage right! Staff are planning their term with these and putting a weekly version into Google Classroom. Their students then create their own calendars, choosing when they do the different parts of the tasks so they complete on time. We're capturing student voice at the end of the term to evaluate how supportive this process was. Keen to hear that!
Curriculum Progress Tools Workshop
Intense but fantastically useful day learning about the new curriculum progress tools website and material. I can see real applications for this material in the work I'm doing now. Great catching up with old friends and colleagues too. Apparently I'm now qualified to deliver PLD in this area!
Awesome day with staff and students of Te Aratika. Starting from the absolute beginning of time and weaving knowledge and history together to build a better understanding of the Māori world view and the impact of colonisation. Māori whare and colonial house disparity model. Powerful.
Tipene Heperi led this great day. So good!
Attended the Teaching Council’s code and standards workshop in Hawke’s Bay recently and found it really useful. The day provided clarity and strategies to ensure these are used to positively support ongoing teacher growth. A day very well spent. Strongly suggest you see if you can find one in your area. https://lnkd.in/gGk4PRG
2019 Looking Great!
Welcome to 2019 everyone. Hope your break was revitalising, refreshing and relaxing. This year is looking exciting for me with contracts in digital fluency, digital technologies, school wide inquiry/teacher practice, and teacher and principal appraisal. The schools I'm working with are incredibly varied so it will be a really interesting year.
For all my Inclusive Education followers, there is huge potential as a result of MoE refocusing in this area. The Tomorrow's Schools Independent Taskforce identified 'Disability Learning and Support' as one of the 8 Key Issues emerging from their review. Both say a change is needed in the way schools are supported with students who have additional learning needs. If you haven't read this paper yet, here are the 8 key issues outlined briefly.
This year I was asked to do 2 days a week as the SENCo at Napier Intermediate so Liz could take up the cluster maths lead teacher position for this year. Time to put my money where my mouth was! Huge learning curve I have to admit as I juggled deadlines and learned how everyone contributed to the overall picture. I've loved every bit of this work. It has allowed me to see this role in real terms, the practical hands on things that actually have to be done and the systems and support agencies that wrap around the role. Working closely with MoE, RTLB, SWIS (and many others), and co-ordinating their different inputs gives you access to the rich pool of knowledge necessary for this job. Working with parents, students and their teachers gives you the humanity to enable you to do it well. Making it happen within the structure of a school makes me know that the SENCOs I've worked with for the past 10 years should all be wearing super power cloaks!!! Oh, and getting my very first ORS application accepted made me think that cloak could possibly be mine too. That was a pretty special day for the team that slaved over that one.