Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MADE Awards 2013

Ngatea Primary School.  Oreos Literacy Group.  2nd in Year 7 & 8 Storytelling Category.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Furniture: Improving our Learning Space.

Student Feedback on some trial furniture.  (After one week).

What differences do you notice about your new furniture?

- The colours are bright and really cool 
- comfortable 
- chairs allow movement
- It's not like our old furniture

What do you like about the new furniture?

- design
- its inviting and you want to use it
- whiteboard table is awesome
- the different areas are better for collaborative learning

What is your favourite piece of furniture? 

- Ottomans with the table because it is a relaxing place to work and makes it easy to work as a group
- Whiteboard table 
- The splats - nice to sit lower and comfortable
- Whiteboard table - because it makes it easy working out problems 

What are your favourite colours?

Bright colours 
Bright colours 

What would you like to see more of?

- ottomans
- high tables
- whiteboard tables

Is there anything else you would like in your learning space?

- Low tables as the ones we have made are really popular and it would be cool to have somewhere to put your work or laptop when working on the low chairs
- Beanbags because you can move them anywhere and they're really comfortable

Blogging - Teachers Engage Students with Technology


NPS  - our students are highly engaged with their blogs.  Use Google Apps; docs, forms etc and Teacher Dashboard, as a way to monitor student usage and progress.

Some examples:



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How enagaged are our students?

What does engagement look like in our learning space?  (Found this on twitter today, posted by @palmykids)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Writing Club Roles

Today I presented to our RTLB cluster about Writing Club.  As I have said in previous posts, I set up Writing Club to personalise learning, engage students in writing with student choice and authentic writing opportunities.  

Part of my Writing Club is where students complete writing club roles, similar to Lit circle or book club roles, for reading.  I developed these roles for the following reasons:

  • As another way for students to look closer at the surface features of their writing.  This was a targeted area of learning for this group of students.   (Spelling Master, Punctuation Picker)
  • Encourage students to look at other students writing before the writing club meeting. 

  • To incorporate the literacy progressions into my writing programme.  
Understand their purposes for writing and how to achieve those purposes (e.g., by using different ways to examine and present their own thinking and knowledge);  (Genre Investigator).  
Create content that is concise and relevant to the curriculum task, often including carefully selected detail and/or comment that supports or elaborates on the main points; 

Organising their writing into paragraphs in which the ideas are clearly related and linking these paragraphs; (Passage/paragraph Picker).  
Craft and recraft text by revising and editing, checking that the text meets its purpose and is likely to engage the intended audience, and proofreading the text to check the grammar, spelling, and punctuation;  (Vocab Buster and Spelling Master).  
Actively seek and respond to feedback on their writing.  (Leader and Recorder)
Deliberately using written language features (e.g., rhetorical questions and metaphors) and visual language features to engage the audience and/or convey meaning; (Figurative Finder).

Using a variety of sentence structures, beginnings, and lengths for effect; using complex sentences that are grammatically correct; (Sentence Solver)
  • To encourage students to give specific, constructive feedback. (Leader, Recorder)
  • To encourage collaboration
I look forward to seeing our students completed evaluations on this -  what they think worked and didn't.  What helped them improve writing and of course what they enjoyed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Impact Design Group - Recycling Furniture to meet our Modern Learning Needs

This group are part of the Design Impact group.  They have recycled an old individual class desk and turned it into a useable, collaborative, low learning table that suits our modern learning needs.
Looks great!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Art. Printing. Making Connections.

Lino Printing - Our portraits.  When I was at teachers college, good old ACE, (Auckland College of Education), I took as many art papers as I possibly could, it was 'my thing'.   I specialised in printing, particulalry lino printing.  I happened to stumble upon HEAPS of lino tiles in the deep, dark depths of the resource room, and was VERY excited.  Enough for our whole team.  I actually managed to find my own examples of the lino prints I did based on work by Nigel Brown and shared that with my students.  I never thought I would use those examples again.  Actually, when I was tallking to our students about it, another teacher in my team asked who my art lecturer was, as it sounded just like who she used to be have at ACE as well.  Turns out, same lecturer, just not at the same time.   Just goes to show if you make the right connections, whether it be a teacher or an interest or the way you learn, then it sticks even after ....  years.   What impact are we having on our students? 


#Ulearn13 something I just thought about...

Mark Oliphant School - Dean Clark

I found this presentation really interesting, (even though it was on Friday morning)!!  ;)   I like the way that Dean talked about sharing ideas and using and adpating other ideas that they have seen at other schools.

One thing that was really relevant for me what when he talked about schools implementing Ipads, but using them still as a text book.  We are always having discussion about how we are learning differently now compared to when we were using text books, not chrome books.  An unrelated  cross word is still the same on a screen as it is as a photocopied page.  Are our students creating and connecting more?  We are continiously trying to find more exciting/interesting/creative ways to engage our students in their learning and help them become self directed, confident  learners.

We are really interested in the making learning better conference too...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Learn. Unlearn and Relearn. Taking small steps at a time to make big changes. #Ulearn13

What a great 3 days at ULearn 2013.  Connecting with people, both in person and via twitter.  Now to sit down and reflect and write about some of the things that have really 'stuck' with me.

Our notes


Friday, October 11, 2013

Authentic Writing

Some sucessful ways I have engaged student in authentic writing tasks this year:

 Milestone - Be published.
 Journalists for the Local paper,
Sport Journalists
Working on local authors writing
Making Connections between reading and writing. 
 Class Magazine
 Student choice
 Goal orientated. We are doing this because...
 Real experiences or real reasons to write.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I was lucky enough to attend 2 brilliant breakouts presentions,  firstly by Mark Osborne and then Mary- Anne Mills.

 Thoughts: Yes, our students plan what we think is their curriculum. However, is it MY curriculum or the teacher's teacher's curriculum?? I think we do a pretty good job (treachers/students work collaborativeky to plan). But we can adjust a few things slightly to make it more of the students curriculum. I will take this back to school.

 Leadership. I have attended presentations from Mark before and am always inspired. Servant leadership - Robert Greenleaf - empowering others through leadership/serving the people around you. As a leader - 'what do u need from me?' The school is the servant to the teacher or learner. Servant of the people. 

Adaptive leadership - Ronald Heifetz - making small continuous changes - change comes from the bottom up. Adaptive leadership - elephants in the room to be named.

 Also - Why should kids come to school??? Lot's of dicsussion. Community Relationships Collaborations 'Soft skills' (Key Competencies) Looking forward to today.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Writing Club Presentation

In the July holidays I presented at the New Zealand Literacy Association's Conference, held in Auckland.  I  found it to be a really rewarding experience for many reasons.  Firstly, it really made me look into my Writing Club programme, and look more closely into how it works.  I interviewed many students, it was great to hear what they had to say.  Here are some of the interviews:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

IMPACT + creativity + chaos!

Design Group
My students in the IMPACT design group have made some great progresss on their design projects.   One group has finished the low table top, creating for using when sitting on a cushion on the floor, working on their laptop.  We didn't have much of a budget, so we used an old sing desk, cut the lrgs off, took the top off.  Then made a new top with left over wood.  Every Marama student creating a zentangle pattern, which the girls glued on.  They then painted the edges and varnished it.   Results - a very cool little table.  They have another table that fits with it and they have just started on that one.  Check out the photos:

They have also been busy making cushions to sit on when using the table, as well as a really BIG floor cushion.  We have been lucky enough to have Campbell's nana in as an expert who is sewing with the group, we have also had 2 sewing machines donated to the school!   Here are some photos:

Another design group are making an ottoman, and they are now trying to figure out how to cover it!

Fun.  Creative.  Chaos!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Scott Simpson Visits Marama Team at NPS

At the end of last Term, our local MP, Scott Simpson visited our team.  This is what he had to say.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

IMPACT -Design

What a day!  Sam Haughton visited us today. He is Director of furniture design Company IMO.  Our IMPACT Design group met with him to discuss design and get tips from him about their design projects.  Sam was brilliant.  He brought along a piece of furniture, one of his lastest designs, a stool.  Students helped him put it together and tried it out.  It is  now sitting proudly in the Marama Team.  Lucky us, Thanks Sam!  Students were buzzing all day, and spent the rest of the day planning, sketching and measuring their own designs.  Awesome to see what an impact an outside expert who is passionate about what they do, can have on students learning! :)