Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Learning in the Making: a student conference for kids, by kids.

As I was hanging out our t-shirts from our student conference,  little Miss 7 asked me when we were going to have another student conference. "Mum can we please have one every Friday, but only if it doesn't make your's and Mr Fraser's hair stick up"

Words well spoken from an unfiltered 7 year old.  She LOVED Friday.  She got to choose 4 different workshops, the hardest part was actually choosing the workshops - in her eyes.  So, according to little Miss 7 -   HUGE success!  (In fact the knitting needles and wool have been in action all weekend, and now lay safely beside her bed on her dressing table - within reach...

Student voice still to come:  google form to be filled in and interviews with students who led workshops to be completed.

Lanyards worked a treat - thanks to ASB.

So what next:
I see our next next step: a student conference for other students as well. (Y5-8) Open to all schools.  We need to book in a date as soon as possible.  Lots to plan.

I am collating #studentvoice  #teachervoice #parentvoice  and will post feedback in a new post.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#ptchatnz August 19th 2014 Topic: Reporting & Interviews

Reporting and Interviews proved to be a great topic for discussion tonight!

Again a full hour flew by.  We had many new teachers and and some parents join in tonight and openly share their thoughts and views.

One thing that we have to be careful of is that we do not use too much 'teacher jargon'.  One of the parents involved in our chat tonight mentioned this.  Thanks - @martypartridge     So, if or when we continue to get more parents involved in our discussions, then this should help. The more parents we have, the more we can develop a shared language.  We can also make sure that one of the things we do during discussion is to ensure we explain terms as discussion is continuing.

Next steps:
Continue promoting - VLN, join us on Google+, and twitter.
Continue to invite and try and involve more parents on twitter.  One way we have managed to get more interest in twitter from parents is to continue sharing   sharing a lot of what goes on at school through twitter.  So, we will continue this.
Collate names and email addresses.
Add names to list on twitter.

Super impressed to almost have all NPS staff on twitter, including support and office staff. (Only 3 more to go, one being our caretaker).   Thanks @kell_ngatea and @LeanneLMLJ & @NoleenMurray, NPS staff who joined us for the first time!

Thanks again to Neil_NPS, @BrendaK80 and @Coles_Vicki for helping moderate tonight - sure needed it!  Thanks also to @mrs_hyde - your support is much appreciated.

So - how to continue to get more parents on twitter....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Reflection and Moving Forward after HPPS Visit #Buzzing

Last week, (a week before the #edchatnz conference), our team visited Hobsonville Point Primary School
What an amazing place to be!  A MLE to be envious of!   I particularly liked how relaxed both the teacher and students were. Our learning is similar in many ways; no bells, teachers' first name, student choice and voice in learning, students' planning own time, workshops, 1-1 conferences etc.  Yet, we still have many things we are working on Next steps is to further develop the 'middle' planning.  Not really planning, as such, more consolidation what we do, school wide.   We have a vision, we have programmes running.  I feel like we are missing a middle piece to tie all this in together. 

My forward thinking:  What are my next steps? Where to next?

Making our planning transparent and available for all to see. Our planning is co-constructed and shared with our students, who can then share with our parents.  I wonder how many parents actually look at this? We could however, have it displayed -   I loved the stands that HPPS had around their schools.

We need to continue to develop our learning dispositions. We held a team 'unconference' one  day last term.  Two things we looked at - our learner dispositions and our learning super powers.  Here are the learner dispositions that we came up with students/teachers, together:  Learner Dispositions   (This is still in draft form)  Another unconference day is in need!

It was such great timing to then visit HPPS, and have Daniel share with us their learning dispositions and Learner Profile.  Our next step was - how are we going to use these in our learning, not just to look at.  So, it was brilliant to see how they were using them.  We are developing our own Learner Profile.  This also blends in quite nicely with something else I am working on which is our parent/student conferences.  What we do now, really doesn't fit in with how we learn at NPS.  They need to be more student centred and led,  this is a goal for the next round.  

Trust Licences - I really loved this idea.  Something we would like to use and adapt for our learning area.   We do have a Gold Card system, where students have set the criteria of the privileges they have on a Gold Card, and if they lose this they have a red card for a week, and lose the privileges.  A Trust Licence would be a good way to involve our parents int the process, having to get them to sign the licence could help keep them involved in our learning.

In and Out - at present we have an in and out visual display.  We now need to add to this.  This also ties in with the Trust Licence.

Planning for workshops  - our students plan their own workshops and book these onto our shared timetable each week.  Next step - improve the planning of these workshops.  (Similar to the HPPS model). We used a similar model for our student conference, being held this week.  This is what I'd like our students to use for our everyday workshops:  Workshop Planner.   An idea I have thought of from here:   ALSO - advertise these school wide AND to parents.  I'm thinking about having a another twitter workshop next week, booking it into our timetable - but also inviting parents - via FB and Twitter and advertise on a board outside out Team.

"Middle Planning" - tie some things together.  I would like to try and devote some of my DP time to this.  I am actually finding that there isn't enough time.  My days out with Neil usually fly and get taken up with other admin stuff, and lots of interruptions... just school life!  So we need to find a way to use this time wisely!  We now have our professional development during Thursday afternoon (school time) 1;15 - 2.30.  Workshops are chosen by staff and completely optional, we have been connected with presenters for these workshops virtually. e.g. Tessa Gray, Blackboard Collaboration on VLN, Sarah Martin, Skype, and so on.  

We have IMPACT  PBL based on students interests and passions.  We have worked with the college to change how technology runs.  Lots of tweaking to do here.  How can we tie this into our learning more, so that it runs through all other areas of our learning?  Not just IMPACT? It was quite timely, also, seeing how HPPS run their PBLL.    We set up Milestones for our senior students to achieve.  A great idea, but we need to ensure that they are achievable and integrated into our learning  - not all on top of. 

Learning Spaces - we don't have a brand new MLE, we have however, made the best use of the space we have.  We will continue to plan and dream about what we will do when we finally get our planning approved!

Professional Reading List:  Daniel Birch shared some of the profession reading  and research that helped formed their vision, shich helps shape a mindset that is needed to be able t be part of the team at HPPS.  I have books and research that I've read and found useful to support our vision and pedagogy.  We have never actually formalised and shared an NPS list.  When discussing this with Neil, I think it would be useful to new staff, even parents to have access to our professional reading list - let them read about the research we have undertaken to get where we are today.  Can help with the mindset that is needed to teach/learn and be part of a collaborative, flexible learning space.

So, as usual, when I come away from another visit, my head starts throwing around all sorts of ideas.  I've noted all these down more ideas - next blog post  #studentconference and #studenteducamp

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My #ptchatnz Reflection

Well, after the 3rd round I can now say the #ptchatnz is now in full swing!  Last Tuesday night's chat was a great success.   We had a wide range of people involved, parents, student teachers, beginning teachers, teachers, teacher aides, BOT members, and principals.  

Tuesday afternoon seemed like a tweeting frenzy.  I felt like a broken record, tweeting so much to remind everyone that it was happening and personally tweeting people, hoping we were going to be able to get enough interest.  I found that it was a pretty full on, intense hour, both exciting and nerve wracking, trying to moderate, post questions, keep up with discussions, encourage fellow tweeters and get the timing right!  I did thoroughly enjoy it though.  Thanks goodness @Neil_NPS and @brendak80 were helping moderate.  However, Neil's internet was a tad slow!  I can see how useful and valuable it could be as another way to connect parents with school.  A way for parents to have a say in a casual, non - threatening way. (Almost like an neutral playing field)!

I particularly enjoyed hearing about ASHS breakfast meeting and affirmation cards, thanks  - @kaiako_nz .

 a parent new to our twitter chat, shared his blog and has started a new blog post, a diary about what his child says about school.  Great idea. I love the interest that Martin is taking in his child's education.  Awesome.

After our second #ptchatnz, we soon realised that we had to advertise.  So, this is what I did:

  • Post our #ptchatnz on VLN - (Beyond the Classroom)  @nlouwrens and @tessagray
  • Make another visual and tweet, tweet, tweet!
  • Share on our school FB page.
  • Talk to our students - run twitter workshops and encourage our Ss to get  their parents on twitter
  • Advertise twitter in our school newsletter.  (We would love to advertise in other school's newsletters as well!)
  • Improve the school website - ensure twitter feed is up to date to encourage our parents to want to have a look at the latest happenings and going ons.
  • Personally invite, via twitter, other parents/educators that we know.
  • Create Google+ Community
  • Choose good discussion promoting topics that people really want to talk about.

We also have had a lot of help promoting this from some other keen twitter users:  Thanks @mrs_hyde for all her retweeting and sharing at #educampakl along with  @BeLchick1 and @1MvdS.

Neil and I first starting talking about #ptchatnz when we were at The Future Schools conference at the start of this year.  We discussed ways to use twitter and another way to engage with our community and parents, NZ wide.  Obviously, this is not an original idea.  We have adapted and used the same kind of twitter discussion techniques that  #edchatnz uses, thanks - (@MissDtheTeacher ), who runs a fantastic chat forum every fortnight.  There is also an Aussie parent chat -  #ozptchat who joined us for our discussion, which was great.

I see in #aussieed chat last Sunday, that they used graphics with each question - I thought this was a great idea and would like to adapt that strategy to use next time! 

We are coming up with more interesting topics and ideas that we think will engage our twitter tweeps.  So, I think if we choose the right topics, keep advertising and promoting,  #ptchatnz will be here to stay!   If you think you have a great idea for a topic to discuss; fill in the form below.

Next  #ptchatnz -Aug 19th 8.30-9.30. Every fortnight. Follow @hull_karla & @imagineNPS for regular updates.   How to participate Guide: 
We'd love to collate some names and twitter handles to share with #ptchatnz tweeps, so fill in the form below.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Coding #creating #making #problemsolving #sharing

I have begun a collection of coding sites etc.  This is what I have discovered so far. (My own thoughts - some may disagree)! I'm fairly new to all this stuff, but I have found many things that are allowing our Ss to make, create and share their learning! I particularly like the programmes that provide basic platforms that all Ss can use to create and find success, both simple to quite complex. Check out what one of my amazing students created. An original game called Shuffle Jump, using Scratch:

What just some of it looks like 'inside'!

Why every child should learn to code
A website that shows and explains a whole lot of different Apps and websites that can be used for coding.  Explains ages best suited for each site.
Some more coding apps/sites.
Shows different sites/programmes that can be used for different things.  e.g. I want to learn or I want to problem solve or hack.
Tynker - programming site.  Can build own classes for free and add lessons etc  I have made a Marama one.  (Free version  - quite basic). Ss can also create own.  (Similar to Scratch) Great for y5/6. I think the real ‘good’ stuff you have to pay for.  Too basic for Y7&8.
With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Simple to complex - check out Max M’s game. I’m a bit of a fan!
An example of what you can do - build a website about self - I am going to get Perky Nanas onto building sites.
On this site you can also find tutorials and practice activities with building script, websites, apps etc.
Basic coding - hour of code cert - from site above. This is where the ‘hour of code’ is from.  Starts easy - gets harder. (Earn certificate).
Lots of creating projects.  Create own websites, animations.  Use a range of different scripts etc.  
Tutorials and teaches how to build a website, app or game.
Self guided ipad game
ipad app - learning to programme
A site made based solely on a love of a board game! Max to make!
Twitter storify #aussieed - Coding
A storify of the aussie chat on twitter - loads of useful links and ideas.
An interesting concept set up of Code Clubs in the UK.
A group of teachers interested in learning more about coding.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


We launched #ptchatnz  for the purpose of engaging parents in discussion with teachers/educators on topics of interest, using social media.   Not only to make connections with our own school parents, but to also encourage connections with parents, nationwide.  
We have since been busy promoting this idea, and have some great tweeps, in particular;  @nlouwrens,  @mrs_hyde,  @1MvdS,  @BeLchick1 and  @ariaporo22 who have been busy spreading the word in various ways.   
We hope to have robust, interactive discussions on a variety of topics,  once a fortnight.  Our next parent/teacher #ptchatnz chat is Tuesday 5 August 8.30 - 9.30pm.  

Some hints on how to participate:

Show your interest by filling in the google form below: