Monday, 29 May 2017

Creativity Empowers Learning

Today, we had Dorothy Burt back at our Staff Meeting for our Manaiakalani Professional Development.  It was awesome to take a deeper look into Creativity, which is an essential part of our school's Learn, Create, Share pedagogy.

It was decided many years ago that children of Pt. England (and Manaiakalani) will be "creators of content, not merely consumers."

It was fun to spend some time going back into the archives and take a look at what Create has looked like through the years.  There were so many good reminders of some of the things that can easily be embedded into our classroom lesson plans to provide opportunities for our students to be creative to display their learning.

When movie making, you are ultimately providing an avenue to use and build an understanding of Key Competencies.  Your rubric will provide student guidance to achieve ultimate results.

Create is NOT a head knowledge thing.  It is an action using multiple senses and the whole body. Consumers are enticed by three senses: Sight, Sound and Motion (Saatchi and Saatchi). SISIMO should be applied to anything concept worth teaching the students.

The key to Create is planning.  All students have the opportunity to create.



Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Jo Knox: Accurate and Reliable Maths OTJ

Today after school, the teachers of Teams 2 and 3 had a block of time to spend with Jo discussing the process of making accurate and reliable Maths OTJs.  This is great timing as we prepare to complete our testing for the beginning of the year and prepare mid-year reports.  Jo offered some great pieces of advice to keep in mind when developing an OTJ.

When making a teacher judgement, one must look at the whole picture and consider all of the evidence. In maths, this includes: test outcomes, observations, and learning conversations.  It is important to look closer at the NZ Curriculum Maths Standards.  When making an OTJ, you need to remember to look at the WHOLE standard, even though the number expectations are critical. Number Knowledge is for facilitating problem solving, and it should not hold a student back on the standard. It is important for students to be working at that standard independently and most of the time.

Don't forget to 'clean the dirty data.'  It is important to know why students are given the OTJ that you have chosen.  It is also important to be consistent in the reasons you have chosen to give a certain OTJ.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Next Steps...Introducing Innovation

Today, we had our second Spark MIT day at the amazing Spark NZ Auckland offices.  It was so nice to have a day working with our Spark MIT cohort.  We spent most of the morning discussing our inquiries and brainstorming possible innovation plans and avenues to explore in order to meet the initial challenges we are facing with our Inquiry Innovation.

We were blessed to meet our Spark Buddy's today just before lunch, and we spent some time as a group sharing our Inquiry with them.  It was a nice relaxed time for us to get to know each other a little bit more while we had lunch and discussed our schools and inquiry plans further.

Our Spark MIT cohort working hard around the board table

From our meeting today, I have decided to begin brainstorming a possible "flowchart" plan that will someday eventuate into a database collating our multimodal reading texts (journals, website articles, videos, etc) across the curriculum and content levels.  Although this is a very daunting task, I was reminded not to see it as a completed task, but rather as small steps that will eventuate into a valuable tool.  I am excited to see where the next few weeks lead me as I begin to work on this Innovation.



Saturday, 6 May 2017

Create- Term 2 2017

As part of my Community of Learning Inquiry and Spark-MIT Inquiry this past term, I have been focusing on the Learn portion of the Manaiakalani Inquiry Framework. The "Create Focus" answers the question: 

What strategies (evidence-based) are most likely to help my students learn ? 

 Below is a summary of the various Inquiry Items and links to specific blog posts that I have put together as evidence of each item.




As Term 3 begins, I will continue to learn about my students and create and explore various methods of learning for my students to be successful.  However, I will also be presented with and find opportunities to share the that amazing things that I have found to work (and not work) with my students this year.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Dialogic Eventful Teaching Through Dialogic Conversations and Dramatic Inquiry

In preparation of the new term, and looking into the next steps for my Inquiry, I spent some time reading through a research article by Brian Edmiston, The Ohio State University and Richard Beach, University of Minnesota.  This article is looking into the research of Arthur Applebee and the future of Inquiry based education.  

This post is a collection of thoughts that I had while reading.



  • Taking on board the use of Applebee's dialogic conversation is important but the author's suggest the conversations should be centred around topics that are considered immediate issues in a student's life using multiple perspectives from literary sources.
  • According to Bakhtin,  “dialogic” conversations are not just interactive talk but rather meaning-making that changes how a person understands something in dialogue that is both internal and external in response to other people’s ideas. 
  • Dialogic conversations should be extended to provide creative roles for the students to play (this is where the Manaiakalani Learn, Create, Share model fits!) 
  • A dialogic conversation relies heavily on conflict and tension of opposing viewpoints (how can I work with year 4 students to make it a safe environment to share their own opinions and not what they believe is the 'correct' answer) There needs to be a shift in understanding (which can strengthen your original viewpoint) for is to be a true dialogic conversation.
  • Students will feel that they are allowed to change their viewpoints on a topic that they otherwise believed to have closed parameters. 
  • "all participants are invited to take up embodied multiple perspectives often in non-naturalistic ways (e.g. with everyone speaking as if they are the thoughts of one character) for short period of time"
    • When talking students may vary between talking as themselves and speaking as one of the characters from the text
    • Students and Teacher collectively dialogue as if they are all fictional characters within the event
    • As conversations evolve, students are able to make the switch between fictional characters and their true self when proposing viewpoints 
  • While discussion is simple verbal communication,  meaning-making is embodied, multimodal, and collaborative.
  • Dialogic imagination is key to being able to have a dialogic conversation.
    • All readers use dialogic imagination when they imagine and try to understand the actions and thoughts of literary characters.
  • Dialogic Conversations need to exist in two ways to be successful: with the teacher/learning group, and imaginatively in fictional events
  • Chronotopes- can be inferred from how each character acts, speaks, thinks, and responds across narrative events-need to alter in order to extend the understanding of a imaginative dialogue.
  • students may dialogue about how characters might have felt about what they did, or did not do, and may evaluate characters’ action or inaction     
Next step: How can I involve the dialogic imagination in group sessions to deepen student understanding during our dialogic conversations?