Thursday, 28 December 2017

Writing really matters to me!

When I was at school I remember writing things and wondering why am I doing this. I would think no one wants to read my retelling off the New Zealand land wars when they can read a book written by a professional author, so what is the point.

Now that I am a teacher moments like these pop back into my mind from time to time and they made me do things differently. I am lucky and as is my class that our writing goes up in places like this. On a blog, a site or in a video that the world can see but is that purpose enough? This year I really wanted that kids to make meaningful connections with their writing.

So what was I to do. These kids had been blogging for year and well this was great they didn't see it as as meaningful as it was to those who read it. So I capitalized on what was most important to 8 year olds and we made new friends. We decided to write letters to a class in Rotorua about 3 hours drive South of us. I organised with a friend who teaches down there to buddy our kids so they could write to the same person many times.

A video we made:

Example Letter:

Dear Kate,
Kharizma left this school so I am going to write  a letter to you. My name is Kiarah, this term we have been learning about music. We have been making instruments and making music. We found out what sounds the musical notes make. Our class have been  playing recorder’s and it has been so much fun. We played these notes with the recorder's, a, b, d, c and g.

Sorry that she left. I hope you enjoyed my letter.

From Kiarah.

This was so much fun, we wrote letters, drew picture, did painting, made videos and even wrote a christmas song for our new friends and the excitement on the children's faces when they received those letters let me know that they felt this writing was purposeful and that it mattered to them!

Here is our Christmas song we wrote for our friends.
This year we have been so privileged to have had to opportunity to write to a class in Rotorua. We have really enjoyed reading their letters and writing to them about our lives. I have been wonderful seeing how different people spend their time and learning about what Room 30 are learning.

Here is a little video we made for Room 30 to thank them and wish them a Merry Christmas. 


We hope you like it Room 30!

Monday, 4 December 2017

What have I learnt-Inquiry Term 4

This year the has been a whirlwind especially term 4. Thinking about what to share this term was more challenging than most. As a result of my inquiry this year I have learnt about the importance of reading as much as possible in as many ways as possible. For next year I will be trying my best to apply what I have learnt to my new class. I believe that videoing is more effective than just voice recording.  

Friday, 1 December 2017

2 Amazing Years-MDTA Graduation

Last night was the Manakalani digital teacher academy graduation. We were lucky enough to have this wonderful event at the google offices in central Auckland. Standing there looking out over the city and reflecting back in this amazing journey I felt many things.
Firstly I felt a great sense acknowledgement, the past two years have been anything but easy. They have been fun, emotional, challenging and filled with new learning and experiences With many momentments pushing my thinking and helping me to grow. I remember walking around the cluster with the other MDTA BTs, Anne, Dorothy and Fiona and this beginning of this journey and seeing many school. Looking back I was seeing the network of people, learners and structures that would support me and that I would support as I began my teaching career.

Secondly I felt a great sense of gratitude. There is a great saying in New Zealand and it goes ‘He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata’ and it means it is people, it is people, it is people. While it is easy to focus on the one or two people you see at the front and centre of a program like MDTA there are so many people who make it possible and to everyone no matter their role I am so grateful that you made this program happen for me as I am the teacher I am today because of you!

Being at the graduation I felt a great sense of enjoy meeting some of the people in the background who had made this possible for me through donating time, money and knowledge to the program. Again I can not thank you all enough.

Thirdly, I learnt of the footprint of my action and that fact that even when you feel like you are trucking along alone in your class making shift and having sooo much fun many people are watching noticing and reflecting with you. They might. Be walking past your door hearing your class engaging and discussing or connecting digitally but in teaching especially in Manaiakalani you are never alone. And someone people see thing in you that you do not yet see yourself.

No matter where my life might take me, I will also be a 2016-2017 MDTA teacher and that fills be with great pride and the knowledge that I have skills and knowledge to draw as I continue to grow as a teacher.

Friday, 10 November 2017


As you will know if you have read my earlier blog post this year I have been working towards completing my dissertation in order to gain by honours degree i
n teaching. This has not been an easy journey for me particularly as the year has gone. However I am so proud of the research I have produced.


My research found that in my classroom targeted fluency teaching improved reading fluency for my learners. I also discovered some issues around self-assessment and noticed that this needs to be extremely well scaffolded.

Being both a researcher and a teacher this year has put a critical lense on my teaching and made me more reflective than ever. It is interesting to look back and thing does the outcome match the purpose and if not why. And surprisingly you often find that as you do this additional information comes to light, which then guide your future teaching.

Handing in my dissertation was a big moment for me and I am so grateful to my research supervisor Rachel for all her support and encouragement, but also to all the teachers around me who also supported me in this journey.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Dorothy Burt: Visibility Enables Accelerated Shift

"Visibility Enables Accelerated Shift"
-Woolf Fisher Research Centre

As we head towards the middle of term 4 and the film festival we are privileged to have Dorothy Burt talking to use about the Manaiakalani Kaupapa. It is important that all elements of the Manaiakalani pedagogy Learn, Create and Share are not optional if you want to create this accelerated shift they must happen together to achieve this goal. We also be connected, have ubiquitous, empowered visible learning. 

We can not cherry pick because you can't connect if it is not visible. 

What is the #1 Factor Influencing students Achievement?-Collective Teacher Efficacy!! This is based on a number of researchers including John Hattie. 

At Pt England we have a collective inquiry goal which we all approach in our own ways. By having this shared goals we provided accelerated shift for learner and support teacher practice.  

Evidence and Data provides us with opportunities to teacher better and be the ones the cause accelerated shift. 
-School Inquiry, this occurs at a school, team and teacher level. 
-External Inquiry, Woolf Fisher Research, Auckland University
-Teacher Inquiry, Teacher inquiry 

Celebrating Accelerating Shift for One Learner in 2017

I am so proud of every learner in Room 14 for all they have achieved so far this year. This is one learners amazing shift. I am so proud of her and her achievement. 

Class Site

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Term 4 Inquiry update

This year I have thought a lot about the narrow nature of my inquiry. The reason for this has been my research needed a specific focus. While my specific focus has been narrow I realised that I have been using the skills I have developed in my inquiry throughout my reading program and that these have been valuable for my learner. I am excited to link my inquiry to our music theme this term and continue to build fluency but also critical thinking and reflection.