Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Friday, 13 December 2019

The Creative Brain

What's a Saturday morning with no sport... Netflix has provided! Check out the preview:
This morning I fell upon THE CREATIVE BRAIN. It promised to take audiences on a journey with neuroscientist and best-selling author, David Eagleman, to meet accomplished professionals from across the creative spectrum, unravel the creative process, and encourage all of us to be more creative.

As teachers, it's crucial that we understand this concept. We are in the creative age (not the digital age, as some still believe). Creativity is a fundamental piece that our educational experiences are lacking. WFRC has been telling us this for the past few years, however I think teachers lack the understanding of what that means. It's not "creating", in the traditional sense.
Creativity is the ability to take on new information and put it together with what we already know.
Humans have transformed the world we live in like no other species. People often link creativity with the arts, however, it is so much more than that. To consider what doesn't exist. To rise above our instincts and consider our other options before deciding what to do.

Most animals have the input and output parts of the brain right next to each other, so there's a direct path between the two. There's an instant reaction. Not much happens in between. Our brains are wired differently, we are able to disengage our instinct to see it differently. Input can collide with what's already there to forge new pathways, make new connections... considering possibility based on what's already there. We can process information in limitless ways. The enlargement of the human cortex, the expansion of the prefrontal cortex behind the forehead... This gives us imagination.

Being original is not about generating something out of nothing

Michael Chabon - Novelist attempts to debunk the theory saying there never has been such a thing as a truly original idea. A Pulitzer Prize winner that's not afraid to take ideas from anywhere, he operates on a basis of instead of "how can I make mine different from my predecessors? How can I utilize what they did to make mine better?"

What we create is unique because our life experiences are unique.
It's about getting out into the world and generate new concepts. Take the ordinary and make them extraordinary by putting them in a yet unseen combination. The creative process often involves making something, yet it also has the power to remake our lives.

Ehron Tool - Potter. He was a Gulf War veteran. He came back with a notion to do something different with his life. His creative outlet allows him to create discussion, generate a feeling. It's become a real healing process.

Lafayette Correctional Centre runs a groundbreaking programme by writer Zachery Lazar. His father had been murdered and this impacted his entire life. Upon visiting a correctional facility as a journalist he realised something surprising. He was surprised by a connection he felt to a lot of the people he talked to. He felt that there was a real lack of creativity in the prison. He felt that by harnessing those people's creativity, it could be a way of preventing them from being in the prison cycle. He now works with the prisoners to nurture their creative writing skills. The impact has been described as helping them think differently about things, think differently about themselves and think differently about other people. They are able to see themselves. It's about changing the narrative.
Tim Robbins (of Shawshank Redemption fame) runs acting workshops with prisoners. Often prisoners are defined by their mistakes made and any potential is never considered. By telling them that they are defined by who they are as human beings. The emotions that they suppress are real emotions. Prisoners taking part in these programmes are up to 80% less likely to re-offend.

Michelle Khine of Shrink Nanotechnologies, combined her childhood experience with Shrinkydinks and utilised it to advance science, by creating the tools she needed.
In order to advance science, you need to think about things in a different way otherwise nothing changes.

Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect renowned for his imaginative designs. He operates by using a lot of material on hand to mash it with what is in his imagination. We have the power to imagine a world that isn't our world yet.

He blended his idea of lego with preconceived notions of a house. A ski field with perceptions of a building.

Image result for nathan myhrvold Nathan Myhrvold - Bill Gates described him as the smartest man he knew.
Taking ideas from one place and putting them in an entirely different context. He surrounds himself with influences.

"It's always better to be a critic than a creator." Nathan Myhrvold

Creativity is the interplay of billions of neurons sending trillions of impulses. Every experience you have is a raw material for your brain to create with and fashion into new ideas, by bending them into something new.

It's all about refashioning what already exists

Phill Tippett - Animator and Monster Maker.
He has a things and ideas room filled with "junk and stuff I've picked up over the years". He has organised it into an ideas generator. He randomly cut out pictures and put them into a book. He described the feeling of "I got it" when using them. It's an ability to put disparate information together and make something useful.

Robert Glasper - Musician
Jazz is a mashup of other forms of music. All of the forms of music that were around at the time was pulled together and reflects the time it was created in... it's always changing. If it stops changing then it's not following the tradition. If people of the previous generation are saying "You're not doing it right" then you are doing it right.

3 ways we can take advantage of how we are wired:

1. Try something new.

Being creative means fighting the instinct of not choosing the path of least resistance. Our brains naturally default to what we've done before. We need to dig deeper and get off that path of least resistance and try something new. For adults, this often translates as a career change. I've heard of the idea of getting kids to generate the first 3 ideas that spring to mind, then drawing a line under them and saying "You can't use this." Specialisation can mean 'learning a lot about less' can transpire into 'knowing a lot about nothing'. To be able to think outside the box you have to be willing to be wrong. You also have to be willing to be right when everyone thinks you are wrong.

2. We have to push boundaries. 

Our brains are novelty seekers. There's a fine line between exploring the range of possibilities between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Being willing to turn your back on traditional unwritten rules and test ideas that might be considered "wrong". Things that are considered "weird" are things that people are unfamiliar with. If it is considered weird than it is pushing boundaries. There's a spectrum between too familiar and too far out and wacky... its the in-between that is where the magic happens. tp create something that's not too new too unfamiliar but something in between.

3. We need to risk failing. 

Failure feels awful so we avoid it. The reality is that most peoples successes arise out of the ashes of their failings. Game of Thrones co-creator and writer, D.B. Weiss describes himself as failing very consistently for a very long time. He learned to be less worried about failing. All of the failures ultimately contributed to him being able to do this thing.

A school transforms...

10 years ago a Vermont School was on the verge of being shut down. Poor community. Terrible test scores. H O Wheeler. to save the school they decided to put creativity and the arts at the heart of every subject
When can kids learn? When they're engaged. - Bobby Riley (Principal)
When you focus on the arts and the process of the artistic experience, then they are able to blossom in unique and very special ways.
Learning geometry through the medium of abstract art. When it is integrated it hits more avenues that different learners use to access information. With creativity at the heart of every subject, the kids are learning a creative mindset. They're being taught to get off the path of least resistance and keep trying. It's about teaching them to try their best and to take a risk. It's about developing the process that allows them to interact with the world around them.

To succeed in an unimaginable future we need to instil creativity in our the children we teach so they can be successful in navigating that world.

How can we instil more creativity in our akonga?

Monday, 7 October 2019

The NZ Literacy Association Conference September 29 - October 2 2019

The first three days of our non-contact time I attended The NZ Literacy Association Conference here in Christchurch. It was a pretty full-on three days with a lot of workshops and speakers.  The MC was Kathleen from the Court Jesters and she was fantastic. I took a heap of notes and here is a summary of the three days.

Day one
It Started with Dame Wendy Pye. She started Sunshine Books in 1985 after meeting a group of adolescent boys who couldn’t read. She discussed how to thread STEAM through books. Apparently, NZ is the best in the world at teaching critical thinking and STEAM is a great approach to teaching this.

Workshop 1 Making the most of independent reading time with Sheena Cameron and Druinie Perea

The benefits of DARE or SQUIRT etc. include
·      Exposure to a wide vocab
·      Build general knowledge
·      Become familiar with different types of text
·      Develop a love of reading

It was suggested that during this silent reading time the teacher would be best to work with struggling readers rather than silent read. However, at a different workshop, it was suggested that sometimes it is appropriate for the teacher to silent read during silent reading.

Students need to support to select and read appropriate reading material and we need to ensure we know our students to match them with a book, which will interest them.

We need to provide time to students to talk and share their books with each other at the end of a reading session.

Suggested doing a reading challenge for students to have a goal to work towards and the teacher also has a reading challenge too.

How to monitor reading: -
·      Start small to build up stamina and celebrate their growth. She suggested having a quiet activity for those students struggling with their stamina so others can continue reading.

Really important that we talk about ourselves as readers, talk about what we like reading and model this.

I couldn’t help myself and had to buy her latest book – got it signed too!

Workshop 2 Let’s gets them reading! Building a school-wide community of readers.

“Readers are made by Readers.”
Aidan Chambers

This workshop lead by the National Library looked at six key factors that contribute to building a school-wide culture of reading for pleasure.

·      Know yourself as a reader –know your own reading personality.
·      Read children’s and young adult books – have a good knowledge of books so you can recommend the ‘right’ book for the reader.
·      Know your readers
·      Provide a reader-friendly environment
·      Actively promote, use and talk about books (everywhere) – reading incentives…
·      Create school-wide and community reading initiatives – use the wider community was reading role models.

Loved the workshop and left feeling really inspired.

Speaker Dr. Steven Layne – the benefits of reading aloud

WOW!  This man is amazing. He started by telling us a story.  He was the most amazing storyteller I have ever heard and he did move me to shed a tear or two!

He has written a lot of books and I will be reading two of his best selling books – Igniting a Passion for Reading and In Defense of Read-Aloud.

We need to give students the pleasure of a story without the expectations to do anything other than enjoy the text. This helps foster positive attitudes towards books.

The benefits include: -
·      Listening skills are improved
·      Lifelong readers maybe developed
·      Reading maturity develops
·      Exposure to a variety of texts
·      Cultural sensitivity is increased

Steven talked about how to establish a successful read-aloud and build the anticipation before reading the book.

I could have listened to Steven for hours and hours and he certainly deserved the standing ovation at the end of his talk.

He finished his session with this poem he wrote.

Tuesday Day 2 Speaker ‘Dr Viv Aitken – ‘Mantle of the Expert’

 ‘Mantle of the Expert’ where learning takes place across the curriculum through a combination of inquiry, drama and powerful positioning.

“Dramatic inquiry – real learning in imagined worlds.”

This isn’t school productions or journal plays. This is the sort of thing children do when they play. It’s about fostering duality between real worlds and imagined worlds.

1.     Child Structured socio dramatic play – PBL. Children learn to take on different roles and learn the difference between an emotion and an action. Children also discover that others have different things going on.

Then moves to…

2.     Drama for learning and process. The teacher can open up drama in the imagined world. For example using a big book character – such as the monster in Monster’s Lunchbox.

Then …

3.     Mantle of the Expert – as in cloak, an expert.
Ask students to take on a role – important task. For example year 5 students studying local history become property developers. They look at street sign names and use drama to explore what happens when locals oppose the names.

For a child, the real world can be limiting. Whereas in the imagined world there aren’t any limitations.

A lot of thought provoking information in her talk and there is more on her website to look at.

Workshop 3 This Room is Full of Stories with Renata Hopkins

Renata has written for film, television, and theatre and has won awards.

She talked about how we need to empower children to tell their own stories. We need to tell them they are already the masters of this. They are already storytellers.  Renata then shared a story, which we could all relate to and could then tell our own stories. This was a great reminder that every child has a vomit story to tell!

She had the idea of a story sack with various items in it, which could be used to start stories with.

This workshop really made me realise how ‘simple’ things can make great stories and I reflected on the great writing I could have got from ‘my boys’ with losing their baby teeth in the last week of term…

Workshop 4 Readers as Superheroes: Showing Young Readers that Reading and Writing are Superpowers They Want to Have.  Melinda Szymanik

“The more you read the stronger your superpowers.”

It was a total coincidence that I bought a book the previous day by this author. What a talent.

Melinda started by reading us a story (The Were-Nana).  It wasn’t a book I would have picked up, but I need to buy a copy now. It demonstrated the power of words and she shared how this story could be used to create some great writing.

She also discussed how important it is for teachers to be positive role models. She talked about the reading muscle – it takes training to be a superhero.
Writing is a superpower – it’s your power to write the story.

Speaker – Mary Chamberlain – a director of Evaluation Associates and a consultant.

Mary discussed the current curriculum and the need for it to be updated. 


Murray Gadd – Writing

I was pretty excited about Murray’s talk because I wasn’t at Gilberthorpe when all the PD was done. He was great and I can understand why he is so popular! He has created his own website which should be up and running this week.

Workshop 5 Using Books to Spark Rich Conversations – National Library Services

“Reading for pleasure has been revealed as the most important indicator of the future success of a child.”
National Literacy Trust 2011

“A school staffed by people who enjoy books and enjoy talking to children about what they read is likely to be very successful in helping children to become readers.”
Aidan Chambers

We were shown a couple of great resources, which are on the National Libraries Website

The Book and BeyondAn educator’s guide contains a collection of powerful, relevant, and critical prompts for approaching books and book chats, helping teachers and librarians:

There is also a guide for students at a higher level to use as a prompt for critical thinking and to promote rich discussions about a text.

We were given a pile of books to have a go with the template ourselves – but we all just read and talked about the books!

Speaker – Marcus Akuhata-Brown

I couldn’t possibly do justice to Marcus’ story by trying to retell the main points. His story is amazing and he is an inspirational speaker. Basically we need to shift out of our comfort zone!

The conference was a credit to the Canterbury Literacy Association and I can only imagine the time and work that went into the conference. I can’t remember stories being a big part of my school days – doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. However, my dad was a great reader and he was my role model. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we always went to the library and I can’t recall a time when dad didn’t have a book to read.  I drove home on Wednesday inspired to help others discover the world of books.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The developing brain with Nathan Wallis!

Ka Tikaka O Ka Raro - The developing brain- Nathan WallisImage result for nathan wallis

Spending two days with Nathan Wallis was easily one of the best learning opportunities I have been involved in.  He comes from research and evidenced-based outlook, has worked with leading scientists and researchers from around the world and he had some strong messages for us. Obviously, his comments use population data meaning that of course, things are not always the case but most likely based on evidence. He makes generalisations but they are incredibly useful.  Read the information, take from it what you will and pose some questions for us to ponder!

Our understanding of the brain continues to evolve with modern technology.  In the 90’s we learned more about the brain than the previous 300 years.

The first 1000 days of a child’s life are absolutely critical.  Life outcomes are not coming just from genes.  Statistically, the oldest child makes more money, is more highly qualified.  There are two categories - Child one and all the other children.

A dyadic (interaction between 2 things) 1-1 relationship is the most important determiner in how successful someone will be.

Why is this the case?  The first child gets more attention, more face to face time, more interaction than the other children, simply because it is the only one there, as others come, the attention naturally lessens.

The brain is most active and alive during a conversation with a loved one, much more so than doing a calculus question, the latter feels harder and you may think it engages the brain more but this is not the case.

Face to face interaction with the one you love the most activates and engages the brain more, this is the same for babies.

If you have $50,000 and want to spend it to improve the chances of your child having a positive life outcome, to be more qualified etc…  Where should you spend it?  Most people will say a private school, while this will help, the best way to spend that money would be to allow the primary caregiver to remain home with the child for the first 1000 days.  A private school will help but won't have the same benefits as that time with Mum, Dad or the key caregiver.

Fact- 84% of people currently in prison came from foster homes. It is highly likely that a huge number of these prisoners did not have these benefits.  They likely moved around multiple houses, with multiple caregivers.

If we want to build resilience, we often need to do the opposite to the risk factors.
Things like these all support this positively :

  • Parent stays home
  • Extended family available
  • Speaking more than 1 language
  • Playing a musical instrument (especially before 7)
  • Having the same teacher for more than 1 year
  • Having a strong relationship with that teacher

The following are a few examples of risk factors :

  • Parent with a mental illness
  • A parent going to jail
  • A child being put into care within the first year
  • Parents separating

When children are younger separation has less of an impact.  11 years old is the worst age to separate, research-based.  If there were 4 children involved in a separation aged 7,9,11 and 13, we already know that the 11-year-old is most likely to be impacted.

Most of us will have been subject to risk factors, it doesn’t mean we will end up in jail or with a bad job, it simply means we then need to counter those with many more positive influences. My parents separated creating a risk factor but due to all the other positives, this has not had an impact.

“The human brain is designed to be moulded by its environment”

Scandinavian countries spend a lot of money in the early years.  This is where their tax goes, our system does not. Formal learning does not start until 6 or 7 years, children are not ready for formal learning until 7 years old.  A lot of our tax goes to prisoners when students are older, we are missing an opportunity here based on a NZ cultural lens, not a fact-based research one.

We have 4 different brains.  Brains 1,2 and 3 are needed but dogs also have these.  Anything we can do but a dog can’t is via brain 4.

Brain 1 is for survival- Fight, flight, freeze.  This takes over all others when needed.
Brain 2 is the cerebellum, this deals with movement
Brain 3 is our limbic system, emotions, feelings
Brain 4 our frontal cortex, for thinking and learning. Brain 4 sets goals, gives us empathy, makes us smart.

The skull stops growing at 12 but the brain develops until the mid-late ’20s (on average)
The female brain matures between ages 18-24, the male 22-32 years.

All humans follow this model.  We must look after brain 1 then 2 then 3 in order to access 4.  We can not skip to four, which is what a lot of people, especially teachers tend to do.

There is a concerning irony between Early childhood centres and schools.   They are trying to set them up a bit like schools with specific rooms for each year group, moving through the rooms when we reach age milestones.  Schools are now setting themselves up with Play-based environments, especially in the first few years.  Schools and ECE’s need to be more aligned.

It is research and evidenced-based that students are not ready for formal learning until 7.  Child-led, free play has so many more benefits and develops the skills that matter.  There are even links to youth suicide from this data. The child coming from the rich, child-led environment has already had to make decisions, problem-solve, show perseverance versus the child who is taught the numbers, colours, and alphabet.  The fact is by 8 years old, the cognitive info can not be distinguished between the two different environments but when these students hit the teen years, there is a notable difference.

“Schools must set themselves up so that children want to be there so that children love learning and aren’t switched off it.

Should we be getting children ready for school, no, we should be getting the school ready for the child!

Te Whariki is a world-renowned curriculum, the NZC in primary schools is very good.  But the secondary curriculum is considered poor internationally.  Interestingly enough it seems that our culture says that high school is more important and therefore politicians stayed out of the development of this doc...look at the result.

Many think that if we start teaching a child the skills they will need at aged 7 when they are 3,4 or 5, they will be “really good” when they turn 7...wrong. When children are 3,4,5 and 6 we must meet the needs of a 3,4,5 and 6-year-old, socially and emotionally. NOT THE NEEDS OF A7-YEAR-OLD.  At aged 45, do we start practising with a Zimmer frame?

China has just made it a law to run Play-based learning until a child is 7 as they found they were nailing tests but lost their creativity, their leaders, etc.. Leadership is developed through Play.

A formal structure under the age of 7 only increases the likelihood of teen anxiety and depression. Between the ages of 2 and 7, we should be focusing on how clever the child “feels” not how much they know.

It is a complete myth and a cultural assumption that a child who at 5 can count, knows the alphabet, etc..  will be more successful and is more clever than a child who doesn’t know this but has been in a child-led environment and feels like they are clever.  Even once a child reaches 7 years old, the teacher should only be in charge for 2-3 hours a day...not all 6!  Research says that learning under 7 should be completely child-led.

This made me wonder about the data we are collecting.  It would be interesting to know what place in the family each child is? Are we giving enough student-led time, especially in the senior school?  Can we ignite Passion projects?

Sir Peter Gluckman - NZ's Einstein
Sir John Key asked Sir Peter to look into the NZ suicide rates and two of his key findings were that a punitive approach is not working and that more needs to be done in the early childhood years to develop the brain.
We would be far better off spending our money on paying for youth offenders to spend quality time with a foster caregiver than putting them in prison. Build a dyadic relationship!

When we reach the adolescent period, the brain basically shuts for renovation. Just like a 2-year-old can not work out that a broken biscuit is still the same as an unbroken one and throws a massive wobbly, the adolescent reacts the same way when thinking they might be fat etc… especially when not. The emotional brain takes over and the logical reduces.

Predictability is key for kids, the number 1 way to calm the brain stem is to be involved in a positive 1-1 dyadic relationship.  This is also what activates intelligence. One broken dyad can be recovered from, several have a serious impact on overall well being.

In our classes do we “band-aid” kids for a year as we know we are passing them on?  How can we set the system up so that teachers develop strong relationships and maintain them for 2-3 years?  There is NO academic reason to change them every year, this is a convenience.  Content knowledge is not the measure, quality of the relationship is.

Brain 1- needs a dyadic relationship, Brain 2- Rhythmic patterning, Brain 3, a positive disposition about self.

Traumatised kids need to develop these.  Waiata, dancing, swings, even a hammock.

NZ has such a long tail because we often go straight to brain 4 and try and teach new knowledge or fix things but we must come back to brain one and work through the system to brain 4.  No one gets to skip this!

The best thing teachers can do to keep people out of prison is to ensure each child has a three-year relationship with a teacher. Think of children’s entire time at primary school, not just each year. Could our home bases be multi-leveled?

You have to feel good about being a learner, you have to feel good about your culture-
Maori icons v Kiwi icons, How can we make the Maori icons positive?

Pronunciation, you need to get wrong 90 times before you get some words correct.

Brain four refers to executive functioning. You can change your intelligence and IQ by increasing executive functioning. It is like a muscle and if you increase it then progress is made.

The functions :

Working memory
Metacognition - Thinking about thinking, knowing yourself as a learner, can be better support for trauma victims then counseling. Immediately after counseling can help but between 2 days and a year, metacognition can be a more effective intervention.
Cognitive flexibility, the corpus callosum is large in females, boys under 7 can improve this function by learning a musical instrument before 7.

#1 executive function - Self control. Making yourself do things that you don’t want to do. The more students and adults can practise this, the better the frontal cortex develops.

There is nothing that sparks off more neurons than a face to face interaction.  Children often have many neurons but they are not connected, creating a neural pathway via a synaptic connection, the wow moment. Ohhh that's right. The brain has a way of working out what info we need to keep and what we don’t.  Typically repetition is what allows the brain to hold the information, the technical term is myelin.

Link fractions to prior knowledge and you speed up learning, linking to the pre-existing neurons.
If someone likes motorbikes but can’t read, we can use a motorbike book as he has prior knowledge of motorbikes and this will speed up the learning.

Behaviour change programmes take about 90 days.  If you always get in the car and have a smoke and have done for 20 years, you have a lot of myelin on that pathway.  If you decide to have a lolly instead you begin a new pathway, but it takes up to 90 times before it has as much myelin as the other.

The same applies to our students if they have had a negative experience at another school or learning experience. It is a marathon, not a sprint!

Endorphins are released when you are happy.  Associated with the learning brain. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Classes should be endorphin factories.  Myelin is sped up with endorphins.
With babies, we need to keep this low.  Passing a baby away from the primary caregiver increases this slightly, we want to keep as low as possible. There is a lot more research about cortisol than endorphins. Cortisol strips away the most recent neural pathway in the frontal cortex. We need to be careful how much cortisol we release as in classes we can often do this to 30 kids at once. It is a type of weedkiller, another reason why relationships are crucial. Frame things positively in order to reduce the amount released.

Metaphorically if growing a tree in your head, endorphins are fertiliser but cortisol/stress is weedkiller.

3 most effective way to release endorphins
Physical exercise, letterbox effect, can see a difference by walking to the letterbox and back when students stay still, they use brain space to do so means they aren’t fully able to learn as effectively as they possibly could.
Laughter floods your brain with endorphins
#1 endorphin release is singing! It is a clear message that the survival instinct is not needed.

You will not help a child by punishing them.  Teach them the behaviour you want to see!!! PB4L 101.

Calm the brain stem in a way that works for that person, exercise doesn’t work for everyone, just like hugging doesn’t. Don’t impose what works for you, on them.

Validate emotions from the limbic system. Children live 90% of their life in their emotional brain.
If you skip their world view, they will skip yours. Children do as you do not as you say.

Break up example-  When a daughter breaks up with a boyfriend, even if you didn’t like him and know she will fall in love again. You listen and validate, Oh sorry to hear that Mary, I know you cared a lot about him.  Then she is much more likely to listen down the track. Advice giving must come later. It seems simple but children and teenagers need to know you care and for toddlers and adolescents, this happens through emotions.

On reflection, I think we have some great things in place in our environment, music for the bell, lots of physical breaks, Play-based learning etc...

I’d love to look further at how we structure the classes so that deeper relationships can develop, perhaps we are also along the journey here via all of our collaborative work.

We need to stocktake all cultures and see where there knowledge and capacity is at. Perhaps we can help them learn about their culture when things have skipped generations.  Passion project on their own culture to kick the year off?

Lots to think about, please post your comments, questions and Clay and Chloe take note! As a father, I am certainly going to set myself some goals around how I interact with my children.  I am glad that I have not tried to get Nate “ ready for school”  At home, we focus on play, fun, singing, some reasonably out of control dancing but after listening to Nathan, perhaps we aren’t as crazy as I thought! Oh and thanks to Dad for getting those keyboard lessons back in the day :-)

Monday, 16 September 2019

DFI 9 - Beating Around The Bush

A weird feeling with this being the last day of our intensive. What will the next challenge be? It's been great having the opportunity to delve in deep and soak like a sponge. It's highlighted that I thrive on that and in many ways need it.


Leaping into the learning pit:

Today I leapt in and became the learner. We often put our kids in assessment conditions and flippantly assure them "not to worry", "it'll be fine", etc...
To leap into that position as adults, many of whom in the room were rather nervous about the daunting task ahead of them... was actually a really valuable reminder of how it feels. 
I had a few glitches while attempting the practice tests for modules on the certification site. Many of my problems were due to my nature of over-thinking. "Could it be that simple?" "Surely it's wanting more...?" Apparent;y it wasn't.

The Level One test was in two parts. One was multi-choice, with a scenario given and the number of answers which should be checked.

The other was actual tasks that we were required to go through, from creating a site with specific content to creating a YouTube playlist and sharing it with a specific audience. 

The daunting part was dealing with Google Classroom, which I haven't used before. I found it easy to complete the actual tasks within that domain, however, it was hard for me to answer the multi-choice questions because I couldn't relate it to my own tangible experience. How often does this happen with our students, particularly those stepping up into Year 4 and suddenly working in a digital learning environment?

All in all... I passed!

So Many Opportunities:

Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers

- Focused on your Inquiry. Throughout the process, you design a tool to be used to support this Inquiry. A fabulous think tank experience to help develop your inquiry process. Great opportunities from this as well as the extra support.

Google Class On Air.

Throughout the year, you put up 16 episodes of learning in your classroom as well as the work that akonga present from it.

Tuhi Mai Tuhi Atu

Buddy classes from throughout New Zealand. 

Online Toolkits

Term 4: October 22, 23, 24
Professional Learning, where you lead a toolkit in something that you are comfortable with sharing. It doesn't have to be absolutely amazing... just something.

Social Media

Keeping up with what's running already, such as professional blogs, Google + Community, Twitter etc.

What next?

The question of the day.
I've come to realise that I'm a creature that likes to be in the deep end and being challenged. I can't just paddle in the shallows. It has been invaluable being in such an intense learning environment for this past term. I need to keep the pressure on to keep learning.

  • Google Certified Teacher Level 2

    • I've committed to leaping in and giving this a go... what's the worst that can happen? I fail? (I'm forever telling the kids that it stands for First Attempt In Learning)

  • Hapara Champion Educator

    • I've submitted my application for this online course. The objective is to develop basic proficiency in the Hapara Suite—Highlights, Dashboard, and Workspace—from the point-of-view of a classroom teacher. Practice and reflect on positive, student-centred instructional use. While I've been using most of the features for years, I haven't been using workspace, so I'm interested in looking into this and how it can be harnessed for my practice.
  • Could we be doing mini-interviews for everything that happens at school... then putting up a mini news bulletin, a simple iMovie, that is uploaded to blogs and Facebook at the end of every week.

  • Next Year... there are a number of opportunities floating around. I need to "step into the arena".