Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Building Blocks Course
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Building Blocks Course at Casebrook Intermediate. I went along as part of next year’s Junior Hub staffing team.
Building Blocks is all about making sure that children have all of the foundation skills that enable them to be ready to learn, such as Oral language, Listening, Looking, Moving and Print. Without these foundation skills children are unable to access the curriculum and tend to struggle throughout their time at school.
We heard from staff at other schools that are currently using Building Blocks. This was for me a valuable way of learning how it can be incorporated into an, in class activity that is fun for the children, through action stations etc.

It was great to be able to attend this course as a group of staff members that will be working together next year with our very young learners.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Maximising Potential Course

Maximising Potential in Maori Learners Workshop

Presented by Ralph Pirozzo

from Promoting Learning International

In term three I attended a workshop which looked at Maximising Potential in Maori Learners.  What I found, was that the strategies and the ideas shared, are actually relevant and effective for all learners. 

Some of the main ideas are not new but the way of using these is new to me.  It was good to have a reminder about some things that I have not really used in recent times.

The workshop was around Bloom's Taxonomy, Multiple Intelligences and a planning matrix that considers preferred ways of learning and incorporates the different levels of thinking.  It combines the two to ensure learners are able to develop deeper level thinking while learning in ways that comes naturally to them while also presenting some challenge.

The way that I intend to use this learning, is to establish the top three learning preferences of learners and plan units using the matrix to ensure learning experiences are varied and are deliberate in allowing learners of all styles to be exposed to a range of opportunities in which their preferred styles can shine.
These are my notes that I took throughout this extremely refreshing and interesting day.

Lee-Anne Waho October 2015

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Refining the Growth Mindset Theory

Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset theory has become very popular among educators. Her research provides us with information that can assist us in giving quality feedback to our students; As we have learnt from previous readings, quality feedback can accelerate a child's progress by eight months. In this article Carol Dweck addresses some of the misconceptions around Growth Mindset and provides practical ways to develop a learning focused and progressive mindset in our children.

Carol Dweck Revisits the Growth Mindset

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Hautu~ Maori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review Tool

Hautu~ Maori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review Tool

for Boards of Trustees

NZSTA Workshop 31 August 2015
 NZSTA are holding a number of workshops to support boards in their governance role within their schools.  One of these workshops in Christchurch recently was around the Hautu resource which is a tool for Maori cultural responsiveness and self review for Boards of Trustees.  

The workshop was basically looking at this tools but it also encompassed much more.  

This resource supports boards of trustees to meet their accountabilities by reviewing cultural responsiveness in their school.

Hautū is designed to be flexible and to help boards assess, plan and increase their cultural responsiveness no matter what level they are at now. Hautū aligns with the four key areas of governance; Board leadership, representation, accountability and employer roles.
By strengthening and fulfilling their roles effectively as trustees, boards will deliver stronger governance. Working with Hautū also supports boards to meaningfully implement Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 within their work and to make decisions that support Māori learners to enjoy and achieve education success, as Māori.
Boards have a responsibility to:
~set future directions for successful learning of Māori students
~be accountable for the performance of Māori student achievement
~ensure Māori stakeholders in their community are represented in governance, planning and decision making
~ensure their school is a good employer by supporting school staff to teach and support Māori students effectively.

Key ideas and learning for me~

I particularly liked the use of the waka hoe as a concept for understanding and strengthening the roles and responsibilities of culturally responsive Boards.

We had discussion around what evidence we have that we are meeting our accountabilies for Maori student success?  What implications do Boards face?  We looked at the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and what this means for Boards.  The National Administrative Guidelines showed us our legislated responsibilities. 

For us at Gilberthorpe School

The next step for us at Gilberthorpe School is to ensure all our Board members and our teaching staff are familiar with the Hautu tool as well as a good understanding of Ka Hikitia Accelerating Success 2013-2017.  These documents will help guide us in our journey to raising achievement for our Maori learners.

See here for more information~ Hautu Tool and Ka Hikitia

Lee-Anne Waho
Mahuru 2015

Hornby Cluster eLeaders Workshop

Hornby Cluster eLeader Workshop

August 2015

The Hornby Cluster of Schools eLeaders met to share what we have all been doing and look at learning successes within each of our schools.  Literacy was a specific learning area that we looked at.  The day was made up of these three components~

Story Hui

We were introduced to the Story Hui process of sharing.  For this task we used a success story in literacy.  As one person shared verbally, another member of the group drew pictures to visualise the initial evidence, the inquiry and the evidence of progress.  This structure allows group members to ask questions to seek clarification and for the story teller to identify next step ideas.At Gilberthorpe, we will be using the Story Hui process in our next staff meeting to share our Teaching as Inquiry.This is a link to the Story Hui site which has detailed explanations of the benefits of this process and how it is implemented.

 Story Hui

Effective Feedback~

Garry Taylor took us through a session about providing effective feedback and what this could look like.  The main points that I took from this session were:

~Feedback should make students think
~It needs to be descriptive not evaluative
~We need to eliminate judgemental feedback
Feedback should be goal referenced
~The first comment should be in relation to what is being learned
~Feedback needs to be timely
~90% of feedback is oral
~Giving feedback is a skill that needs to be taught
~There needs to be evidence in relation to the goal...what is being done well, needs improving, criteria needs to be used
~Feedback should offer guidance on ways to close the gap. It needs to be specific, actionable and have the scope for being good to being better
~We don't want to give too much feedback...too much is overwhelming so prioritise, 2:1 2 positives & 1 other
~The learner needs time to act on feedback and the opportunity to respond. This should take place during the task, not at end,
~There is a place for evaluative feedback. Descriptive feedback is not appropriate on the final published product. Commenting on blogs etc should not have feedback about punctuation etc as this feedback should take place before public sharing.

~There are opportunities for technology to transform feedback. At Gilberthorpe School we have been exploring these and are looking forward to trying recorded audio and video feedback.

Learning Tools~

In the afternoon we had a session of looking at different tools that we could use in our schools.  One iPad app that we looked at was Aurasma.  This app allows users to create a trigger so that when the iPad hovers over the trigger, a previously created clip appears.We thought that we would try using this during our end of term Celebrations of Learning.  Whanau can wander around learning spaces, hover the iPad over a trigger and their child can pop up in a video and share their learning.  Another way for us to all Learn, Create and Share.Here is some more information about Aurasma:

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou~ Lee-Anne

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Teaching and learning toolkit- Australia- Fantastic food for thought.

Hi everyone.

I stumbled onto this website via the Virtual Learning Network (VLN).  It is fantastic!  It provides a variety of readings that looks into a wide variety of interventions/teaching techniques and their impact.

I have provided links to 4 here that I would like everyone to read and make comment on.

Essentially what you see below is that, done effectively, feedback can accelerate progress and achievement by 8 months when compared to "normal" or traditional approaches.

Interesting to see that the physical environment has 0 months.  I believe this is due to limited research because of how recent many of these environments are and also the fact that as we are learning, the environment doesn't accelerate progress on its own, what we do inside that environment has the greatest impact.  The environment however makes many things possible e.g. collaboration.


Feedback   + 8 months

Meta cognition- Self regulated learning  + 8 months

Collaborative learning   +  5 months

Digital technology  + 4 months

Physical environment   + 0 months

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tips for Autism course

Last week over 3 days I was lucky enough to attend the ‘Tips for Autism’ course. I came away each day with a deeper understanding of autism and what life would be like for a child or adult with autism.
The course required you to be in teams for the child who you were working with. My team included the child’s mother, the teacher aide, the rtlb, SENCO and myself. This was of great benefit because it allowed me to see what the child was like in many different settings and what I could do to help support the learning of this child.
The three main things I came away with from the course were:
  • Autism is something the child has, it does not mean that the personality of the child is defined by this. A child can still be shy or the class clown.
  • Social skills are the main thing students with autism need to develop. Video’s modelling behaviour help to give the child strategies for when they are in a similar position. However, just because a child has seen a video does not mean they can transfer this knowledge by themselves.
  • Behaviour management needs to have rules and the child needs to understand what they need to do to be at each level.
I have already actioned the behaviour chart in my room - with the class coming up and placing behaviours at each level. The next step is to start filming social behaviours that I would like to see the student showing and spending some time creating a visual display as well as a social story to help support this.
I would also like to work with some older students to set up a ‘play’ learning video for each assembly. This would model for all students things like: playing tag, what to do when someone says you can’t play, what to do if someone asks to play, how to ask someone to play with you etc. I think this would benefit a whole range of students not just the one I went on the course to support.
I have a lot of ideas to implement because of this course. The support of my team will allow the student and myself to be successful in creating the best learning environment.
- Kelsey Morgan

Monday, 24 August 2015

The politics of collaborative expertise- John Hattie- June 2015

A great article that looks at the type of education system we should be focusing on.  I really liked his idea of getting a shared understanding of what a years progress looks like. "A years progress for a years input"

The Politics of collaborative expertise

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Manaiakalani Reflection

Learn      Create      Share

Last week's inspiring trip to Auckland, visiting Point England School and Panmure Bridge School, has promoted a hive of reflection and discussion amongst staff at Gilberthorpe. I feel really fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take part in this Professional Development and am grateful to Andrew and the Board of Trustees for making the experience possible. 

I struggle to conclude on the most worth while part of our visit. The opening presentations, delivered by students from the cluster, set the tone for what we could expect to see in our school visits; the openness of the teachers, who shared their practice with us, gave us insight to the posibilities of teaching in a digital and collaborative environment. While discussions with staff and children at each of the schools allowed us to see the learning in action. The whole experience was enjoyable, thought provoking and inspirational from beginning to end. 

I will admit that going into this venture I had my doubts and concerns about what the reality of digital learning might look like. Picture a typical cafe scene, with groups of friends engrossed in their smart phones, completely disengaged with to the world and people around them. I didn't want to see a classroom replica of this. To the contrary, in both schools we saw a variety of PE, Sport, Arts and values related programs occurring alongside, and sometimes integrated with, their digital learning. Children left their devices, as they would their text book, inside while they went out to play and children still discussed and collaborated orally during class. It struck me that all the children I spoke with recognised their device as a tool. A tool, not a toy. A tool that was superior to pen and paper (and yes they could justify why it was so). A tool that enabled them to create work they were immensely proud of. A tool that permitted them to share their learning on a worldwide platform. 

The key messages I took away from the experience are:
  • It is the quality of teaching that makes the difference, not the introduction of technology. 
  • As educators we owe it to our learners to be proficient in the digital skills of the 21st Century. 
  • Technology generates possibilities for learning that can not be replicated by alternative means. 
This visit just so happened to coincide with the arrival of our new iPads in Tawa class making our ratio now 2:1. This allowed me to start trialing and implementing things I had seen within the Manaiakalani Cluster straight away. My first step was to remove all educational games from the devices (this leaves Book Creator, Comic Life and Draw and Show in addition to Google Drive and a link to the Tawa Blog). I anticipated an outcry from the children, but instead I observed a dramatic increase in the amount of writing happening during Action Stations. My second goal was to transfer to a digital modelling book. My Cylinders Numeracy group enjoyed their first lesson with a digital modelling book on Google Slides today and I can see strong advantages to having this data accessable on any devise anywhere and by any person. The modelling book can be shared with the learners themselves and with their parents to view any place any time. 

A huge thank you to Dorothy, Richard, Russell and all the staff and children at Point England and Panmure Bridge. You were all so welcoming of us in your schools and the time you took to share your journey and learning with us is much appreciated and valued. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Gilberthorpe heads to the big smoke- Manaiakalani visit August 2015

Kia ora koutou

This week I had the pleasure of travelling to Auckland with 4 of our staff to visit the Manaiakalani cluster of schools in Tamaki,  Auckland.
What a rewarding visit!, a visit that has thrown up as many questions as it did answers!
It was a very rewarding couple of days and the time spent with staff was a lot of fun.  The rich discussion that also eventuated was gold!

The purpose of this visit was to familiarise ourselves further with the pedagogy being utilised by schools in the Manaiakalani cluster, we have four of our staff who had not yet visited the schools and it was essential that they all see what is possible.
We visited two schools Point England and also Panmure Bridge and both of these schools can be , and indeed are, very proud of what they are achieving. It was a pleasure listening to students from across 6 or 7 schools sharing some of their learning.  Talking with Dorothy Burt- The Manaiakalani outreach programme leader, Her husband Russell Burt- Principal of Point England school and Richard Johnston- Principal of Panmure bridge school provided fantastic insight into the journey they have all been on.  We were all very grateful for the time they (and several of their staff)  took to chat with us.  I took a huge amount from these discussions.

The cluster is based around the use of a learn, create and share structure that promotes anywhere, anytime learning. The use of technology is essential in supporting this.  Every student from Year 4-8 and 9-13 for that matter has their own device, through a lease to own system.  Students have ultimately replaced pen and paper with Google chromebooks and Ipads. Chromebooks being used in years 4 up and ipads within the junior school( Year 1-3).  The progress being made by students is accelerated and engagement levels are quite frankly, incredible.
Students are proud of their learning, they collaborate with each other both personally and in a digital world.  They can articulate their learning. They are confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners!

Teachers use google sites as a way of sharing learning and planning with the students, the default is that all information is public and planning by staff and activities for students is all visible and available anywhere, anytime by anyone.
There is some much more to learn and our journey on the outreach programme has just begun.

I loved one of Dorothy Burt’s quotes- “access to technology has changed our children’s lives”

Naturally, the next step for us here at Gilberthorpe is to consider what we are seeing, learning about and discovering and discuss how it fits with where we see ourselves heading.  With a rebuild happening, this time next year we will likely be in new environments.

How will these be organised?
Who will teach with who?
How will ensure that learning is personalised?
Which ways will we gather data and use this effectively?
How will we share what we are learning with our community?
How can we design our curriculum so that it is highly engaging, purposeful and is helping prepare our students for a rapidly changing future?
What structures will we put in place to ensure that our use of technology is highly effective?
Do our decisions match our vision for learning?  Does it fit with our pedagogy?

Regardless of what technology is being used or how the environments are set up, one thing most educators would agree on, is that it is the teacher in front of the students that has the greatest effect (Hattie’s research supports this).  We must ensure that staff are well supported through these developments to ensure that what they are delivering to our students in the precious time that we have them is highly effective.  High quality professional learning is essential.  Our vision and our pedagogy drives what we do, let’s keep that at the forefront while we move through this incredibly exciting time!  The best device in the world will amount to little if its use is ineffective and a high quality teacher will get results by teaching in a garage if need be (but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that :-)

Stay tuned for what happens next….

Graph showing the accelerated progress the entire cluster of schools is making in writing.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

New Zealand Principals' Conference June/July 2015

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the NZ Principals' conference in Wellington NZ.  There were over 500 Principals' attending. The theme for the conference was "Every way of seeing is also a way of not seeing..." looking at education through a variety of lenses.

It was a great opportunity to network with colleagues from all over NZ, the Canterbury crew were well represented also.

The conference was opened with a powhiri and a few words from Prime Minister John Key. Denise Torrey our NZPF president also spoke and had some strong messages about our system in NZ.

For me, the conference emphasised the world class system we have here and NZ and how we need to ensure that we keep this.  Noted speakers from both USA and England had some very strong warnings regarding the direction the education system had taken in their parts of the world.

Professor Angus McFarlane who provides valuable insight into our Maori students was enlightening.  His work on the educultural wheel has supported schools all around the world.
Educultural wheel
I look forward to using this to support our context.

Some great comments I took from the few days :

How do you motivate people?  you meet there fundamental needs- Pete Cammock, director of the leadership lab.

Sometimes we overlook the simple things, we need to ensure that these are done right first.

How do you promote collaboration in a competitive system? Meg Maguire

As leaders, we must focus on the right things...not the latest! Alma Harris
As close as I could get to John Key!

 Michael Fullan's model of leadership

Overall it was a fantastic few days.  We even created a nationwide Professional learning group with 3 other Principals' from around NZ, our first virtual meeting will be next term! Twitter was also a very valuable tool during the conference and its value in education has really impressed me, instant access to readings, thoughts and tips from educators all around the globe to support anywhere, anytime learning is vital!
I look forward to taking the new knowledge learnt back to Gilberthorpe school!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Waimairi Visit Reflection

Waimairi Visit Reflection

In week 8 Kayla, Kelsey and myself spent a morning at Waimairi School. Waimairi School is widely praised for its collaborative staff and student led learning environments. Our focus was to see what was happening at this school and take away ideas that could be implemented at Gilberthorpe School. Mike Anderson, principal of Waimairi School hosted our visit and we are very grateful for his time and the opportunity.

Waimairi is yet to undergo their rebuild and so currently operate out of traditional single cell blocks, which have been creatively modified to provide flow through between the classes. This allowed for greater collaboration between teachers and children. We typically saw two classes working in a shared space with one teacher involved in Literacy/Numeracy instruction with a small group and the second teacher facilitating learning with the rest of the children.

The things that inspired us during our visit were:
  • There was a high level of engagement in every classroom: Every child was engrossed in their learning.
  • The use of SOLO Taxonomy to provide a universal framework that the children could use to self assess. The classrooms were filled with visuals with hand signals providing a kinesthetic way to communicate your thinking.
  • There was a structure in place to ensure that the children’s project was purposeful. Before embarking on a project the student carried out a plan that was structured around SOLO. This put emphasis on the why (why are you doing it?) ensuring that the child’s task had a purpose and involved thinking and learning.  
  • A strong supportive staff culture was evident within the school. In this time of change and exploration staff were given trust to try new things, to work to their individual strengths without judgement. This seems to the the foundation of success in a developing environment.
  • Knowing the learner is a vital part of education. Equally as important is knowing our staff. Our children are all at different stages in their learning and as teachers we are all at different stages of our learning too. Our needs are as unique as our learner’s needs. A change in education delivery will require a lot of adjustment, exploration and learning for staff and children alike.
  • Staff at Waimairi were allowed the freedom to plan in a way that suited their way of thinking. There was an expectation that all staff could demonstrate (through written document or verbal discussion) the learning needs of their students and how their program was meeting their needs. This is a system built on trust and of knowing the teachers.  
  • Mike stressed the importance of knowing why you’re making changes. There is a lot of hype around the changes that are occurring in our education system and of course it provides a great marketing opportunity for school furniture suppliers. When designing our school we must always consider the purpose we are trying to achieve.  
  • Our visit promoted thought around the type of apps that children have access to at school. Waimairi favoured the use of ipad apps that provided Redefinition activities (apps that require creative thinking such as Explain Everything or Book Creator). These are apps were the outcome can not be achieved without the use of ICT (SAMR model). Apps such as Maths games were not favoured as there is little difference to the outcome of playing a Maths game with or without ICT.   

After our look around the classrooms, we regrouped for discussion and questions. We wanted to know how children were transitioned into this style of education delivery. Mike highlighted here the importance of the metacognitive framework (SOLO). He cautioned that while we want to develop children into autonomous learners that this does not occur simply because you have knocked down walls and filled the space with funky, brightly coloured furniture. Within any school there will be children with a variety of needs regarding the amount of direction they need to make appropriate choices regarding their learning. As teachers we need to know the needs of our students and cater to them, assisting them in the direction of autonomy and supporting them on their journey.  

Waimairi School have taken a slow, considerate approach to their changes. They have taken the time to trial, reflect and adjust.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

We are asking the community...let's ask ourselves!!!

Hi all.

We are currently asking the community to feedback the skills that whanau want their children to leave our school with.  Let's find out what we think!

Post below 3-5 words  ( individual words only)  e.g. creative , showing the most important skills you think children should have when they leave our school and head into year 7...

Monday, 1 June 2015

2020 Conference- Two school visits and Anne Knock from the Sydney centre for innovative learning

2020 conference , school visits and Anne Knock from the Sydney Centre  for innovative learning.

Our conference started with visits to two Christchurch schools- Thorrington Primary and Christchurch South Intermediate.  Thanks to both of these schools for hosting us.

Thorrington school
The experience here was fantastic and it was clear how much time, energy and thinking had been put into making sure that systems and structures had been well thought through before working in the collaborative environments.
Thorrington had a few key roles- Instructing teacher, working teacher and orientation teacher.  These roles were unpacked so that each knew the expectation when performing this role.  They also had designated instructing space, working space, meeting space, creating space, exploring space and a home base!  
I was also impressed by the level of detail taken to get to know each others likes and dislikes, something that if not brought up and discussed, could derail progress.
This was working well for the year 1 students.

We were also fortunate enough to walk through several rooms, this was about 30 adults at once and the kids barely flinched...most impressive and a testament to how well established routines and expectations were.

Christchurch South Intermediate
This was a great chance to fast forward to the other end of the school, intermediate. It was great to see many similarities, in terms of the organisational elements required to make this successful.
I was impressed at how engaged students were at this level, they were working on maths and there were using a huge range of strategies and methods to solve problems, great to see pen and paper out and about alongside ICT’s and class teaching.  Students here had an instructional space and then several breakout spaces and other rooms for the students to work in.  The acoustics within the building allowed this to flow with minimal interruptions.

What I took from both of these schools was that it is imperative to take the time to plan and prepare for what these environments will look like, what will happen in them, where and when it will happen and by whom.

The 2020 learner by Anne Knock from the Sydney Centre for Innovative Learning.

I want to start by emphasising that I found Anne to be one of the best speakers that I have heard and the conference was right on the mark for our current school needs.

Here were some key points :
A culture of learning should dominate all other cultures
Anywhere, anytime, ubiquitous learning
Naming spaces provides energy and enthusiasm, they used Manhattan and Barcelona for popular, shared areas
There were 3 key types of space- Physical, Virtual and Cultural ( as in the school culture)
Share, comfortable, open spaces are important
When approaching the process I loved the way Anne looked at it - “I’m a designer looking for solutions”
75% of space was shared

The change process
We must constantly look at this,  Sigmoid curve shows that we must re assess and make changes while still in a peak because inevitably this will decline, emphasising the importance of ongoing reflection of what we are doing and why!
Let’s prototype instead of piloting because prototyping is an iteration which means it is ongoing and reflective, piloting has a defined start and end date.
The analogy was given of  a DJ or sound technician, all of the levers can’t be on full at the same time to create the best music, we need to choose areas to focus on and get right before moving to another.

The OECD states that in order for schools to prepare 21st Century learners we need :
Strong leaders
Confident teachers
Innovative approaches

OECD also signalled that successful schools were using these strategies :
Grouping teachers
Grouping learners
Open scheduling of lessons etc…
Variety of approaches
Ownership of  their culture

Collaboration is often messy and uncomfortable but it is working!

“Great collaboration is when everyone has a voice and everyone is heard”  Anne Knock 2015.

HMW structure to help refine thinking was beneficial :
H- How, M- Might, W- We
e.g. HMW strengthen our school leadership  So that…. we have a strong culture of learning

What does this mean @ Gilberthorpe … What are our next steps?
  1. Slow down and breathe…
  2. Revisit the top - Our vision, values and practice, we need to get this right then everything else must align with this!
  3. Bring the community along with this process
  4. Then we look at how collaboration fits with this, what does it mean? what will it look like for us?

There is a lot to think about but this conference has provided a great opportunity to think about 2020 learners and how best we can prepare to educate them!