Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Hornby Cluster Toolkits

Hornby Cluster Toolkits

As part of our professional learning and development as a cluster, Mark Maddren who is our Manaiakalani Outreach Programme go to guy, organises teachers from within our cluster to run toolkits.  These sessions go for one hour and are to support our learning which impacts on and improves learning for our children.  

I have attended these in the past and have always admired those who share what they are doing.  As with all professional development, you come away with ideas you know will benefit your students and you as a teacher.

This term, Mark suggested that somebody could share some learning from the recent Google Summit.  I was a little reluctant as I thought what might be new and exciting learning for me, could be old news for other people.  

After some thought and discussion, I decided to look at it as a time for me to share some of the things I have been able to use and out in place since returning to school post summit.  Although this helped me to have a clear picture of what I was to be sharing, I was still worried that attendees might be bored and walk out thinking that was a waste of time.

After a couple of 'Where is my dongle?' moments, we were able to start with our group of teachers and Principal from Gilberthorpe, Templeton and Hornby Primary.  

The presentation included some tools to support learning, some to make our own online lives easier and some things just for fun.  
Have a look here to see what we covered:

The learning for me here, is that often we think we don't have anything worthy to share or we doubt ourselves about what we know and do.  I am still pondering on this as far as my own self belief etc goes, but I am glad to have had the opportunity to share things that I am passionate about and am motivated and excited about this journey.

Friday, 20 May 2016

“Different, but not wrong – just different!”

Yesterday I was able to listen to Alison Mooney

She was talking about relationships with others, how we are all different, and of course that is ok.
She talked about 4 different personality types and we fit into. While we can blend in to more than one, we are dominant in one area.

The PRECISE personality – love to do it right
KEY STRENGTH -love to get things done in a logical and orderly manner.  Their focus is on completing the task with excellence. e.g.  They struggle to leave a job incomplete.  They bring huge value to any organisation with their critical skills and strategies.

The POWERFUL personality – loves to take charge.
KEY STRENGTH – is that you know what can be achieved and clearly see the immediate gain. For example, you focus on results and outcomes, therefore you can make decisions quickly. You have an authoritative and convincing presence, naturally gravitating to leadership roles.

The PEACEFUL personality – love to create a non-threatening environment
KEY STRENGTH – best at nurturing and building a cohesive team, the ultimate ‘diplomat’. Easy to get along with and are valued for their non-abrasive manner. Because they listen well they bring clarity to any meeting.

The PLAYFUL personality – desire is to have fun.
KEY STRENGTH – is that they know how to bring energy and life into dull situations. For example, they have the knack of making meetings interesting and lively. The  most important contribution “Playfuls” make in the workplace is their high energy and enthusiasm. They will stay optimistic and buoyant in uncertain times – e.g.  restructuring, pressured time frames.

While it was fun to listen to what each personality I was most like, and the strengths and weaknesses of my personality, there was  more I could take from what I was learning.

We as teachers are always striving to meet the individual needs of our students, cater for the different ways they learn, and plan/deliver lessons that are engaging for all. Surely then as professionals we  should apply this philosophy to strengthen the relationships we have with our colleagues, to work together successfully.

It is not only important to understand what you need yourself to be successful, but to understand what others need and how they work. If you are able to present information, or work with a colleague in a way that also meets their needs, then surely no matter the task we should be able to be successful.

For me this was another way of looking at how we can strengthen relationships in our workplace.
After all we all have the same end goal WE ALL WANT THE BEST LEARNING POSSIBLE FOR OUR CHILDREN…

It has got me thinking ...Maybe we should take the time to understand our colleagues rather than getting frustrated with the differences so that we can strengthen the collaborative environment we are working in.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Delving deeper conference May 2016

What a great day today was.  An opportunity for educators across Canterbury to share their learning journeys.

Background to the conference :
Teachers right across Canterbury were given the chance to put their hand up and share what they have been doing in their schools.  They would run a 45 minute workshop on a relevant topic and then all of those in attendance would visit three workshops over the course of the day.  Julia Atkin, who is internationally renowned for her work within education open and closed the day.

Julia challenged us to think about the "Why" of what we do.  Always question, why are we doing this?  What benefit will it have?
She gave some great examples that have come from the OECD (Organisation for Economic and Co-operative Development) of the types of skills that were on the rise and also those that were declining.  What it all boiled down to for me was that we now live in a world where change is a given, it is often rapid and at times we move into the unknown. It will continue to do so, always evolving.  Julia mentioned that "the world is one giant, complex problem" and therefore this is what we want from our learners.  We want them to be complex, problem solvers.  To do that , they need a wide range of skills, many that we teach through our key competencies.  At Gilberthorpe I think we need to explore further more student choice, using their passions to increase engagement and collaboration in a manner that promotes all of these skills in a meaningful way.

The three workshops that I attended were around collaboration for leadership and also a practical sense.  The other looked at the journey from boyhood to manhood and how this had a huge impact on developing young Maori boys into men in a local High school.

Session 1- Boyhood to manhood.
I found this to be inspiring.  Remi from Kaiapoi high brought 3 students along to share their journey and I was hugely impressed.  The fact that Coralanne, director of education Canterbury was also in attendance reinforced my thoughts that there is a huge need for systems such as this.
Essentially what happened was that at Friday final period of the day, these boys of all ages across the school were allowed to catch up at the basketball court.  This was a sanctuary for the boys, a place to catch up, be united, support each other, talk, mentor, get a kick up the behind when needed and also chill out or play.  It had so many purposes for those boys.  The students feeling of being united and part of a group was, in my opinion, the most significant factor.  I would compare it to being part of a team.  You were there as an individual but still bound by the collective, if you let yourself down, you also let the group down. TKT (name of group) gave a genuine forum to talk about many things that wouldn't work in front of a classroom. The support this group provides everyone with, both during the Friday sessions but also throughout the school week was impressive.  I think more schools would benefit from having these types of groups.  Some students were chiefs among the group and helped mentor the younger.  Full credit to Remi and the boys for sharing, keep up the great work.
We made some connections and may look to visit them with our boys class or have them come to us.

Sessions 2- Leadership to allow collaboration.
I enjoyed this session with Andrew and the team for Tai Tapu school.  They have been on their journey for just over 3 years and the work they are doing is fantastic.  It was great to sit in this session and here many key pieces of advice that we have utilised in our journey also.
I loved the work that they are doing with google, in particular, google drive for assessments that students have daily access to to show where they are at with their learning.  These are being shared at home and allow some fantastic conversations, not to mention the students know exactly where they are at and are discussing this at home.  It has also dramatically reduced their official "reports" because it is happening naturally.

Session 3 - Collaborative teams and the how.
This session again allowed me to reflect on the approach we have taken and in many ways it was similar.  Take your time, trial and error, talk talk talk and ensure that each team has a shared understanding/agreement of the way things will run.  Be ready to compromise.
The piece that intrigued me here was Jenny speaking about how the groupings were organised across the team for reading and writing.  They used many different sized groups to cater for the need.  Some groups had 15-20+ students in them as they were able to cope with the content and remain engaged, other groups may have the more traditional size of 6-8 based on the need.  I would really like to explore this further with our senior team, sometimes we make it too difficult on ourselves by trying to have "no more than 8" in a group.  Jenny talked to how this was very much possible, as always it comes down to the needs of the learners.

Overall I thought the day was fantastic, I know we're are doing some great things here at Gilberthorpe and we also have much to keep tweaking and adjusting based on the ever changing needs of our learners, it is a great challenge but one I know we are all up for.  I would like to think that next year, we may have staff putting their hand up to lead a session, watch this space!

Refresh, Learn Grow.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

EdTech Team Google Summit 2016

For two days in the holidays I had the privilege of attending the EdTechTeam's Google Summit here in Christchurch.  Right from the first keynote speaker, my learning and excitement for what Google can offer our learners grew and grew.  

Each day we selected different workshops to attend and the learning was immense in each session I attended.  I couldn't help feeling that I was learning so many great things but also that I still have so much to learn and discover.

This was the best professional development I have done for quite some time and for future summits I will be securing my spot as soon as tickets go on sale and I will also be taking as many people from our team along too.

This summit has increased my level of motivation, excitement and passion for learning in the now and the future.  
This is one of the cool features I discovered (and might be overusing right now...).