Thursday, 4 June 2020

Sports and Cultural Co-ordinator

Fakalofa lahi atu everyone. This is my first post for 2020.
This year I have a new role here at Ormiston Primary School and that is the Sports and Cultural Coordinator. I also release learning coaches for PCT and help relieve across the school when needed. My focus is to get as many learners and teams involved in sporting competitions within the Howick Pakuranga Primary Association.

In term one, our Year 5 and 6 Boys cricket team participated in the HPPA competition. We began training in Week 2. This year I decided to have all boys that were interested in playing that showed some capabilities in the game. I kept two teams: a school team and a development team. The development team allowed for boys to develop their skills and a carry over of Year 5s for next year. The school team were the boys that showed capabilities with bowling because all boys had to bowl an over in the competition. The boys won 2 out of 6 games and showed promise in all games but lost out through fielding.

We also had Rip Rugby sessions run by Marist Eastern Rugby Club. This took place every Wednesday after school from 3.15-4.15pm. Most sessions had up to 40 learners from Year 1-6 boys and girls. Coaches were provided and our learners had so much fun. Parents were grateful to have their child/ren taking part and we also had some sign their kids up to play during the terms on Saturday.

For Culture we had a Samoan group practice for Samoan Language Week in Term 2. We also have Kapa Haka in collaboration with Ormiston Junior and Senior College. Because of the levels in Covid-19 our Samoan group made a movie of their items to share with the school and community. The children of Samoan descent dressed up in their Samoa shirts and dresses and wore them to school on Friday. Kapa Haka with the junior and senior college kids have helped spark interest amongst our learners especially those that are not of Maori heritage.

Here are links for our Samoan Cultural Movies:
Introduction to Samoan Language Weeks
Samoa Girls
Samoa Boys

It has been busy so far! But we are looking forward to more Sporting opportunities in Term 3 and celebrating our Cultural Language Weeks and maintaining Kapa Haka.

Friday, 30 August 2019

TESSOL: Undergraduate Diploma

This year I have been very fortunate to have been awarded one of the TESSOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) scholarships through the University of Auckland. My application was supported by my leader of learning Heath McNeil and Karyn Patterson (head of ESSOL). 

Currently, I have Tuesday night classes at the University of Auckland, Epsom Campus. I have successfully completed the course EDPROFST227: TESSOL Language Learning Need in Semester One. I have learned quite a few activities and tasks to practice with my learners. This course also helped me to reflect on my teaching practice and pedagogy not just with English Second Language learners but with all my learners. At the moment, I am in Semester Two currently working on EDPROF372: TESSOL: Language Learning through Tasks.

I will blog more about some of the tasks, activities and assignments that I have done later on.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Spiral of Inquiry Reflection: Digital Technologies in iDevelop

How did you make a difference to your iDevelop workshops?

Did it make an impact? How do you know?

What do you still need to work on?
This term our Spiral of Inquiry focused on using digital technology in the habitat. This was carried out with a Professional Learning Group that had other learning coaches focusing on the same iDevelop area. My focus was to use Google classroom effectively with my learners in iDevelop (literacy or maths). I thought best to use Google classroom with my literacy group and small micro-teaching groups.

I used Google classroom to share google documents and presentations with my learners. The difference it has made has been minimal so far. I am still learning to how to use it with my small reading groups as devices are limited. Using google classroom has made a slight impact because learners are enjoying using devices to complete activities online. From observations, learners have enjoyed using Google classroom and are able to help others.

I have learned with the help of Donna Golightly, how to assign documents to learners without them having to make copies of it and to use. She has also helped me to assign documents in classwork rather than  on stream. I am currently learning to how to best use and manage google classroom with twelve devices for my group. 

Thank Claudine and Raman for leading the Spiral of Inquiry for us.

Please find my personal spiral of inquiry document here.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Flatbush 7 2019

Today was our Teachers Only Day. And Flatbush 7 has come around again. Flatbush 7 schools are: Ormiston Primary School, Ormiston Junior College, Ormiston Senior College, Baverstock Oaks Primary, Mission Heights Primary School and Junior College and Te Uho o te Nikau. Flatbush 7 in it's second year, but this time held across Mission Heights Primary and Mission Heights Junior College campus.
Our keynote speakers were: Chris Clay in the morning, and Peter O'Connor in the afternoon.

There were four workshops across the day and introduction speakers before each. These speakers were: Chris Clay, Melinda Webber, Grant Rix and Peter O'Connor. The four workshop categories: Cultural Responsiveness, Connections, Well-being and Inquiry.

The first workshop was called Learning a Language through Passion Projects with Alicia Tauiliili from OJC (Ormiston Junior College). One key idea I took from this session was that Languages and Culture are so important for learners identity in the classroom. I like the idea of learners using a Glory Box to share who they are.

The second workshop was called Real World Science with Science teachers from Ormiston Senior College. One key idea I took from this session is that Science needs to be taught through and with real life scenarios. For example: Physics class went to Rainbows End and looked at the rides and how they worked and the forces that were involved in the topic.

The third workshop was called Student Well-being through Whanau Ora and Hauora run by Ashley Sio and Mike Mansell from Ormiston Junior College. A key idea I took from this session was the models that they used to plan both Whanau Ora and Hauora, and ensuring that they are both linked throughout the programmes they focus on.

The final workshop for was called Leading without Knowing with Jenny and Jane from Ormiston Junior College. A key idea I took from this was how I see myself with my learners and wider world that included: agency, inquiry and well-being. Another key thought that was presented was to look after beginning teachers and how valuable they are.

I gained a lot of ideas from the four workshops and from all presenters and experts today. I need some time to reflect over and put into practice the ideas that interested me today.

Thank you to all organisers, speakers and MHPS, MHJC for a great day of Flatbush 7 Workshops.

Naku te rourou, nau to rourou ka ora ai te iwi
- With your basket and with my basket, the people will live
Other translations I've hear are: With your basket and with my basket, the people will thrive. Maori Proverb. Today was a prime example of teachers across schools sharing their basket of knowledge with others so that our learners can thrive.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Learning Differences Workshop 2018

Today I was fortunate enough to attend the "Learning Differences Workshop" at the The University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research department. Hosted by Bronwen Connor, Kate de Groot, Marie Kelly and Emma Ratcliffe.

Bronwen Connor spoke and stated that approximately 6-10% of children have some form or a form of: Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dycalculia, Dysgraphia, ADD or Auditory Process Disorder. The question was asked, 'Are teachers trained and prepared to assist these children? Bronwen continued that children have learning differences not learning difficulties and that all children learn differently and as educators, how do we tap into that?

Kate de Groot from Grow my mind spoke from 'The Parents Perspective'. She asked the question, how can we change our practices to help support our learners? Kate had five main points. The following is what I took from her main points.

1. What drives our communication and surfacing beliefs?
As educators we should be working alongside parents of children with learning differences, the learner themselves and any other agency that will help the child. Kate summarised this as the "Shared Need" that helps our kids realise their potential. She continued to talk about beliefs above and below the line. Examples of Above the line are: every child has potential, behaviours are for a reason and Below the line: it's the parent/s fault, some kids are naughty, the kids just need to do as they're told. This point made me think about learners that I teach and realise that for some, there could be more to why they behave the way that they behave.

2. Communication opportunities
Children with learning differences need more time. Liaise with parents, email and send them photos, their writing and videos of their child is doing at school. Kate pointed out that 'the small stuff' matters. 

Our next speaker was Marie Kelly who focused on 'Strategies for the Classroom'. The main focus of her presentation was around Dyslexia. Marie stated that Dyslexia is inherited and 1:4 in males. There was a genetic factor also that 40% of those with Dyslexia have glue ear. 'What does Dyslexia look like?' in which Marie described as a Disorder of Processing. Some things that help to help identify children with Dyslexia is: early intervention - trying to catch it early in a child, a 6 year net, an Education Psychiatrist report of similar help and instruction in good language models and Phonological awareness Pseudoword which is a decoding test. Up until today, I did not know much about Dyslexia only that some people saw and read words as jumbled or scrambled letters.

Some resources and sites that were useful that Marie suggested to us was: Call Scotland for iPads, Reading Rulers, iWordQ, Keeble, Clickerdocs, DocsPlus and others. Websites included:, and other sites.

Our final speaker was Emma Ratcliffe who is an Occupational Therapist. She spoke about Dyspraxia, a Developmental 
Co-ordination disorder that affects planning and organising. The point was made that children with this disorder can be good at sports and have Dyspraxia. Emma stated and showed us using a picture of the brain and where the connections were not being made. Hence why children with Dyspraxia may have learned something really well one day but then it is forgotten the next day. It is the planning and organising that is the difference ie. Dyspraxia. 

The causes Emma states can occur at an early age and that there are no real obvious causes for Dyspraxia. It could be a number of reasons known or unknown. She used the illustration of the brain and the connections of neurons in the brain and how each is different. Emma stated that 'Dyspraxia is a hidden disability disorder'.

What can we do as teachers and educators? Adjust expectations, allow more time, adjust quantity of work (each speaker pointed out the irrelevance of homework for these children), listen to parents, breaking all instructions down clearly, encourage and develop the strengths of these children and acknowledge the effort of work these children have put into their tasks.

I found this workshop beneficial to my teaching practices as an Educator. It has helped me to be more aware of children with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia and how best I can help them. These speakers had such a vast knowledge between them that I hope they will run more of these workshops in future.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Spiral of Inquiry: Improving Writing in LH1

As part of our professional development here at Ormiston Primary, our inquiry is based on writing. Our over arching question is: "How can we personalise writing with our learners?" Within that question, we focused our inquiry further in the habitat by coming up with the question: "How might our learners use ORAL LANGUAGE to articulate their ideas in Writing?"

In the Effective Literacy Practices Years 1-4 under Oral Language states that 'the relationship between oral langue and literacy learning is reciprocal. Children draw on their oral (or signed) language when they learn to read and write and in turn their progress in literacy learning enriches and expands their oral language'.

This site also explains that there are four kinds of oral language uses and development that underpin curriculum access and student ability to learn in later years.

Independant listening - student ability to listen to extended speech that differs from discussions at home
Independant speaking - student ability to use extended talk
Using social language - developing conversations in small groups and joining conversations
Applying discussion skills - ability to interpret specific language (typically academic language) to carry out structured learning tasks.

My question: does this determine the English Language Learner formers that educators fill out for students who come from backgrounds where English is not their first language?

In our habitat there are 93 learners. Here is the data for our learners and what their First Language is:
Mandarin - 26
English - 24
Hindi - 11
Punjabi - 7
Arabic - 5
Khmer - 4
Cantonese - 4
Farsi - 3
Urdu - 3
Vietnamese - 2
Korean - 1
Japanese - 1
Afrikaans - 1
Other Middle Eastern - 1

I am wondering how I can help my learners develop their oral language to enhance their writing?

From the Education Endowment Foundation documents: Improving Literacy Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

In Literacy Key Stage 1 it states that Number 1 Develop pupils' speaking and listening skills and wider understanding of language. This pointed out that 'a teacher encourages children to clearly articulate what they are going to say in writing'. Evidence Strength: Extensive. Idea 3 Effectively Implement a systematic phonics programme proves very extensive for evidence strength.
In Literacy Key Stage 2 stages that 'Purposeful speaking and listening activities support the development of pupils' language capability and provides a foundation for thinking and communication. It also states that 4 Teach writing composition strategies through modelling and supported practice. It continues that 'Purpose and audience are central to effective writing. Pupils need to have a reason to write and someone to write for'.

Through professional development with Dr. Jannie van Hees and applying her strategies in writing, 'oral language' is a big part of that. In the reading 'Conversational Classrooms' that five year olds in many schools found that significant numbers with low oral confidence and fluency.

In my own practice, I have been trying to gift as much 'rich language' as possible to my learners, for them to use in their writing.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Maths Problem Solving: Spiral of Inquiry

This year our inquiry has been around Problem Solving in Maths. In our habitat (team) we have trialled and changed a lot of our practice to best suit our learners (students).
Looking back, we started out doing problem solving as four different classes with our home class and over the terms this has evolved. We now are problem solving altogether. Our learners all get the same problem.

The learners are also divided into alphabet groups based on Kagan theory of group work and collaborative learning. Until yesterday, I learned that Kagan groups have 4 in each group, not solely based on ability but also taking into consideration their Key Competencies. Each learner is given a specific role and is meant to be purposeful. Groups are meant to change every term (note for next time).

All learning coaches collaborated and had a turn at launching the problem one day of the week. Once problem is launched, we then sent our learners in their alphabet groups to each learning coach to work with. Once they had some time to work on their task, we gathered our learners up again and selected a few learners to share and others to reflect. Here is what we presented as a team yesterday for our Inquiry.

Some of the things, I'd like to work on next year are: looking more into the Kagan collaborative learning groups. Looking at other strategies to help our ELL learners. Improving our word problems to be more in the context of real life based.