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. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

Restorative Conversations and Practice

Restorative practice is a relation approach to school life grounded in beliefs about equality, dignity, mana and the potential of all people. (PB4L website). John Dyer, Elaine Ford and Bev Aerenga all directed our Educator Learning Time this afternoon.

Consistent application of restorative practices in school results in:

  • a calmer school environment, with less classroom disruption and more time for teaching
  • an increase in the engagement and learning of students in the classroom
  • growth in relational and problem-solving skills, both for adults and students across the school community
  • improvements in attitudes and relationships across the whole school community
  • a consistent best-practice approach across the whole school community that aligns with the school’s shared values.

As part of our Staff Meeting we used some of our time on PB4L. Today our activity was to sort out different behaviours and situations and to think about whether they were a minor or major behaviour. Here are some examples: vandalism and graffiti are considered major and running inside and making animal noises are all minor examples.

Our next activity is to role play a scenario and using our restorative conversations to resolve the issue.

Boy A wants Boy B ‘off’ the playground spinner so he can have more room. He steps on Boy B hands a few times. They tell each other to shut up in increasingly loud voices. Boy A storms off and sits alone.

This activity helps us to realise and think forward of what to do and how to deal with this in conversation. The steps are to: tell the story, explore the harm, repair the harm and reach an agreement, plan a follow up. Here are our speaking frames used here at Ormiston Primary.

This has reminded me to reflect on how I deal with certain unwanted behaviours in the habitat and how I can best deal with them in a positive and restorative way.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Understanding Behaviour: Responding Safely with MOE

Understanding Behaviour: Responding safely

Physical restraint: from the guide
A staff member using their own body to deliberately limit the movement of a student
To prevent imminent danger of physical injury other students, other staff or staff

Learning about strategies that deescalate situations where students are in danger. What is the best way to deal with learners where both staff and students are safe? The most important idea when it comes to responding to behaviour that can cause danger to others is: SAFETY. When there is an incident for restraint, forms are to be filled out within 72 hours of when the incident took place.

What is seclusion? Education Act Update: Banning seclusion and creating a legal framework for physical restraint

1. Understanding the "why' behind the behaviour.

There are a lot of things that can affect and go on in a learner's life when at school. What happens outside school or at home can influence a learner's life. How we respond and what we say can trigger a positive or negative reaction from a learner. We, as educators can only control ourselves.
All behaviours serves a function. Some are easy to see and identify and others aren't obscure. If we understand the "why" of a behaviour we can start to teach a 'replacement behaviour'.

Understanding yourself - what are your values and beliefs? These can shapes our individual experiences. If we understand our reactions to behaviours that challenge us, we can manage situations with learner's better.

2. Encouraging ready to learn behaviour

We need to understand: Managing safety and teaching, how to create effective learning environments, the importance of relationships, how to support emotional regulation, the importance of verbal and non-verbal strategies.

As an educator, I would like to spend more time teaching than dealing with behaviour. How do I do this? And in the environment of our learning habitat, how do we as a team do this?
Teach learner's explicit behaviours and set expectations.

The stronger a relationship with a learner, during tricky situations, the easier it is for learner to trust you as an educator. What do you do to build positive relationships with your students? As an educator and throughout my teaching career, I've always believed that building relationships with students is key. It is a beneficial step towards classroom dynamics and minimising unwanted behaviour. It also helps with my understanding of what a child may be experiencing at that time. An example of things I've done, is doing home visits with reports as a way in with parents and to show students that I did care about them.

Emotional regulation for students helps them to feel safe and connected. We want students to feel valued and to believe that teachers want the best for them. What impacts a student's emotional regulation?

Managing a situation - non verbal
Demonstrating ways that are less intimidating to a child could be: having a side stance, open up escape routes, maintain appropriate personal space and appropriate eye contact (depends on culture). As an educator it is important for us to demonstrate support ourselves by: keeping calm, being in control, being attentive and interested and show empathetic.

Verbal communication - when things are escalating how is my tone of voice and what are the words that I am using?

3. Responding safely

We need to understand: what differential responding is, there are different levels of behaviour, what each level of behaviour may look like, how to respond at each level to increase likelihood of de-escalation and what practical strategies we use to increase safety and de-escalate.

Ready to learn - what do with a challenging learner who is ready to learn and maintain their focus.
Out of sorts - there's a subtle shift and if we know the learner, we as educators should be ready to notice. A trick to the brain is partial agreement ie. "maybe... it's time to get back on task".
Escalating - everybody around is being affected
Out of control - an extreme escalation in behaviour
Calming down - decrease in level of distress

This teaches me to be aware of what's going on and trying to de-escalate a situation with a student as quickly and safely as possible. What are some key ideas and strategies that I can use in the habitat?

Some self strategies that I use to manage tricky student behaviour are: choosing my battles, setting goals - what am I going to do differently next time? Positive self talk and at times walking away from the problem. Breathing techniques, closing my eyes and counting to ten. I am also a strong believer in prayer, this helps me a lot and has helped me immensely throughout my teaching career.

How do we share learners that are of high risk? In our habitat, we (the educators) communicate a lot about learners that we may need a break from or behaviours. There are specific educators that are the go-to people for these challenging learners.

4. Reflection and embedding

'He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata'
What is the most important thing of the world? It is people, it is people, it is people

What stood out for you during this training?
Going over in depth the correct way to manage extreme behaviours and understanding why and responding safely to these occurrences. This has reminded me to reflect on my practices and behaviours in the classroom and what are some things that need changing or tweaking. This is not for all learners but those learners that need addressing.

The PB4L programme here at Ormiston Primary helps to provide some interventions before learners get to the stage of out of control and escalating problems. We finished our workshop with this video: Just Breathe by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (WaveCrest Films)

Friday, 29 September 2017

PB4L: Positive Behaviour for Learning

Since being here at Omiston Primary School, I have been learning about how Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) works and what it looks like here. A learning coach from each habitat meets fortnightly as part of the PB4L team and discusses all areas of behaviour management and come up with strategies to keep it positive in our school.

According to the PB4L site on TKI it's a 'long term systematic approach involving ten initiatives'. They include: whole-school change initiatives, targeted group programmes, and individual support services.

We relate this approach to our school's vision principles: Curious, Collaborative, Capable and Connected. We divide the term that focus on: Learning, Playing, Meeting and Well-Being.

For example this term we had Curious Learning. On one week, during our hui (assemblies) will have a focus on Curious Learning and what that looks like. Then the following week in our whanau meetings, we go over the focus again and unpack and co-construct the language of the Matrix. We design activities for our learners to discuss and participate in, in smaller groups and with mixed year groups.

Our reward system is school wide. Here it is done by giving out 'Caught Being Oresome' tokens. If learners are awarded them, they then put these tokens into their whanau jars in their habitats. These are counted up weekly by our learner leaders. We also have special tokens that are worth "10 tokens" that are given out to learners to recognise their efforts.

Through this programme, we as educators are encouraged to keep things positive and have constructive worthwhile and long term interventions for our learners.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Inclusive Learning at OrmPS

Part of Educator Learning Time is to discuss and learn the importance of Inclusive Learning and we do this here at Ormiston Primary School.
Inclusive learning is all about equitable engagement and responsive approaches that ensure all of our learners are happy, safe and can access the learning experiences. - Diana Wilkes

Inclusive learning is ensuring ALL learners are included and provided engaging learning experiences which ensures each individual has opportunities for success and growth towards their learning goals.  - Karyn Patterson

Inclusive learning recognises that everyone learns differently and that these differences  should be catered for within a caring and supportive environment. - Lisa Pearson

Based on the discussion, as an educator it is important for us to ensure all learners are included and safe here at Ormiston Primary School.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Shift in Pedagogy

Here at Ormiston Primary, as part of our daily delivery we have iExplore and iExperience. This is a new teaching aspect that I have learned since I have been here at Ormiston. 

In our team, iExplore happens in the morning from 9.05am - 9.45am. This is where we as learning coaches come up with ideas that our learners would be interested in learning about that are current and may be happening in our world. For example, we had a group that focused on making Jewellery to sell at the Ormiston Market Day. 

This group had to research ideas of what they would like to learn about, create and share. Within this big group, there were small groups. Some learners focused on making: necklaces, bracelets, headbands and hair clips. Once they created their products we had to think about how we were going to present and sell them. We also had to price our products and talked about what a profit meant.

In iExperience, I have designed, delivered and taught children a whole range of different inquiries which I hope has sparked thought and interest into their learning. Activities included: light, colour, Cook Island culture, science experiments, Samoan culture, Matariki, Waitangi Day, Easter and a whole range of other topics. We have taster sessions over two days, usually Monday and Tuesday. We have each hapu for 30-35 minutes. Then, the learners get a choice of what they would like to learn more about. So, they choose based on what the learning coaches have designed.

I've never taught inquiry topics like this before and this I think is a great way to learn. This has changed my pedagogy in the are of inquiry and teaching it based on our school's learning model. You can find out more on our Habitat Site here. iExplore here and iExperience here.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Problem Solving with Ian Stevens

Today we were fortunate enough to have professional development for Maths with Ian Stevens. Ian Stevens is from Maths Adventures. As a staff, we discussed and unpacked what 'Problem Solving' is. Here is a link to further in depth view of Problem Solving in the nzmaths site.

Ian showed and shared with us a lot of activities and games for me to try with my maths groups. A few activities that I would like to try are:

Roll 3 dice, add them
Roll 3 dice, organise them from smallest to biggest
Roll 3 dice and create the biggest number, create the smallest number
Roll 3 dice, add two - subtract one

Roll 3 dice, multiply two divide by one

2 dice
Add the numbers after rolling, if odd odd gets the point, if even even gets the point. Do this 10 times.
Pose the question: Is the game fair?
* Extend the game to multiplication
Is the game fair?

Games: Addition Love Bug Bump
6 Jun 2017 11:42:44.jpg

How to play: Roll three number cubes. Add those numbers. Cover that space with your counter. You can bump your partner’s counter if you roll the same number. If you roll one number twice you can put two counters on it, you lock that space and it can’t be bumped. The player to use all ten of their counters first is the winner.

Activity: Value of your name
Vowel: $150 Consonant: $60
Priscilla = $750

Make a word that equals $600
Can you find the most expensive word
Values of letters: A-1, B-2, C-3, D-4….etc

Thank you Ian for sharing your knowledge and activities with us. I will try these in the habitat and reflect on how they went. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa - Samoan Language Week

For the past 5 weeks, our Samoan girls dance group have been practicing their Samoan siva (dance). Samoan Language is the third most common language spoken in New Zealand, after English and Te Reo Maori. To find out more and access resources you can click here.

The girls practiced every week, sometimes more than twice a week to learn the actions and the song - Lau Samoa by Marina Davis. There are 15 girls in the group and only five of them are of Samoan descent. Well done to all the girls and we're looking forward to the next Pacific Island and Maori Language weeks coming up. Click here to find out more. Photo cred: Cassandra Everts.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Maths Warmups

Thinking back over the term and reflecting on my maths teaching and how my learners have progressed. Based on the learner's data from the end of last year, I grouped them accordingly. I have three maths groups.

We started the term with me teaching my hapu group number games like: Bowl a Fact and Rocket.
Bowl a Fact The first person to cross out all their numbers yells out "Strike" (like you would in bowling)

The other maths warm up game is: Rocket The person that fills in all their squares calls out "Blast Off". And they will need to call out their answers to check their numbers are in order from smallest 10 to biggest 67.

These warm up games will help with knowledge and can be played on paper or whiteboards. Enjoy!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Community Connections

Today in our staff meeting our focus is around Community Connections. We looked at the Kahakitia Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 document. We read through page 37 and the main idea we gained from this, is that Maori students in the last decade have made massive improvement in achievements through explicit learning. On page 42 it also mentioned that making connections from schools, whanau, hapu and iwi are important and vital to student achievement in schools.

As a staff, we made a discussion spectrum. The statement was "Maori and Pasifika children need explicit teaching". Each learning coach was to stand in a position that represented their own point of view. One side being agree, the other end disagree and in the middle more a neutral opinion. It was interesting to see and hear the arguments bought forth. Lots of learning coaches had looked at the statement from a different point of view and some were quite passionate about how they looked at it. My personal view is, that I totally agree. Being of Pasifika descent but also to keep in mind that Pasifika and Maori students across New Zealand have the lowest levels of achievement.

What challenges can you see yourself as an educator moving forward with your learning today?
As a learning coach, some of the challenges that face will be to ensure that my teaching is explicit for all learners, keeping in mind the learners who are target learners. I'll need to go away and have a think about how I am going to integrate this in my hapu group and in our habitat. I'll be sharing on my blog what works and what doesn't.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Sports and Clubs @ OrmPS

As part of my role here at Ormiston, I am in charge and helping to support the sports teams and clubs. Our sports shed is well equipped with whole lot of sports gear like: soccer balls, basketballs, a sports trolley, hula hoops, tennis balls, badminton racquets and a whole lot of other stuff.

The exciting part is ordering new sports gear to get our teams up and running. For example: cricket which our learners love and softball which is a sport that learners are still learning more about. Here is a short clip of some learners practicing football skills.

We have tennis lessons for learners from LH1 and LH4. We've had football sessions and there are rugby sessions that are up and coming. We are all excited to be involved in all the different sports taking place.

My goal is to get as many learners participating in sport here at school and hopefully representing the school at InterZone and within school competitions. The school is filled with lots of sporty talented learners.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Provocations at OrmPS

This is my first year thinking about and teaching provocations in the classroom. Provocations are discussions, ideas and activities that are thought provoking around interests, questions and creativity. Here at Ormiston Primary, as learning coaches, we are to consider our learning habitat as a fifth learning coach. As mentioned in our meeting, a well designed and resourced learning space enables provocation creation.

As a team we are now in the process of planning and setting up provocations within our habitat to best suit our learners around our four vision principles: Curious, Capable, Connected and Collaborative. Our provocations are set up first thing in the morning when the learners come in and will hopefully spark curiosity before, during or after a deliberate act of teaching anytime.

Here are some of what the learners did this morning for provocations.

Friday, 10 February 2017

New Zealand Sign Language Classes have begun!

There is a NZSL unit here at Ormiston with learners with hearing impairments and deafness. In partnership with KDEC the unit is designed to cater for learners in the Flatbush/ Botany area who have hearing difficulties. We are fortunate to have Kaori who has found Shona to teach us NZSL classes.

Shona taught us the Sign Language alphabet, how to greet others, how to say please and thank you and how to sign the letters of our names and how to get NZSL Learners attention. It's a great opportunity to learn more and teach other learners across the school.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Week One at OrmPS

The school year began yesterday (Thursday) and I was eager to meet the learners in our habitat. But also, the ones in my hapu group. At Ormiston Primary the students are referred to as 'learners' and the team as 'habitat'. My hapu group is the core class of learners that I will be teaching for literacy and numeracy. My role at the school is now a 'Learning Coach' which is the term used for teachers.

The lessons or tasks and activities throughout the day are named differently. Instead of fitness, we use the term iActive. iExplore from my understanding are activities driven by the learners and iExperience is where the activities are driven by the learning coaches (teachers). These new terms are different but with time will slowly catch on. iDevelop is literacy and numeracy learning.
There are no bells at the school so everything is run by the clock and kept to time. Learning coaches out on duty inform the students of when iBreaks (morning tea and lunchtime) are over and send them back to class.

There are no rubbish bins at the school either. It's a waste free school. There are recycling bins for paper, plastic and tins as well as a bin for recyclable paper. There is also a bokashi bin for some of the food waste. Every other piece of rubbish is put back into learner bags and taken home to dispose of.

It's been a great first week and I've learned so much. The children are very sweet and some are helping me to learn the basics in Mandarin. I'm looking forward to a great year.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Learning with NZSL users @ OrmPS

As part of our professional development for New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) we had Krista from KDEC come in and speak to us about NZSL and what it's like for children in the classroom.

There is the use of interpreters that allows deaf people to converse within the hearing world. Interpreters provide full access for children in the classroom, everything said by the learning coach (teacher) is interpreted to the learners. Interpreters help and support in the classroom is vital in the classroom and makes so much difference.

Something new I've learned is every country has their own sign language. I also learned how to say hello, how are you, I"m good thank you, I'm (my name) and what is your name in sign language. I've also picked up the sign language for friend, dog, play, learn, coach, help and lunch.

This image is an idea of how a learner who is deaf to access the full picture for that child. If you're a child and can't make sense of it at all, it is very hard.
Learners may need to look away from their interpreters as their eyes are tired and it can be hard work.

We also had another activity to do, with ear plugs. All coaches had to wear ear plugs, walk around and ask others questions and find answers. All the while, there was an annoying background noise playing loudly. I relied heavily on lip reading and the use of gestures to understand some people's answers. I also felt frustrated when having to ask some questions too. Some of the things we did to try and understand each other was read lips, use actions and hand gestures and make eye contact. We found that it was harder to ask longer questions and where some words are tricky to say. This enabled us as a staff to put ourselves in the learners shoes and to better understand how learners are feeling.

It's important to gain the students attention before you start to communicate with them.
Examples are: flashing lights, waving, gently tapping their leg or stomping foot. We can also ask other learners who are listening to get their attention. Eye contact is really important in communicating with others.

Learning to sign helps to make a connections with NZSL learners. Connection is valuable. In order to gauge whether a learner has understood is by asking open ended questions. As often some children can use the deaf nod or the nod of bluffing which

Other points we discussed was how to create a deaf friendly school and that was to ensure that the school environment is inclusive of all learners. Use and teach other children signage during assembly and learning the days of the week. As well, as making sure that the notices were visual and accessible to all learners.

What does Ormiston primary do to be deaf friendly? Having visuals, turn off lights, shake the tambourine, learn more sign language and the learning coach to raise their hands to show that they are speaking.

I'm really excited about learning New Zealand Sign Language to help all children understand better and to communicate effectively in the classroom.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Induction Day at OrmPS

Today, as a staff we covered a lot of ground for the year ahead. We looked at the Vision Principles of the school, Collaboration and what it means, Assessment and Appraisals and a brief look at Maths and the resources we needed in our habitats.

The session that stood out today was around Collaboration. We were asked to get into nine groups and the task was to choose one person to lift up. Our group discussed and shared ideas about what we as a team were going to do. One person decided that we could put our own spin on it and lift a person up by giving saying positive things about them. What had to make decisions together as a team and come to an agreement about how we were going to do this.

As a collective, we discussed: Why is collaboration important? How is it implemented? What did we do show that we are a collaborative team?

Together, we talked about the values of the school and the learner's strengths, how the school is bi-culturally responsible and the strengths and how the community is involved and the strengths around this also.

Collaboration and working collaboratively is a reminder to working together and helping others.

For me personally, I was pointed out as sitting back and not saying much. But, it wasn't that I didn't have anything to say, what I wanted to say had already been shared and so I agreed with them. Nine is a big number to collaborate in as there are too many cooks in the kitchen. This is something for me to think about during my time as a learning coach at Ormiston.