Monday, 6 September 2021

Reflection - Part 1

As we enter the start of a new season (Spring), it brings me a sense of renewal...daffodils are flowering in my front garden, new rose buds are starting to appear, vegetables are ready to harvest and baby lambs are being born on farms around Aotearoa! My reflections this week come after two weeks of online teaching have passed as Auckland resumes being in Level 4 lockdown. It is so wonderful to be able to connect with my class twice a day! To see their smiley, happy faces brings so much shared joy and a continued sense of belonging. The content we have prepared as teachers is less structured on purpose, as to engage the children in their learning from home. We understand that there will be varying degrees of support as some families also juggle parenting and working from home. One parent may be an essential worker, so that leaves the other parent to multitask (parenting, working, feeding hungry mouths and maintaining housework) throughout the day! There are a number of children at home being cared for by their grandparents who are not familiar with computer technology. One advantage of Pasifika families is that there is usually one, two or three older siblings available to help with their learning or IT queries. Some children took a little while to navigate our Google Meets, learning how to mute and unmute their microphones to speak, clicking on the raise your hand button to speak and being sensible in front of the camera is all learned behaviour and the social ettiquite of "Google Manners for Google Meets" is practised daily. We have to remember that these digital natives are only 6 -7 years old, and already this has been engrained in their young lives. It is here that I feel greatful for being in a digital 1:1 school, as the expectations are laid from the junior school about of Kawa of Care. The children have been given their school iPads during this lockdown which has made a significant difference to their participation this time around. We remind the children to take care of their iPads during the day, keep them covered so that the screen is protected, leave them in a safe place and remember to charge them overnight. There is a combination of reading, writing, maths planned for their learning within a week. We have also included Inquiry with a focus on Healthy Mind and Body. Adding in some interactive activities also helps with engagement for the children to participate in some fun practical "learning through play" ideas which combine science and arts together. Creating short video clips is something which I have become well versed with. However, only by learning these skills at the reknowned "DFI" (Digital Fluency Intensive) course from the help of Manaiakalani facilitators and using the pedagogy taught on a regular basis have I become capable and gained confidence. My own class has become more confident in writing a sentence about how they feel and why as part of their daily journal entry throughout lockdown. Although this period of time is a different way of teaching and learning, who is to say that this will be become the norm? At least we are well prepared for these scenarios and have a range of expertise to gather knowlegde and skills from which I am also really thankful for. There is a plethora of teaching colleagues who can support and suggest alternative ways of sharing information and support with technology along the way. In amongst all the uncertainty of living in a worldwide pandemic, I feel truly blessed.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Level 4 lockdown!

So here we are again, back to teaching online as Auckland got the announcement that the Delta strain has hit our shores! Our Prime Minister Jacinda Adern put us into Level 4 lockdown and record numbers of Aucklanders began getting Covid tests. My own boys and I are awaiting our first vaccination scheduled for next month...In the meantime I am starting to miss my class, even though we have scheduled twice daily Google Meets. Our amazing admin team got Team 2's school iPads delivered earlier this week and as a result we have seen so many new faces online! It has been awesome to get emails from my supportive parents of their children's evidence of reading, writing and maths activities completed and submitted online. I am so proud of these families who are trying their best to make it work. Keep staying safe everyone and follow the rules to combat the virus.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Inquiry update for T3

Following my Inquiry plan schedule, I carried out individual JAM tests on 20 students in my class and was able to rate them according to my OTJ for their placement against National Standards.My results were as follows; there are 4 students in my class who are still at the Early Year 1 level, 3 at Late Yr 1, 7 at Early Year 2 and 4 at Early Year 3 level. So the majority of my students are just under the expected level and stage in Maths compared to their peers.
There are currently 8 children who are needing to shift from Stage 2-3 up to Stage 4 by the end of this year. I plan to implement more structured teaching lessons on Maths concepts for this term based on students learning Multiplication and Division, Equal Sharing and Arrays. I have now created 3 Maths groups based on different abilities. I am using a combination of DMiC, Number Knowledge, Group teaching and working in pairs to promote a shift in achievement. There will be a strong emphasis on language acquisition through use of materials and resources with hands on practical activities such as counters and pencil/paper. I aim to carry out GLOSS tests on those students who achieved Early Level 5 on their JAM tests.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Role play for our Inquiry/Healthy focus in Term 3!

Follow Coach Carter's bootcamp sessions as she attempts to encourage her clients to achieve their personal best in fitness and training, weigh in's and mindfulness...

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Fiafia 2021!

Our school was so excited to finally be able to put on its bi-annual Fiafia concert where 17 different cultural groups performed their item on the stage in front of an audience of their families (whanau) and school community. Mrs Lal and I supported the Bollywood group to learn some Indian dance moves and wear traditional Indian costumes. Awesome effort by everyone involved. Special thanks to Mr Jacobsen and Mr Somerville for making this event happen and providing the amazing new shelter for us to be protected underneath... the cloud Te Kapua.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

SPS T2 Cluster- Create Workshop

Yesterday we were hosted by the wonderfully resourced Stonefields Primary School for our Manaiakalani PD workshops focusing on the Create part of the Learn, Create, Share pedagogy. I registered for Marie Hiddleston's workshop on using materials and iPads to create learning for Junior's. She started with a literacy topic on Autumn as her students had been read a poem. Then they talked about the leaves changing colour on the trees and went to collect some leaves to make doubles to ten. She then showed the children a stencil outline of a balck silohette tree and expalained in their picture they needed to include the grass, the sky and the branches of the tree. They began by using water colours and then used finger painting for the red and yellow leaves. The end result looked so creative! The next idea was to use a small hessian sheet as a background and paint onto it using kiwiana templates such as a koru, tiki, pohutakawa flower, native birds etc. I am considering using this for Matariki... The last ideas were to focus on mathematical language to create a city landscape using coloured A4 card, felt marker pens and stickers. I did not complete my one, but started it to use as an example. The teacher then leads a discussion around positional language such as which building is the tallest, shortest, highest? How many windows are there, can you count in 2's? How many buildings are there altogether? There was also weaving coloured paper for over and under concepts and creating a pattern such as found in harakeke or flax weaving. Thank you so much to Marie for sharing her knowldege and expertise. I will definitely be implementing these in the second part of term 2 as we have been focusing on Geometry in Maths.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Inquiry focus for 2021

I plan to lift the achievement in Maths as a Curriculum area with a focus on language acquisition. I will plan for the needs of 3 varied groups of mixed abilities including boys and girls. I aim to identify what strategies they need to learn and gaps that are identified after carrying out a JAM test on each indiviudal student. A significant number of children in my class (30%) have recently been tested on their cognitive skills from the LEAP research and came out with low knowledge in mathematical concepts such as positional language. For e.g. they can not order in sequence, identify first, second, third or even seriate from smallest to biggest. They need to practice using language to describe maths such as "the goat is at the top of the hill and the snake is at the bottom". These are areas which I will plan for in my weekly plans and long term plans to coincide with the National Curriculum content that is covered each term. Term 1's focus was on Number Knowledge/ Basic Facts, Term 2 is on Measurement and Geometry. I have also identified six children as Priority Learners who are going to be monitored closely and assessed according to their ability in time for the end of term reports. I aim to use a combination of DMiC (problem solving using a cultural lense and Number knowledge) to teach the children these strategies in addition, subtraction, mutliplication and skip counting. I aim to provide maths resources on a daily basis for children to find answers and learn strategies for specific learning intentions.