Sunday, November 13, 2016

Woolf Fisher Research Centre Feedback (WFRC)

Recently the Uru Mānuka Outreach Principals met with Dr Aaron Wilson, Dr Rebecca Jesson and Selena Meiklejohn-whiu from WFRC for our student questionnaire and classroom observations feedback.

Hornby Primary Student Questionnaire
Students who use a digital device for their learning participated in the questionnaire. The results were very positive, a summary is provided below

Using a digital device and learning in a digital environment
  • has made my learning more interesting
  • has made me a better learner, reader, writer and better at mathematics
  • has made me more independent
  • has helped my family know more about my learning
Classroom Observations
For the first 3 minutes of each interval, the teacher's' teaching actions were noted. For the second 3 minutes of each interval, the digital learning provisions were noted.
What is the teacher doing? What are the students doing? How are digital devices being used to support teaching and learning?

One of our achievement challenges is writing. After analysing the WFRC data we have begun to ask ourselves the following questions and identify if the following may have an impact on achievement:

  • Providing experiences for children
  • Authentic context for writing
  • Individual blogs and blogging
  • Providing feedback on blogs
  • Multi modal approach - single texts/multiple texts
  • Chn accessing a range of texts - are we restricting access? Chn are not reading widely as espoused
  • Teacher dashboard on screen in class
  • Critical questioning - Teaching by foci - why do you think McDonald’s advertise with …?
  • Reduce navigating and organising time
  • Nature of Task s
  • Agentic learning - what do you give freedom over?
  • Engagement - how do we engage chn that leads to improved learning outcomes?

For example, if teachers were to provide authentic learning contexts for children, opportunities for choice and more time to blog and comment on blogs, thus increasing the amount of time children spend writing, could this have a positive impact on achievement?

Below is a summary of a previous WFRC feedback session.

Our next step is to identify common hypotheses as a cluster and develop an action plan.

Lastly, a special thank you to WFRC for this wonderful opportunity. Having access to research and student achievement data is a luxury and also innovative. We have focussed on student data for a long time but have not always explicitly matched teacher practice to the equation - this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to transform our teaching and learning practice in order to make a positive difference for our learners!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Learn Create Share Reflections

We are half way through the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme. So where are we at, and is this making a difference? Here are my thoughts and reflections, in no particular order.

But first, our context:
School roll: 230
60% Maori, Pasifika or Other
Decile: 3
2 bilingual classes (Level 2)
3 x 1:1 digital teaching spaces; Yr3-4, 45 children and 2 teachers, Yr4-6 bilingual, 20 children and 1 teacher and Yr5-6, 57 children and 2 teachers.

1. Increased learner motivation and engagement in all teaching spaces. One teacher has commented recently that when they first arrived at HPS, he spent most of his time managing behaviour. Now, he spends all of his time focused on teaching and learning. I can vouch for this. Whenever I am in this space, there is generally 100% student engagement, and I mean learning engagement.

2. This increase in motivation and engagement is a direct result of Learn Create Share (LCS) and the affordances of digital technology. Learning is relevant and authentic because learners are connected to the outside world and their learning has a purpose.
Learners have a 'voice' and peers/teachers/family and whanau can comment on children's work. I have seen first-hand the power of blogging and feedback, and the big smiles on children's faces when they read the comments on their blogs. Our learners have agency, they have become empowered and they are becoming to view themselves as successful learners. This is a paradigm shift. Carol Dweck talks about open and fixed mindsets. Our learners are developing open mindsets, this was certainly not the case two years ago. Children are now able to articulate their learning goals and next steps, and celebrate moving up a numeracy stage or reading level. Senior children are successfully leading Learning Conferences with parents and whanau.

3. Changing teacher practice. If we keep doing the same stuff, we will keep getting the same results. We are really lucky to be working with the Woolf Fisher Research Centre (WFRC) from Auckland University. This involves gathering student data and teacher observations to evaluate whether the programme is successful in improving student outcomes in numeracy and literacy.
These are some of the affordances WFRC have identified;

  • Engagement; more time on task, more purposeful, more student voice, ...
  • Powerful teaching conversations; teachers with more time for interactions that move thinking forward
  • Complex tasks;
    Learn: reading and writing from multiple sources
    Create: multi modal opportunities for re-presentation
    Share: learners as experts over new knowledge
  • In-site and on-site support; teaching sites offering scaffolds, collaboration as support for learning, ...
  • Connections and visibility; communicating with a real audience and purpose in mind, to inform others about my learning, visible teaching and learning, ...
This is a really exciting place for us! Connecting research, student data and teacher practice - these teacher practices appear to result in positive learning outcomes for students. So our next step is to spread these practices across our school and the cluster. As Dr Rebecca Jesson says, "We want to spread the ripple of effective teacher practice across the entire pond."

4. Education Review Office (ERO) endorsement. Before our visit in Week 6 this term, I was very clear about the direction we were heading in, I did not really need ERO to confirm my thinking. However, it is always reassuring when someone from outside of your organisation reaffirms your thinking and teaching practice. Here are some comments from our August review:
"... authentic, meaningful contexts..."
"They are able to create their own ways of sharing their learning."
" ... children have access to the use of technology. This has resulted in children being motivated, highly engaged and able to work independently or in groups."
"Ongoing feedback and feedforward from teachers and peers through the class blogs have enhanced Māori children's focus on and enjoyment of learning."

"Children have many opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. The use of technology supports student engagement and deeper involvement in their own learning and progress."

I started off asking if this is making a difference? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to join the dots on this one! Manaiakalani Outreach Programme and LCS is transforming our teaching and learning practice at Hornby Primary which is impacting positively on student engagement and motivation. I am optimistic that our Term 4 student data gathering will demonstrate positive shifts in achievement.
 I must acknowledge and thank our teachers who have grasped this opportunity with both hands and are really 'flying' with Outreach.

Lastly, a very special thank you to the following who have made this possible:
Manaiakalani Education Trust (MET) and Pat Snedden (Chair)
Jenny Oxley (Outreach Programme Manager)
Dorothy Burt (Education Programme Leader)
Russell Burt (Convenor Support)
Dave Winter (Outreach Delivery Manager)
Mark Maddren (Outreach Facilitator)
Woolf Fisher Research Centre
Spark Foundation
Next Foundation

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sharing for Learning

Today's staff meeting with  Mark Maddren (Outreach facilitator) focused on Sharing for Learning. Mark created a Hornby Cluster Slide Slam for us to record our ideas on.

How do you share your professional learning?
  • personal blog
  • formal and informal conversations with colleagues
  • appraisal process
How do we role model learning as teachers?
  • lead my example - I am a lifelong learner like anyone else
  • demonstrate you are not afraid to make mistakes
  • thinking out loud
What do we want our learners to share?
  • the learning process
  • successes
  • next learning steps
  • thoughts and ideas that demonstrate critical thinking
  • whatever gives them a 'voice' and creates a sense of empowerment/agency
Rachel Williams shares her research and findings on the power of blogging. Rachel ran a digital blogging programme for children to stay involved in reading and writing over the Christmas holiday. This was an attempt to avoid the 'slump' in reading and writing over the holiday break. The writing scores were significantly higher than the previous years for children who participated in the blogging programme. Check out Rachel's video below.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Student Voice

In Week 9 Term 2 we held Learning Conferences. In most cases, the senior children led these meetings and shared their goals/learning with their parents/whanau. Using Google slides, children created a presentation and shared it with their parents.
In the example below, Zayd has provided links from his blog, modelling book and blog comments to demonstrate mastery towards his writing goals.
This is a wonderful example of Learn Create Share, rewindable learning and the affordances of digital technology. Zayd is able to rewind his learning and share it with his mum. This process empowers learners and strengthens agency - the power to act! This is my learning and I am in control.
I would like to acknowledge the wonderful work of Ako Ngatahi teachers Kate Mclachlan and Simon Scott, and our Manaiakalani facilitator Mark Maddren who are transforming teaching and learning at Hornby Primary School!

Zayd's blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


On Monday, Mark (Outreach facilitator) took us through a SAMR workshop. We worked through a variety of tasks from substitution to redefinition activities. There is nothing wrong with substitution, however, the more opportunities learners have to be engaged in transformational activities (modification & redefinition), the greater likelihood we will develop engaged motivated learners, resulting in positive learning outcomes.

A writing example:
Substitution - using a Googledoc  (new technology replaces old technology).
Augmentation - technology is still a substitute but provides more functionality. Ability to share your doc and save to the cloud and be able to access from anywhere is an increase in functionality.
Modification - technology is used to redesign parts of the task and transform learning. Students are able to collaborate on one doc and use the comments feature for feedback.
Redefinition - design and create new task once unimaginable. The technology enables us to connect to a classroom in another country and use the chat and comments section to discuss their work in real time and greater depth.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Spark Foundation Visit

On Friday 13 April, Lynne Le Gros from the Spark Foundation (GM), Paul Deavoll (Spark South Island Manager), and Bronwyn Hayward (University of Canterbury) visited Hornby Primary School. The Spark Foundation support the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme.
Ruma Toru welcomed our visitors with a mihi from Ricci and then performed a waiata. The children then shared their learning with Lynne, Paul and Bronwyn.
We enjoyed sharing our learning and showing our appreciation to the Spark Foundation and hope they will return again soon.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Manaiakalani Outreach Programme Convenors' Meeting

The Hornby Cluster is one of the 5 clusters working with the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme, the other four are; West Coast, two in Auckland and one in Kaikohe. On Thursday we had our Convenors' meeting at Mandy's wonderful Grey Main School in Greymouth. Russell Burt, principal at Pt England in Auckland, leads the Convenors.

The meetings provide a great platform to discuss a variety of issues; chromebook rollouts, kawa of care, parental education, professional development, technical issues, and other things that may arise. We are very fortunate to have Russell leading us as he has been through all of the trials and tribulations we are currently experiencing. The good news is that most of our issues are solvable!

Our next step at Hornby is to provide parent education opportunities so they have a deeper understanding of how the chromebook supports their child's learning, and how they are able to access and be engaged in the learning.

The troops from left to right; Raina, Brenda, Mandy, Gary, Russell and Lee.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Ako Ngatahi (Yr5-6) are connecting with Room 22 from Owairaka District School in Auckland and commenting on their awesome blogs.

"This is a great writing task with a purpose and an authentic audience, " say classroom teachers Kate Mclachlan and Simon Scott.

Children are more motivated and engaged when they can see a purpose for their writing, and especially when they know that others will be looking and commenting on their work.

So what is blogging?
"A blog is a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It is a place to express yourself to the world. A place to share your thoughts and your passions ... Blog is a short word for the word weblog ..."

Two examples:
"Hi Room 22, my name is Sharlisa. I am in Ako Ngatahi at Hornby Primary School. That curry potato looks delicious. What are your favourite foods from the garden? I would like to see more posts. Keep it up!"

"Nice work Room 22. I really like how you put your pictures into an apple, it is cool how you are using your pictures creatively. We have something a little like that and it is called Book Creator. My questions is, do you take different photos or do you use the same?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Accessible Learning is Rewindable

On Monday afternoon Mark (MOP Facilitator) ran a staff meeting on Rewindable Learning - see Link
Rewindable Learning:
  • technology enables teachers to make learning rewindable for all children.
  • supports children who learn more slowly, who need more time exploring messages, who are absent or who forget.
  • makes the 'smartest' learner the child who knows how to access teaching and learning, not the child who is on the teacher's 'wavelength'.
Examples of rewindable learning might look like
  • instructions recorded on an iPad - children can go back and check
  • video instructions using 'Show Me' or 'Explain Everything'
  • picture of a maths strategy
Today I spoke with Shontelle and Wiremu in Ruma Toru, our senior bilingual class. I asked them how their chromebook supported their learning. Shontelle made a great comment about accessing last year's work - she was talking about rewindable learning. Up until then, I had not considered work from previous years. We then discussed how digital technology made this possible as it would be unlikely children would go back to books from previous years to rewind their learning. Thank you Shontelle for this thought - tumeke!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Manaiakalani Outreach Programme (MOP)

What is Manaiakalani Outreach Programme (MOP)?
"Manaiakalani Outreach is an opportunity for school clusters to partner with Manaiakalani Trust (MET) to embrace the 'Learn Create Share' pedagogy along with its digital infrastructures and affordances. Outreach focuses on New Zealand school children, their families and whanau in challenged, stressed and isolated communities, particularly but not exclusively, in decile 1 and 2 school areas."

On Thursday I attended MOP Convenors' Meeting at Edmund Hillary School in Papakura. I was immediately struck by the manaaki, firstly from Raina, the principal, then the wonderful children and staff at Edmund Hillary. The day started with a welcome in their lovely hall.
There are 5 clusters in the MOP; Ako Hiko, Kaikokohe, Toki Pounamu, Kootuitui ki Papakura and Hornby. It was a full on day with lots of information sharing from
Jenny Oxley - programme manager
Pat Snedden - convenor support
Lynne LeGros - General Manager Spark Foundation
Andrew Gurr - Fusion
Selena Meiklejohn-Whiu - Auckland University
Dorothy Burt - pedagogical programme design
Russell Burt - convenor support

Our Outreach facilitator Mark Maddren is working with 3 of our teachers this year in 1:1 digital classrooms. Mark is supporting teachers with visible teaching and learning using Google Sites. Teachers planning will be visible and accessible and children will be able to access this at anytime or anyplace - ubiquitous.

At this stage approximately 50% of our Year 4-6 families have purchased or financed a chromebook for their child's/children's learning.

Friday, February 5, 2016

1:1 Chromebooks

Our first week back at school has started well with many of our Year 4-6 children turning up with their own chromebook. Some children are waiting for the next Noel Leeming (NLG) shipment to arrive later this month.

This term children and teachers will be focusing on 'kawa of care' - looking after their device and keeping themselves safe in a digital environment.
It has been pleasing to see children using their devices before 9am. This means learning is not just a 9am-3pm experience, learning can take place anywhere at anytime - ubiquitous (present everywhere or in several places simultaneously).

One issue we have come across are devices that have been purchased outside of the GCSN or NLG student bundle deal. These devices do not have the Google management console which allows the school to manage devices effectively. We have to order the licenses through NLG which can take up to 2 weeks. Once we have the license we are able to configure the device to operate on our school system.