Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Classroom Re-Design

I have been given a grant from TSB through the ISEA to visit schools with innovative learning environments. Last week I visited SCIL in Sydney and I have written about my experience here:  please take a look and make any comments.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

English Conference 2013 - My workshop

Yesterday I presented my first workshop at the NZ English Teachers Conference in Hastings. It feels a bit daunting to present to your peers but I was very lucky and the people what chose the workshop had some great questions and made me feel comfortable. 
I thought I would post a link to my Prezi, which is mostly photos/images I used as prompts and the link to the padlet with resources. Please add to the padlet any resources or links that have been of use to you and share with others who might find it helpful.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A reflection on Term 2 and what next.

After counting up all the teaching weeks to-date is seems 21 weeks have flown past and there are only 12 teaching weeks before NCEA exams. This little piece of information I shared with my students. Despite being the final week of school many of them have a renewed focus in class.

Again I am super impressed with my Year 10 class. We decided to enter the Mix and Mash competition which has a deadline in August. I am a little worried about the time frame but the students have been motivated and engaged with their different projects. Those that did not want to enter are creating storyboards or working on creative writing.

I graduated earlier this term with Masters in Teaching, which was a huge achievement and something I am quite proud of. It has however, led me to thinking about what my next step should be. I am still somewhat unsure and this sense of what next and for what purpose makes me feel somewhat unsettled. What I am finding is that I love working with teachers as much as with students and I have a strong interest in the potential for change in education – so how to combine the two?

As a teacher at an independent school I took to opportunity to apply for a TSB grant offered through the ISEA. I recently found out that my application was accepted, which is very exciting. My proposal was this:

I would like the opportunity to visit a number of schools in NZ and Australia that have redesigned their learning spaces to reflect a 21st century approach.
A number of primary schools, intermediate schools, secondary and tertiary schools have made this change. However I am interested in how an English classroom which caters for students studying NCEA can be redesigned.

There has to be a solid pedagogy behind the design of learning spaces and I would like to put together a portfolio that contains case studies of different learning environments including the pedagogy and vision of the schools. From here I plan on creating my own 21st Century learning environment. I plan on documenting this change and the effect on classroom learning.  I want to make this information available for other teachers and schools.

I plan to create a blog with what I discover and my journey.  Any help, advice or guidance would be very welcome. Either via this post or through email.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Modern classrooms

I am interested in redesigning my classroom; making it more 21st century. However, I am wanting to see what other secondary/high schools have done. As well as this I am interested in what English teachers are doing and how they are changing their teaching and learning. If you know of any good website or schools, please can you let me know.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Student blogs

This year I thought I would try a blog with my Year 10's. I am so pleased and that the students are keen, so we have the blog up and running. We spent a lesson on how to set one up, privacy and getting that first post up. The students have been really responsible and I think are enjoying getting the thoughts out there. I designed it so that they have their own blog with a link on a class blog, that way  at the end of the year they can till keep control. 

Please take a look through and comment on their work so far as it would be encouraging

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ICOT 2013: Simon Breakspear - Radical innovation for learning

Simon Breakspear provided a workshop for the ICOT 2013 via Skype and despite the technical difficulties is was a thought provoking workshop. Essentially we need to be providing students with skills, as it is skills that are needed now and for the future. However the question is what skills will be of value? and how to we design programs that enable this learning to take place? But what we do know is that it is important to find ways for students to learn these skills as Andreas Schleicher (Deputy Director for Education and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary-Generalstates: "Skills have become the currency of 21st century economies" 

Students need to be problem finders and problem solvers. I think  some of the important skills  that they need to know are how to: create ideas, how to build and create knowledge and how to know how they think. Simon Breakspear talked about learning design and prototypes. Rather thank having students redraft a piece of work getting them to design and create prototypes. Having teachers design structures to capture peoples/students best ideas in order to create innovation.

Creating a 'live learning experience' - learning design
What is the minimum set of features that you need in order to begin the process of feedback and discovery. The website 'Design thinking for educators' is well worth a look through and even has a pdf you can download on Design Thinking. Here is another link to the Opening Minds Curriculum a practical example.

I am not sure if I have captured the essence of this workshop with this post but this is one workshop that has had me thinking and wanting to learn more. For a more in-depth and succinct blog post on this workshop read Hazel Owen's Blog

On a side note my favourite quote from the workshop:
"Smart may have the answers but stupid has all the interesting questions"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ICOT2013 - David Koutsoukis: The 7 Selfs of Self Leadership

Interpersonal Thinking: The Seven Selfs of Self Leadership

This workshop was a great way to start the comference. it refocussed me on what is important to me and recognise areas I have negletic.

David is from Australia and Greek, he uses Greece and Greek mythology to illustrate and add impact to his presentation; it was  refreshing and interesting. He asked us to think about those people who have had an impact on our lives professionally or in our personal life, then asked us if they had a zest for life which he calls 'Kefi'.

Find your Kefi (zest for life)

Odysseus principle 
Like waves of the ocean, life is a journey of ups and 
downs, successes and setbacks and so long as you find the patterns and learn from them you will keep making progerss. Ride the wave!

Awareness is first step, 

Intelligent leadership is the ability to inspire
We need as individuals a sense of purpose and emotional support to help us through the waves. In order to do this we have 3 decisions  to make:
  1. You need to make the decision - decide to act, commit to  a journey of self discovery.
  2. Take responsibility - have an internal locus of control - I control my destiny
  3. Give thanks-have an attitude of gratitude family home etc
The Seven Selfs of Self Leadership
  1. The land of self awareness - know they self -  "An unexplained life is not worth living" - Socrates
Values and beliefs, strengths, talents and passions and emotions that drive us
  • write down your top ten true values, patterns in my life that I am aware of.
  • Equanimity  -maintain evenness of mind

2. Land of personal growth - grow thyself - 
  •  self reflection take time to self  reflect for improvement 
  •  growth how can i grow personally
  •  learning how i learn and remember info best

3. The land of energy - energize yourself
  • energy - i create and sustain my physical energy through diet and exercise and rest
  • equanimity - sustain mental energy through positive thought self control and calmness - find an anchor
  • purpose - i generate passion and enthusiasm by connecting with a higher purpose

4. The land of self discipline - control thyself
  • moderation - avoid excessive behaviour and can resist temptation
  • will power -
  • judgement - making good choices not emotional

5. The land of relationships - connect thyself accumulate positive encounters
  • connection- maintain social and emotional connections and significant others
  • mentee - identify mentors, role models and learning hero's
  • association - associate and network who are aligned with my values and goals

6. The land of goals - perceive thyself
  • goal setting
  • action
  • focus

7. Believe in thyself the land of positive thinking
  •  self belief
  •  positive thinking
  • optimism 
Whilst some of this is not new it is worth the time to refocus and examine these aspects, for further information and for interesting resources visit his website Acropolis Leadership

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ICOT Day 1 Keynote Ewan McIntosh

International Conference on Thinking 2013 

It does deliver

This is my first ICOT2013 conference and I am having a blast. The morning started with a very short line at registration, we took our seats and then waited - It was lovely to have the Maori language explained and and the waiata that erupted was beautiful. We then had an aptly named barbershop quartet 'Revelation' sing  several songs. This led us into our keynote Ewan McIntosh, talking to us about 'What makes ideas great'.

Really it came down to the commonality between educaion and creative services and this is what makes ideas great:

  • All creative people know what they are doing
  • They provoke 
  • They have a process
  • Live to perform
And he linked it to Guy Claxtons six pillars:
  • Challenge
  • Collaborate
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Real things
  • Choice
But what I took away was that in secondary school we should not be duplicating the learning that takes place just because:
We can -We do it better-It is where we start-
We should be getting students to go beyond the Google questions, getting them to ask non Google questions and following a format that enables ideas to grow. The questioning technique Ewan shared with us was:

Pose - pose the question
Pause - wait
Pounce - ask
Bounce - who else can add to this

It made complete sense to me and I encourage you to take a look at the website NoTosh, it will be time well spent.