Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Assessment for Learning

How do we ensure that learning is progressing for every student? 

Perhaps the most important thing that I have learned in my 10+ years of teaching is that more teaching doesn't mean more learning. More explanations at the front of the class doesn't mean more learning is happening. More worksheets and more tasks don't mean students are making progress. So what does make a difference? In my opinion, it is those three fundamental questions from John Hattie, how are you going, where are you going, where to next. If students do not know what they are supposed to learn, how they are supposed to learn it, and what their next steps are to learn it, then how can they take charge of managing their own learning? How can they develop a shared responsibility and a shared sense of agency? 

There are a number of practices that I have embraced and focused on doing consistently to ensure that my students know what they are supposed to learn, how they are supposed to learn it, and what their next steps are to learn it. There is overwhelming evidence that shows Assessment for Learning not only improves agency and shared responsibility, it also accelerates progress for Māori and Pasifika students. While it is easy to think of Assessment for Learning as more work, like everything, the more you practice something, the easier and faster you become at it. I am really proud of the effort I have put into developing Assessment for Learning practices that are at the core of my teaching practice.

Here are some of the things that I have noticed that really make a difference for my students. 

Instant feedback quizzes 

There are a number of reasons why I love Kahoot, Gimkit, Blooket, Quizizz and the Google Forms quiz function in Google Classroom. First of all, their reporting functions tell me in a quick, minimal-effort way where my students need additional support in their learning, who needs additional support, and who needs to be extended. It means that class time can thus be prioritised for maximum impact. 

The second reason I love instant feedback quizzes is because it gives students instant feedback about their progress in understanding ideas. I also frequently set a quiz for two weeks at a time on Quizizz. Students are then expected to reattempt the quiz until they can improve their score. This allows students to have a concrete but simple next step in their learning. This is particularly great in science where large amounts of vocabulary are often a barrier to student learning. 

As a separate perk, I also appreciate that students who struggle to produce evidence of their learning find a gamified quiz a much less intimidating way to show their progress. 

Google Classroom

Google Classroom has a number of features that allow teachers to improve the pace at which they give feedback. There are three features that I use a lot.
  • Rubrics
    I have set up a separate Google Classroom called Rubrics. In this Classroom I have created lots of rubrics that students often need feedback on, or things that I am tracking. Eg. I have a work completion rubric, a SOLO taxonomy rubric, and a paragraph writing rubric. I have also added the rubrics against which we assess for reporting purposes. Having these rubrics in their own classroom means it takes me all of one minute to add the relevant rubric to a task in Google Classroom. I can then also very quickly give feedback on student work by just clicking the relevant part of the rubric. I have also set each of these up with grades which helps track over time which students are falling behind, excelling, or making good progress. 

  • Gradebook function 
    The grade book function in Google Classroom is a great way to track student progress. However, I found it most powerful when I tag assignments that will be used for formal assessments and deciding report grades. This helps students know where to prioritise their efforts. In addition, about a week before I start marking for formal reporting purposes, I get students to look at their overall grade on Google Classroom and then reflect on whether they are satisfied with what grade this translates to on their report. This usually results in a flurry of activity and prioritisation as students then do some really purposeful work where they focus not just on getting work done, but improving the quality of their work. This means that students also actually pay attention to the feedback I leave them on their work. 

  • Comments functions
    Google Classroom allows you to save a bank of comments. This means that when you type feedback comments on student work, it automatically starts suggesting the full comment. As a result, I have saved comments for common feedback items eg. "This question asks your to explain in depth, hence, you will need more detail in your explanation. Try this PEEL writing guide to help you gain more depth." I then also include the link the necessary resource to help coach the student through their specific next step. This amazing Google Classroom feature means that the process of giving feedback is sped up as I don't spend hours typing and copying and pasting the same things. It also means that I can point each student to the resource they need for their next step in a much more expedient way. 


For my senior students, I have also been experimenting with using ChatGPT to help them improve the quality of their work by giving them specific prompts to use for feedback on specific tasks.  For example:
  • Check the accuracy of the biological claims in this text. Make an itemised list of inaccuracies.
  • Compare this text with the following criteria. (Insert achievement criteria).
  • Check this text for any redundancy. Make an itemised list of things that can be removed from the text.
As a human, I am severely limited in the pace of feedback I can give. AI on the other hand is really good at reading fast. Hence, I have been experimenting with how we can use AI in an ethical way to help students improve their learning. 

Where to next?
Next year I am keen to continue exploring the use of AI in helping students get better, more timely feedback on their learning. I think I might just have to finally invest in ChatGPT 4. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Just how inclusive is your science curriculum?

There are four questions I urge you to go and investigate in your school... 
  1. If I struggled to read and write, how much of the learning in your year 9 and 10 programmes would be accessible to me?
  2. How many of the scientists who are acknowledged in your school's science curriculum are women? Māori? Pasifika? BIPOC? 
  3. How many Māori and Pasifika students graduate from your school with 3 UE STEM subjects? 
  4. How many Māori and Pasifika students from your school go on to a science pathway?

    I am a science teacher. I enjoy science. But the more I learn about culturally sustaining pedagogy, students with diverse learning needs, equity, and feminism, the more frustrated I have become with science. To become a 'scientist,' you have to find a way to pay for a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and a PhD. If you are lucky you might then get a lowly paid postdoc position after that. This is hard for individuals to afford, never mind for those people with a family for which they are financially responsible. If you don't have a family that can support you financially through all these years of studying, what are the chances that you become a scientist? 

    I also think about the experience I had of science at school. All assessments required a lot of reading and writing, even at years 9 and 10. If you are a student who struggles with literacy, how accessible is our school science curriculum to you? And as a result, what impact does that have on your scientific literacy in the future? In the misinformation crisis that the world currently finds itself in, surely science teachers should be focussing on designing the most inclusive and accessible curriculum possible? (Note, I do not suggest we water down the science, only that we make it more accessible). 

    It is with the above in mind that I spent a significant amount of effort in the last few years working on how the science ideas that we teach in year 9 and 10 can be made more accessible through the way I design learning. Here are a few of the things that stand out from this year. 

    Engineering challenges

    Physics has many great opportunities for students to explore scientific concepts in a hands on way. One of the tried and tested ways to do that is by haivng students design small vehicles within a set of constraints, and then race them. As a result, I saw students investigate aerodynamics, how to reduce friction, how mass and accelleration might relate to each other, and a whole bunch more. The vehicle on the right was particularly memorable as the group experimented with using wax on the bottom of their racer to help it glide down the racing ramp easier.


    Other engineering challenges include building an arthropod that is able to move. For this, students had to learn about the characteristics and taxonomy of different arthropods, as well as learning about the physics of simple machines to help their arthropods move. The arthropod machine on the right used a wheel and axle to create their insect that moves with wind. It was particularly rewarding being able to work with a hard materials teacher who was able to help students construct and prototype their designs in the workshop. 



    A favourite medium that I like to use when encouraging students to communicate science ideas is through art. This has involved everything from photo essays, illustrations, performances and more. However this year I was able to take my love for art and science to a new level by co-teaching with an art teacher. Students explored a socio-scientific issue of their choice from a provided list. As they explored the scientific, cultural, economic, ethical and other perspectives of their issue, they created a series of artworks to represent their understanding of these. 

    The image below shows the Alexander Calder inspired mobiles students made to represent the different persepctivees around their socio-scientific issue. 

    A critical skills in science is observation. Few things teaches observation as well as teaching drawing skills in art. Hence, another task that worked really well was having students create a nature journal page of a native species of plant. You can see the task instructions below along with an example of a student's work. 

    Prioritising tools with UDL features

    A fairly simple way of creating a more inclusive classroom is just about being more selective with the tools we use. For example, Quiziss is a en excellent tool. While it works much like Kahoot, Quizizz has the added benefit of being able to read the questions out loud to students. The tools is gamified for extra engagement and gives students instant feedback. On the teacher side of things, this tool is compatable with Google Classroom which means I can keep track of student understanding really easily. 

    I am also a serious user of Google Classroom. When used effectively, it means that students can use speech to text tools to read instructions for tasks. Hence, I religiously post every single instruction for my class on Google Classroom. It also means that it easy to make videos, audio recordings, diagrams, etc. available for students. 


    Where to next?

    In 2024 I hope to continue exploring ways to make science more inclusive, I am looking forward to working with the new level 1 NCEA standards to find ways to assess these in the most creative, inclusive way possible. 

    Monday, November 27, 2023

    Life as a Learning Coach

    October of this year marked my 10 year anniversary at Hobsonville Point Secondary School (HPSS) where I started as a foundation staff member. Much has changed since those early days before we had any students and we dreamed up a school that would be better at meeting student needs. A lot will keep changing, particularly with an all-new senior leadership now at the helm in 2024.  With so much change on the horizon, I have found myself thinking a lot about the areas of our school where I am reluctant to see major change, as well as the areas in our school where I would like to see more change. 

    One area that I hope will stay strong in our school as we go forward is Learning Hubs. Learning Hubs are our pastoral care system at HPSS, replacing the role of form teacher. While we do all the admin things a form teacher might do, we also have extra time with our learning hub students so that we have time to develop life skills such as self-reflection, leadership, emotional intelligence, etc. 

    Daniells' Donkeys - My Learning Hub

    Without a doubt, being a hub coach is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. Students keep the same hub and hub coach for their entire time at our school. This means that I see these students at the start of every day. Over time, this allows us to build really strong relationships where students and their parents trust us to discuss challenges in their education. Over the years this has involved supporting students and their families with everything from academic goals, behaviour expectations, bullies, gender transitions, parents with terminal illness, disabilities, etc. When families trust us, they are able to be much more transparent with us about the support that young people need. And as a result, we can meet their needs much more effectively. 

    One of the aspects of my practice that I am really proud of is how I am able to help my hublings develop as a hub family. We know that when students experience a sense of belonging, they are more likely to succeed at school. Hence, I work very hard to create a sense of belonging for my students. This is done through lots of things but in particular:

    • CHECK-INS: For a check-in, we sit in a circle. Each student answers a question about themselves. For example, what was the best part of your weekend, in what class are you having a lot of success right now, etc. There are a few reasons why I have embraced this practice so thoroughly including:
      • Ensuring that every student has had an adult and their peers listen to them, everyday. How can any student feel like they belong if they can go through an entire day without anyone actually talking to them? 
      • Ensures that the hub group members hear what is going on for their peers. This allows them to make connections with each other and build their relationship with each other.
      • Doing this regularly means that I can stay connected to my students and what is going on for them in an effective way. 

    • THANKFUL THURSDAYS: If you are not familiar with the neuroscience of gratitude, I suggest it is time you get caught up. Every Thursday morning during hub time, we each get a chance to share some of the things we are grateful for that week. This helps students start their day in a better frame of mind, while also giving me a little insight about what is on top for the students. 

    • TRADITIONS: Few things make a person feel like they belong as much as being part of a tradition. For our hub, we have had a long tradition of playing werewolf. Our older students enjoy teaching the new ones and the young students enjoy having fun with the older kids. Other traditions in my hub include silly photos, and can collections for the annual can drive. We are working on some more traditions however these are best when co-created with students.

    • LEARNING GAMES: There are lots of learning benefits to games, and this becomes particularly evident in hub. Over the years I have created many games for my hublings. Sometimes it is something like Whanaungtanga eels and ladders that help students learn and make connections with each other. Other times it might be role-playing games that help them learn about career pathways. I've made games to help them develop critical thinking and games to help them with their communication skills. The great thing about using games for learning in a hub context is that as well as students learning and practising new skills, the games also help create shared memories that contribute to the students' sense of belonging and engagement. 

    Another aspect of Learning Hubs that I feel is really successful is the academic coaching. Sometimes in school students who just get on and do the work rarely ever get one-on-one attention. We also have students who with the right encouragement could do much better. We have students who struggle to make sense of their work and those who need more challenge. The benefit of hubs and keeping them relatively small is that we can have fairly regular conversations with every student individually about how they are going in their learning, what the challenges the are encountering, and what needs to be done about this. I believe that learning hubs are a key aspect of what allows us to have high expectations of our students at HPSS. 

    While academic coaching conversations can be helpful in communicating high expectations, it can also be helpful in helping identify where students need additional support. One area where this is often the case is advocating for students, particularly those with disabilities. As a learning coach, I have spent a great amount of time ensuring that students are getting the support that they need. More often than not, the areas where students needed support or someone to champion them were identified through a one-on-one coaching conversation. 

    In summary, hub is one of the areas in my practice where I feel that I get the balance of warm and demanding right. There are systems and structures in place that allow an inclusive approach where every student has their own pathway, yet enable us to have high expectations of every student. 

    Where to next?

    As our hubs have students from year 9 to year 13, every year we have new students who join our hubs. As a result, every year we need to bring new students on board into our hub and help them feel just as included. Hence, every year my 'where to next' is focussed on how I might continue to develop the warm and demanding in hub to extend to new students. 

    Wednesday, November 22, 2023

    Professional Relationships Toolbox

    He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata he tangata he tangata!
    Image source: Alexander Turnbull Library

    Research has shown us that relationships are at the heart of learning. Yet, human relationships are infinitely complex. How then might teachers become experts in managing the relationships that are critical for student learning and effective school leadership? 

    In my own practice, there have been two keys; restorative justice and open to learning conversations. Each of these practices is evidence-based with a solid body of research to show that it makes an impact when implemented with fidelity. These two strategies has a few things in common that I believe make them particularly powerful:

    1. Preserving mana - In resolving any conflict or problem, it is important that each person can walk away feeling that they were respected, even if they were in the wrong.

    2. Co-design the solution - Solutions designed by one person tend to only work for one person. It is only when we combine the collective problem-solving of all stakeholders that we can create a solution that meets everyone's needs. This becomes even more important in situations where there is a high degree of complexity and where one human can never understand all the variables.

    3. Learning is at the heart - When we allow people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes by exploring the impact in a respectful, meaningful way, it allows them the opportunity to step up and do better. What's more, it can give people access to the perspectives of others in a way that they might not otherwise consider, hence, we can build empathy and compassion for our peers. 

    4. Don't make assumptions -  In each of these practices, we try to move away from making assumptions, about people, about events, about why or how things happened. Instead, we enter these conversations with curiosity. 

      Image source: Medium

    There is no question that education is influenced by an endless number of variables, and as a result, so are the relationships in schools. The relationships that we navigate within a school are often influenced by these variables. That conflict with a student about why they did not turn in their work might be a result of personal and family values, systemic bias, lack of resources, or disengagement as a result of disempowerment. What makes open-to-learning and restorative conversations so valuable for managing relationships is that they allow us to learn about the variables, and as a result, respond more effectively because that learning allows us to understand the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.

    Education as Nested Systems of Complexity - image produced by me

    I distinctly remember conversations during my teacher training about how schools have a tendency to dismiss the 'theory' of teacher training colleges for the practicalities of actually being in the classroom. In other words, all that academic theory is nice, but when you are standing in front of a room of chatty year ten students, it doesn't seem all that relevant. Similarly, when you attend a PLD workshop from a facilitator who hasn't been in the classroom for years and years, it can be hard to take their suggestions seriously. However, in my now ten-plus years of experience, I have found that this couldn't be further from the truth. It is learning to apply robust educational research that has allowed me to become a more effective teacher. So what does applying this educational research look like on a day-to-day level for a practicing teacher?

    Restorative practice

    Like everything, to get better at something you have to practice it. In the case of restorative practice, this has meant years and years of learning about it through PLD workshops, my own reading, etc. I practised restorative conversations on a daily basis. I would read over the restorative script before having a conversation with students. I would have the script in front of me as facilitated conversations. Eventually, the restorative script became second nature to me, and as a result, this powerful practice that allows students the space to make mistakes, learn from them, repair harm, and move on, is now part of my core practice. It means that I can have better relationships with students. In a restorative practice setting it means my expectations of learning and behaviour can be clear, but these are not communicated and enforced at the expense of the relationship. After all, we know that people, adults and students, don't learn particularly well when they do not feel psychologically safe enough to make mistakes. 

    Open-to-Learning conversations

    When working with people, conflict and disagreement is inevitable. Open-to-Learning Conversations give us a way to navigate these difficult conversations, particularly with colleagues. 

    "An open-to-learning conversation, therefore, is one in which this value is evident in how people think and talk. Do they assume the validity of their views and try to impose them, however nicely, on others, or are they searching for ways to check and improve the quality of their thinking and decision-making?"  - Viviane M J Robinson

    Again, making this technique second nature and ready to go at a moment's notice in my leadership toolbox has been essential in helping me do my job effectively. This is the strategy I draw on when I need to have a conversation with a colleague about an assessment policy that hasn't been followed, or a deadline that hasn't been met. It is the strategy I draw on in challenging parent-teacher conferences and one I draw on when coaching students. Eg.

    1. Describe your concern as your point of view. - I notice that you are not on track with your goal to get a Merit endorsement.

    2. Describe what your concern is based on. - This concerns me because I know you are working towards a limited entry pathway at university for the forensics programme you are interested in. 

    3. Invite the other’s point of view. - How do you explain this?

    4. Paraphrase their point of view and check. - It sounds like you are really busy right now but that you feel like you can manage all your commitments?

    5. Detect and check important assumptions - What would be a sign that you are over-committed? How will you know when you are no longer successfully juggling your commitments?

    6. Establish common ground. - It sounds like we agree that you need to carve out some time to catch up on your work?

    7. Make a plan to get what you both want. - What do you think we should do about this? 

    Where to next?
    There is no substitute for a one-on-one coaching conversation because it is tailor-made to check and challenge your own assumptions. It is for this reason that my goal moving forward will be to have even more coaching conversations. I am particularly interested in whether more coaching conversations might allow us to identify, challenge, and change some of the systemic biases that mean Māori and Pasifika students in my school are so underrepresented in STEM UE subjects. 

    Monday, November 20, 2023

    Same old PLD, just a different slideshow format?

    Where does your best professional learning happen these days? 

    One of the ongoing challenges with professional learning can sometimes be that the more you know, the harder it is to find professional learning that challenges you at the right level. As a PLD junkie in my early years of teaching, I have found on more than one occasion that many of the PLD opportunities out there have become a lot of the same ideas, just recycled into a new PowerPoint. Maybe I sound cynical, but it is hard to ignore that our refreshed curriculum's essential pedagogies are based on the professional learning workshops I have been attending and running for years - power sharing, design for inclusion, connecting learning to each learner, being urgent about progress... If you are ahead of the curve, where does your learning come from? Where do the new ideas, and new inspiration come from? Where can you go to ask and answer harder questions and debate more challenging problems? I would love to hear your ideas about this. Here are mine...

    There is no substitute for a good book.
    The benefit of a book over other PLD tools is that it is a super cheap way to get direct access to the author's arguments, evidence and explanations. You can go back to them, read them over and over, and check the fidelity with which you have remembered and implemented their ideas. You can also check their facts and follow up on their references. A book also tends to be way more in-depth than any workshop you can attend or conference you can see them speak. Books also mean that your access to experts increases exponentially. John Hattie, Russel Bishop, Jane Gilbert, Carol Dweck, Howard Gardner, Ann Milne, Ivan Illich and Keri Facer are all hanging out in my handbag right now, ready to go on my Kindle at a moment's notice. 

    One of the most impactful types of professional learning I have experienced over the last few years is having an effective impact coach. This has meant that I have had a safe place on a regular basis to help me unpick my assumptions and theories. It has meant having someone to help me sift through the noise to identify where my focus should be to really make a difference for students. (In case you are wondering, I am talking about Laurayne Tafa - an incredible coach). This has also meant that I have had a chance to develop my own coaching skills. This explicit focus on how I might become a better coach has also been invaluable as it has allowed me to build my skills in having conversations that challenge deficit thinking. 

    Thursday, November 16, 2023

    Te Tiriti o Waitangi parntnership

    Since beginning my journey at Hobsonville Point Secondary School, I have come a long way in my personal journey with te reo Māori, mātauranga Māori, and Tikanga. I was recently asked about how I have incorporated culturally sustaining pedagogy in my leadership. After some more reflection, I identified a key overarching idea in the way that I have come to work in this space. Just like relationship counsellors might advise you to choose your partner every day, I believe we must do the same for our Tiriti o Waitangi partnership. We must choose our partners every day. Here are a few of the things that I have chosen to do as I continue to find ways to invest in this partnership:

    1. I start every single course I teach with my pēpepha. The first time I did this a few years ago I was super uncomfortable. I prefaced to my students that I was learning to do this still. After I completed saying my pēpepha, the students clapped and were incredibly supportive of my visible vulnerability in my new learning. A few years down the track and this is now such a comfortable practice, that I have supported others through this journey too.

    KEY TAKEAWAY: Practice makes perfect. This is not a surprise to anyone. However, as teachers, we are often cast as the 'knowers' of knowledge. Admitting we don't know and publically working on improving can be uncomfortable and confronting. Yet we must do this if we wish to make progress in our learning. 

    2. This year our whole school learnt a haka to farewell our foundation principal. I embraced this opportunity to learn alongside my students and colleagues with enthusiasm and determination. The moment we finally did this haka for our departing principal will forever live in my heart. A few weeks later we also welcomed our new principal. Again, our whole school joined in the haka and our school waiata. This too made me incredibly proud to be part of our school. Too often at formal events the "hire a kapa haka" approach is taken, aka. kapa haka students do all the waiata and haka while the senior leadership and teachers watch, not knowing the words confidently enough to be able to join in.

    KEY TAKEAWAY: Our commitment to learning tikanga needs to include everyone in our organisations. When we devote time and resources to this, we can grow as a community. We can change a culture. Being a leader in this space means that sometimes we have to role model not knowing but doing the work to learn. 

    3. One of the challenges I have encountered in my own practice as I work to incorporate more mātautanga Māori has been around ensuring that I do not exclusively focus on historical knowledge. It is important that we do not inadvertently cast Māori as a culture from the past. Māori is a thriving, evolving modern culture. One of the ways that I have sought to do this is through showcasing and championing the work of Māori scientists, artists, and other thought leaders working today. My students particularly enjoyed looking at the stunning work from the Mana Moana project that showcased the work of Māori and Pasifika artists in response to climate change. They also really enjoyed learning about how waka are still made today and the physics that applies when these are built. There is a great series on YouTube that my students particularly enjoyed. This even led to some of them designing their own waka - a task that was particularly well received by a student with a renowned carver in the family. In each of these contexts, I had to initiate the conversation with my colleague to include a more culturally located context in our learning. However, in each case, they could see the benefit once they saw the way students were able to engage with this task. 

    KEY TAKEAWAY: Once you start looking, there are so many Māori thought leaders, scientists, artists, historians, etc. who we can draw on as role models and inspiration for our students and oureslves. In my experience, Māori and non-Māori students find living breathing role models much easier to relate to than when we only look at historical figures.

    4. As an Across School Leader for our kāhui ako, one of the key areas that I have focused on this year is how we know if we are making a difference for our Māori students. Too often schools create interventions that are done to the students rather than with students. Too often schools don't have any data about how students experienced the interventions a school put in place. As a result, when working with our kāhui ako Within School Leaders this year I have developed resources to prompt them to disaggregate their data. I have also continued to focus on developing my impact coaching skills. However, this year I have made sure to ask; "how do you know if this is making a difference for Māori students?". This has led to teams making a much greater effort to learn what is happening for their Māori students, and in some cases, it has led to teachers beginning to champion the voices of their students

    KEY TAKEAWAY: Most teachers really do care about their students. Once they really get to 'see' what our Māori students are experiencing in school, their journey with culturally responsive pedagogy tends to accelerate, simply because they don't find the systemic bias in our education systems and schools acceptable. Hence, a key part of leadership in this space needs to be around how we help our teachers and middle leaders see the bias in the system more effectively. 

    Wednesday, November 30, 2022

    Google Classroom grade book

    Today's post is a screenshot from one of my Google Classroom's grade books (student names removed). This year I have really focused on using this function to help students track their progress in my courses more effectively. There are a number of ways I have done this:
    • Using the grade book effectively makes it easier to see if a student is not turning in work on a consistent basis. Eg. at a glance you can see that student 5 has some major concerns below. 

    • Any tasks that I use to make my overall judgment for their grade at the end of the term are signposted. This way students know which tasks to invest extra effort in, rather than just getting them done.  (I have found that it is important to teach students when to focus on 'good enough' and when to focus on 'perfect'). 

    • By using a consistent grade allocation for tasks related to their report, I can use the overall grade function to track the 'level' they are working at more consistently and with less bias. 

    • During class time students are regularly asked to look at their overall grade, and then take action to improve them. This looks like students finishing incomplete tasks, catching up with work from when they were absent, and most frequently, going back to past work and improving the quality of work that they produced. 
    The major benefits of using this system this year have meant that reports have been SUPER FAST to complete. Students are much clearer about where their report grades come from and have devoted significantly more energy to 'improve'. 

     ("It's been a little while since I've blogged regularly so to get back in the habit, I thought I would share one photo every day for the remainder of the school year to capture some of my learning, reflections, and creations for 2022. Each photo is accompanied by a short caption. The idea is to keep it short, simple, and reflective. I would love for people to join me - if you do, make sure you include #edphoto22 on whatever platform you share it (Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram, wherever...)."

    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    NITS action plan

    Today's photo is a screenshot from one of the documents we used in our kāhui ako this year. We encouraged all our schools to use the NITS framework that we created to help guide their inquiry practice this year.


    N - What NEED are you addressing?
    I - What IMPACT are you intending to have?
    T - What actions will you take in which TIMEFRAME?
    S - SO WHAT? What did you learn through your action? 

    Getting everyone to use the same framework means that we could more easily help the twelve schools we work with communicate with each other about where they were at in their inquiries, and as a result support each other more effectively. Each school completed an action plan like the one below. All action plans were combined into one presentation so that each school could then follow up, learn from or even collaborate with schools working on similar goals. 

    PS: You can learn more about the rubric referred to in the document here

    ("It's been a little while since I've blogged regularly so to get back in the habit, I thought I would share one photo every day for the remainder of the school year to capture some of my learning, reflections, and creations for 2022. Each photo is accompanied by a short caption. The idea is to keep it short, simple, and reflective. I would love for people to join me - if you do, make sure you include #edphoto22 on whatever platform you share it (Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram, wherever...)." 

    Thursday, November 24, 2022

    Whakatauki cards

    I am always looking for ways to bring more te reo Māori into my classes. However, doing this in a really meaningful way when my own understanding of the reo is limited can be a challenge. One resource that I created this year to help are the cards pictured in these photos. I collected a range of whakatauki from this book with their translations and a brief explanation of their meaning. I then created a number of activities to use with students. This worked even better than I expected as students really enjoyed the discussions of how these important generational lessons applied to them. 

    ("It's been a little while since I've blogged regularly so to get back in the habit, I thought I would share one photo every day for the remainder of the school year to capture some of my learning, reflections, and creations for 2022. Each photo is accompanied by a short caption. The idea is to keep it short, simple, and reflective. I would love for people to join me - if you do, make sure you include #edphoto22 on whatever platform you share it (Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram, wherever...)." 

    Wednesday, November 23, 2022

    Growth mindset ludo


    A resource I have been working on this year is 'growth mindset ludo'. As students move around the board, they land on various reflection questions about fixed and growth mindsets to help them identify the patterns in their own thinking. After all, it is reflection that helps us learn from our mistakes and improve. I'll make sure to share more about this game when it is done. 

    ("It's been a little while since I've blogged regularly so to get back in the habit, I thought I would share one photo every day for the remainder of the school year to capture some of my learning, reflections, and creations for 2022. Each photo is accompanied by a short caption. The idea is to keep it short, simple, and reflective. I would love for people to join me - if you do, make sure you include #edphoto22 on whatever platform you share it (Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram, wherever...)."