Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Haeata Week Nine

Day One

We had some time in smaller groups across hapori to talk about Relationship Management in our first block and together we worked on coming up with a statement that described relationships for us. Our group used this statement that was made by another staff member, but we felt it summed things up for us:
Building trust and respect and creating a culture of belonging where everyone feels valued and safe to be who they truly want to be and to have the understanding to allow others to be who they want to be.
Another comment which I found quite useful was about the difference between restorative practise and restorative justice. Restorative Practices are the way that you talk to students. The way you shame them, or not, in front of others The way you approach them in the classroom, the way you talk to them when they make a mistake, the way you interact with students. Restorative Justice is the way that you deal with issues after they occur, the way you talk through problems with students and find solutions. I felt this was a good way of clarifying the difference.
Some of the new staff presented their digital korowai today - just another reminder of how great these are to give us an insight into their personal life. We are very keen to take this idea into our hapori for next year.
Cambridge-High-Personalisation_large.pngThe second block was around assessment and we had a list of articles to read and reflect on. I read some really interesting articles during this time and wrote quite a few pages on reflection around these, maybe they will all make it into another blog another time! Meanwhile, here are a few links to some I found particularly interesting.
In the afternoon we met some more whānau at our enrolment hui, and once these had finished, I read more of the articles on Assessment as I found some of them quite thought-provoking.

Day Two

Our hapori had some time this morning to discuss assessment  and we wrote a large list of assessment tools that we could think of:
NCEA Unit and Achievement standards, STAR, Gateway, CTC, SiteSafe, MOOCS, Royal and Trinity Music exams, Services, Te Kura, Peer and group reflections, Portfolios, ITOs, First Aid, Spirit of Adventure, Outward Bound, AsTTLe - the list goes on. We are not restricted to just using NCEA and it is good to get an idea of other assessments and pathways that we can look at. When I think of assessment I am always reminded of the quote by Albert Einstein in this picture.
An interesting question came out of our discussion, "Is it our job to be a vocational transitional facilitator?". In some ways I think it is. As senior school staff, much of what our students are looking for is the pathway when they leave school. We need to have some tools to enable this and support them in their journey. So, what about those that don't know what they want to do? How do we help support them? I feel it is about exposing them to a range of opportunities and ideas that they might get a spark from that can set them on a pathway for life.
Our next block was working on our relationship agreement. Previous comments had been collated by Andy with all of our views put into one document. Many of our comments were very similar and some underlying common themes emerged. Some of these themes were:
  • It is vital to form positive relationships with all, including whānau
  • Restorative practice can help maintain these relationships
  • We need to create a safe environment for all
  • One size does not fit everyone
  • We need to preserve mana
  • Student perspective is important

We also had discussions about what we would do in certain situations with students, for example swearing, fighting, communication with parents. This really brought home how different things might look from one end of the school to another, but also how different it can be from one incident to another. So much depends on the individual but there are certain base line strategies that can be followed and we focussed on these. We then looked at pro-active management strategies that we could use, personally, in our hapori and kura wide. Some of these are really simple but can make a big difference to our students. Examples could be:
  • Correct pronunciation of names
  • Showing a genuine interest
  • Learning about our ākonga
  • Modelling good responses in an age appropriate way

Day Three

We spent some time working on NCEA and assessment today as well as how the timetable might work for us before our hapori took a break and met at my house for a swim and some lunch together. It's always good to spend some social time together as a group and we are really lucky that we all get on well together - well, I think we do!!
More enrolment hui in the afternoon, meeting our awesome whānau.

Day Four


Excitement today as we met at the school site for our site visit. We were given a safety briefing, signed for our key cards and were taken on tours of the site. So great to be able to actually see what the spaces look like. It's meant to be finished by next Friday so we were keen to see where things were at. Having watched the fly-through on the Haeata website, I was amazed at how accurate it was! Even down to the colour scheme!

The outside spaces were lovely, in particular I liked the small stage type areas outside the hapori, lots of uses sprang to mind. I got a sneak peak at the Performing Arts area and was excited by the practise rooms (yes they are soundproof - 2 of us tested that) and the recording spaces. My one reservation, which I had from the flythrough and was confirmed in the actual space, is that the sound/recording booth for the auditorium is on the side, not at the back of the space. We didn't get into the space itself, but the front of house lighting rig looks pretty cool. The technology area in our hapori looks amazing and I can hardly wait to see how everything comes together next year.

We dashed back to school in time for more enrolment hui and then spent the afternoon working on more assessment and timetable clarification in our hapori.



Day Five

A day out for Ihutai (our hapori). We travelled over to Living Springs for the day which was an amazing site to work from.
It was nice to get away to a space where we could focus on planning and have some in depth discussion without any other distractions. We were well looked after with fantastic food (the muffins were enormous!) and a tour of the area, which included a bit of rock climbing by our resident expert, James, as well as a bush walk to an 800 yr old Kahikatea, one of the oldest trees on Banks Peninsula. It was a lovely day out and a great time together.

Only one week to go - this term has gone so quickly. I lost my voice on Thursday - tired and needing a break. So many of us are feeling the "end of term-itis" drain and I know we will all be looking forward to a break.



Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Apple IT training at Haeata

We were lucky to have some Apple Experts come into Haeata to talk us through getting the best use out of our laptops. These are my notes so that others can also gain some insight and perhaps get a few tips.

James Petronelli, Meredith Bean and Dan Partridge were with us for a few hours and they took us through some of the software we have on our Macs, but also gave us some hints on Accessibility and quick tips. I personally knew many of these having been a Mac user for a while but it's always good to have a reminder and as always, I learnt a few new things.

James opened with some context around using technology in the classroom and showed us a video from the String Theory Schools which I hadn't heard of. It was interesting to go and have a look at their website and learn more about this. Seeing schools using technology always brings me back to the SAMR model and
remembering why we use technology and what the reasons are for this. One app he mentioned was Elements 4D app for Chemistry where you can see reactions between 2 elements. I was intrigued by this but don't own an iPad, so I went looking for it online. I found it was available on Android and Apple so I downloaded it and had a play with it on my Android phone. It's pretty cool, but I felt the phone screen was a bit small to really see what was happening, so the bigger screen would be better. I'd love to have it on my SurfacePro with the bigger screen, so have sent the company some feedback to that effect.


As a GAFE (Google Apps ForEducation) school he asked us "how are you pushing students to demonstrate learning?" We need to go beyond what we are doing. Our technology becomes a tool - a musical instrument, a sketchpad, a camera. Apple have been working hard to cater for diverse leaners. They believe all technology needs to be accessible and straight out of the box. Apple has a screen reader and an onscreen braille keyboard accessible out of box.
I liked the question "What is the reason to download an app?" as many that are downloaded become just skill and drill apps. Students are not creating things but the technology is just keeping them occupied. They "play on iPad" instead of "learned" on iPad. Everything on iPad and laptop is for student creation not consumption.
 
"Everyone should have the opportunity to create something that can change the world"

Things that make a technology learning programme successful:
Vision, team, community, measurement, student learning, porfessional learning, environment design, financial stability.

Simon Sinek's "Starts with Why" course was mentioned and I had a look at this. I like the quote "Your Why is the very reason you exist".

iTunesU
This is the largest site for educational content. You can download the app from the store on an iPad. It is designed for touch screen which is why it is not on a laptop.  You can create your own and access more that others have made. Opportunity for kura to create content to talk about history or for teaching Māori.
There are Podcasts created by schools, Uni, and libraries to share content.
They have been working with Te Akau Ki Papamoa Primary School putting up materials, one of these being minecraftmeasurement101: create your school in Minecraft which has all the information on how to do this. He also mentioned the Gallipoli in Minecraft Exhibition, amazing ideas in here for teaching.
There are lots of resources on iTunesU that we can redesign for our classrooms. Everything, courses and pdfs are all free. There are also Apple education courses to learn about specific Apple products - search for Apple Ed - Units of study.
We then went through how to create a course in iTunesU which was very simple. You can put anything in an iTunesU course that is digital including Mp3, pdf, audio. You can hand in assignments and also grade them, although at this stage grading is just a number, not our system of Achieved, Merit Excellence. I thought this was  quite good as a course system, but the way we are looking to have learning at Haeata it probably was not going to be that useful. I did wonder though if students could make their own courses for other students. Something to think about.

iBooks Author
The next app we looked at was iBooks Author. This is free and could be used for creating teaching resources to be read on iPad or Mac as well as for students to create their own books.
We looked at "Tigers" and were shown how you can highlight text and have text spoken to you, although the app is not good at te reo yet. More suggestions to send to Apple. However, you can record a voice into the book so you could read it yourself. You can take notes on a book which highlights it, then you can see all notes you've taken and make study cards if you want them. There are lots of cool widgets to add to books and we were taken through Phasmids  which has some great examples of widgets in action.
We also looked at the iBooks store where if you search for Apple Education there are lots of instruction books for apps. Really hepful when you get stuck!
When writing an iBook it is template based so you need to look for the layout you like. Students prefer landscape. Stick with the template by dragging and dropping. A good way to start a textbook is with a video to draw them in. The table of content auto generates which is nice.
My reservation with iBooks is that you can only play them on a Mac. I feel this could be limiting if the student doesn't have a Mac at home. I found this article which talks about the pros and cons of using iBooks. 

Tips and tricks:
Turn off notifications - Go to the top right of your screen and click on the 3 lines to find the notifications.
Adding te reo Maori keyboard instructions - Here is a link to instructions for Mac and PC.
Ability to zoom in and out - Go to Preferences - Accessibility - Zoom
Preferences tips:
Display - Can change size of cursor, contrast
Speech - Karen closest to NZ accent
Dictation - more you use it the better it works/ Open up Preferences and enable it. Will recognise some Maori place names. We all need to email Apple and tell them we want Maori dictation!
Use for writing email quickly, can dictate lots of writing.
Gestures
Closing hand on the trackpad brings up access to all apps, open up to close the screen.
To change the gesture go into Trackpad.
3 fingers pushed up to see all open apps.

To bring up Spotlight search - Command-space - can use to search anything on the laptop including emails. 
Screenshot - change where it goes to by following these instructions.

iPad 101
Button at bottom - double tap to see what you have open. Swipe it up to close it. Good to see what students have open by double tapping.
Swipe up from bottom to get control centre and use orientation lock.
Swipe down from top for notification centre.
Swipe from middle to get Spotlight.

Classroom App - free on store
You can lock iPads.
Can open same app on all iPads. Can make small groups and push out pages or apps. Can lock them in that app until teacher changes it.
Some groups are created on the fly so you can see who is on camera, in safari etc.
Can have an iPad managing multiple classes as well.
Built dependant on wifi network though. Need a good network.
Blue bar at the top of student iPad means they are being watched. Students learn to self-managed.
Can share student work on a particular iPad via AppleTV.
Can be used for NZQA online assessment and testing - could take students into an app to create assessment and can lock the iPad to that app to stop them from browsing.
It can't work with BYOD - have to be institutional iPads. 

Coding
We need to see coding as a digital literacy. I totally agree that all students hould be given the chance to code as I see it as a step to problem solving as well as a technology skill.
We had a look at Swift Playgrounds which is an app for iPad which enables you to learn to code in the language of Swift, which is for Mac. It has to be an iOS10 iPad to run.
Some notes:
Can pinch and zoom into the coding graphic
Click on character and you can choose one
Click on speed button - can run it really fast or step through slowly - can see where you go wrong
Pictures, pdf or movie to prove learning - can broadcast live
Commands can be typed in - j key drag to right and it give () or {} by just one key
Can reset page or can reset whole programme - if sharing device need to save vid or pdf and they can go back to where they are up to with menu.
In iBooks, they have built a teacher guide on how to teach students to code.
Swift is Open Source - coding for iPhone and iPad apps and for Linux as well as ports to Windows, Android and Raspberry pi.
Playgrounds are prescriptive but you can create your own later in the learning process.
Targeted at 8 to 10yrs. Can do basic coding younger than that and I found this product, OSMO, which looked like quite a cool idea to be able to create the code with your hands first. I am also very keen on the ideas on the CSUnplugged website to teach coding to students. There are lots of resources out there for Mac, Android and Windows. It's important to know what you are trying to achieve first. 

It was a great session to get to know some new apps and to think about the use for these at Haeata. It also made me think a lot about what is fit for purpose and what the best tools are for the job we want to do. We do need to be careful of jumping on a train, when there may be another one that takes us to our destination faster and with more options. There is so much out there worth investigating. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Haeata - Week Eight

Day One

We started our day practising two waiata. I am finally getting these learnt, with the aid of sticky notes and lots of singing in the car. I'm loving singing every day and now putting the movement in as well is challenging again!
Glenys Williams came in to show us around our Linc-Ed site today in preparation for our Enrolment hui. This is the Student Management System (SMS) we will be using across the whole school and it was good to get into it and have a look around. The beauty of this system is that it is able to be personalised for our kura and we have input into what we need for us specifically. Some of our staff have used this before but for many of us it is a new platform.
We had a session in our Puna Ako time where we did some more unpacking around NCEA and what this would look like with regards to our Principles and Dispositions. Still many discussions about what this might look like for our ākonga.
After lunch we got to meet with some of our ākonga and their whānau. It was really good to have some time to chat and learn more about them as well as answering their questions, even though there are still a lot of unknowns with specifics, it was helpful to touch base and learn more about what their thoughts are.

Day Two

This morning started with our waiata again. I was pleased that I have learnt the lyrics to 2 out of the 3 so far as it makes it so much easier to harmonise. I was feeling great, then another was added today just to keep us on our toes! Glad we are able to have the lyrics for that one that we are singing in a few weeks time.
Paul (SLT) took us through the timetable plan today. It was good to get an idea of how the week will look and it also has a lot of flexibility in it which I am excited about. Our time is split into Kaupapa Ako (time for transdisciplinary learning), Puna Ako time (for our smaller groups with one kaiako), and MAI time (My Area of Interest).
Karyn took us through some reading and information around self-regulated learning after starting with a poem by George Betts "To Our Children". In my search for a copy of this poem I came across a book by George Betts called "Journey of Lifelong Learning".  The subtitle is "Major concepts, discussion and activities for facilitating wisdom in our youth" and after reading this, I thought that some of the activities and questions could be really helpful in helping formulate some discussion for our ākonga during Puna Ako time. She gave us a lot of readings and information to digest and I particularly found Karen's blogposts interesting as they come from a personal perspective and challenge us to think about what we are doing in our schools and why.
At morning tea I found this blogpost by George Couros which I felt really summed up a lot of what Karyn was talking about this morning.
The rest of the day was Apple IT training and I have written a separate blogpost about this.

Day Three

Started with work on unpacking Puna Ako time. We were looking at what this could look like in our hapori and then each hapori presented their ideas back to the group. This was done in a variety of ways, some of which had us highly entertained.
At lunch I had a good chat with one of our new teachers for next year. I will be her mentor and it was good to touch base and see what was on top for her at this stage. Such a different start for a new teacher, being part of a new school and having the opportunity to be a part of planning  and designing new learning ideas, not your usual start to teaching!
In the afternoon we had some more hui with whanau and then after school a number of our staff went to the Christchurch Connected Educator Christmas drinks which was a nice way to unwind for the day.

Day Four

Extra waiata practise was held today for those of us who were struggling a bit to get the moves down. Great to have so many talented people around to help us and many of us took advantage of the extra practise. After that we started unpacking MAI time. MAI time is a time for students to follow their passions and explore something they may want to find out more about. We had discussions around whether this should be a documented time and what it might look like in our hapori. We then had our own MAI time so I spent most of it writing blogs and chatting with kaiako on a range of topics. It is so good to have time to be able to have conversations about all sorts of things. You learn so much from just talking with other educators.
Our afternoon was spent with a young man who is coming to Haeata next year but has been at Te Karaka Area School. It was great to hear his point of view as to what worked and didn't for him as far as the project learning approach and his NCEA credits.  Getting an insight into how they managed NCEA in a different setting was really helpful. Being able to make NCEA and assessment work for us, rather than the other way around is a must.
The evening was spent at a community hui where a number of whanau came to hear what was happening at Haeata and meet the staff over a coffee and a sausage. Such a great feeling having the staff and community in the same place and being able to make more connections.

Day Five

The day started with more waiata practise, we are starting to sound and look OK! Puna Ako time saw us do an overview of the 8 weeks. We put up all the topics we had learnt about and then added our feelings and questions to each of the big picture sections. This gave us a good idea as to the issues still facing us. We were lucky to have a good chunk of time on this during the day and I felt we needed to have this overview as we have learnt so much and it's good to go back to everything and just make some sense of it. Some of our questions were answered, others brought up even more questions but it was nice to have that time to voice those.We shared an idea around how NCEA might work with the Korepo hapori (Yr 7-10) and got some feedback from them as well. We unpacked the timetable even more, getting down to what defined each of the blocks. How is MAI time different from Kaupapa Ako? What would we see across all blocks? This will inform a lot of our thinking over the next 2 weeks.

Day Six

The Aranui community concert AFFIRM was on the Saturday this week. Haeata was there in force, with most of the staff able to be there for some of the day. We had a tent with a lot of information for prospective ākonga and their whānau and I know that I spoke to a large number of people over the morning when I was there. It was a great day with performances by a huge range of local groups and chances to talk with lots of people.