Friday, 15 April 2016

Term 1 - Looking Back

One term down - this week at our PRT meeting, we were congratulated on surviving an eleven week term as it is somewhat of a rarity.  The time has gone fast however I must make an effort to stop and reflect before moving onto Term 2.

This has been a fantastic start to my teaching career - I am in a position where I am very fortunate to have so much support and guidance from both my school and the MDTA cohort.  I will continue to develop these relationships as I move forward as I am learning more about the power of collaboration.

I have started to make some great connections with both my learners and their families and this is another set of relationships that I intend to continue to build as I move into Term 2.

I have made an effort to continue to challenge myself in my role as a teacher - it has been a daunting time over the last 11 weeks however I feel that I must continue to have an open mindset about every opportunity that I am presented with and how I can develop myself as a learner.  The amount of things I have learned so far has been incredible and I need to remind myself to stop and take stock of how and when I can utilise this newfound knowledge.

Term 2 is approaching so read here to see what is on the horizon - I am pretty excited!

Friday, 8 April 2016

I am a reluctant writer.

I shudder when I hear "sharing's caring", mainly because out of ignorance as I have not really thought about the meaning by the saying.

Manaiakalani's pedagogy is centred on learn, create and share and as I near the end of my first term of teaching, it is only now where I am starting to really see the links with how I am designing learning for my learners and why we share our learning.

With my literacy groups, I am really hitting a wall when we discuss our audience for our writing.  They have a love of writing but this is very intrinsic and focused on their sphere of influence.  In other words, they love to free write for themselves, but the reluctance comes when we discuss sharing our work with others.  I have only begun to scratch the surface with the reasons why this exists and it will be a focus for me as I move into the next term and working with them.

Upon reflection, I find that I am suffering from similar issues as the learners.  I do enjoy writing and have written as a hobby for a number of years now, however, there would be only a handful of people that know this as I do not share my writing with others.  My own reluctance comes from the fear of being seen as a "poor" writer and the feedback that I would receive.

Add this to this that I am now seeing real shift in my own practice by being more open and authentic with both my colleagues and learners.  How can I continue this trajectory moving into next term?

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

PLG - HTML and being in the Learning Pit!

Last week the MDTA cohort got stuck into developing our Google Site for Current Events around the world.  This was the task which Caleb came to speak to us about a few weeks back, which the aim to develop both our own critical thinking skills along with those of our learners.

I chose to concentrate on creating a page for my higher level readers where they could develop their own skills in thinking based on the Christchurch Earthquake and more particularly, the debate about whether or not to close Redcliffs School.  I felt that my learners would be able to connect with this as they would be able to empathise with other learners facing challenges and thought that by scaffolding the lessons and using a multi-modal approach, the concept would be achievable.

With that in mind, today was an intense day and I found myself in the learning pit!

The Learning Pit is a metaphor we use at school to help learners feel comfortable with being uncomfortable when faced with challenges.  It is an incredible feeling to celebrate when we are being challenged and how we can use both collaboration and the learner qualities to help us achieve our goals.

With this project, I was in the pit for the majority of time while creating the page.  At first I began to feel frustrated with the project, but with the end goal in sight, I was determined to keep going.  My cohort are amazing and very patient individuals and I am very lucky to be in a team where collaboration is natural and becoming second-nature.  By being self-aware of my learning style, I was able to ask for help and had some great discussions with the others to find out answers to some of my problems.  I thought a lot about how I wanted the site to look and was able to make connections with previous sessions where we had been taught some amazing skills in how to design a Google Site.  I had to leave early to fly home, but found myself reflecting on the work I had done so far and wondered what else I could do to make sure that I would be able to complete this by the end of the week.  While I have spent a lot of time with this, I know that I can do a lot more in this space and am now inspired to take risks and try more with Google Sites.

Please check out our site as I think everyone has done an amazing job!  Each cohort member has created a separate page with a different context and focus to develop a series of lessons to help build learners confidence in aspects such as literacy, critical thinking and Social Studies.