Developing vocabulary in English

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One collaborative strategy I have used which is proving to be quite effective is getting students to create a vocab list in a shared document.  We’ve been focusing on creating two lists,one of common words and one of specific words which relate directly to the text or our topic.  In this instance students are writing a film review for Tama Tu.  From this list their aim is to try and incorporate more ‘specific words’into their review.   Having created the word list students then copied the words and went to where they created a new list which automatically populated definitions for the words.

Education Perfect

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To support my Year 9 English class I’ve decided to trial Education Perfect.  Mitchell from Northland College brought my attention to it last term and I’d have to say first impressions are impressive!  I thought I would use it as a “Do Now’or lesson starter but the students loved it so much we ended up using it for the whole lesson.  It was wonderful to see one of my students (with a curriculum level of 2 or 3) doing so well.  He called me over and with a beaming smile said ‘look Miss I got all of these right!’ The instant feedback was a winner for him,he was engaged and completely focused.  The report breakdown you receive on student’s progress is very comprehensive and this term I’m planning to run a diagnostic test.  From that test,Education Perfect will create an individualised stream of lessons for students on areas they need to work on.  The support is from Education Perfect is quick and personalised,I think they’re really onto something here.

Arduino and Robotics

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I’ve been waiting for a while for the right opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about Arduino so when a workshop came up at MindLab in the last holidays I jumped at the chance.  I love that the programme software is open source and the electronic components are relatively inexpensive to buy.  Here’s a video of a recycled robot I made.


Think VR and Augmented Reality

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My husband,son and I were having a conversation the other day about which was going to be bigger Virtual or Augmented Reality,we were split.  My son (a Virtual Reality developer) went for VR and from a marketing perspective I think he’s right.  My husband on the other hand,thought AR but I went for a mix of both depending on the context.  Virtual Reality has so much potential for a truly immersive experience and in education I can just imagine the potential of medical students working on patients,engineers understanding the inner workings of machinery or artists being able to put themselves inside their painting.  Augmented Reality where information is conveyed as overlays on the real world,would I think,be great for group work maybe VR is as well but the cost and fitting of all the equipment surely puts it at a disadvantage?  Either way the potential of this immersive and interactive technology is compelling.  I came across this interesting article today,The Top Ten companies working on Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education Can you imagine what Science would be like if the teacher has the tools from the Starship Enterprise at her fingertips!  If only I could figure out how to bring those hologram figures into the classroom,I’m sure someone’s already onto it…(any leads or thoughts welcome 😉

Critical Inquiry

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Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice

Key Indicators

i.    systematically and critically engage with evidence and professional literature to reflect on and refine practice

ii.   respond professionally to feedback from members of their learning community

iii.  critically examine their own beliefs,including cultural beliefs,and how they impact on their professional practice and the  achievement of ākonga

Level 1 Digital Technologies Teaching Inquiry

The focus of inquiry for 2016 was with my Level 1 DTY students,I taught one class at school and one class online through FarNet.  I was particularly interested to find out how effective my assessments were in terms of students’interest and engagement.   In previous years I had observed the single outcome assessments (which were provided by the previous Head of Department) were not always enjoyed by students and they struggled to see the relevance.  In discussion with a colleague from another school I tried a multi-outcome assessment in term two and the results were encouraging.  Students enjoyed having a choice around not only the topic but also with how they presented their work.  Achievement Standard 91047 requires students to develop a digital prototype to address a brief using this assessment.

2016 Teaching Inquiry Level 1 DTY:AS 91076

2016 Teaching Inquiry Level 1 DTY:AS 91071

2016 Teaching Inquiry Level 1 DTY 2016:AS 91075


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Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning

Key Indicators

i. actively contribute to the professional learning community

ii. undertake areas of responsibility effectively

Lecturing at the University of Auckland

The first semester of this year was a busy one,not only was I teaching at my secondary school but I also taught a level 5 paper at the University of Auckland.  The paper was titled ‘An introduction to Computing’and was primarily for foundation students entering a Bachelor of Education.  I was responsible for the course design and assessments which were around teaching and learning in the 21st century.   Some of the resources from the course can be viewed here.   Students’learned what it meant to be an educator in a digital environment,they learned how to create their own digital resources and then collaborated on a class website called the Tai Tokerau Students’Learning Hub.

Lead Teacher of Digital Technologies –Kaikohekohe Education Trust



Student well-being

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Demonstrate commitment to promoting the well-being of all ākonga.

Academic Counselling

At our school we are lucky enough to be a part of the Star Path programme which includes students being involved in the Academic Counselling programme.  Three times a year the school is closed   It’s a great opportunity to meet with our students’whanau and for the students to lead the conversation.  My Year 9 form students led the parent,student,teacher conference PST and they did so confidently having practiced in class a couple of times.    Students established learning goals but on reflection they could have been developed further and this is something I want to focus on for 2017 by supporting students’self assessment to help raise their self-efficacy and confidence in themselves.

Kia Eke Panuku

Since 2014 our school has also been involved in the Kia Eke Panuku programme.    To me Kia Eke Panuku is first and foremost about relationships.   I understand how important having a good relationship with your students and their whanau is to students’engagement and their success.

Rongohia te Hau classroom walkthrough 

The files below are from an observation of my Year 11 Digital Technology class,the highlighted sections represent evidence seen by the observer.  Those not highlighted are areas for me to focus on in 2017.



Professional relationships

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Engage in ethical,respectful,positive and collaborative professional relationships with:

a) ākonga
b) teaching colleagues,support staff and other professionals
c) whānau and other carers of ākonga
d) agencies,groups and individuals in the community


Developing positive,professional relationships is paramount for me in my teaching practice.  Whether dealing with students,their whānau  or my colleagues I always aim to communicate clearly,opening and with integrity.

a) ākonga

I know the value of having good relationships with ākonga and this was a focus of mine for my Kia Eku Panuku professional development.  I focused on two classes,one was with my Year 10 Social Studies class and the other was with my Year 11 Digital Technologies class.  The file below is a transcript from a focus group interview of students from Year 11 Digital Technologies class.  My Kia Eku Panuku facilitator conducted the interview,students’identities were kept anonymous.


b) teaching colleagues,support staff and other professionals

In the latter part of 2016 our school was working towards Chromebook adoption for all new Year 9 students in 2017.   We would be joining the highly successful Kaikohekohe Education Trust and my role as Lead Teacher of Digital Technologies includes acting as the liaison person between the trust,our school and my colleagues.  For many teachers at our school,the move to predominantly teaching through the utilisation of digital technologies would be a significant change that would require a considerable amount of upskilling.  In addition to running professional development workshops once a week after school I also developed a website to act as our online hub for resources,links to ‘how to’tutorials,pedagogical readings and other school exemplars.   Using Google Sites it is intended as a collaborative work in progress,here’s the link to see more.

c) whānau and other carers of ākonga

In 2016,I really stepped up my online communication with whanau through class websites and frequent emails.  I tried to keep parents informed about when and what their child was required to do in regards to their homework via our class website  and through group emails.  I created electronic assessment and marking schedules (see here) which made it not only easy to share with students but also their parents.  Feedback from parents was positive and something I plan to build on next year;

Parent A:
Thank you so much for sending out these reports. It really helps to see.
Parent B:
Thank you for your reply,Kerry ,and for letting the students know what is required of them. We are going away on camp on Monday,but I will encourage ….. to do some work on  AS 91070. I hope you get a chance to relax as well as do work.
Parent C:
Thats great,thanks for letting us know.  Will his credits go up for that this week sometime?

d) agencies,groups and individuals in the community

This year I took a group of Year 10 Social Studies students to visit Parliament in Wellington.  It was a fantastic opportunity for students and brought to life for them the importance of government,the type of issues discussed there and by whom.  For some of our students in the group this was the first time they had ever flown or been away from their whanau.  We were warmly received by Miranda Thomson and her team at the Parliament Education Services  they do a fantastic job.  The students got to me Kelvin Davis in his office,a tour of Parliament buildings and sat in the public gallery while the house was sitting.  The trip would not have been possible without the support from the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust who provided financial assistance for some of our students’travel.

Students also got to participate in the Eye on the Hive programme with Capital E Studios in Wellington.  This gave students the chance to be news reporters and ministers at government discussing a fictional argument complete with media scrum.  A visit to Victoria University also got students thinking about future steps for themselves after high school.

Every kid needs a champion

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I love this woman Rita Pierson,what an inspirational speaker.  She talks about the power and importance of relationships and reminds us to see our kids efforts in a different light.

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Great couple of articles to read in this month’s Education Review and it’s good to know there is so much online support for PhD students should I ever decided to go down that path,which I’d have to say is rather tempting.  Dr Inger Mewburn the driving force behind the blog The Thesis Whisperer has 12,000 enrolled in her Massive Open Online Course) on ‘How to survive your PhD’.  I’ve referred to the blog many times this year The Thesis Whisperer and always come away with some inspiration to continue with writing.