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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.



The Thesis Journey

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Writing a 40,000 word thesis is no small task,thankfully I’m one of the lucky ones and have a whole year of diligent focused study to complete it.  On commencement a year seems like a long time,the due date sits months away somewhere near Christmas and flowering Pohutukawa,but now it’s mid October and that deadline is looming ever nearer.  There are days when I doubt I will ever manage a paragraph and other days when I seem to skip through a thousand words.

For the past month I’ve been coding my results,then a little more coding followed by…yet more coding.  For some respite I managed to carve out a big section of my methods section which feels pleasantly satisfying but then it was back to coding.   In total I’ve spent a good three weeks coding my results which does tend to affect ones outlook in strange ways. Suddenly what seemed so simplistic is full of complexities,devoid of the essential connecting dots.  It’s in those moments that the term ‘can’t see the woods for the trees‘really plays itself out.

I’m lost.  Overwhelmed in a sea of themes,codes and comments.

Open coding has had it’s way with me and a fog has enveloped any clarity.

How timely then,that I was off to Auckland this week for a couple of days with the Woolf Fisher team.   Our discussions were rich and purposeful as always,full of  inspiration,tips of the trade,Piaget and anecdotes that brought life to the driest breath of any research methodology.   So yes,I’m refreshed,on track and importantly reinvigorated to get on and complete my thesis.    I still have a mountain to climb by Christmas but I’m feeling more and more confident that it’s achievable. One –step –at – a -time.

A huge thank you to Aaron,Kerry,Mei,Rebecca,Stuart and fellow scholars Liz,Carolyn,Gina and Sam for a great couple of days.



Doctoral and Postgraduate Symposium

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I attended the Doctoral and Postgraduate Symposium on Saturday at Auckland University and really glad I did.   Dr. Rae Si’ilata gave an inspirational speech for the opening address which set the tone for the day.  She was eloquent,informative and outlined all the reasons why you might want to consider doing a Doctorate.    Rae instilled how important is was to believe in yourself,stay connected to your whanau and keep the end goal in mind to help you through those times of self-doubt.

I saw some excellent presentations from both Masters and Doctoral students.  Cheryl Loughton was electric in her presentation Are there metacognitive differences between the sub-populations of secondary school students in New Zealand?  I particularly liked her use of the koru as a symbol for her whole thesis.  It really helped me to get an overview of her comprehensive study of thinking styles,motivations and processes for students studying science at high school.   Cheryl is looking at the benefits of using Betty’s Brain,a computer teaching tool that helps students to learn by putting them in charge of the teaching.  I found a short video (see below) which explains how Betty’s Brain works.

It was the first time I’d heard the term ‘hidden markov models‘which I think is part of the algorithm behind Betty’s Brain that is responsible for tracking students’movements.  This allows the programme to build a profile around how the student learns which would be very useful.

Katy Perry,not the one swinging in the jungle 😉 did her Masters dissertation research on the advantages and disadvantages of using instant feedback via scratch score cards and Socrative,an online app.  Both systems motivated students,cost was a factor with the scratch cards which she accessed online and internet issues were at times challenging with the Socrative app.

Jiansheng Cui embarking on his doctoral studies has been looking at common themes between schools and their BYOD policies.  The second part of his research will be looking into instructional design and how teachers use devices in the classroom.

Investigating fanau engagement in the Manaikilani project was Maria Meredith.  Her Doctoral study is about understanding the ways that digital schooling impacts families.  Maria is only in the early stages of her study but already she had come to understand what a rich resource our parents/caregivers are and by understanding their perspectives we can help raise the achievement and engagement of students.

It was a great day,a chance to meet other students and share the highs and lows of embarking on such intensive study.  Next on the University’s calendar in terms of symposiums is Exposure 2015 which includes presentations,academic posters and a variety showcase,looking forward to that one.

Three Minute Thesis competition

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I recently competed in the Auckland University Three Minute Thesis competition and was delighted to get through to the finals. There were some excellent presentations for both Masters and Doctoral students and it was great to get an insight into what people are researching.

The brief was to present your research in three minutes by outlining your objective,providing a background to your research topic by highlighting the significance of your research and to give a summary of outcomes.  No mean feat to get across all of that in 3 minutes with only one slide and no technical research jargon.

Student centered learning

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In the past I’ve tried to let students decide what they wanted to learn about but for different reasons they haven’t always worked out.  For instance the Year 10 art class were really excited about the idea of designing and painting their own skateboards.  The skateboards were $90 each which was a discounted rate but still pretty expensive for us.  Initially the class was all on board we were going to do cake stalls and raffles to help raise the money so that all 24 kids in the class could have a skateboard to paint their own design on.  When it came to the first day of the cake stall about 6 students and myself had made the effort to do some baking,a couple more joined us at lunchtime to help man the stall and we made around $130.  We decided to do it again the following week this time one student’s mother did a tonne of baking and put together a raffle for us to sell,there was just two other students who brought something along.  When I put it to the class that only some kids were pulling their weight in the fundraising efforts the ones who weren’t contributing said they didn’t want to do it anymore anyway,it was too hard and involved too much of their time.  So we ended up with a bit of a stalemate and I wasn’t really sure how to take it from there.

We ended up dividing the money between the students who did actively contribute and they got skateboards.  We also had a skateboard business from Whangarei come and set up a skate park at the school for the day which everyone got to enjoy which was a lot of fun but we didn’t reach the goal of everyone earning their own skate board.   This was 3 years ago now,I was still fairly green at teaching and I like to think I’d do things differently next time.

I came across this fantastic video today where a teacher in the USA is putting her students first and letting them direct their learning.  This is exactly the kind of things I would like to be doing in my classes when I return to teaching next year.

#edchatnz Blogging Meme

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Thank you Janna Brewster (@jannabrewsterNZ) for the tag in the #edchatNZ Blogging Meme!

If you get included in the blogging meme:copy/paste the questions and instructions into your own blog then fill out your own answers. Share on Twitter by tagging 5 friends and using #edchatnz. Make sure you send your answers back to whomever tagged you,too!

1. How did you attend the #edchatnz Conference? (Face 2 Face,followed online or didn’t)

I found out about the conference on Twitter of course and was so pleased I went.  I came away feeling really inspired and ready to put some of the ideas into practice.

2. How many others attended from your school or organisation?

Just me unfortunately,a few others would have liked to have come but were busy with the school’s production of Xanadu.

3.How many #edchatnz challenges did you complete?

I wasn’t very good at participating I’m sorry to say,I think I could have done with a visual prompt here and there.

4. Who are 3 people that you connected with and what did you learn from them?

One of the first people I met was Angela Lee @nzleeangela who told me about the Post-Grad Diploma she’s doing with Mindlab .  It sounds like a lot of fun and I’m envious I’m not able to attend.

I also connected with a dear friend and colleague Ros MacEachern @rosmaceachern,whose enthusiasm for teaching is always an inspiration to me.  I attended her workshop and learnt how we can work across departments regardless of our current systems.  Having listened to Ros,I’m really keen to make it happen and feel I may have the wherewithall to do so now.  Ros is a fabulous writer and her blog O Brave new School continues to motivate me and consider what is possible.

I was so impressed with Bron Stuckey’s @BronSt workshop on Cultivating Identity and Community Through Gamification and came away with my head full of ideas of things to try at school.  I especially liked the idea of using gaming to engage teachers into PLD and to use it to help develop relationships between teachers and students.

5. What session are you gutted that you missed?

I’m really sorry I missed the 3D printed workshops and the Solo Taxonomy there were a lot of good things on at the same time Saturday morning.  I hope the google doc agenda stays live because it has some useful links to refer to later on.

6. Who is one person that you would like to have taken to #edchatnz and what key thing would they have learned? 

My neighbour,teacher and long time friend Ria, she would have been blown away by what some teachers are up to and even for her to see Hobsonville Secondary School would have been such a treat.  Ria is one of those teachers who gets on and does things.   She’s a natural teacher and really makes learning relevant for her students.

7. Is there a person you didn’t get to meet/chat with (F2F/online) that you wished you had? Why?

Yes,I would have loved to have been able to connect with Steve Mouldrey and heard how he creates curiosity amongst his students.  Thank goodness for the web links that continue long after the event has finished.

I would also liked to have touch base with KarenMelhuishSpencer @virtuallykaren just to met her in person.  She gave a fun upbeat presentation with some fascinating statistics,all a bit sad when you look at how many people follow Katy Perry as opposed to the world wild life fund.  There were some really good tips in there for nurturing our students to be globally aware citizens.

8. What is the next book you are going to read and why? 

Sitting beside my bed is Responsive Pedagogy by Margrain,V.,and Macfarlane A.H.,(2011).  Earlier this year I attended a one day workshop  titled ‘Restorative Justice Practice’with Margaret Thorsborne.  It was a day well spent and I have used the process many times at my school.  I’m also studying a paper with Canterbury University this year called ‘Leadership for Learning’and restorative practice was one of the change initiatives that informed my assignment.

9. What is one thing you plan to do to continue the Education Revolution you learned about at #edchatnz?

One thing I’ll be making a conscious effort to do is to stay connected to like minded individuals,I have had a habit of dropping out of the conversation when ‘life’gets too busy but maybe it’s more about prioritising my time better.    I’m also feeling pretty committed to start integrating what I’ve been learning in the classroom.  I’ve been studying towards my Masters with Canterbury for the past four years on a part-time basis and now feel ready to gear up a level.

10. Will you take a risk and hand your students a blank canvas?

This is music to my ears,but making it work well puts me in a bit of a spin,which is why I’ve got to stay connected to hear and learn from other’s.  I have tried a number of times to stand aside and let the students instigate their own learning and while some students have ran with the idea many have been left floundering and not really knowing what to do.  It’s those ones that I need to support well.

I tag: