Monday, July 3, 2017

End of term in an inquiry based classroom

There is always a keen sense of excitement as the full inquiry cycle comes to fruition.

This week students in A5 & A6 will be teaching the concept they were curious enough about to investigate more. They have collaborated in groups to ensure the deep understanding of their science concept is taught effectively to a group of their choice.

I know the students will be blogging about their lessons and sharing the DLO (Digital Learning Object) they have created on their own blogs so make sure you take a look at them and leave a comment :).

Below are some photos of today's lessons.

Kate, Isla, Ashlie-Marie and Michaella teach a lesson about volcanoes:

Cade, Lebron and Robin taught their lesson about reactions when certain chemicals combine:



Cooper and Jai shared their knowledge about the properties of matter:


And the last lesson today was Isla, Shay-Rose and Mikayla showing ALL of A1 how the properties of matter can change through engaging in some super yummy cooking:


It has certainly been a big learning curve for the Year 5 & 6 students. Some of the really engaging lessons will be repeated and filmed on Thursday so keep an eye out for more as the final week of term unravels.

Monday, June 19, 2017

On the surface this blog hasn't changed, but....

I feel remiss in not adding what A6 have been up to over the last 2 weeks!

Sorry for that. I do have a very good reason. I may not have been adding to the A6 blog as I usually do about our 'noticings' each week but I have been here more often than ever.

It's been a very exciting couple of weeks as the students in A6 drafted, shared, got feedback and launched their first baby step into what will be the inception of their life-long digital footprint. They started blogging!

I'm really proud of how seriously they have taken the learning and how excited they are about sharing their learning on such a broad scale, receiving and providing responses across a range of contexts with a diverse audience. I'm not sure they really comprehend how massive a step it is they've made.

Look right to find A6 student blogs. 
Please comment, they're dying to hear what people think of their learning efforts.

Or see below for a couple of examples:

Kate's post about 'The Beast'
Hi everyone, it's Kate.Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about what we have been doing in class. We are learning about what our beast is and what it does when it comes out. 

This is the video we watched:

My beast comes out when I'm angry, sad, scared or anxious. Normally when he does come out I feel like punching or kicking someone or something (but obviously I wouldn't punch anyone) so going to karate/doing Thai-chi is great for releasing anger or sadness.

This is my beast - Freddy Fright:

These are some of the things you should do if your beast comes out:
Change the subject/task,
Find support,
Reflect on why you're angry/sad/anxious,
Do something you love,
Go somewhere that calms your beast,

Everyone has got a BEAST.
What does your beast look like?, what's it's name?, what do you do when your beast gets angry? These are all good things for everyone to think about.

That's all from me, for today, so goodbye (for now).

Ajay's post, introducing himself to the network out there...
I’m Ajay W! I’m just a normal kid. Yea...really...really normal…. Who really loves Lord of Rings! I mean Lord of the Rings is like,
my life!

There’s a really strong meaning behind it! Don’t let power take control of you and respect nature and the world the way it is, or you will turn into a Wraith.  I respect Tolkien as my idol.  He has such a creative mind, and pure imagination. He spends long hours trying to create a world that doesn’t exist.

Einstine thing intro #2.jpgI also respect a few other people in my life.

Peter Jackson (for bringing to life the worlds authors describe to the big screen), Albert Einstein (for figuring out the biggest questions in life), Steven Spielberg (doing the same thing as Peter), Michael Faraday (for discovering the magnetic field) and others.

But let me talk about my learning journey. I’m a 10 year old student who is really passionate about the mind.
I think learning is about seeing the world through somebody else's eye. I think we all have different eyes and we all see the world in a different way.

Intro #4.jpgAnd I think that the purpose of writing this blog, is to show ‘you’ what I see in my eye.

Intro #5.jpgI don’t need to tell you class information, because every post is going to include that, so there is no point.

Do me a favour and tell me what you see in the comment section below. Oh and hey! Follow me to see my learning journey evolve. I mean I’m gonna make a coke rocket to fit a Flynn inside and blast them off…! Pretty interesting, right?

I would follow me, I mean like you don't have to, I’m just saying it’s right here. Man… this is awkward..umm…
I’ll go……………………………… Peace out brah!

Cade shared about our initiative towards earning our Trusted Learner Licence (TLL)
Hey guys.
About  2 weeks  ago my teacher Mrs Harland made up a 'Trusted Learner License', so we can't listen to you-tube or any of our own songs without first earning our TLL. So, we're making digital badges  like a : Chrome badge, Writing badge, Reading badge, Inquiry badge, Math badge and a Responding badge, that's the one that I am doing but there are still a lot more badges. Responding means how we give feedback.
And yes of course mine is finished. 

Here's a video on you-tube about badges?

Oh I haven't told why we're making the badges,

when we've got all the badges then we can watch you-tube and stuff because we would have earned our 'Trusted Learner Licence'. 

We hope you enjoy this new way we are sharing our learning and look forward to reading your responses :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Recognising progress in a modern day learning environment

Several things have happened over the past couple of weeks that have made me wonder about how I can improve the monitoring and output of student learning in a 1-1 device learning environment.

I know the learning has happened, and I know my students have responded to the new learning by using it and creating responses using skills and knowledge only recently acquired. But I also know we are not sharing our learning. Mainly because using the tools, the icon based language and digital pathways, accessing the learning in a completely different way than ever before, learning how to be safe, accurate, articulate and responsible online, remembering user names and passwords, etc., etc. has simply meant that completing a task takes so long we are well into the next one (or fourth) before realising we hadn't finished the first one.

Using the SAMR model to design the tasks means students are learning how to use their devices to do things in ways that were not able to be done before having such easy access to this technology. SAMR is a model designed to help educators infuse digital technology into teaching and learning. Developed by Dr. Ruben Puetedura, the model offers a method of seeing how digital technologies might positively impact teaching and learning.

It is my first time teaching in a truly integrated inquiry focused with 1-1 device use environment. And noticing a lack of 'output' has led to the question, Why? I know the students have made great progress. Their data says so. But how can I support the completion and sharing of what's created in response to learning on a scale that seems expected? Yet continue to ensure students are learning indepth about the platform they will take into secondary, work - their future.

This will continue to be my big question for the week and I will add to this post as I find answers to my queries.

To find out more about SAMR and why learning is what it is, I encourage you to come to our E-Learning evening:

WHAT:   E-LEARNING Parent Information Evening
WHEN:  Wednesday 31 May, 6.30-7.00pm
WHERE: Whangaparaoa School

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Learning Conversations 24/05/17

I am really looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night and engaging in meaningful conversation about your child's learning so far this year.

The students have been really busy over the last week putting together and rehearsing what they want to share with you. Their control over the google domain and the progress they have made in knowing themselves as learners and responding to their learning goals, I hope will be clearly evident.

They are very aware that their classroom, especially the teaching and learning is very different from when we went to school, before the 1 to 1 platform was feasible and are excited to share what they have produced with their greatest fans - you! They will show you why it is important to learn how to use the tools they have to get the best effect in their learning, how they utilise the google domain to share their learning and what, where and how they access learning. As well as explaining their curriculum achievement, learning goals and next learning steps.

Much of what we have explored this year in regard to sharing and engaging in learning sits within the Google Apps for Education platform (now referred to as the G-Suite) and first and foremost they have been learning how to use these effectively:

Students use Drive to store their work. Part of my practice is to give students choice as this promotes ownership of learning. Students will be sharing with you using a combination of slides, drawings, docs and sites. YouTube I believe is one of the best teachers on the planet and a common default for anyone wanting to know anything - we use it a lot to help us find out how to do the things we don't know. My students now have access to gmail and I find it the best platform for feedback there is right now. We are about to start blogging and will soon be using forms to gather information. I believe they have come along way in 14 short weeks :)

Last week, I introduced sites to those ready and wanting. For about 2 days I was the expert. Now, I have students more adept within the program than my limited skills of building and designing. The biggest step I made becoming a better teacher was accepting this and letting go of the 'locus of control'. I love that students have ownership and control over their learning and their learning outcomes.

Tomorrow night I hope you see this too!

I look forward to the questions you ask (even the curly ones! Especially the curly ones), the feedback you will provide your child and the sense of accomplishment I know they'll feel after making you proud. See you tomorrow...

Monday, May 22, 2017


Last week we experienced the normal inclement weather conditions Auckland so regularly dishes us. Unfortunately, that meant that on Thursday morning instead of heading out to the bikes we decided it would be too dangerous and something else needed to take it's place.

It's pretty difficult finding something to replace PE in A5 & 6. The students really value getting outside and playing competitive, skills based games or activities together.

Sam and I were in a predicament...
What could we replace the bikes with that would still add value to all our learning, yet still be described as FUN?

Sam to the rescue, "Let's play 'The Game of Awesome'!"
"Of course!" I replied.

The best way to explain 'The Game of Awesome' is from our very own national Ministry of Education Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) website as that is where it has been produced, marketed and delivered to NZ schools in response to the growing concern over boys writing. The beautiful thing is that not only boys love the game, the girls had just as much fun!

Scroll down for photos of our students playing and the TKI sites description of the game. Best place to go if you want to know more? Ask your kids :)

Game of Awesome

Game of Awesome is a card game for 3-6 players designed to engage and inspire kids, specifically boys, to tell stories and learn to write. Playing the game helps students generate ideas quickly which they can explore, expand and write stories.
The basic game has been produced as four sets of cards containing topics, themes and ideas that students years 5-8 will find interesting, involving and often ridiculous! The cards can be used independently or mixed and matched to create new combinations and infinitely more ideas.
The game is easy to learn for both students and teachers, quick to play and easily employs a range of learning outcomes by using new rules, templates and other teacher support materials provided as free downloadable, printable files.
Watch the video to find out why Game of Awesome is worth checking out!

Source: Ministry of Education TKI teacher resource and information site:

A5 & 6 Engaged:


Game of Awesome is definitely here to stay! Looking forward to reading some of the writing that will be generated due to the 'AWESOME' conversations students engaged in during play :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We are getting ready to Blog :)

I'm so excited and I know A6 students are too! We have been learning and creating around the theme of how to share our learning in today's digital landscape.

Tonight my students blogs were built and added to the class blog. You'll notice these sitting to the right.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to James Hopkins from CORE Education for his time, expertise and humour for helping me build these tonight. Without his technical assistance we would never have achieved my goal of visibility for the students in A6. James you truly add value to me as a teacher and learner, we all send our heart felt thanks! Credit must also go to the Ako Hiko Education Trust, the Manaiakalani Education Trust and CORE Education for creating visible resources to enable this programme to happen.

In giving students access to blogs we are enabling an opportunity to share far wider than the four walls of the classroom. Coupled with the CyberSmart programme, students make careful choices around what they share and keep their personal identity safe at all times. Having the chance to share far and wide helps make learning more purposeful and pushes learners to think about the authentic audience they would like to reach. Lastly, the blog is not the end point for learning. The sharing of work to the wider world means that new perspectives are added and learners revisit the learning based on the feedback of the online community.

Very soon A6 students will be ready to start their own digital footprint. These will go with them as they move through life and become a meaningful and positive digital reminder of learning, skills, life, loves, triumphs, failures and more.

I can't wait to see them embrace this new world of sharing and have you and all those they value see and contribute to their learning journey as it unfolds.

Watch this space .... :)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

When Leaders Support and Serve

The last assembly we had at WGP was hosted by students from A6.

We were really proud of our Year 6 representatives :

Nate (Nathaniel)
Mikatla (Mikayla - she loves cats :)!) &
Rosie (Shay-Rose - she likes Rosie)

They were given choice and decided to present from the perspective of "The Guy Williams Show". Although I was not a 'Guy Williams' fan, I was not even aware 'Guy Williams' had a show, who he was or that NZ kids gave him such a following but from the audience response I was clearly in the minority.

The title of this post may have you confused! The reason I am writing 'they' instead of 'we' is because Kevin leads the assemblies at school. I had nothing to do and nothing to organise. I'd like to take this opportunity to say; "Thanks, Kevin" for taking something away from an already overfull teachers "things I need to do" in order to provide the best learning environment and opportunities for A6 and A Team. It is so, so appreciated.

The down side of that is that I had no idea teachers would be used in the show as cast members. This was a complete surprise and I know my students would berate me if I didn't also include the following two clips : (Sorry Graham, Ha!)