Friday 21 April 2017

GAFE Summit (Auckland, April 2017)

Although it is the school holidays, I have endeavoured to continue challenging myself professionally and attend the GAFE Summit.  GAFE is a HUGE part of what my life as a teacher involves, and also where I see myself in some kind of leadership role in the near future (hopefully!). 

As well as attending sessions, I also presented at this conference as well.
I was very nervous and a little thrown by technical difficulties at the beginning (i.e. can't connect through HDMI, get an adapter, computer wont recognise its plugged in, borrow somebody else's Chromebook, strained internet), but I carried on and the presentation went well. 
I definitely think I will only get better and more confident each time I try to present, so I will persevere! 

Click here to read through my notes from this conference.
Check out photos from the summit here.

Thursday 13 April 2017

End of term 1!

Today marks the end of term 1 2017. 
What an 11 weeks it has been! 

I have worked my butt off to make my classroom safe, exciting and a place where students want to be. I think I have done this well, as my students often tell me how happy they are to come to school, how cool (insert learning topic here) was, or how much I am a cool teacher because I make it fun.

I asked my students to complete an end of term survey as a form of reflection for both them and I, the same as I did last year (read here, here and here)

Click here to read their full answers. Note that I have hidden their email addresses and other personal information for their protection. 

There are some gems that I just am so happy to see about my practice and the classroom culture - (highlighted in yellow when you open the link).

I have also marked some boxes in orange - these responses show that the student had learnt what their goal was for that subject, e.g. one of the reading goals was to summarise information, and a couple people said that was what they learnt. Success!

I also have marked a few in light purple, because I am just so delighted that these students said their favourite thing to learn was maths! Maths! Of all topics, this is usually the one kids hate the most because they think they aren't good at it and can't do it. Well, not in my class.. 

I have an had an amazing start to the year, and although this break is definitely needed, I am already looking forward to next term and all the exciting things we will be doing.

Thursday 6 April 2017

Ready to Read series - updates and changes.

Today Aireen, my schools reading recovery teacher, led a meeting about the changes about the ready to read series.

Changes in Ready to Read series -
  • the levelling process has been changed to make the difficulty more gradual and steady
  • Orange and above have a approximate year level equivalent 
  • Existing texts were audited and some were relevelled (either colours or sub-levels). Those that did change were re-printed and sent to schools with new levels.
  • They have identified gaps in the series which will be filled over time.
  • Planning is underway for more non-fiction books.
  • Students entering school at 5 years old do not need to start guided reading at Magenta level - rather their goal is to develop early print concepts (e.g. reading from left to right, expecting the story to make sense and have a message, words have meaning).
  • Here is a list of ALL the RTR books with updated levels
Questions I asked - 
  • How long is it supposed to take to move from one colour to another? One sub-level to another? If it is taking longer than that, what can I do?
  • Are you supposed to use PM/RTR or both?

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Critical buddies (2)

Today we are sharing another video of our teaching and getting critical feedback from our peers.

In this video I used my place value counters and tried to get the students to move from using materials (what they have done before) to doing the thinking in their head or on paper.

Some were not ready for this step which is fine.

Here is my feedback from my peers.

What we liked...

  • Mixture of target and non-target learners. Creating a supportive environment for the group.
  • Repetitive questioning till children explain their working in full. Encourages children to get used to sharing their methods of working out
  • Great use of language ‘exchange’
  • “Is that what you are saying?” - awesome trying to encourage re-wording and talk moves.
  • Using talk moves “Who agrees? Why do you agree?”
  • Getting the ‘shy’ students to share their learning is awesome. 
  • I love your use of the whiteboard and small cards - you have really taken on board using materials to support and scaffold your students learning. 
  • Good to see you revising what you did in week 1 and 2
  • Encouraging students to explain their thinking
  • Good to see you using splitting of numbers
Things to take away..
  • Providing more questions for the learners who haven’t yet reached the same level of thinking as the others. While the other learners work out the other sums, T can focus closer on these learners.


  • Could have the students try to explain it to one another.

My reflection
I think this lesson was not the best work the students could have done. We did a lot of place value add/sub in the first three weeks of school, and have not visited it much since then. They have forgotten ALOT..
I also noticed the same thing while doing GLOSS testing last week, where all but one student had forgotten how to find 1/4 of a number, or even discuss what fractions were. This happened with ratios as well. I know that if they had a one off lesson on these topics they would remember it, but I couldn't teach them that during a test.

Next term I want to do 'maintenance Monday', where every Monday we practice skills or knowledge we already know, hence to maintain the knowledge. Then Tuesday-Friday will be the new math for the week. This will help students not to forget things they already know.