Friday, 24 February 2017

Inquiry - Beginning of term 1

This year, for my inquiry I am looking into my teaching practice in mathematics. I am interested in looking into how I am currently teaching maths, and how I can be making changes to my practice to best benefit my learners. 

Throughout 2016, I became aware of the amazing opportunities digital technologies are able to provide to redefine teaching of mathematics. I also realised that many learners are able to confidently answer mathematical problems when given scaffolding in group situations, however cannot always provide the same explanations when working independently or solving problems without scaffolds.

Ideas to investigate this year during my inquiry could include looking into the power of multi-modal learning in mathematics (use of audio and visual, tactile experiences to explain thinking), ability to self reflect, and development of strategies to use when working independently. 

In terms of my practice, I could look into learning experiences I am providing to learners in class, how I am teaching strategies in group settings, and how I am supporting learners who are working independently (how I am teaching strategies which could be used independently).

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Overcoming the Challenge of Attributing Images

Whenever I have to use an image online which is not my own, many thoughts go through my head: How should I be using it? How should I be attributing the author? Am I giving the author enough credit?

If we struggle with this onerous, yet necessary task, we can only imagine how our learners must feel!

As part of teaching our learners to be cybersmart, it is important that we are modelling the best practice. After much pondering and reflection over the first part of the summer, I decided to create a poster which I would be able to use in my year 5 class. I needed someway of simplifying the process for the learners to help it become an automatic and painless process. A disadvantage of the attributions provided through is that they do not include working links to related pages for the photo. This can easily be fixed by adding them in yourself.

The poster which I created demonstrates a simple, step-by-step process, including decisions learners may have to make when using images online:

Monday, 16 January 2017

Digital Enhancement, Day 1

Today was the first day of our week long block course in digital enhancement through the University of Auckland. It was an interactive day where we looked deeply into a number of learning theories. We each had to prepare a 15 minute activity which focused on the major concepts of one of nine readings. My activity was based around the text, Evaluating the change in space in a technology-enabled Primary Years setting, by Terry Byers and Wesley Imms (2016). I found this text really interesting as it gave a number of theoretical explanations for the changes in physical classroom spaces which are seen in many schools today. I found it particularly interesting learning about the change from a one-spot focus in the class (where a teacher tends to teach from only one area of the classroom), to a classroom with no single focus (known as a "polycentric layout", p. 205).

The task which I created around this reading encouraged my colleagues to think about their classroom spaces from last year, and the classroom spaces they will be teaching in this year. They sketched out a floor plan of their classrooms and then discussed and planned what changes could be made to give their classrooms a realistic polycentric layout. We discussed how difficult it was to achieve this in older classroom spaces which were not purpose built and without purpose-built fittings. It definitely made us all think about our practice and whether we tend to teach from one 'comfortable' spot or whether we move around a lot during the day.

Here are the slides which display some of our more 'polycentric' classrooms:

I found it interesting that this reading gave purpose to these physical classroom changes, such as allowing for ubiquitous learning which encouraged creativity and collaboration while giving students agency. These are all goals and principles which are so important in our schools and which we constantly talk about on a day-to-day basis!


Byers, T. & Imms, W. (2016). Evaluating the change in space in a technology-enables primary years setting. In K. Fisher (Ed.), The Translational Design of Schools (pp. 199-220). Sense Publishers.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Miss West and the Protractors

During the process of completing a class on air episode, I was able to reflect on my teaching. Being able to watch myself teach allowed me to be critical of what I could be doing better, and what I have been doing well.

 Follow the link below to see my Class on Air site!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Digital CV

I have been been creating a digital CV which I will be able to use and continue adding to it in the years to come. My digital CV shares artefacts demonstrating capabilities of my practice in a digital environment.

Click the link below to visit my digital CV:

Friday, 18 November 2016

MDTA Documentary

I have come to the end of my first year teaching! It has been a year full of rewards and challenges, and I have had a huge amount of support throughout.  Having the opportunity to work closely alongside my mentor teacher has been amazing and has supported me immensely in gaining confidence teaching in a digital environment.

One of our challenges is to accelerate the learning of our ākonga. To support this challenge, learners all have a digital device to help them overcome potential barriers to learning and to support them in being future-focused learners.  In the same way, I am coming into a teaching career where schools look very different to how they did when I was at school. It is important for teachers to be future-focused in their pedagogy. Being part of the MDTA where I have had weekly digital immersion professional learning, part-time university towards my BEd (Hons), as well as working alongside my mentor teacher throughout the year, has supported me to accelerate in my learning to ensure I become a confident and future-focused teacher.

In this MDTA documentary, I share how learners in my class have used Learn-Create-Share:

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Manaiakalani Film Festival 2016

Today was filled with excitement as about 100 films created across the cluster were brought together during a day of festivities. Students from the 12 schools of the Manaiakalani cluster came through the Sylvia Park Hoyts cinema to see themselves and their classmates on the big screen! The films were created with the NZ curriculum vision statement in mind: "...for young people to be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners" (MoE, 2007).

Photo: As part of the MDTA, we spent the day assisting with the ushering of the schools in and out of the theatres.
Eight showings were held in three theatres throughout the day, each with purposeful selection of films so students could see themselves and students from their own school on the screen. The movie which I created with my students was shown three times throughout the day. Check out the finished product of the movie, here. If you would like to see other films from the festival, click here.

The schools of the Manaiakalani cluster.