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.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Developing a PRT site

Today, we had the opportunity to continue working on our PRT sites. Collecting evidence of the practising teacher criteria is a requirement of becoming fully registered. I had already started gathering evidence of my practice, however I had only been storing artefacts on my site as links. I had spent time ensuring the information was there, rather than the aesthetics of the site. Therefore, time was spent making the pages easier to navigate, through use of buttons, in order for the audience to comfortably look through my site. My site is now starting to take shape and becoming more personalised to me. Here is a screenshot of the home page of my site so far:

Throughout the day, it became evident just how much we have learned this year and how many artefacts we have created which support our growth in the Practising Teacher Criteria. My next step is to continue adding more artefacts for this year, as well as embedding artefacts/ docs where possible, rather than just adding links.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Creating a class onAir episode

Today, we began to plan for our first attempts at creating a Class onAir episode. The day started with Matt Goodwin giving us some handy tips for setting up the episode, including tips for filming. Matt is one of the 2016 Google Class OnAir Teachers. 2016 is the first year that Google Class OnAir has run. It includes five teachers from the Manaiakalani cluster of schools sharing their teaching and learning process in the form of videos, in depth planning, reflections on lessons, and student learning. Check out the sites for these five teachers by clicking the link above.

Our aim was to complete most aspects of a Class onAir episode so that next week, we can film, edit, and complete an episode. Our first step was to create a site. Using the HTML for Matt's site, we began creating our page. I began by creating my title design. I still need to add photos of my students, however the beginning of the design (created through Google draw and Keynote) looks like this:

I then began creating a detailed plan of my episode. Note, this is still in the process of being planned so details may still change!

As part of the process, I also used Keynote to begin creating buttons which will link through to individual student blogs from the site. 

Through the process of creating a Class onAir episode, I have come to appreciate the extent of work required by the Google Class onAir teachers to create their sites and to post each new episode! Next week, I hope to film the lesson and complete the episode.

I think the process of creating Class onAir episodes is a great was to reflect on my teaching, to act on these refections, and to make learning rewindable for students.  

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Inquiry reflection: Week 3, Term 4

At our inquiry collaborative meeting for the beginning of term 4, we shared advice and ideas which we have learned throughout our inquiries this year.

Here are some of the discussion points that stood out for me:

  • We need to be making exciting learning experiences which engage students. How do we create something purposeful for our term theme?
  • For some students, we need to be extending them in reading using novels. However, how do we keep them engaged in the novel? We discussed student agency and choice. We thought about those students who are are beyond their current age for reading, however are not engaged or don't see the purpose in reading. We also thought about how these students need choice to read what they want. We need to be finding something which hooks them.
  • How do we get students reading independently for information? We need to be creating and using learning experiences with our students, such as quizzes, which require students to have read texts to complete the task.
  • Our learners need to have purpose. That is, they need to know why they are needing to learn something.
  • How do we get learners past where we are aiming? Often, we make progress with students (e.g understanding phonetics for beginnings of words) but then are challenged to create further progression. How do we get students past this barrier to keep them moving forward?

Created on

Friday, 21 October 2016

Universal Design for Learning

As part of our term 4 inquiry, (The Material World), I created this site which follows a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for students to use in their learning about Pseudoscience.

It was interesting that learners found it difficult to navigate in this site. I believe this was due to the fact that our students have been using our current class site for their learning during the year, so this new site was unfamiliar to them. More scaffolding will be required in the future for using a site like this.

Click the link below to explore the Pseudoscience site which I created:

Students were linked the this site, through our current site, here.

Term 4 Digital Immersion PLG

The aim of today was to create a teaching resource with a Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The day started with a discussion around the variety of ways our students best learn and their differing learning needs. This then linked into a discussion around how, as teachers, we need to be creating multi-modal resources and learning experiences which allow student's to have choice in their learning and which are appropriate for the various students in our class. This concept, which is known as a Universal Design for Learning (UDL), was explained by Chrissie Butler from Core Education, in this Core EdTalk. Chrissie Butler explained the importance of proving multi-modes to learning experiences so all students are engaged and have the necessary resources required to learn.

We felt strongly about the importance of learners being encouraged to use modalities which they may not always find the easiest to use as it is not always going to be possible for these learners to respond to and retrieve information from their modality of choice. This concept got me thinking about next steps in my inquiry - how can I be encouraging students to engage in learning when it is not presented in their favoured modality? To continue down this path, it is going to be necessary to find some other teachers or researchers who have looked into this idea.

How might this look in the classroom?. A discussion around this began with a look at research which has been undertaken by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre (WFRC). It has been suggested by the WFRC (2016) that learning experiences should include information presented through multi-modalities, and which include high reading mileage as well as wide and deep reading.

I began to plan a learning experience using a UDL for the Material World/ Nature of Science. As an introduction, I planned for students to explore Pseudoscience. I gathered a number of resources, including readings, images, infographics, videos, and also included a scientific method google drawing which students will be able to work with. Here is my plan so far:

I plan to use this learning experience in the weeks to come. As our team began inquiring into how we could use these findings of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre during term 3, I wanted to now challenge myself to think about how I could possibly make learning experiences more interactive for learners. During discussions with others, it was suggested that I think about how I could be engaging students who are absent from lessons.

Here is a screenshot of a learning experience created for term 3:

I have listed ideas around how I could possibly improve a learning experience like the one above in the future:
  • I could use buttons which are common for different things across learning experiences (e.g. audio explanation of task, screencast explanation of task, article, school journal, video).
  • I could make it clear as to what links to a video, what links to a reading, what links to a DLO template.
  • I could also be thinking more about how I create choice for students.


Butler, Chrissie. (2012). Universal Design for Learning. Core EdTalks. Retrieved from

Woolf Fisher Research Centre (26 August 2016). Manaiakalani Research Presentation: Manaiakalani Hui: 26.08.16 - Rebecca Jesson, Aaron Wilson

Friday, 14 October 2016

Future-focused learning and coding

We need to be teaching students in a future-focused way. What does this look like and why is this important? In 2014, a report was presented to the Ministry of Education by the 21st century learning group called 'Future focused learning in connected communities.' This document suggests 10 key recommendations in order to support future-focused students. It was really interesting to see which of these recommendations have been achieved, and which are still in progress.

In New Zealand, there is a big push for changes to the curriculum to support digitally fluent students. This is explained throughout this document. In addition, CORE education has released these 10 trends which have been acknowledged as important in future-focused learning communities. 

We need to be supporting our students for the future, not for the past. As a group, we brainstormed tools that are currently being/ or starting to be used for future-focused learning in the classroom:

Made with Padlet

One of the transferrable skills which has started to be taught through a number of schools is coding. Coding is a skill which can begin to be taught with junior school students and can become more and more complex as students progress throughout school. Coding can be presented simply as blocks with symbols or commands and can progress to use of JavaScript and HTML.

Below, I have coded a Star Wars game through 'Hour of Code' in using blocks and then using JavaScript.

This game requires the gamer to remove all 'Pufferpigs' to win the game. They lose points for hitting obstacles and will lose the game if they get all 'Mynocks' (the flying creatures). Play the game here!

Check out this screencast of me playing the game:

Friday, 23 September 2016

Keynote Ignite

On Friday, we were challenged to create and present a Keynote Ignite on a topic which we found out about in the morning! My topic was on Prensky's Digital Natives/ Digital Immigrants. I was provided with the article, Digital Natives: Fact or Fiction (2011),  by the Oxford University Press,  to help me.

An Ignite is very specific, containing 20 slides and with each slide being 15 seconds long.

Here is my keynote:

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Reflecting on my Inquiry: Week 9, Term 3

In term 3, I was able to observe students engaging with digital hooks for reading while exploring their effects on learning in more detail. Testing more students resulted in more questions than answers, as there was not a clear connection found between use of digital hooks and levels of inference and applied knowledge. I should have had students complete the same reading test before and after time spent interacting with the digital hooks, regardless of their reading level. Instead, I tested students at their current reading age, which in many cases had changed since we had regularly begun using digital hooks. 

I have been reflecting on the direction my inquiry should go next. This has involved a lot of questioning and being critical of my practice. It has been clear to see that implementation of digital hooks has helped in engaging students in the topic of their reading, however it has also made me question how, when, and how often I use them. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

Keynote 101

Today we explored a range of the opportunities that are possible for creating an engaging Keynote. I was amazed at the endless possibilities with Keynote, from creating presentations to creating movies and animations!

1.  We first explored the general preferences of Keynote and the range of effects that can be added to words and letters. To create the effect in the word 'mathematics', I layered two text boxes - the underlying text had a shadow effect applied to it in two shades of red. The top layer did not have any effects applied to it. Therefore, I managed to create a three-colour-toned text. This idea of creating layers ended up being a recurring strategy as I began to experiment with creating interesting effects with incorporating illustrations into photos - layering was used to create an effect of an object being behind only a small section of the photo. 

2. I then learned how to use the 'Magic move' tool. I followed this clear screencast explanation. This tool allows you to create your own transitions of only sections of the slide. Here is my product:

3. Finally, I attempted to create an animation. I exported three versions of my character from Procreate. I picked a photo I took at Pt England Beach. I then duplicated the slide to animate my character walking down to the beach. A really valuable tool I used was 'instant alpha.' This allowed me to remove background colours from various images. For example, with my animated character, I had to remove the background colour on the image I imported from Procreate.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Movie Editing

The movie is finished! I am going to step you through the stages I took to get from a day's worth of filming and over 30 minutes of raw footage, to a 2 minute movie. 

In iMovie, I created an extremely rough cut of the raw footage in an approximate sequential order of the storyline. We had collected footage from three different types of cameras and from a number of different angles so this cut included quite a bit of repetition of the storyline. This rough cut was about 25 minutes long.

Next, I cut this rough cut down to 3 minutes. This took a long time as I needed to ensure the storyline was making sense.

I then 'tightened' my movie by ensuring each clip was no longer than it needed to be to tell the story. This made a huge difference to the quality of the movie and interest for an audience as it made the movie faster moving. 

I received feedback from my peers at Digital Immersion. I then went away to make changes as suggested.

I planned the voice overs and then found a microphone which would effectively capture the speech. I first tried capturing these voice overs using quicktime, but decided on using garageband so I could then assess the quality of the voice overs by looking at the sound waves created (bigger waves are better as you can alter them more).

Once my movie was approximately finished, I imported it into garageband where I could adjust the soundtrack and voice overs against the video. I found the process of correctly balancing the sound extremely challenging.

I then moved my video and audio back and forth between iMovie and Garageband multiple times until I was happy with the completed product. This involved matching the clips to the rhythm of the music. 

I received more feedback while watching the 'completed' movie on a big screen and through good-quality speakers. This allowed me to adjust the sound balance some more before doing a final export of the movie.

Watch this space (sometime next term) to see the final product!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

The curious case of the missing goal posts

On Thursday, we filmed for film festival. The day was challenging as we aimed to gather the majority of our footage using a number of different cameras.

The order of capturing the footage turned out to be an important aspect to consider. In an ideal situation, it would make sense to capture the footage in the order of appearance in the movie, so nothing is missed. However, this was not practical when we started with ~40 students outside and other activities were planned on the field later in the day. I quickly learned the importance of getting the shots done quickly and moving on so students did not lose focus. We also had to be flexible with the order of filming so that it suited the time we had. We were faced with the challenge of completing as much filming as possible before lunchtime, when there was a rugby game being played (all our filming was done on the field). This meant our background started to change as ropes were put up, and various equipment started to appear around us. We had to think about how we were going to capture the footage we wanted in a realistic way without a changing environment. 

Can you spot the difference in these two shots? This was a great lesson in how quickly the environment can change while filming, and the importance of being adaptable! Never would I have thought that the rugby posts on the reserve would completely disappear from my shots! 

I finished the day by sorting through the footage and looking at how it turned out. The following day, I then created a rough cut of my movie to piece the footage together into the order it needed to be in.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Attending the Cluster Hui

On Friday, we attended the annual Manaiakalani Hui. This was an incredible day where we were able to connect with colleagues from across the cluster and hear from a large number of the amazing people who are making significant changes to the lives of our ākonga.

The day started with the Manaiakalani Ambassadors sharing their learn-create-share in a number of interesting ways. Through this presentation, ākonga who show learning which is ubiquitous, empowered, connected and visible was evident (to learn more about this, have a look at Dorothy's blog post here).

I have accumulated the rest of my learning from the day by creating this (retrospective) sketchnote:

Throughout the day, I also used twitter as a platform to share:

Overall, it was great to see such amazing inquiry that is happening in our schools in a number of ways. Inquiry is such an important part of what happens as a teacher and it is so important to remain future-focused teachers. The importance of inquiry was definitely evident through everyone who shared at the Hui.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Learning the ropes on twitter

Before today, I had made a twitter account and had tweeted one tweet. Little did I know of the value behind twitter for teachers! 

Today, we were joined by James Hopkins through google hangouts. James shared with us his journey through his teaching career up until today and the value twitter provided for him as an educator. Twitter provides a professional learning network (PLN) and a form of professional development which is constantly at your finger tips.

We took part in a twitter chat with the hashtag #MDTAchat. These slides explain the provocation and questions we were challenged with.

Here is our twitter chat:

This was a great share task where our thinking was challenged, our PLN was expanded, and we had growth in our confidence on twitter.

My goal will be to keep up with using twitter to connect with and expand my PLN.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Reflecting on my Inquiry: Week four, Term three

I have reached a point in my inquiry where I am having to ask myself the following questions:
  • What is working/ what is not working?
  • Where to next? 
The slides below summarise where I am at in my teaching inquiry to date.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Making music...and more!

Today, Rob Wiseman, a year 7/8 teacher from Pt England School, came to teach us about GarageBand. I had previously had a play with GarageBand, but did not realise there were so many things you could do with it!

Here are some tips and ways GarageBand can be used.

1. Ensure you have a microphone!! This will improve the quality of sound for your audio.

2. Recording instructions/ text for learners. This is such a powerful tool! Using garageband, you can enhance their learning by providing verbal (rewindable) instructions or text! It took me a couple of minutes to record myself reading some task instructions, and then no more than  five minutes to edit this short clip. It would then take a little longer to embed this clip into an accessible place for learners (such as a class site), however this could be time well spent if it is to help learners with understanding of a task and expectations.

3. Music. There are so many musical possibilities with GarageBand! As explained in a previous blogpost, this is something I would like to explore at some point. There are options to create a track by scratch, or use a wide range of loop tracks available. 

4. I really enjoyed learning about the possibilities of enhancing movies using garageband. When doing this, it is important to import your movie into GarageBand with all video editing completed. In GarageBand, there are many options to create and mould music to your movie in a much more advanced way than on iMovie. You ideally want your music to fit well with your video which is why you want to have completed all video editing before you play with sound in GarageBand. I am really excited to use GarageBand to create my backing music for the upcoming Manaiakalani film festival!

Big thanks to Rob for spending the day sharing his GarageBand skills and knowledge with us!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Always a learner - Infographics

Today we attended the Manaiakalani Digital Immersion PLG with other learners from around our cluster of schools. This was another great opportunity to connect with our wider whānau. 

The day started with a discussion around the Learn-Create-Share pedagogy and the learning outcomes of Manaiakalani. In particular, we discussed 'Share' in relation to our teacher inquiry.

We spent time learning about the purpose behind the Summer Learning Journey (2015/2016), run by Rachel Williams who works for the Woolf Fisher Research Centre. Have a look at what Rachel researched, here. Find out more about the research here.

As a result of the discussion around this research, we looked into the value of blogging for our learners. We aimed to share our learning by creating an infographic of data collected off blogs. I researched a number of infographic designs and then created my own infographic using Procreate.

(created using Procreate)

After completing this infographic, I was left with the feeling that it was incomplete. As interesting as these data were, I had not managed to share the WHY. WHY is this information relevant? WHY am I sharing this information?  Does this information show the power of blogging?

I realised that this infographic had failed to show the power behind blogging for our learners. In this example above, I focused on how many blog posts learners created. This is something I could have done from looking through an exercise book. It is not expressing the power behind blogging. Therefore, I found evidence of where a learner's audience comes from.

I used to create this final infographic:

(created on

This infographic links strongly with my sketchnote which I created last week, adding some real-life evidence of learners connecting with the outside world and sharing their learning. 

These infographics are by no means perfect. The data presented are definitely not the most powerful data I could have collected to express my message. However, being my first attempt at creating infographics, I am able to say I have learned a lot about how I can improve, and there is a lot of room for this improvement! 

This is what I will do differently next time:

1. I will put more focus on having purpose to my data collection, prior to collecting it - ask myself why I am collecting the data before I collect it. In other words, PLAN for my infographic.

2. I will share more information and detail in the infographic, which are meaningful for the message I am trying to express.

3. In relation to the topic of blogging, I will put more emphasis into the power and benefits of blogging for learners - what makes this style of learning unique?

Friday, 29 July 2016

The fun in note taking!

Our focus this term is the share element of the Learn-Create-Share pedagogy. When we share, we connect with people in the world we live in and contribute our knowledge, in an authentic way. Our audience is authentic when they CHOOSE to LISTEN to us and respond accordingly.

Today, we learnt the skill of sketchnoting. Sketchnoting is when you make notes through sketching (visually translate words into drawings). It can be used to record notes when listening to someone, or when reading something. Kathy Schrock clearly explains this in more detail here! Our task was to complete a sketchnote on something we had listened to, or read. Part of our discussion this morning was looking into the importance of sharing with an 'authentic audience.' My sketchnote briefly sums up this concept, which we read about in Dorothy Burt's post and discussed.

The process of completing my first sketch note took time, however I can imagine that through developing this skill, one would get much quicker at clearly recording their ideas in a graphic form. I thoroughly enjoyed this task, to the point the artistic side of it probably became too much of a focus, rather than the content I was trying to express!  

I used an app for the iPad called 'Procreate.' This would have to be my new favourite app which I think is going to be useful for many aspects of teaching, other than just sketchnoting.

Here is my sketchnote:

Sketchnoting is a great skill which many of our learners could benefit from. It is also another valuable skill which I am adding to my kete of ways to make learning rewindable! In order to get our learners using it, we felt it would need to be carefully scaffolded. As part of our PLG, we discussed how this would look. Suggestions included using google slides or keynote with pre-made symbols and words on the sides. After mastering sketchnotes using these provided elements, learners could then start developing skills to be able to organise and create their own sketchnotes! 

Friday, 8 July 2016

End of term 2 Inquiry reflection

I have had a light bulb moment with my inquiry and feel like I have found a clear path to follow! It sounds simple and straight-forward, but I have realised that learners are more likely to take part in discussions if they are engaged in learning! As a result of this realisation, I have stopped using a tool which was not having an effect I had hoped for. I was not prepared to continue using a tool which was not helping the learners. 
The tool (a site) provided links to a number of prompts which learners could use to confidently take part in online discussions. Each of the orange buttons took learners to a number of sentence starters.

Through the site, learners could link to a google forum which started with a question to discuss around the reading(s). When learners did not actively take part or show motivation to take part in the discussion, I realised the tool was not what was required. In fact, observations and discussions with learners, showed me that I could do much more to engage learners in reading! So...what can I do to engage my learners more in reading? 

Planning and creating a site for term 3: Olympics

I decided to attempt creating a site using the new google sites which had been released for us to trial. As soon as I began to use the new sites, I realised how much more restrictive it was compared to the classic google sites. I soon realised that to personalise the site as much as possible, I would have to create my design outside of sites, and then insert images and buttons into the site.

Our inquiry for term 3 is the Olympics. Our team is focusing on areas of the Olympics which may cause controversy or debate, such as use of technology, performance-enhancing drugs, the Refugee Olympic Team, and sponsorship. Therefore, this is the topic of this site. Check out the site, here.

The home page of this site is simple and takes the audience to the official Olympics websites, pages for some areas of interest under the 'Olympics Exposed' umbrella, two relevant Olympic youtube clips from the official Olympic youtube channel, and a page of fun facts. Unfortunately, with the new google sites, it is not yet possible to remove the horizontal navigation bar at the top (as can be seen in the image below). 

After creating what can be seen on this site, I realised that it was not yet possible to make the new google sites public on the web. I ended up sharing this site with the other teachers in my team, as a resource bank which they could then use. Even though this site did not end up being used with the students, I do not feel that it was wasted time. I will be able to continue adding to this site and will be able to repurpose it in future years when the Commonwealth Games or Olympic Games are next on.

End of term 3 reflection (October):

During term 3, our team made some changes to how we structured reading. These changes coincided with school PD with the University of Auckland Woolf Fisher Research Centre. In our team, we undertook three 'focus topics' during the term and each of these focus topics lasted around three weeks. This allowed learning to be wide and deep. Related youtube clips were used to hook learners into the topics and to create discussion. Students were also provided with a larger number of texts to empower them in their learning. Links were also made between reading and writing where possible. You can check out what this looked like, here

Since term 3 involved inquiring into our current practice and making collaborative changes as a team, this site did not get used as I had originally hoped. Reflecting, it could have been beneficial to have created a site for just one of these focus areas which we inquired into.

The practice at creating sites this year has allowed me to challenge myself for next year where I aim to complete a site which students can use regularly for a topic as part of their learning. I need to be thinking about how I can make the site interesting for the audience by not just adding links, but using buttons, videos, screencasts, audio, and more. This challenge for myself will involve combining the concepts behind sites like this Olympic site and the Comic and Sequential Art site (term 2), as well as the changes we made as a team to the structure of our reading programme during term 3.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Visiting other schools in the Manaiakalani cluster

This morning we observed classes in other schools in the Manaiakalani cluster.

At each school, I was fortunate to be able to spend time in a range of classes, from year 3 to year 8. In a year 3/4 class, we saw Learn-Create-Share in action, all interwoven into the one lesson!

Learn-Create-Share in action
Learn: Equal sharing strategies; discussing key mathematical ideas.
Create: A range of responses to the problem: 48 tins of cat food were shared equally between an unknown number of cats. How many cats may there have been and how many tins would each cat get?
Share: Learners were grouped into mixed-ability groups and were openly discussing the maths problem with each other. Learners were brought back together again and shared their ideas as a class. Learners were sent off again with 2 groups working together to help each other.

Digital Learning in action
In 3 different year 5/6 classes, I observed digital learning. We observed how a year 5/6 teacher made learning accessible to learners when a reliever was in the class. Learners were provided with a google doc with a range of activities to complete. As tasks were completed, learners highlighted the appropriate section of the table. I really liked how this provided learners and the reliever teacher with a visible way to monitor learning throughout the day. In another class, I observed learners creating chapter summaries of the text, The BFG, in preparation for a school trip.

Number of blog posts
In one class, I was made to reflect on the quantity of blogging by my learners. Learners had a goal of sharing five blog posts about their learning per week. My next step will be to think about how I could embed this as a part of my class every week. To work towards achieving this, I could create a regular 'blogging time' into the school day, where the focus is to blog about the process of something they are learning/creating.

These visits provided the chance to reflect on what I could be incorporating into my classroom or changing as a teacher.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Part 2 of Film Interview Creation: Accepting when done is done!

As explained in my last blog post, we have been creating an MDTA interview movie. In this movie, I explain my experiences (so far) of being a beginning teacher in the MDTA. This movie (which is only 3 minutes long) took hours of planning, filming, and editing!

I was very keen to create my own backing music using garage band, however I had to put this idea to the side for this project. I decided I need to experiment with garage band a bit more before creating a whole backing track! I have therefore used an iMovie track for the music. I am not eliminating the possibility of adapting this movie by using my own garage band creation at some point - it just may take longer than originally thought!

My biggest challenge to overcome during this creation was accepting when done was done! I could have kept tweaking this movie for weeks, however I had to draw the line! This realisation is something my learners constantly have to overcome when they create and share work on their blogs. They have to accept that the best use of their time may not be to keep dwelling on little things, but rather reflect on the process and their learning, be proud of what they have created and then keep learning new things!

Here it is: the final product!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Day 1 of Film Interview Creation (Filming at Pt England Beach)

We have started creating 'interview' style videos to explain our experience to date as part of the MDTA.  Our first task was to create a script of what we wanted to include in our video. After this, Steph and I went down to Pt England beach to record our spoken part of the video. We wanted to film ourselves down at the beach (just across the fence from school) to share the beautiful area of Auckland where we work.

(Here I am helping Steph prepare for her filming)

We had great fun problem solving the set up of our equipment to record ourselves speak. Interesting disruptions included a range of wildlife as well as a plane and a jet boat noisily cutting into our filming.

(Preparing for my filming)

(Steph preparing for her filming)

The next step will be to edit this footage as well as a range of footage from around school to create our final videos. I also plan to create my backing music using garageband so I also need to start experimenting with this in order to make this possible!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Screencast Part 2: Screencast of class site navigation

Following on from my previous post, in this screencast I explain how learners access their learning in maths by navigating through the class site.

Through the process of creating screencasts as well as through discussion with colleagues, I have come to realise the value of screencasts in learning. Screencasts could be used to clearly explain instructions for learners on the site, alongside the written instructions.

Screencast Part 1: Screencast explaining collaborative problem solving in maths

Today we created screencasts using quicktime. This was a long process which I was expecting after my first attempt at creating a screencast last week! Some challenges I had to overcome included:

1. Finding a place which was quiet and without interruptions.
2. Being able to consistently use accurate language and explain concepts correctly in one go. For example, to explain the learn-create-share pedagogy, I wanted to ensure I was consistent in using the word 'create' instead of 'do' and 'learn' instead of 'work'.
3. Playing my screencast back to myself and realising I did not explain concepts as clearly as I could have.

This screencast demonstrates the process my learners follow to learn-create-share in maths by collaboratively problem-solving.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Google Class OnAir & Apple tools

Today, we had a focus on Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir. Matt Goodwin, one of the teachers who has a class OnAir, joined us. Matt brought along the equipment which he uses in the class to film. The equipment included a microphone, as well as a camera which could be remotely controlled to pan and zoom, and which included a wide lens to capture a lesson in the classroom. After exploring a range of the Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir sites (which you can access from the link above), we held our own OnAir discussion around what we had explored. This was a great opportunity to experience what it could feel like for the learners taking part in this, as well as for the teachers who are taking the classes.

I enjoyed setting up my own google hangout On Air and reflecting on ways I could use this in my classroom. Here is a photo from the hangout of me giving it a go:

One idea was to use this with my learners so they can then access rewindable learning, as well as reflect on their ability to discuss and collaborate in group learning. The concept of navigating within, and editing the recording through youtube was a new concept for me too. I quickly realised the differences and challenges between editing on YouTube compared to in iMovie. I also realised how strange it felt being filmed while talking about an aspect of teaching. I can imagine that this is something that would take time to get used to. I look forward to using this tool in the classroom and having a go at creating a Class OnAir in the future.

We were lucky enough to have Meredith Bean, from google, join us to share some great tips for using Apple products. I found it really interesting to learn about some of the accessibility functions which Apple has created to make the products accessible by everyone. There are tools which would be great to explore in more detail as possibilities for differentiating learning for learners. An example of these tools is dictation. Dictation can be used as another way of getting ideas onto the digital device. However, it is not always accurate. Therefore, I would not be confident using this dictation tool in the classroom with my learners. Another aspect of dictation which I feel could be more useful for my learners is the computerised speech which can read back what you have written. I have created a google hangout OnAir to demonstrate how to use this tool:

I feel this could be useful for encouraging learners to proof-read their writing before publishing it onto their blogs. A tool like this could be useful to draw attention to omitted punctuation, words, letters, and incorrect grammar.

Today has given me a huge number of new tools which are going to be extremely useful in the classroom. I am really excited about the prospect of using google hangouts OnAir in the class to make learning rewindable, and to encourage learners to reflect on their learning when with a group and what they can improve.

Friday, 27 May 2016


Today we used StopMotion to create a short movie which demonstrates a concept for our learners. The concept I demonstrated was working together to overcome challenges. I used play dough to create the characters. The characters were three 'blobs' who needed to get over a rocky hill.

This was a really enjoyable 'create' task. I worried I had not collected enough footage for the movie, but was surprised by how many photos I could use multiple times in the clip to strengthen the storyline and emphasise the concept being demonstrated.

If I was to use StopMotion again, I would increase the number of photos, and reduce the size of each movement between photos. This will create a smoother motion of the characters.

I feel that my learners would be hugely engaged in a task like this. However, I do wonder how long it would take to complete a task of this nature in the class setting. It would be necessary, as with all learning experiences, to question what the purpose would be of creating a StopMotion movie with my learners, and whether the time that would be spent creating it would be beneficial to my learners. 

I can imagine that creating StopMotion movies could be effectively used for rewindable learning with learners in the junior school, for example, by using play dough to create numbers and letters. However, I do not know how often I would use this technique for rewindable learning, and in my own reflective practice as a teacher of year 5 and 6 learners. 

What a great day we have had! This task required problem solving throughout the whole process and a lot of collaboration and sharing of ideas.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Creating an iMovie

This year, I have made three movies for our team 4 space. In the first movie, learners share a message of kindness. Check out this movie here! This movie was the first movie I created so while creating it, I did not think at all about the type of shots I was using. I was more concerned about collecting footage which included the learners who were speaking.

The second movie I created was about team 4 swimming. The footage for this movie was collected by myself and my colleague, and involved a range of shots. When editing the footage, I played a lot with the timer, speeding up the scenes in order to maintain interest of the audience. I also thought about the sound that I added to the movie, choosing an iMovie backing sound which I felt matched the mood of the movie.  I also used reverse clip, which made it look like the clip was moving in rewind.

In digital immersion this week, we spent time exploring iMovie by creating a movie about learning. Check out this movie by clicking the link below, or  here!

The movie I created shows snippets of a typical day in our innovative learning space. I feel that as I continue creating movies, I get more efficient with the process. In this movie, I played with the filters on the images and footage. I also explored the ability to play with the audio. I started thinking of fun ways I could use this with my learners to create movies and act out characters (possibly as reading follow ups). The screenshot below shows the section of iMovie under which you can alter this!

A recurring issue I have come across while creating movies is that titles seem to automatically alter in format throughout the clip. This is something I am still working on fixing.

For my next movie, I am going to ensure I think carefully about a variety of shots I want, before collecting footage. I feel that through my latest movie, I have tended to stick with panning shots, which gets repetitive after a while! Different shots I want to attempt include close ups, aerial shots, and low angle shots, and a range of other interesting shots. Something else I learned from this process was the ability to place two clips side-by-side. This is an interesting technique which allows me to show multiple shots of a similar thing at the same time. One colleagues used this approach to show the same photo in the same clip, creating a tiled technique. Another colleague used this technique to show the same moment-in-time from different peoples' points of view. Next, I want to learn how to increase this to three or four shots at once to show the same moment-in-time from a range of angles. For future movies, I also want to learn how to use the blue screen, which we are fortunate enough to have in our learning environment. 

During the process of creating a movie, I was able to increase my confidence in the movie-making process, as well as explore other techniques available on iMovie which I can use to improve quality of my movies. I feel that the best way to improve in movie-making is to create more movies! I could be making movies in the classroom to capture important moments in teaching for learners, or by capturing a range of work created by our learners. One thing I am reflecting a lot about at the moment is ways to engage learners and increase their motivation to post work on their blogs. I could use iMovie to assist with this by capturing a range of blog posts and creations in a short movie which can then be posted on the class blog.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Importance of Perseverance and Motivation

In this post, I bring to you a visual and oral summary of my Teaching as Inquiry to date! Today, we joined the digital immersion PLG with colleagues from a number of the Manaiakalani schools. The first learn-create-share element of the day involved creating a presentation to our colleagues which promoted a fictional object/item to assist in tackling a problem which teachers or learners may encounter. We promoted a pair of glasses which would 'make stuff talk.'

We discussed the 'share' element of Learn-create-share in more detail and discussed the difficulties that sometimes arise with translating our thoughts and ideas in our heads, into a tangible form. This is an issue we face as teachers, and is also an issue our learners often face. A lot of reflection occurred in the classroom this week around giving learners the experience and confidence to translate creative ideas in their heads into artwork.  I faced the challenge today of translating my thought process from my Teaching as Inquiry up until now (which has included research into people like Palincsar & Brown, 1986), into a visual and oral explanation.

The task took a lot longer than expected, and I faced a number of frustrations along the way, but through persistence, and motivation from my colleagues, I came up with this:

 If I can reduce the time it takes me to create one of these reflections, I feel that this could be a very valuable way of reflecting on my learning as a teacher in the future. This would be a great technique to share with my colleagues who did not attend the PLG today as it could be used for their own reflections, presentations, and there is even some big ideas floating around my head of whether this is even something our learners could use to share their learning!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Graduation 2.0

On Friday, I attended the University of Auckland graduation to receive my Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary).  I was extremely fortunate to be able to graduate alongside others who were at university with me last year, as well as a number of members of the Manaiakalani whānau who I am so lucky to be working with, as part of the MDTA and school. The day was an exciting opportunity to celebrate successes and hard work, as well as acknowledge the incredible range of other skills and backgrounds everyone who completed the Graduate Diploma had previously graduated with.

The day started off with a parade, followed by a faculty morning tea. During the faculty morning tea, we were spoken by Professor Graeme Aitken, Dean of the Faculty of Education.

During the ceremony, I was able to cheer on three other MDTA teachers as well as the former MDTA graduates who were receiving their BEd (Hons). Here is a photo of me receiving my Graduate Diploma.

Graduation was an exciting day to celebrate becoming a teacher, and completing a full-on year of study to achieve this, however this is by no means the end! As I sat in the Aotea centre, the deadline for my next assignment approached. As teachers, we are continually learning, and it is exciting that I can continue to improve as a teacher through continued professional development and postgraduate study.

Watch this space. 2018 should see me walk across the stage for a third time!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Creating a site

Team 4's inquiry topic for term 3 is Comic and Sequential Art. I decided to create an exploration site for this inquiry. It was important to us to be able to give students a safe, engaging, and age-appropriate place to explore comic art. 

The process began with a pen-to-paper plan of how the site would work. I planned page layouts as well as flow between different pages. Once this was done, I began to plan the design of my site. My first design looked like this: 

After a discussion with my team, it was decided that this did not look like a comic, not did it engage learners in wanting to pick up a comic and read it. Therefore, I recreated the design and came up with this:

The idea behind the home page of the site was to lead students through various areas of comic and sequential art, provide students with a place to read comics, and links for teachers to the NZ curriculum.
Once the formatting of the site was completed, one of my colleagues helped me populate the site with material. We added an image attribution section to the footer of each page to acknowledge images used. 

The site very much became a 'site in progress' with the idea that it would be added to during the term. It was not used very much, however this was partially due to learning being added to our team site which the students are confident navigating in order to access their learning. Instead, the site was used on several occasions, as an extended text to give students choice in their learning. xxx

Creating this site was valuable as it allowed me to think carefully about, and reflect on what makes a digital learning space engaging and easily accessible for students. I was also able to develop confidence in using HTML to personalise the site. In my future practice, I will be able to use these developing skills to create sites which students can be directed to for their learning.