Monday, 28 February 2022

How can we provide opportunities for the PENN crew outside of 'normal school'

Providing real life, authentic learning experiences has long been seen as valuable for children. It provides a strong purpose for the children. PENN has always had this but has become more so as it is shared on an online platform which whānau and the wider community can view. This has become even more important over the last few years, with children learning from home. 

A quote from one teacher, describing the importance of PENN during lockdown in 2021: "A constant presence on the daily to help us keep some of the normal going."

Our first opportunity for members of the PENN crew to create a purpose beyond the walls of school will happen this week. We are going to be filming a virtual visit to our school as part of a collaboration with the Digital Council for Aotearoa. This experience will provide opportunities for several videographers as well as several presenters who will provide the voice overs, commentary, lead an interview and will 'host' the virtual visitors.

The finished product will be able to be used by the digital council as well as by us for visitors to our website.

Going forward, I will need to consider how we can provide more of these opportunities to our children, particularly since one of our major external opportunities - sporting events - is not happening much at the moment.

Some opportunities which will lend itself to this:

- Te Oro - Baby Whale Tale on display
- Blake NZ-VR experience - could we get our children to organise a 'documentary style' short film which they could then utilise?
- Some community-focussed documentary style short films to learn about the amazing things happening in our community - Kereru Kidney Centre, Te Oro, Rocket Lab, Kai Collective Project, Ruapotaka Marae, Tāmaki Regeneration.
- Meet some heroes in our community - interview of local doctors, nurses, police, supermarket workers, Marsic Bros etc.

These could be fully created by the children - from videography through to post production.

Now, I know this is ambitious especially with the fact we can't even take children out into the community at the moment, but I strongly believe this would be the next step in developing the Pt England Network News to the next level. I am sure with a team behind me, we can make this happen!

Good inquiry happens in teams

At our Kāhui Ako meeting, we discussed the importance about inquiry happening in teams to make them effective and successful. I thought it would be useful to think about who my team will be.

So far, I am thinking about inquiring into my role as leading the PENN (Pt England Network News) programme and how this programme can be used to support confidence in children's oral language capabilities. 

So...who would be in my 'team' ?

Russell's inquiry into having "present, happy, healthy, engaged tauira who are learning in the goldilocks zone" definitely fits nicely with my inquiry. There are many opportunities for children to get excited about through the PENN programme. These include presenting, being a videographer or photographer and movie editor. 

The teachers of Team 4 and 5 are very much important in my 'team' as they are the ones who teach these children on a day-to-day basis. In the environment of living in a pandemic, having these teachers on my team is important to ensure the day-to-day running of the news, even if the children or myself have to be isolating at home. It will be important to consider how we will continue to have the news running if and/or when these scenarios arise. Regular conversations with these teachers will be important to decide on these children who would benefit greatly from the opportunities of the news as well as seeing progress of these children in their confidence and oral language.

In this inquiry, it is going to be important to have an 'innovation team' as well. This could begin through my 'Team 6' colleagues as well as the enablers group. These people will be important to bring new ideas to fruition to change up the news and provide more opportunities to develop confidence and oral language.

My Kāhui Ako teachers will also be extremely valuable. Through looking at my colleague's blogs I will find those teachers whose inquiries match with mine and which could benefit from each others findings.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Kāhui Ako: First meeting of the year

Last Thursday we had our first Kāhui Ako meeting of the year. Russell and Chris challenged us to rethink our inquiries for the year, pondering what is realistic and important in the world we are currently living in. Russell gave a personal example with his own inquiry, "How do we reliably get a 'threefer' - three core subjects accelerating simultaneously, 3 years in a row?" Realising this was no longer a realistic expectation with so much disruption to school, he has considered changing his inquiry to, "How do I have present, happy, healthy, engaged tauira who are learning in the goldilocks zone." Russell then discussed the fine balance between social connection/ building relationships and risk mitigation/ public health goals. These two things are so important at the moment however class terribly in terms of giving them both 100%! So how do we do it?

Russell's korero got me thinking about what I can be doing for our tauira to ensure they are coming to school engaged and happy, and to continue to build their confidence - something my programme lends itself beautifully to. 

My role is divided between teaching in the Creative Space, teaching the Extension classes and teaching children through the daily production of the Pt England Network News (PENN). All of these programmes are things that already engage and excite our children. So how can I develop these programmes deeper, to better develop the confidence and key competencies of our children?

Going through lockdown last year made me realise that the children I connect with the most on a daily basis whether I am at school or at home, and therefore can have the largest impact on in this world where we have to be so flexible and resilient, is my PENN crew. During the long 2021 lockdown, I was in daily email contact with these children to ensure the news was created and online each day. This real experience in itself created a huge amount of motivation for the children involved.

Since we have returned to school, a group of keen presenters come to school early to film for the day's news. The motivation is there. So what can I do to further benefit children in our school? In particular, which children would benefit the most from participating?

Since I know I already run creative-based programmes which provide a high level of motivation for the children involved, I now need to consider how I can support children who need to develop confidence through presenting, videography and photography, and editing.