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PLD blogging at Tamaki College

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Today we had an awesome session on blogging presented by Lenva Shearing.  It was really refreshing to see and hear how important blogging is for our staff and the students at our school as I can see it as a powerful teaching and learning tool.

As we followed the presentation, Lenva led us 'back to the future'. We were reminded of our links to the cluster and how everything is visible, which is a driver for the learn, create and share model (the presentation can be found here).

I liked understanding how blogging is rewindable and you can revisit a child's learning over time and see their journey as a progression of skills and ideas.

Here are my key takeouts from the session that I found could be useful for now and in the future:
Let's get an online newsletter for students, staff and parents which could link back to a students' blogsGet onto the Tamaki College facebook page and promote our blogsIn the classroom, get a group of students to become a 'committee…

What will the end result be? Refocusing my Spark M.I.T

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Today at our SPARK M.I.T day, we were asked 'in a perfect world, what will the vision look like in 6 months time?  What will the end result be with our inquiries?'.  When I was asked this question, I totally thought I knew what to say. When it came to my turn, I had decided that my focus would be on getting the teachers and systems in place and that all will be wonderful in the world - but noooo, I was totally on the wrong track!  Where were the learners in all of this??


I needed to check what my original inquiry was:  how could my year 9 social studies studies be engaged in their learning to improve literacy outcomes through the use of blogs?  I decided to write down some learning objectives.

By the end of the year, year 9 social studies students will be engaged in their learning to improve literacy outcomes.

Students will be able to:
Engage in blogging consistently and effectivelyProvide constructive feedback to their peers on their blogsRecognise, use and choose effective wri…

The Heart of Innovative Teaching - Unpacking the 'TPACK'

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Now that I have discovered which framework  suits my MIT Spark inquiry, the challenge is 'what does it look like in context?'.  As mentioned in a previous post, my scribing on paper has helped me formulate an idea that could be 'innovative' (let's see what my bosses say lol)!  I have attempted to apply a TPACK framework to a teaching and learning context that I am familiar with - social studies at Tamaki College.

I started with the PK (Pedagogical knowledge) and the CK (Content knowledge) circles because I felt confident with the them.  As a teacher, my PK are the practices and methods that I use for teaching and learning.  It's me knowing how students learn and using strategies that would suit their learning needs.  My CK is everything I know about my subject area alongside knowing what students need to know to achieve success.  When you combine the two, you get the PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge) is basically knowing how to teach the content effectively(a…

A visit to Panmure Bridge School

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After trialling a writing strategy with my year 9 social studies class, I still needed to explore whether I was applying the strategy correctly and how students could use a writing strategy within their learning independently.  During the last week of term 2, one of my COLs colleagues Robyn Anderson invited me to see her LS2 class in action.  I was really excited at the chance!
The context that the students had been working on was on the 'Tamaki Wrap'.  I observed students move into groups to identify and summarise the main points of their learning and as they did so, they shared their 'learning talk' so I could hear what they thinking and doing.

Firstly students wrote down freely the key ideas that they had learnt previously (they would normally do this online, but because it was easier for me to see the bigger picture and roam around to see each of the groups, it was done on big realms of A3 paper which I appreciated).  Once the students wrote their own key points …

Blogging resources for teachers

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One of the challenges that I have come across was that very few teachers at my school blogged.  I wanted to encourage more teachers to start so I thought I would find some interesting sites and readings that discussed how teachers and educators just like them, have dealt with blogging, in a hope that it would allow for a clearer understanding of how important it is, regardless of what subject they taught.
1. Tips for choosing a class blog: Wesley Fryer I like the image that is shared on this site.  It has all the components that we dream of providing our students when it comes to their learning.  Fryer analyses 6 different blogging domains that staff could find use dependant on their context and highlights the features of each of the domains that could be useful in a classroom.  
2.  Teaching with blogs strategy guide (Tracey Gardner)
This is a really helpful guide which describes the processes involved in composing blogs in the classroom, the process of writing regular posts that are …

Understanding my thought processes in unravelling a framework that works!

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I have been struggling to find ways to be more innovative with my chosen M.I.T inquiry.  My focus moved away from ensuring students at our school blogged innovatively, to getting the teachers on board and blogging.  I wanted to have a purpose for engaging students and staff in blogging, and essentially it was to help students improve their writing skills.  The connecting of all the aspects has proven more difficult then I envisioned, so I decided to brainstorm the old fashioned way - writing it down.  I will share my thought processes with you, to help understand how I got to a framework that I feel has hit the jackpot!!

I started by thinking about what I wanted to blog about and number 1 was to talk about some cool sites that teachers could use when trying to get them motivated and keen to blog.  Sites that were informative, helpful and interesting for staff but also basic and easy to understand.
This led me to thinking about blogging for students at number 2, which would be innovati…

Redefining, redirecting and re'doing' integration

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One of the challenges that I have is figuring out how to use the short amount of time I have with my year 9 social studies class to ensure they come away learning something that is meaningful and purposeful inevitably to achieve 'success'.  When I say short, I am talking 4 x 50 minute periods a week, and if we take away 20 minutes for AR reading, then it is actually 180 minutes or 3 hours a week!  And in the 3 hours, I am expected to cover the achievement objectives of the social studies curriculum, ensure students have conceptual understandings of key concepts key skills needed to interpret and understand resources and teach them to understand how 'societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed and responsible citizens' (Social Sciences in the New Zealand curriculum, Ministry of Education, 2007).


I am not alone in this feeling of frustration.  I know each subject area at high school feels that they don't have enough time. So why in the…