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Showing posts from February, 2017

Reviews and re-visings

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This year we are trialling an integrated approach to teaching and learning for our year 9 students.  Each term there is an overarching theme link to the four future focussed principles outlined in our New Zealand curriculum:

The future-focused principle “The curriculum encourages students to look to the future by exploring such significant future-focused issues as sustainability, citizenship, enterprise, and globalisation.” The New Zealand Curriculum
This term we have taken on the issue of sustainability and ways we can more sustainable in the community.  In their classes, students will select a project and work in groups to come up with ideas of how to sustain an issue or problem in our community.  Issues were chosen around relevance, interest and the problems identified by staff and students.  One of the main drivers for our integrated sustainability curriculum this term was our Manaiakalani clusters focus which is on the health of our local streams and pest eradiction, one of the pro…

Updates on my inquiry

My COL's inquiry is how to plan and implement an integrated cross-curricula programme at year 9 to lift the achievement of boys’ writing.

One of our department goals this year is to collaborate, create and implement an integrated future focussed unit at year 9.  This is linked directly to our schools goal of 'working across departments in Year 9 on an integrated unit of work with a community focus or context'.  I have chosen this as my inquiry as I am really hoping to engage our year 9's in interesting and relevant contexts across curriculum areas.

Over the past year, I have been gathering evidence, engaging in professional development and attempting to put together a template for our learning environment.  We have an established 'old school junior curriculum' where departments are generally working in silos and the challenge has been to change the status quo and work more purposely across curriculum areas.  
There are many faucets to the planning and implement…

Meeting the @SPARK M.I.T crew!

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Today my colleague Hinerau and I travelled to the Spark headquarters to begin our journey as M.I.T inquirers into issues that we are interested in.

In our first session we introduced ourselves and it was interesting to hear how our Manaiakalani outreach programme allows for 'Sparkers' to join us and share in their digital journals.  We met Lynne LeGros, who is the CEO of the Spark Foundation and shared the other initiatives that Spark are involved in like being the creators of the 'givealittle' pages etc.  It was lovely to hear the stories of how they are involved in the community and their invaluable support of our Manaiakalani M.I.T initiative.  Lynne also alluded to the fact that we will have a Spark support person assigned to us throughout this journey which is exciting to know.

After morning tea, we each shared what our inquiries were and thanks to some invigorating grilling by Dorothy senior, we felt like we were getting to bottom of our inquiries - I definitely …

Our year 9 sustainability day!!

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On Wednesday 15th February, our year 9's took part in a 'Sustainability Day' a day that students would take part in workshops and discussions over the importance of sustainability!

Before the day could happen, there was a little bit of planning behind the scenes, which I will detail below.

My initial thoughts were that it would be a day that our kids could be immersed in and essentially we could hook them into wanting to learn about sustainability and why it is important in our community, starting with why it was important to our school.

I invited our year 13 leaders, prefects and house captains to be part of the day as I felt they could help our year 9's feel more comfortable in the big wide world of high school and to remind our year 9's who our leaders were.  I briefed them last week about the day and asked them to remember how they felt when they started at our school.  The prefects were excited to be part of the day and I assigned to them to specific tutor cl…

Initial planning at our department meeting for our integrated unit

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There are four teachers in our social studies department who are teaching at least one year 9 class this year.  We come from two extremes of teaching experience - there are two of us who have been teaching social studies at Tamaki for at least 10 years and the other two teachers are brand new beginning teachers who have joined our department at the beginning of this year.  It makes for an exciting mix of new and old!

During our first department meeting, we discussed a unit that I'd put together over Christmas and asked for feedback and thoughts at our second meeting.  I was excited to see input from everyone who could see we needed more ideas, engagement and lessons that would motivate student interest and ownership.

The introductory lessons allowed students to imagine they were Moana and travelling to a new country, but needed to remember how to protect where they'd come from.  Part of the reason for this was to get to know our kids and to allow them to share who they are and…

Day 2: Full on Thursday!

It's now Friday because yesterday it was so full on, I didn't get to blog...not that I didn't want to, I just couldn't get my fingers on the keyboard I was so buggered!

Period 1 was our project leaders meeting and although we are a small group, we feel we are leaders of change in our school.  It is an empowering position to be in.  We set our goals for the years and I explained to them how the weeks would look once the kids projects started and when they needed to check in with the kids - Tuesday's for the physical check in and Thursday's for our blogging checks.
Period 2, I met my gorgeous year 9's - ohhh the joy of seeing their lovely faces!  
I met my huge level 3 sos class by doing an experiment with them.  I left them waiting outside for 5 minutes to ensure they got there on time.  Two boys were waiting near the door, but I explicitly said only the girls could come in.  I ignored the boys who were whispering 'oh miss', the girls just smiled or …

Day 1: Where did it go? Wed 1st Feb (late post)

Day one of school has gone - blinked and missed it!

My to do list that I sorted last night at 11pm was:

Complete new year 9 welcome letter for the dean and SLT (check - well received)Book car in for damage repair (check - 2 weeks from Tuesday)Check on new departments members to see if they're ok (both have not quit, tyj)Sort out furniture from departed MDTA Geo teacher Caleb to new roomPut posters up in my room (interior decorator needed)pay late tax returns re IRDbook English resource room for meetings without the HOD's knowledge (yes!) The staffroom can be deceptive at times.  If you sit on the couches, you invite the odd wanderer who wants to share their woes and life stories, sometimes jumping you when you least expect it, trapping you with their spell - it's like you don't want to look but you can't help but stare!  Other times, you can find a corner for whole day, that warns ppl out 'leave me the alone, I have stuff to do!' and no one bothers you.  To …