Showing posts from 2017

Giftedness - Ten Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should

The following is a list of facts, traits and issues many would not recognize as a part of giftedness in children. Ten Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should1. It is widely acknowledged that giftedness is an inherent attribute. Giftedness is present at birth, an inherited trait. Chances are very high that one or both parents of a gifted child, as well as siblings, are also gifted. Nor does giftedness discriminate against culture, religion, social-economic status.
2. Gifted children do not always excel in school. Being gifted is no guarantee of success in school or later in life. For many various reasons, a gifted child will not always score well on tests, ace every task or turn in their homework. Many gifted children underachieve in school and often drop out.
3. Gifted children can and do have learning disabilities. As with any child, a gifted child may have learning disabilities which can negatively influence their achievement in school. Unfortunately, gifted children with …

1 to 1 Counting with Dinah

I am really excited to be getting back to teaching maths in the junior school. When I was previously in the juniors, the teaching of maths was very focused on Numeracy and in particular knowledge. I will be approaching this completely differently now after my PD with Dinah over the past 2 years. I met with Dinah this week and we primarily discussed the teaching of 1 to 1 counting through Strand.

The Coaching Habit 2

One thing that we do well in NZ to respond/cater to/for diversity.

Inclusive of familiesUse of own language (in SLC)Diverse StaffStrategic - set up people to 'look after' different groups within the schoolDiversity is not just about culture - family structures, personalising learning etc
Empowerment Means different things for different peopleBeing able to chooseHow do we TRULY personalise PLD for staff?We tend to organise through systemsSchools have always been highly structuredBUT how do you get consistency throughout the school e.g.agencythe teaching of subtractionWe need to be responsive to what is in front of us
Being strategic is about saying no to the thing you want to say yes to. It is possible to set an expectation and coach your way to it.e.g. "It is an expectation that hui will happen every week, what can we do to achieve that?" "What are the barriers?" "What is the challenge here for you?"Have we set the expectation clearly enough for our …

Abandon Subjects


What a great article outlining the need to flip education on its head.  Why do we continue to try to make the learning match the real world or make connections to the real world?

What we really need to do is teach the real world!

This makes so much sense, yet traditionally in NZ and around the world, we continue to teach subjects in isolation.  This is not what life is all about.

Help Children Learn and Love Maths

I came across this great visual today outlining 12 strategies from Jo Boaler to help pupils learn and love Maths.

Praise what children have done not the child.Always be a good Maths role model.Praise mistakes as learning opportunities.Encourage pupils to work on challenging problems.Help but don't do it for them.Encourage drawing wherever you can.Support pupils to make sense of maths at all times.Encourage pupils to think flexibly about numbers.Never time children as they work.Pinpoint the logic in incorrect answers.Give children Maths puzzles.Play games that use Maths. As I reflect on this list, I love the way that these strategies summarise the work that we have carried out with Dinah over the past two years. 
My favourite?  Number 3 without a doubt!  Praise mistakes as learning opportunities.  This is something that I am passionate about - in fact we celebrate mistakes.  Kids know that I love it when they make a mistake.  
I just had another thought though - I'm not so kee…

New Entrant Teacher Survey

Dear Teacher
I am a student in the UCOL School of Photography, Arts and Design, Palmerston North. As part of my study I am undertaking a research project that sets out to investigate illustration as an educational tool for new-entrant school children.
To achieve this, part of the project is to determine the perceptions of primary school teachers about child readiness for starting school and any resources that may be useful for teachers and pupils during the transition into a new entrant class.
Participation in this survey is entirely voluntary. You will be asked to complete a brief survey that will take approximately 25 minutes to complete. Completion of the survey implies that you consent to take part in the study.
Responses collected will form the basis of my research project and the basis for a report. All responses will be analysed on an anonymous basis. Only my supervisor, Andre Te Hira and I will have access to the data collected. All data will be stored securely and destroyed after…

Te Tiriti - Vicky

Joy Cowley Poem - "I enjoy looking at other people's roads"

What does the Treaty mean for us to RSS?

The lens of Education Act 1989 - Principles of Partnership, Protection and Participation.

NZ is both Bi-cultural and Multi-cultural.

We have all come from somewhere.  What do we know about the first people who were here in NZ?

1100 - First people came
1769 - Cook 'discovered' NZ
1790 - Traders
1840 - Treaty
1860 - PN established
1931 - RSS began

Language I use tells a story - we need to be conscious of what language we use. Were my descendants called to come to NZ?
We all come from multi-cultural backgrounds - and we make up this nation.
Who defines as Maori? How is that defined? Whakapapa (You are Maori if you can prove you are)If you have all of that, you can still choose not to be. We learnt as children that the Moriori were in NZ first, then the Maori came and 'eat and beat' the Moriori.  What in that is true?  Melenesian descent line rather than Polynes…

JK - P4C and Learning Maps

It has been so refreshing to come back to participating in JK with colleagues from RSS!  It is so much part of our culture where everyone feels valued and an integral part of the process.  What a great opportunity to bring together our shared knowledge and nut out possible solutions to problems.  I really feel as though this has been one of the best JK rounds I've been a part of.

We started by sharing knowledge of P4C (Robin, Suzanne and Rosie) and Inquiry Maps (Fiona).  I really wondered how we were going to merge the two, but merge we sure did.  And how powerful! We used Inquiry Maps to help our students improve their abilities in P4C.

There is HUGE potential for this to infiltrate throughout the school.  This is exciting and we feel as though this could be the next stage to our SLC's.  Rosie, Fiona and Robin will be trialling this at this term's SLC.

I'm looking forward to using Learning Maps in Room 4 next term.

The Coaching Habit

When you are asking questions, you might feel less certain about whether you are being useful, the conversation can feel slower and you might feel like you have lost control of the conversation....(and indeed you have - that's called empowering).
It is easy to 'help' but in doing so, we don't empower!  We move to a position where we want to help people help themselves.
This redefines 'work' - others are 'doing' the hard work!
This relates to teaching - we are redefining our role as teachers.
What does it mean to empower?to give power or authority to, to enable or permitwarrant, commission, license, qualify, entrust, privilegethe process of becoming stronger and more confident manaempowerment vs empower To empower?
The process of entrusting and enabling someone so that they become stronger and more confident to take control of their own life.
Why? to foster independenceto motivatecreates an opportunity for innovationcreates a sense of purposecreates a sen…

Talk Moves


Stephen Heppell

A great little clip from Stephen Heppell talking about education polarisation and the importance of an inquisitive curriculum.

Jodie Hunter

As part of our COL, our Maths team are working alongside Jodie Hunter from Massey University.  This presentation outlines the important features of a successful maths programme.  I love that everything here links up with the work we have done with Dinah over the past 2.5 years.  A powerful presentation with key messages included.

Financial Management Seminar

Last week, James and I (as well as AJ, Darryn and Leanne) attended a BOT Financial Management Seminar as part of our BOT Training.  I learnt a lot about how to read our financial statements and realised that I still have a lot to learn!  Steve is coming to our BOT meeting in July to specifically talk about our statements at RSS.  I feel as though I am now in a good position to ask specific questions.


We are fortunate enough to have an MST @ RSS this year. This programme is specifically designed to support the development of students well below, below, and 'at risk' of the National Standards. 

Mel, our MST, is doing a fabulous job implementing this programme and it has been a pleasure to spend time with her and relieving for her in this role on one occasion. There is certainly a huge change in the attitude of these students to their maths development - what a great start!

In reading Mel's assignment for her Massey Post-Grad Paper, my reflections are as follows:

For students who are struggling in maths, the following elements are key:

Engagement - of students and teachersUnderstanding of a learners maths identity, which is so often impacted by misunderstandingscreativityproblem solvingcollaborationanxietyIt is crucial for students to see how maths applies in the real worldTeachers have the biggest impact on student learning.Task choice is integral to learner engagemen…

NZ Teachers Council

We had a really interesting staff meeting today where James outlined the place of the new Professional Standards being designed currently by the Teachers Council. It is their intention to simplify these - changing from 12 PTC's to 6. We now have 4 Code Principles. These set out the principles of the Code grouped under the four commitment statements: Commitment to the Teaching Profession; Commitment to Learners; Commitment to Parents/Caregivers and Families/ Whānau; and Commitment to Society. The standards are National Context, Professional Learning, Professional Relationships & Behaviours, Learning Focused Environments, Design for Learning and Teaching. I am most excited by an indicator in the Teaching section where it states: "Enable learners to collaborate and self-regulate their learning and develop agency." See the following slideshow for further information:

Understanding Behaviour: Responding Safely

He moana pukupuku e ekengia e te waka. A choppy sea can be navigated.

How to prevent and avoid physical restraints.

It is now illegal to 'seclude' a child - somewhere where they can't or think they can't get out.

The only legal way (soon) to restrain a child will be if a child has an IPB.

You are safe to restrain if there is an imminent danger of physical injury to the student, other students or staff.

This is about keeping ourselves and the child safe - physical, emotional, reputational & legal.

Laughter - is great as long as it is not at someone else's expense.

Module 1: Understanding Behaviour

 Mā te kōrero, ka mōhio. Mā te mōhio, ka atua. Mā te matau, ka marama.
Through discussion comes knowledge.
Through knowledge comes learning.
Through learning comes understanding.

We need to understand the 'why' of behaviour.  There are aspects that are evident and visible and some that are obscured and hidden.

When we understand the why of behaviour, we can be …

Longworth Education - Seminar

Longworth Education carried out a seminar specifically designed for Leadership outlining the important factors in implementing a play based environment. My notes, a little bit different to usual, are taken from the Webinar.

What are my thoughts?  Play based learning fits in so very well with our vision - to inspire creativity, agency and excellence - why would we not inquire into this and see the benefits for our children?!

What's key?

What conclusions am I starting to draw from my sabbatical?

Maths has got to be engagingMaths needs to be relevant - related to real worldLearning of 'soft skills' are JUST as important as the content knowledgeWho is doing the maths? The teacher or the student?Every student needs to be treated equally with an expectation that ALL can & will succeed

Maths at School C

Another great day today visiting School C - this time seeing a large range of ages throughout the school participate in maths.

Generally speaking, the practice in each class was consistent across the school.  All students are in groups (seemed to be streamed) - one works with teacher, one group working on mathletics and the third group completing a worksheet.

Key messages that emerged:

learning must be relevant where students see the link to real lifedon't just show the 'perfect' model - life is not about perfect! e.g. when teaching geometry, can students identify a triangle if it is irregular?ensure it is the students doing the maths, not the teacher
On a side note, it is SO important to have a shared understanding about agency across the sector - what is it? What is it not?  
When matrices are used, how do the students feel who are in the 'bottom' tier ALL OF THE TIME.  What hope do they have?  Is this motivating for them to move or do they just feel dumb and unsu…