Sunday, 17 March 2019

Week 7 Progress...


To make time for my mental and physical health. 
To carry out all my roles (teacher, HSA director and Across Schools CoL) to the best of my ability. 
To support staff wellbeing. 
To actively maintain a positive personal outlook.

  • Visits to the gym this week: Zero again. 
  • McDonald's eaten: four separate visits.. two deluxe cheeseburger combos and a BLT bagel combo.. not a great week for the ol' saturated fat. 
  • Casual sports games played this week: 1x 200m sprint against the Y13 girls during athletics. Early morning walks now that I'm more organised with my teaching.
  • Books read: Still chipping away at Mud Sweat and Tears. If it's not finished this week I'm going to put it down and move on to something more entertaining. 
    • Teaching highlights: 
      • Getting on a roll with Year 12. We started the year learning a Y13 exam (Human Evolution) and the standard was high. Now we're back in Year 12 learning they have settled and are still straining to work at the higher level, which should set them up well for their first L2 internal.
      • The second round of reading comprehension worked better with 9PKr. I think they're almost at a place where there's enough routine to get my Mum in to help groups with their reading. If I could have Chris reading to Stanley and Apete, Mum working with the girls and extending them, and me working with the two groups of boys, that would be pretty amazing for them. Lots of support. Lots of emphasis and importance on reading and understanding.
      • Discovering  
        • CoL things:
          • Had a Friday 7am meeting with Fiona, Russell, Donna and Clarelle around how we give support to the in-school CoL teachers and make ourselves accessible to teachers across the cluster. 
          • You can book time with me to help with science (in the Primaries, probably mostly the Y7/8 teachers but can be anyone!) or with literacy (in TC - I'm no expert but I try my best!!)
          • Here is the link to book any of us:
        • HSA things: Period Zero launched with only 4 students of 11 arriving and studying with me for an hour before school on Monday. During tutor the rest of the week I tried to make it really clear that attending Period Zero is one of the only things they are required to do to be in the HSA - and if they don't attend then they won't be going on the leadership trip coming up. "You have to act like a leader to be given the opportunities of a leader." Furthermore, if they want to work in the Health Science field then they need to start showing they want that dream enough to get out of bed at 7am once a week! We'll see if there's an improvement next week. 
        • Teacher well-being support: after Athletics news of the terrorist attach in Chch hit, so softball was cancelled. A weekend of reflection with my friends followed, up in Paihia.   
        • Gratitude emails sent: a few thank-you's here and there for little things. 

        Sunday, 10 March 2019

        Over Halfway Through Term 1!

        To make time for my mental and physical health. 
        To carry out all my roles (teacher, HSA director and Across Schools CoL) to the best of my ability. 
        To support staff wellbeing. 
        To actively maintain a positive personal outlook.

        • Visits to the gym this week: ONE! Starting a routine now on Saturday mornings. I hurt my back hitting a PB on my squats though :( 
        • McDonald's eaten: well... there's $4 coffee there (any size!) until the 1st April so.. lots. 
        • Casual sports games played this week: 1 sad, sad game of touch that knocked us out of the semi finals. Going to start winter touch in Newmarket soon though.
        • Books read: I'm not really enjoying Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls to be honest. I can see why boys and men enjoy it with it's fabulously rebellious and active content, but the writing style is so.. simple. Too many short sentences, and reiteration of thoughts far too frequently.  
          • Teaching highlights: 
            • Trying out a reading comprehension activity with Year 12 after the PD Mark and I ran - mostly Mark ran, to be fair - on Tuesday. I was just the intro to the session, where I presented data to explain WHY reading comprehension is important for us all to be working to improve. Then Mark used the rest of the session to show HOW we can all do that. 

              • First, I made this reading. In the case of Year 12, this required very little manipulation of the text from - I just added one little paragraph of extra biological information that is relevant to their upcoming internal standard. 
              • Then I made these activities to go along with the reading. The first activity, the prediction, happens before even giving the reading out. Students had to write their best guess about what the article or 'story' would be about. 
                • Year 12 appeared to enjoy the reading comprehension activity. I made sure to explain to them why I get them to read out loud in a group ("people may be able to help you out with any unfamiliar words - and sometimes you can help them in return! Plus you just get to listen and read along for some of the article.")
                  • Some Year 12's have been struggling to meet my expectation of being on task for a full 45 minutes or a full 95 minutes. Some have proven unable to even make it past 10 minutes. But with this activity the 10-minuters made it to about 20 before having to be refocussed, and a 60-minuter made it to 80. Progress!
                • I also tried an almost identical series of reading comprehension activities with the Year 9's to less success, but still moderate success. The activities were similar, but did include "asking questions" of the text before reading it again.
                • The Year 9 class has two different reading levels - higher and ESOL.
                • I also recorded myself reading the ESOL reading out loud so they could read along with me. 

            • CoL things: I sat with Brenton for an extra hour after staff PD on Tuesday to help adjust a Year 11 PE student task. Alex nicely agreed to act as a Year 11 PE student to trial what our instructions led him to write. I also spent a few minutes talking to Andy before staff briefing one morning about 1 page student tasks, and then 3 hours today leaving feedback on his first draft:

            I left feedback as both a student reading the task for the first time and trying to work out what I would have to do (this was easy because I have zero electronics knowledge and very little technology knowledge) and a teacher.

            The feedback was on the task and the marking grid.

            This was my attempt at simplifying the marking grid, but Andy will definitely have to check that it aligns with the standard completely!

            This is the format that biology (and three Year 11 science standards so far) gives student tasks in. 

            Here's an example of a Y12 biology standard task and marking grid that students receive. The tile isn't the standard title - it's a general title of what to expect overall! Then there's a little blurb describing what they'll be doing. Then (because the assignment is a report) there are headings with word counts and what to write about beneath them. 

            The whole idea is that there's no mystery for kids! We're not trying to trick them! 
              • HSA things: We had the opening launch for the HSA! 7 students and 5 of their families came along. The launch was a great success with everyone on board, and we shared food and set expectations and chatted together. 
              • Teacher well-being support: we played Bingo this week - Katrina won $12 in the first round and Graham took home the $14 kitty in the second. 
              • Gratitude emails sent: none, again. I will re-focus on this during this week.

              Sunday, 3 March 2019

              Week 5

              To make time for my mental and physical health. 
              To carry out all my roles (teacher, HSA director and Across Schools CoL) to the best of my ability. 
              To support staff wellbeing. 
              To actively maintain a positive personal outlook.

              • Visits to the gym this week: ONE! Largely because Kurt headed in there to see a client, so I toddled along too and amused myself for an hour, trying to copy instagram fitness model workouts.
              • McDonald's eaten: alas, a new high score of 2. One BLT bagel combo at 6.15am before work, and one Ham and Cheese pocket and coffee - again WAY too early in the morning.
              • Casual sports games played this week: 2 games of touch, tag has finished :( 
              • Books read: I've started on Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls. I've been looking for this book in Op shops for YEARS - since a friend told me that it was the book (recommended to him by his high school English teacher) that kick-started his love of reading at age 16. 

              • Teaching highlights: 
                • Giving a Year 9 student feedback across multiple days with her creative writing in Science. Granted, she hasn't reached the science part yet.. but it was nice to help with her writing.
                  • You can read it at the bottom of the post if you're interested :) 
                  • I also received an email from another student in the class to remind me to send him the creative writing blog instructions so he could do it as homework!
                • Helping my Year 11 tutor class (also with their creative writing), after talking to their English teacher about their first internal and.. 
                  • Trying to get students to "show" not "tell" in their writing.
                  • Christie's blog from tutor here
                  • Paula's blog from tutor here

              • CoL things: Added in data analysis of writing and maths as well, so staff can identify their top Year 9 students. Sat with Marc a while to work out how the Staff Briefing will work next week. This week I'll have to sit with Russell to send principals emails, and then book time to attend Staff Briefings after school across the cluster.
              • HSA things: This week we had our first guest visitor - the lovely Dr Susan Reed - to speak to students on Tuesday after school about being a female Polynesian in the Health field. I also had another meeting about the HSA opening fono for whānau, and called home to all the parent's about next Tuesday evening at 6pm. 
                • Fusi's very short blog of Dr Susan's visit here.
              • Teacher well-being support: organised backyard cricket on Friday after school. 17 staff members turned up to have a go! In case you can't read the scoreboard, Doris won by approximately 412 runs. 
              • Gratitude emails sent: none BUT I gave out a RISE voucher to two students who I overheard have this responsible conversation: 
                • "Can we get a basketball out please?" they asked a PE staff member.
                • "No, sorry boys, there's only one minute left before the bell," replied the PE guy.
                • "Oh only one minute! Ok I guess we'll go to class now, then" said one of the boys, while the other nodded his head - and off they went. 

              Here's the creative writing story for those who want to read! I think it's great. 

              This is a story about a superhero whose name was “Captain Kindness.He loved helping other people and giving back to his community. On a sunny Saturday morning by 9am, the young superhero had completed all his tasks; visiting a resting home, reading a story to kindergarten children and lastly helping those in need of a healthy breakfast.

              Once he had completed all his jobs he sat down in his “lucky chair” and searched for anyone in need, but - strangely - no one was in danger. His tally-phone and chart alarm weren’t beeping either. Captain Kindness gazed strongly towards his soft-screen and wondered why nothing strange was happening. He then came to the conclusion that all burglars, graffiti artists and wedgie-givers were on a break and didn’t need to disrupt the “Town of oz”!

              He pulled out his journey book and searched for an activity he could do in his free time. The first thing that came up on his list was “search the Earth.” He thought to himself “what could I search, I’m a superhero and I’ve already seen the majority of the Earth!” On top of his adventures, he had also done some quick research on Google and had found some amazing things about his “Planet Earth”.

              The Captain then came to the decision of going to visit the center of the Earth. He packed some fuel and jumped in his auto-invisible car. He wasn’t too sure how to get to the middle of the Earth so he called up a few of his friends, “Dr. Wolf”. It turned out Dr. Wolf wasn’t the best person to turn to for advice about the Earth - Dr. Wolf was actually a magician and not a scientist!

              Luckily Captain Kindness knew two more friends who he was certain could help out. He searched his tally-phone looking for his long lost friend Professor Stanley.

              Once again Captain Kindness was let down - it turned out Professor Stanley worked in a laboratory with chemicals and sadly he wasn’t able to help out with Captain Kindness’s adventure to the center of the Earth.

              Captain Kindness almost gave up until he remembered his very close but distant best friend. Now I say best friend because Captain Kindness and Captain Red had done many activities together when they were young, until they set off to high school - they hadn’t seen each other in a while. His favorite color was red and he was exactly who Captain Kindness was looking for. Captain Kindness hit ‘dial’ and rang his old close friend.

              As the phone rang, Captain Kindness was as nervous as a child receiving a big present; his arms down to his fingertips were shaking as fast as a cheetah on a hunt, and his palms were sweating so much they would have been able to fill a large glass cup! As much as Captain Kindness was afraid to talk to his long lost friend he built the courage to stay on the phone and speak to his long lost friend.

              After four rings on the phone, someone answered the phone… “Hello, Captain Red here. How can I help?

              “Um... Hello, this is Captain Kindness” Captain Kindness replied with a silent and calm yet loud enough voice.

              Captain Kindness was shocked to hear his friends voice after so many years. Captain Kindness slowly started speaking with more confidence into the tally-phone.

              “Yes this is… Captain Kindness, but you may know me as Joshua Bandshell!” Captain Kindness knew his best friend as Kyle Maximus

              “Is this you JoJo?” Captain Red replied “I’d recognise that squeaky voice anywhere!”

              After a 45 minute phone call ‘JoJo’ had all the answers he’d been looking for and an extra 20 he hadn’t asked for! In his car her packed Magma Repulsors, his Super Cooling Suit, night vision goggles, an in-car air Pressuriser (vanilla flavoured, of course).

              By 1.15pm he was ready to go, and backed his auto-invisible car down the gravelly driveway. Within minutes he was circling over Mt Etna in Italy, preparing to nose-dive down through the lava in the volcanic vent.

              Down, down he went, passing through the magma chamber and into the crust of the Earth.

              Now you can continue with:

              Describe what they saw and touched, and how they used superpowers to survive the journey!

              Include lots of scientific vocabulary such as mantle, dense, continental crust, iron, degrees celsius, solid, iron, inner core, magnetic, oceanic crust, convection.

              Monday, 25 February 2019

              CoL Data Crunching

              When I began my year as a CoL teacher I thought that each week I would be able to create and share resources and/or videos of bright ideas about literacy from almost any primary teacher in our cluster to the secondary teachers of my school, as I regarded them all as literacy specialists in comparison to me, (and probably all secondary teachers like me), who always try our best but didn't receive the same formal literacy training during our PGDips as the Primary trained teachers did. 

              However, I've had my reigns pulled in. And that's not a bad thing at all, because what it means is that I'll be more targeted and scientific in my approach to sharing literacy strategies, instead of charging around like a bull in a china shop. On the other hand, it does mean I have less tangible help to deliver to my secondary colleagues each week in return for my time out of class each week. I'm very conscious of this. Everything I do this year will be through the lens of sharing what I learn to help others, and with a focus on literacy and science. 

              So here is the outcome of the first four weeks of my year: 
              • I've had three meetings about the steps that I must take to walk the best path into schools of the cluster, and also to shape and focus my inquiry. 
              • I've been working with Aaron and Kenichi from Woolf Fisher to access the past data of the Year 9's who arrived at Tamaki College this year. 
              • I conducted data analysis and creating a presentation to share at the first CoL meeting of the year. 
              • I presented the start of my inquiry to the CoL meeting and have asked Kathryn for time to present at the next big staff meeting, to try and share more than just via this blog. 

              Here are the findings around Writing and Reading Comprehension of students who arrive at Tamaki College from schools in the Manaiakalani cluster:

              • I have identified that Writing is a great strength of the Primaries. 
              • Reading Comprehension is an area that all Manaiakalani schools can improve. 
              • 111 of the 149 Year 9's who arrived at Tamaki College did not make accelerated progress in Reading Comprehension towards the norm during Year 8. 
              • Only 7 of our new arrivals are working above the norm for NZ in Reading Comprehension - meaning that acceleration in this area is vital across ALL years, as we're all playing catch-up together. 
              • 38 students arriving at Tamaki College DID make accelerated progress in Reading Comprehension! 
              • Some of that progress was really significant - Trent made 17.9 points of improvement in his PAT scale score for Reading Comprehension, and the norm improvement was 5.28! 

              End of Week 4

              To make time for my mental and physical health. 
              To carry out all my roles (teacher, HSA director and Across Schools CoL) to the best of my ability. 
              To support staff wellbeing. 
              To actively maintain a positive personal outlook. 

              Prepare yourself for a lot of data-heavy blog posts in the next few days as I complete my background data analysis on the Year 9's who arrived at Tamaki from our Manaiakalani feeder schools!

              • Visits to the gym this week: still 0. I left a meeting at 5.30 on Thursday keen to go to the gym, but by the time I reached it at 6.30 after a frustrating hour in traffic I just wanted to go home. So I kept on driving.
              • McDonald's eaten: 1 Happy Meal combo and McFlurry (mostly because I wanted the Roald Dahl book they were giving away in place of a toy).
              • Casual sports games played this week: 4 games of touch throughout the week.
              • Books read: Firewall by Andy McNab after talking to Staff Cairns about his favourite books. I can see why armed service-people enjoy this book! It was a little too heavy on operational details for me, but the story was interesting. 
              • Teaching highlights: 
                • Printing and cutting up this Excellence answer to review (and help learn) the third section of the Human Evolution exam, which students had to shuffle into the correct order using colour first, then semantic clues such as topic sentences and clues like "firstly," "the second piece of evidence" or links between sentences, and then finally order the paragraphs into an essay using the bullet points in the question to structure it.
                • Next, students read through the full answer and wrote down words that they didn't know the meaning of onto big whiteboards. As I moved around I noticed these included both biological and just general English words. Some frequent ones written were: 
                  • Concurrently (con- means with or thoroughly, current relates to time or now.. with each other in time)
                  • Vaguely (sort of, kind of, slightly)
                  • Simultaneously (at the same time)
                  • Cohabitation (co- means together, habitat is a living space... living together)
                  • mtDNA 
                  • y-Chromosome
                  • Carbon dating
                • I moved around the room explaining the words, and then went and created this doc that we'll come back to today.
                • Year 13's took the initiative to write down notes about the evidence to support each of the two theories of human dispersal, half of Year 12 asked more questions while the other half tried to avoid any further learning.
                • In response to that, I think it would be useful to get the Year 12 students to un-shuffle the answer a second time and record a quick summary of information from it. I'm hoping the second run at the activity will build more confidence.
              • CoL things: I presented my data at the first CoL meeting of the year and received positive feedback and interest. That was nice. I'm going to ask Kathryn if I can present at the next staff meeting too.
              • HSA things: Went to a meeting on Thursday morning with other Academy Directors and finally found out what other HSA are doing, and left feeling much more calm. We have our first guest coming to speak with students on Tuesday, and the fono with whānau next week :)
              • Teacher well-being support: nothing this week because of the rain on Friday :( although Vaughn was ready to take people for a walk up Maungarei while I was busy flying to Nelson for my mother-in-law's 60th birthday!
              • Gratitude emails sent: more this week, 4 I think. And 4 RISE cards too. 

              Monday, 18 February 2019

              Week 3..

              To make time for my mental and physical health. 
              To carry out all my roles (teacher, HSA director and Across Schools CoL) to the best of my ability. 
              To support staff wellbeing. 
              To actively maintain a positive personal outlook. 

              These posts don't relate to my CoL role by the way, which is ticking away in the background. When my data analysis is complete it will deserve it's own blog post!
              • Visits to the gym this week: still 0. Why am I paying for a membership!?
              • McDonald's eaten: 1 - BLT bagel and a coffee when I needed to work right up until 8.28am.
              • Casual sports games played this week: 3 games of touch, 3 games of tag and 9 Rounds with a friend on Saturday morning.
              • Books read: Past Tense by Lee Child. It got skim read because half of the plot was boring. 
              • Teaching highlights: 
                • Going to the zoo with Year 13!
              Everyone up and looking at skeletons and skulls

              Tauola, Gloria, Maia and Paige trying to determine the species of their skull.

              Keti, Loma and Alisi also puzzling.

              Giant Galapagos tortoise! He was out and about while his buddy slept in the mud.

              The elephant was an exciting find because she was feeding!

              The mark of a good trip - 18 people out of 32 fell asleep on the ride home! It was very hot.
              • CoL things: I ran data for about 4 and a half hours on just one cohort, across one year, on only Reading Comprehension. Not Vocab, not Writing, not Maths... just Reading Comprehension. Stay tuned for findings soon!
              • Teacher wellbeing support: organised the "Great Tamaki Bakeoff" which only Shirly and Karen baked cookies for. Trina ran the voting at interval. While only 2 baked, definitely more people than that enjoyed the cookies :)
              • Gratitude emails sent: only 2 again.