Sunday, 31 March 2019

Week 9 - The End is Nigh

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: Thursday night between HSA Leadership camp days, when I felt stress-free enough to take an hour for myself.
  • McDonald's eaten: Three trips again. None this coming week, I promise.
  • Casual sports games played this week: None AGAIN - and it's starting to just slightly affect my self-esteem now as I feel I put on weight when I don't play during the week.
  • Books read: No books but I read a magazine article for fun about Duchess Meghan Markle. She seems so sweet :)
    • Teaching highlights: 

      • Year 12 are writing their assessment so there is little exciting happening there.. 
      • I only taught Y9 once last week because of the HSA trip on Thursday and Friday, and that period was just a massive uphill battle on Period 6 to get them to write compare/contrast paragraphs about hokey pokey that we made Friday P6 the week before, and lava/pumice. I had even taken the time to record their instructions, so the low-reading-level students could listen and still be able to learn:

      • Year 13 have been stretching their brains and wrestling with the concept of Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) analysis near the end of their learning about selective breeding. We had a nice double-period of slowly moving through a video, creating brainstorms, and sitting together in small groups and talking. It wasn't a particularly inventive lesson, just patient and collaborative. 
    • CoL things: Half of my COL time this week was taken by an HSA directors meeting. I still need to go and interview Y9 students who made accelerated gains in reading during Year 8, but this Monday/Tuesday we have student achievement conferences and next Monday/Tuesday they have Y9 camp so alas, that must wait till next term! I will try to conduct some research into more reading comprehension interventions I can implement with the class :)
      • HSA things: Period Zero numbers dropped last week back down to 5, but I am hopeful that after the Student Achievement Conferences these numbers will increase. 
        • I took the class to a two day Leadership Conference on Thursday and Friday, which was undoubtedly the highlight of their week (and my teaching-week too)! There, students met other Y11's who will be travelling with them through secondary and into Health Science training at University. Here is the video from the trip:
      • Teacher well-being support: this week I taught 7 staff members how to make scones! Glynis even went home and made some more over the weekend and sent me pictures :)

      Showing the way of the scones..

      Ladies ready to bake! (Alex taking the photo).

      Glynis' weekend scone attempt - looking fluffy!
      • Gratitude emails sent: back to none again. Oops. 

      Sunday, 24 March 2019

      Week 8 recount

      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: Absolutely none in the week and it's taking a toll on my back, which is starting to get sore. So I made it a priority to go to the gym twice in the weekend. 
      • McDonald's eaten: So. Much. McDonalds. At least 3 times. 
      • Casual sports games played this week: None, and again, not moving around and sitting on my computer doing school work has started to have an impact. 
      • Books read: Finally finished Mud, Sweat and Tears. I'm going to record myself reading it out loud for Stanley to listen and read along with. The story is really inspiring and I think he'd enjoy it.  

          • Last week was also the annual forest field trip for Year 12, which is always a nice day out with the class. Rebekah particularly enjoyed it and said "that was even better than the zoo!" Other choice comments included "man I can definitely get Excellence in this!"
        Looking at a tree.

        Jean explaining how Nikau berries are adapted to attract the birds that disperse their seeds.

        Footprints from an inquisitive mammal.. can you guess what it is? I'll tell you next post!
          •  I also really enjoyed a lesson about inbreeding, outbreeding and genetic diversity with Year 13 where they split into groups and each presented case studies to the class.
        Check out their presentations here:
          • CoL things: Last week I attended three primary school's staff meetings to introduce myself and share my booking sheet. The moment of time to catch them is when they're planning their Science Inquiry topic term! I imagine that I'll be not busy for a while, and then towards the end of the term when people begin looking ahead I could be inundated with requests for help! 
            • HSA things: Period zero ran with an increased number of students - up to 7 this time! 
            • Teacher well-being support: last week was a 'juice tasting' - competitive, of course. 5 teachers came and joined me in guessing the colour, variety, country of origin, region, and descriptors that matched the words describing the flavour on the label of the 'juice.' 
              • I joined in with teachers participating in the #hijabforhumanity:
            • Gratitude emails sent: ONE! - to Carol because she let me run with my crazy, VERY last-minute hokey-pokey making idea. I approached her on Thursday to see if she would allow me to use T1 for the practical, and she said "YEAH of COURSE!" She even measured out and prepared all the ingredients so the lesson would run more quickly and smoothly. It was a fabulous period 6 science lesson and the kids really enjoyed doing something practical.
              • For anyone wondering, the instructions are below.
              • I think it is important that we spend one more lesson going over what a model is in science, and what the science of making hokey pokey actually was: 

            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.