Monday, March 30, 2015

Workshop - Transforming Learning in Schools: Innovation and the Spiral of Inquiry

WOW what a powerful learning day! 
Spirals of inquiry are part of my learning journey and I have been eagerly anticipating this PD. 
What a pleasure and a privilege to spend a day with Judy Halbert @JLHALBERT and Lyn Kaser @lkaser.

After a delayed flight from Dunedin, we received the smoothest trip from the airport through to our venue in central Christchurch and arrived just in time for the start of the day!

The day was a MAGICAL mix of content, collaboration and powerful acts of facilitation - many of which I anticipate taking into my learning environments.   And many wonderful resources to explore!

Thanks to Judy and Lyn for the journey!

We started by acknowledging tangata whenua.

Stickies on table for any questions throughout the session – attended to at end of day!

Give and go – put your ideas on a sticky, meet someone intellectually stimulating, share yours with someone and hand it on… continuing sharing… give and go!

Cwe’lep – uncertainty in anticipation of new knowledge…

Unpacking curiosity - Curiosity is important because… (we NEED to strive to know the currently unknown… see the unseen, hear the unheard, feel the untouched,) my idea in brackets... This idea was shared with another, then handed on, I received another and so on til we had interchanged many times...

No hands up… strategy – hand the mic, or talking stick to someone who shares, who then passes it on.  Important in this strategy – the recipient of mic has the right to pass it on!

Gratitude in working together…

Living in the what if… conversation, sharing, reflection, hearing new messages,

Martin Hill – environmental artist – Wanaka –

What is GRIT? Grit – passion and perseverance for long term goals. Grit – living life like it is a marathon, not a sprint.
Grit, then harvest and celebrate.

The Nature of Learning Using Research to Inspire Practice Edited by Hanna Dumont, David Istance and Francisco Benavides

Six big findings:
·      Inquiry based
·      Collaborative
·      Linked and coherent
·      Takes place over time
·      Professionally led
·      The ‘right’ focus

Building commitment – “clusterness”

Setting hard goals…


Every learner crossing the stage with dignity, purpose and options.
ALL learners leaving our schools MORE curious than when they arrive.
ALL learners with an understanding of and respect for bicultural, multicultural perspectives.  

Valuing family, nature, and looking forward many generations…

Resources to explore:
Mindset – fixed to growth – read Carol Dweck’s book
Moving from fixed to growth… what helps make the shift…
The power of Yet – allowing for potential development…
Angela Lee  Duckworth – Effort, perseverance, grit,  take the grit survey
Read - how children succeed – Paul Tough
Growth mindset is a start but we need more!  Be willing to fail, start over again with lessons learned.  “We need to be gritty about getting our kids grittier”.  Goldie Hawn – calming down strategies…

What should we do more of, more often.
What should we do less of, more often.

Self check and regulate – with the taking on of any new initiative.
Continuum – mindfulness, relaxation techniques.
Stickability, GRIT

Four big questions:
1.     Where are you going with your learning?
2.     How’s it going? Matched to criteria…
3.     Where to next?
4.     Can you name two adults in this school who believe you will be a success in life?

I am challenging myself to include question 4 in our sessions… how can we use this with our clusters?

Ten by two strategy – ten days in a row, two minutes a day – have a connection with a learner – develop a relationship
How do we apply this to our role?

Why inquiry? Why now?

What happens after our LwDT contract is over?

Systematic continuations of great practice.
Iterative inquiry, investing in continued knowledge building, and establishing coherence of learning and teaching practices across curriculum areas, show continuing improvement in gains.

The spiral of inquiry: 
Scanning – includes the four questions, but also includes speaking with the learners, and the familites.

Focusing – framing the questions – not too narrow, not too wide… Take a focus, pursue,

Developing a hunch – What’s leading to this situation?  What is it about our practice?  How are we contributing to this? (long slow hunch)

New Learning – How and where will we learn more – PD.

Taking action – what will we do differently?  Trial, sharing, error is okay, size of action is crucial… flexibility with action

Checking – how will we check we have made enough of a difference?   Four questions will be very useful again at this stage.

Powerful introduction to the spiral - working with the spiral!  Split into groups to unpack the sections:

Working with the spiral – What’s really important about this phase?
What are some specific considerations at this phase that are critical to the process.
Unpacking the phases of the inquiry – photos to come!

How can I use this in my learning environments?

Individual Inquiry Good, 
Collaborative or collective inquiry better, 
Getting started – crucial

Personalise the inquiry by talking about teacher’s own biological children.

Where are we at as LwDT facilitators – individual inquiries?

What if kids were curious?  What if kids were more peaceful?  What if our kids cared about cultures other than there own?

Inquiry to transform learning…
Spark by John Ratey read – for exercise – engagement

Nature of learning reading:
1.     Learners at the centre – and learning at the centre – self regulated learnerswe
2.     Social Nature of Learning – incorporating the social aspect of learning (sharing across schools in cluster – sharing similarities and differences)
3.     Emotions are central to learning – awareness of this
4.     Recognising individual differences and prior knowledge – valuing diversity
5.     Stretching all students – Demands hard work and effort – without excessive overload
6.     Assessment for learning…
Dylan William – Embedded formative assessment
7.     Building Horizontal Connectedness – eg connecting with local senior home, seeds of learning,

Starting with the questions… a deep understanding of our learners and their families, the sky is the limit with creating a learning environment that works…

Hot seat – use for stretching and challenging the one sharing…

Big Questions
Where are you at?
Where do you want to be?
How are you going to get there?
What do you want us to do to support you?

Spiral framework – team…

Research base behind a collaborative inquiry process
Invitational and powerful
Is it possible to meet all of the needs of all of the students on your own…
Gathering focus – weaving ideas together – putting in collective energy.
Convergent at checking – everybody involved
Collective action – greater energy possible
Unpacking skills that are needed to be effective.
Watch Carol Dweck videos… - effect of praise.

What good question did you ask today? To shift the focus of parents who ask “what did you learn today”…

How to talk so children will listen and listen so children will talk.

Involve and engage community – eg 7 lots of ten minute involvement, sharing interactions, teaching visible to the communities,

Structures provided for every voice to be heard and valued.

Mixed groups with norms of respect…

“Leaving role at the door” establishing norms for how we will work as a group…

Open up thinking – think more broadly – question more, what is going on for our learners?  How do we know?

A hunch can start us off on an inquiry – use the buzz to go wide with scanning…

Mentor, coach role, supporting the inquiry process across the school.

WOW - what an incredible day!!!

Just can't wait for tomorrow's session!

And a walk tonight exploring new arrivals in Christchurch... limitless new cafes, bars, restaurants, and street art popping up everywhere...

Love this one!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pasifika Hui

Welcome back to my blog… I have been absent during an extremely busy time in my work and personal life.  I consciously made the decision to forego my commitment to blog daily during March as it was obviously becoming an extra stress in my day as opposed to a pleasure!

I am delighted to be back and I have so many blog posts tumbling in my head just waiting to get out into these keyboard keys…

Today I am flying to Auckland for the privilege of a two day Pasifika hui.  I am extremely excited about this opportunity and want to commit the following goals:

·      Immerse myself in the Pasifika experience
·      Connect and collaborate with Pasifika leaders and participants
·      Build on my Pasifika Language and pronunciation
·      Build on my Pasifika knowledge and protocols
·      Develop my knowledge around PEP
·      Celebrate Polyfest
·      Capture ideas to take into my schools immediately
·      Share my learning via Social media #corepasifika15
·      Blog my experiences

WOW – excited!!!!

Just read through my posts from last year - even more excited now....

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Module 2 - Becoming a connected educator #28daysofwriting Day 8

Woohoo - here I am arriving into Module 2! Better late than never....

"Coaches working with teachers and principals can support this need for emotional release. In my coaching work, I find that a solid chunk of time is always spent giving clients space to process emotions. Until they have had time to talk and sometimes cry, we can't get to the lesson planning, leadership team agenda, or data analysis. That's just the way it is. And yes, sometimes I feel like a therapist, and coaching is not therapy, but it's the reality of how things are in our schools and what educators need. My job as a coach is to meet people where they are and help them move forward. And the road forward is full of emotions, but there's no other way to go -- and a coach can develop skills to move someone down that road and not get stuck in it."

Healthy teams
Emotional Resilience
Systems change

How to use Role-Play in Teaching and Training
By Mohan Kumar

A very enjoyable read by Mark Wagner!
"Learning to network - networking to learn."

  • Connect
  • Contribute
  • Converse
  • Request
  • Blog
  • Tweet
  • Join Classroom 2.0
  • Use Google+
  • Be patient
  • Be authentic
As I am reading this my mind keeps tracking back to October 2014 when Connecter Educator Month took NZ by storm.  What a truly MAGICAL time that was!

Personal Learning Networks for Educators

  • Accessible
  • Two way
  • Aggregate Resources
  • People - colleagues
  • Active participation

Power Up! / Put the "Personal" in Your PLN  Doug Johnson

"I define a PLN as a self-created set of experts, colleagues, and resources—usually dependent on networked technology—that meet one's daily learning needs."

WOW - what a MAGICAL time that was!  Three hours spent catching up!  So many amazing connections and tweets have happened in amongst and around my online learning tonight! And a new word to add to the mix - learnaholic... Thanks to Becky Hare for adding that word to my repertoire.... 

Coaching Digital Learning Day 4 #28daysofwriting

I am finding it exceptionally challenging to make time in my week for this MOOC.  

Today I caught up with Jennie and we talked for ages.  She is on an exciting Science learning journey this year and part of her role is the time to read and reflect.  I reminisced about 2011 when I had a study leave year and read voraciously and studied at leisure.  I LOVE reading and LOVE new learning.  I NEED to find time in my day for it!

I wonder if I set aside 1/2 an jour a day if I could commit and make a dent in my reading pile???

How do you manage to keep up with your reading and learning commitments?

As I complete Unit 1 I have set up my Instructional Technology Coaching Action Plan and I am working through these reflections...

What is an Instructional Technology Coach?

How can an Instructional Technology Coach help me?

How do I contact my Instructional Technology Coach?

I am also reflecting again on the goals for this course and making sure I am committing... 

Goals for Participants
Understand the role of instructional technology coaches in guiding educators to integrate technology effectively;
Explore the potential of web-based tools to enhance your Professional Learning Network (PLN) and knowledge base as a coach, as well as facilitate connections with educators worldwide (Twitter, Zite, Pinterest, Flipboard, Facebook, Blogs);
Understand and apply frameworks, like the Technological Pedagogical And Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework and Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) as guides to the best intersection of curricular standards, sound pedagogy choices, and technology;
Explore strategies to support classroom teacher practices that enhance students’Collaborative work, Communication with multiple audiences, Critical thinking, andCreativity (Four C’s);
Deepen your understanding of the elements of Digital Citizenship to coach both educators and students toward digitally safe learning environments and habits;
Experience personalized application of your new learning and job-embedded practice;
Create an Instructional Technology Coaching Action Plan that serves as a scaffold for guiding your colleagues and others toward effective digital learning; and
Contribute to the learning of others who participate in the course.

The whanau that plays together stays together... Day 3 #28daysofwriting

Do you remember Top Town?

Well, after a full on day at retreat where we looked at:

  • Where we are now;
  • Finding our why;
  • Best workplace
We headed out onto the field for Top Team.

What fun!

In our 12 famili teams, we participated against each other in an awesome range of fun activities.  Regardless of age, gender, shape, size, ability, we worked as teams, some shining in areas of organisation, others in cheer leading, and others still in full on fast and furious physical activity!

We laughed, sweated, cheered, collapsed, challenged, competed; each giving it their all in their own unique way.  

The bonding within teams was evident as we worked to support each other, complete tasks together and have fun along the way.  

Absolutely loved the time with me team!!! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Heading to retreat… #28daysofwriting

Woohoo – almost two years on here we all are heading to retreat in Hanmer.  Five of us board the early morning flight out of Dunedin bound for Christchurch to board the bus for Hanmer. 

Aside from visiting one of the many truly beautiful spots in New Zealand again, I am really looking forward to the MAGIC of the restrea
·      Reconnecting with CORE whanau from all around New Zealand;
·      Meeting new CORE whanau who have joined recently;
·      Spending time reflection on the journey that CORE has been on;
·      Looking at wehre we are at in the current eeducational context in NZ;
·      Looking to the future;
·      Socialising with CORE whanau;
·      Exploring Hanmer again;
·      Relaxing in the hot pools..
How privileged we are as a company to come together; spend quality time together; developing as a team. 
Theme: The core of CORE
Honouring the past
Celebrating the now     
Looking into the future

I always believe it is a HUGE privilege to have everyone in one space for a journey of reflection.  A vision or team ‘way pf being’ is only lived and owned if it is revisited, reflected on and re-shaped. 

How does this look for me in my professional life?

Honouring the past

In 1981 I attended Dunedin Teacher’s College for a brief sojourn.  I was not ready to be a teacher and off I went to explore different opportunities. In 1998 I returned and began my three year stint at Dunedin Teacher’s College, graduating in November 2000.  Since then I have taught in three schools, and been a Deputy Principal for five years.  I won a teachNZ scholarship in 2011 and celebrated a study year completing my Masters of Educational Leadership and travelling around New Zealand on my self designed ‘Twitter Tour’ exploring schools across NZ using mobile devices and flexible learning spaces.  In 2012 I returned to school and ran a BYOB (bring your own browser) programme in a student designed learning space classroom.  We had a fabulous year, connecting online, have choice and control over our learning with personalized learning pathways, and designing new learning spaces.  At the beginning of 2013 I took up a position with CORE education and worked as a facilitator in the Blended e-learning team in schools in and around Otago, Central Otago and Southland.  2014 saw me working as a facilitator for the newly named contract Learning with Digital Technologies with schools in and around Southland, Literacy with the Literacy Online role, mentoring with the Virtual Professional Learning and Development Team and consultancy. 

Celebrating the now  
2015 sees me as Cluster Lead for schools in Otago and Southland as well as workshop support in Christchurch.  I am also continuing the VPLD mentoring and thoroughly enjoying the learning in this role.  I have recently begun participating in my first MOOC – name it…
I love my roles, I love my job!!!!  I continue to find better work/life balance. 
Looking into the future

Where to now?  I know that education is where I want to be.  I know that I miss direct contact with class and learners.  I use the analogy of my c=being a free range chicken and a return to the class would be like putting me in a cage for now…