Twitter Chat

Following on from my early Twitter post called ‘Twitter; ongoing learning” I have become active in using Twitter. I have increase the number of pages or people that I am
following and I am finding Twitter a valuable source for ideas and activities. An example of my increased involvement is on Tuesday night I was part of a chat which was organised by two of my classmates from University for BT teachers in NZ. This chat can be seen here
I contributed a number of answers and it was helpful hearing the perspectives of other students and structures in other Schools. To the right is an example of the questions asked. I think that Twitter is a valuable platform which I will continue to use. twitter-caht


Formal Observation 15/9


Above is the feedback I received from my formal HOD observation lesson. Something that I could have improved on is how to deal with students who are coming in late from assemblies. I somewhat rectified this by adding more detail to the overview of the lesson on the board alongside the learning intention.

I showed an interesting clip on contraception but it would have been more effective if I had found out the prior learning of the students first and then, explained the purpose of the video more and asked students for responses.

A positive was that my instructions were brief but clear and I also had them up on the screen for the students to refer to. I also moved around the room very well, asking the students questions to check their progress but also to make them think further. By doing this I was able to keep the students accountable for their work and check on work completion. Another thing which was a positive was that on the board I had a visual countdown of how much time they had remaining. I started at “15” and wrote all the way down to 1. This meant that the students were more focused with their research and there was a stronger sense of urgency.

Ako Level

Being an Associate 101 (Department Meeting 29/8)

At today’s Department Meeting, I led a section of the meeting on “Being an Associate 101.” For this, I passed on insights of a 1st year teacher and my experiences of what makes a good Associate Teacher (AT). I also asked previous student-teachers who had been at Orewa College and my classmates who had  graduated at the same time as me to what they had found helpful/unhelpful. The purpose of this was to improve the experiences of student-teachers at Orewa College and remind experienced teachers of what it is like to be a student-teacher so they can help them develop and learn as upcoming professionals.

In my final Google Slides presentation we made a Checklist for Associate Teachers in which all the members of the department contributed.This will be used in the future for Associate teachers to make sure that they are prepared for their student-teachers and also, so that they are enabling the best experience for them. checklist

Speaking with my colleagues they have found this checklist to be useful. Associates within my Department have since gone through School protocols, provided photos off Kamar and have been included in Junior marking and moderation. The student-teachers have benefited from this as they are able to more quickly build rapport with students by using names and it is preparing them for being a beginning teacher.

PENZ New Graduate Mentoring Programme

On the 3rd of July, I attended the PENZ New Graduate Mentoring Programme. This was a helpful half-day of learning. A number of new graduate teachers in their first or second year teachers me to discuss issues and get advice from experienced teachers.

The topics and overview of the day can be seen below;

Schedule for the 1 Day PD Session: Enhancing Graduate Teacher’s Tool Box

Time Frame Session
12.00-12.30  Arrive at Manurewa High.

Introductions & Whakawhanaungatanga.

1 12.30-1.30

(60 mins)

 Surviving your first 6 months and onto the rest of the year:

1.    how to use your planner

2.    behaviour management

3.    setting expectations

4.    teacher registration & portfolio

2 1.30-2.30

(60 mins)

 Marking & Moderating NCEA:

1.    how to mark internal assessments

2.    external & internal moderation

3.    creating/modifying standards

2.30-3.00  Afternoon Tea (supplied)
3 3.00-3.45

(45 mins)

 Culturally Responsive & Relational Pedagogy:

1.    What is it?

2.    Working with home: parent, teacher interviews, calling home, school counsellors etc

4 3.45-4.30pm

(45 mins)

 Using Feedback to enhance practice:

1.    using technology

2.    teacher rubrics

3.    student feedback forms

4.    video analysis

5 4.30-5pm

(30 mins)

 Creating support networks:

1.    What are our group’s needs?

2.    Where to from here?

The notes that I took from the workshop are shown below.

The key things that I will take away from this workshop is to model the behaviour that I want my students to demonstrate and to always have high expectations. It was also helpful being reminded that as a teacher we need to maintain professional distance from our students. This was put like this; “I’m not here to be your friend, I am your teacher. ” Moving forward  I will also work-on praising positive behaviour rather than focusing on the negatives.

3 july


Professional Practice.

Today I completed a “how are things going” conversation with my HOD. In this conversation we discussed the positives or what is going well, the minuses or difficult things, interesting points and suggestions for moving forward.

In my positives, I discussed that I thought that I was fitting well into the culture of the School and that  I am making a conscious to build relationships with staff members beyond the PE department. I also mentioned that I am working to be very student-centered and that I am enjoying the engaged and critical discussions from this. I also thought a positive was that I am delivering high quality, innovative lessons and I am challenging myself by working outside of my comfort zone.

Minuses were having to gain in-depth understanding of all the Achievement Standards in a short-time period. Marking and moderation has been new territory and this has taken some getting used to. I have learned and developed a sound routine to help with this; I download the clarifications, exemplars and criteria well before the Unit. This is beneficial because I know well in advance where the learning needs to be and what level . This helps improve my teaching as I am more clear in my mind of where the students are heading.

Interesting points was the balance between student-centered and teacher-centered. For example, after having numerous individual conversations  with students, discussing the process and careful questioning, I am still unsure how much following-up needs to be done by me and how much is student responsibility. Related to this conversation we discussed the different groups within a class setting (Photo 2). For example, there are the “Brains Trust” which are the students who are self-motivated and able to work independently. With these students they more likely only need spot-checks and shorter conversations. Then, there are the “struggle-street” students who are not as independent and need more directive guidance. We discussed how these students need check-points and more frequent follow-ups. This was a helpful discussion around how to manage and monitor students who would easily fall behind.

The final point of our conversation was around “suggestions” and how to continue learning as a teacher. We discussed how teachers can become territorial and experience a sense of judgement if they are observed by other teachers. Instead, we discussed how observing other teachers past “becoming a teacher” can help inform and improve our own practices and that it should be ongoing. As a result of this conversation, I will be formally observed by other members of the PE department but also, I will observe teachers in other subject areas. I think it is valuable to look at how other departments are doing things and get ideas from other areas of the School. I am going to observe an innovative English teacher and also a teacher in the Yr 7&8 area. I think this will help my teaching to get new ideas, freshen my practice and to continue learning as a teacher .

24.6 Meeting 124.6 Meeting 2

Student-teacher PD; insights after 1.5 terms

On May 31st I was involved with a discussion with the student-teachers currently in the School. I was asked to share insights from a Term and a half of teaching. We gathered in the boardroom and begun discussing what it is like as a first year teacher and how to ‘survive’.

The insights and words of wisdom that I passed on were;

Avoid taking things personally. Teenagers are complex individuals and there are 1000’s of reasons that a student may respond to something in your lesson. Remember that each individual has their own background, values and quite often, their reaction is unrelated to anything you are doing. Be reflective, but don’t take it personally when things don’t go as well as you would hope.

Leaving University, most are full of passions and visions of how Education can change the future and with ambitions of being an impacting teacher. Hold on to this passion and energy but also, be patient. It will take at least 3 years to become the teacher you want to be. During this process, make mistakes, experiment and hold onto the vision for Education.

You are important. Students would rather a energised teacher who has had sleep then a teacher who is immaculately prepared. Get sleep, it is vital for so many reasons. Make sure you schedule relaxation time. Don’t feel guilty for not doing work on the weekends – try and get it all done during the week. Find things that energize you. Teaching is a giving and serving profession and constantly considering the needs of others takes it toll. Ask yourself frequently; what are my needs? And do something to meet them!

Get marking. Often, it seems like this scary mountain that needs to be climbed. And it is unfamiliar terrain. Assessment schedules? Moderation? Criteria? Exemplars? Get started. The more you mark the more that the schedules make sense and the patterns of achievement emerge. Side note: make sure you read all this documentation before you begin teaching the Standard so that you are confident with what and how you are teaching.

You will get used to the feeling of not knowing what is going on. To begin with everything is new and this can be overwhelming. You may feel like a fraud with a set of school-keys and classrooms of students calling you their teacher. This feeling may not fully go away but, you do become more familiar and comfortable with not quite knowing what is going on. Even experienced teachers feel like this. The students do not know that you are making final preparations 10mins before  you see them. The students do not know that you are only a lesson ahead (if that) and that you are revising study guides and content. Fake it til you make it. Related to this though is be honest. If you are unsure, rather than waffling an answer, tell the student that it is a great question and that you will find out about it. Then, do it. Follow-up on finding the answer and then, tell the student next time you see them. They will respect your honest and follow-up.

De Bono Hats & the Sugar Tax

For Health, I used the coloured De Bono Hats to promote critical thinking around the proposed Sugar Tax in New Zealand.

I did this by initially showing the students some NZ Herald Articles about the sugar tax and also some clips on how sugar affects the brain. I was very neutral with my delivery and explanations so that I did not influence their opinion and be biased in anyway.

Using the De Bono Thinking Hats allowed students to think from multiple perspectives. I also think that it is important particularly around issues of eating/diet/body image because these can be sensitive and personal subjects. These are quite complex things to be discussing so, the hats were a useful tools for students to discover information for themselves but also, to reflect on their own attitudes and knowledge.

The outcome of the learning for this that the students were beginning to think critically and apply a socio-ecological perspective to different social issues. As a summary task, the students needed to write a paragraph explaining their opinion and why they had it. A lot of the students gave very thoughtful answers and considered the issue from a range of perspectives.

sugar tax

Also, I shared this lesson with the other teachers in my Department. I emailed them the link and told them where to find the resources for the lesson. This shows my leadership in contributing to effective teaching and learning .Alongside this, I have begun collating different resources for Health in Pearltrees. Again, I shared this with the other teachers in the department who are benefiting from recent and engaging teaching resources.


Health Education Visit to MAGS

On the 10th of March the HOD of Health and I went to Mt Albert Grammar School to learn about their Senior Health Programme.

A useful tool that we learned about was Google Classrooms. I will follow this and present it to the other HPE staff on a Wednesday PD session. The way that MAGS uses Google Classrooms is to check ongoing student work. Google classrooms allows the teacher to see when the work was last accessed and edited. Also, feedback can be written as a comment straight onto the document. When the internal needs to be handed in it can be exported to Turnitin. The benefits of this system are that the work is on one platform and does not require chasing up work  or losing paper. This is something that we will look at trailing for Health Education at Orewa College.
More uses

Following up on this discussions with the other Health Teachers, I will develop and the Level 1 Health 1.3 Unit. This includes checking NZQA Clarification documents and collating all the resources.

Other things that I learned  was around giving student-choice in their research topics. This is particularly relevant for Senior Health. A suggested way that this is done is to teach half/half. One half is introducing three possible research topics and teaching the content and structure for about 1-2 weeks each .Then, the students are able to choose one of the three topics that interests them the most and spend the other half of the time for the nit researching and writing their reports.

Twitter: ongoing learning

As part of my ongoing learning this year, I have signed up to Twitter. I will use this as a platform to learn new, integration of technology in Education and to input new ideas to my own pedagogy and innovation. I am following a number of Physical Educators from across the world and also, tweeters who specialise in technology in education.

A post that I recently read was titled “The Technology Revolution in Physical Education.” The author of this post shares about how technology can revolutionise PE . An app that I learned about in this blog post was called “Team Shake.” This app allows you to randomly select teams in PE. As a result of reading this blog, I downloaded a similar app called “Team Pick.” This allows me to randomly select teams instantly without previous traditional methods of picking “Captains” which can be humiliating and degrading to students with lesser abilities. I have loaded all my classes onto the app and I am able to select the number of groups/teams that  I need. I am also able to rate students on their ability and create mixed-ability groups which is more inclusive of different abilities.