Fitness Feedback

For each unit that I teach I like to hear student-feedback and responses on what they enjoyed, found meaningful and would change.

In a Yr 10 Fitness Unit I created a Google Form which the students could answer. As is seen in the form here I asked the students what they found interesting, which lesson they enjoyed the most, recommendations for the future and what grade they think they deserved and why. This sort of information was very interesting to read and informs my teaching for the  feedback. It was also very useful to encourage reflection for the students and for me to read the responses, to read how they learned and gained such different and unique things from the unit. For  example; “Try your hardest because that’s all that matters” and “I have learnt about all the different types of fit and that there is more than just running fit” and “how all the muscles function and the muscles that are used for each different exercise. Also I will take away the different types of training and what they are such as circuit training etc”


Recieiving feedback from the students is a part of the NZC’s “teaching as an inquiry” as depicted in the image below. The information feeds the “focusing inquiry” as the students’ responses can inform me as a teacher with what is worth spending time on. It also helps with the “teaching inquiry” as feedback on the activities informs how to teach. All these things help me be a reflective teacher and help improve outcomes for my students.

Teaching as inquiry model.

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

Reflection on Teaching

For this term I have been focusing on a few areas to improve my teaching, including feed-forward, catering to different learning styles and balancing individual and group work.

An area that I have been focusing on improving with my teaching is on giving feedforward to my students while they are doing this. I have done this in both my Senior Classes. For Level 1 Health, the students were completing a goal-setting unit. I created the task as a Google Doc and I accessed them frequently to give feed-forward. I commented on their work asking questions and suggesting things to improve. The student would then view these comments and clicked ‘resolved’ when they fixed their work. This was helpful for me to be able to checkpoint students and keep them accountable for their work but also, it helps to raise student achievement. Likewise, for my Level 1 PE, I have been putting comments on their summarise for performance improvement. I have found that using Google docs allows me to keep students more accountable for their work as  I can see what edits they have made and when they last modified their docs. The feed-forward is also valuable so students understand how to improve their quality of work.

Another thing that I have been modifying in my teaching is how I use devices and if I make students complete work on them. I know that using ipads can be difficult if changing between windows or applications. With this in mind, I have created a compromise with my classes. I create a google doc for each individual student but, I give them an option of how they want to complete their work; they can either type straight into the doc or they can write their answers using felt-tip pens and paper. They then have to take a photo and insert it into the answer space. I have found this to be quite successful. A lot of students choose to type straight onto the doc however, a large number choose to use pens and paper. I have found that this choice has improved the work completion of the students because of the choice and ease of using pen and paper.

I have also been considering the balance between group and individual work within my classes and, how my students learn best. With this in mind, I usually use some youtube clips for visual or auditory learners and a group-task and an individual task. I am becoming increasingly considerate of who completes the work in group-task and who relaxes and rides on the diligence of others. To fix this I make sure that groups are only ever 3-4 or sometimes pairs to make sure that students are engaging with the material. I also move around and monitor work by asking “what are you contributing to the group” to make sure students are helping. I have found this to have increased the productivity of all group members. Alongside some groupwork I have also focused on doing individual work for students so they don’t have to be interacting all the time. For example, in today’s lesson I started with a expert group task in which students had to find out about a different method of contraception. They then had to present it to the class. The students then completed an individual task (or as a small group if they did it quietly). The reason for this is so that the students were able to process the information for themselves.

Something that I have done with my classes is to get them to ‘unpack the standard.’ For this I give students the Achievement Standards and they have to find the key words and differences between each levels. I find that this is more meaningful for the students to understand what they need to do to achieve. We then discuss it and clarify any confusion. I could expand on this by giving students levels of the work and getting them to mark or guess what grade they think it deserves, using the information from the AS. In small tasks or activities I am trying to work on having different levels within the tasks so students can work on what they are working at.

Something that I would like to try more of is differentiated seating plans. This might mean seating the students in ares of the room that they are at the same stage at. For example, students that have completed an introduction, another group that haven’t started or a group that is up to the conclusions. As a teacher this will allow me to focus my attention on the needs of those small groups.


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.

Challenging our Practice:

In this morning’s PD we had discussions around what we are doing as teachers to help our students achieve. A particular challenge was around students who have not achieved well in the past, have low confidence or sense of success.

The topic was; “What are we doing?” where we challenged assumptions about teachers and that all students should be getting the same experiences in each class. We considered why is it that parents request certain parents and if the parent happens to be a teacher why is it that they manipulate their son or daughter’s timetable to be with different teachers.

We started off by looking at an image and the assumptions around this image (Slide 5). We then used a “cause, assumption, effect” (slide 6) to identify our assumptions, why they exist and what the implications of it are. This is a very useful tool which can be used in Health & PE classes to trigger critical thinking and to get students to challenge their own assumptions. I also think that images are an effective way to engage students as it appeals to visual learners and can promote creativity. This is a tool and strategy which I will use moving forward in my classes.

A very useful discussion that we had was around the different groups of students that we have in our classes. We broke these into 3 groups “the Battlers,” “Group 2” and “the Brains Trust.” We then brainstormed the different characteristics of these groups (Slides 14 – 18) and how we could reach their needs in the class. It was personally challenging and I found it useful to reflect on which groups I place emphasis on. I was reminded that for some students an “Achieved” is their “excellence” and that they come to class with the expectation that they will fail as they have not experienced much success at School. I think a strategy for this group is breaking the students down into manageable chunks for these students and maintaining high expecations of them and not disregarding them as “not achieved” students.

From this discussion, I will closely monitor and be aware of the students who have low expectations of themselves and try encourage them to believe in themselves more.


Co-constructed Unit: Yr 10 Health

For my Year 10 Health class in Term 3, we are doing “Teenage Issues.” I saw this as an opportunity to co-construct a half-unit with my class. Half the Unit is finding out and doing some activities about teenage issues and then, selecting one and doing an investigation and presentation into it. The reason that I wanted the opinion and input from the students is to make the class most relevant to them rather than, what I thought was topical.

The  first activity that I got the class to do was to just brainstorm “teenage issues.” They wrote their brainstorms and lists on the whiteboards. I then, asked the students to pick one of the issues that “stood out” to them and individually write “what it is” and “what the effects of it is.” All the students folded their paper in half and then we shuffled them. We sat in a circle and each girl read out one of the issues. After hearing each student’s issues the girls created a “top 4.” From the “top 4” the students then, wrote questions about “what they want to know.”

From here, I collated the questions which has effectively made the learning intentions for the next 4 lessons. My purpose of doing this was to give some ownership to the students and make the relevant to them.

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I will ask the students at the end of the unit how this affected their interest, learning and engagement in the subject.

Student-centred learning

For my Year 9 Fitness lesson I experimented with a student-centred approach. During the lesson I made many observations around motivation and participation and the use of technology.

For this lesson I asked the students to download the app called “Sworkit Kids” and select different exercises from the strength, agility and balance/flexibility categories. I allowed the students to select their own so that they could be exposed to different exercises and pick their own focus for their workout. They then practicesed and trialled their own workouts so they could make amendments if necessary.

From here, I set up 6 cones as station areas. The students grabbed the blue mats to make the area more comfortable to exercise at and then setup their workouts on the iPads. This meant that the students completed the 5-min workout and then rotated to the next one.

My observations were that the students were very motivated. I think this is because they felt empowered in that they could choose their exercises. It also meant that they were proud of the workout and enjoyed challenging their classmates. Each group at each station only had 4 in it which meant that the students were accountable to keep trying hard. There was also good variety in the exercises as each group had a different focus and different exercises. From my observation, I could have left the lesson and it would have run smoothly. This indicates that the lesson was very student-centred.

Google Classroom

As my professional development, I have begun using Google Classroom with my Year 11 Health Class.

I have found this to be a useful platform for a number of reasons. I am able to instantly share files, questions, youtube links or assignments with the class. I can embed Google Docs into a post and assign a copy for each student. I find this helpful because, I am able to monitor the work of the students as they write. Also, students are able to refer back to useful resources and lessons we have used in class. I find that Google Classroom is straight-forward and easy to access.

Another way that I have used Google Classroom is for an internal assessment. I assigned each student a copy of their assignment and they worked on this in class. The advantages of this is that the students could ‘turn in’ their assignment at the end of the lesson and I could see who had submitted or not submitted. I find this beneficial as I can easily share with the other Health teacher for moderation and all the documents are stored electronically.

For my next unit, the students are writing action plans for goal-setting and they are doing ongoing blog entries. I can access their Google docs and I will leave comments and feedback for the students. I am also able to checkpoint the students and that they are keeping up to date with the work. The advantage of Google Classrooms is accessibility.

I have also assisted another teacher to use Google Drive and we share a folder to coordinate our classes. In this folder, there are NZQA exemplars and resources and a live Google Doc in which we put our teaching lessons and activities.

So far, I have found Google Classroom and Drive to be useful tools for collaboration, accessibility and feedback.

Critical thinking in Health

As I was reading, an article caught my attention. It was titled; “Campaign for gay characters in Frozen 2 continues.” I proceeded to click the article and read that there was a social media campaign based on the slogan #giveelseaagirlfriend. This was the perfect springboard for a lesson with my Yr 10 Health class on the topic of Sexuality.

I decided to do a critical thinking lesson around whether or not Disney should have a gay princess. I knew that this topic would cause controversy and a range of opinions. I therefore introduced my lesson around the idea of “diversity is intelligence” and that listening to different perspectives and opinions as well as challenging your own beliefs is a necessary and helpful tool. I made sure that I emphasised the importance of different opinions and looking at issues from numerous persepctives. With this in mind, I asked my class to be open-minded to other’s thinking and respect differences.

After some prior history, looking at historical revolutions and considering events in history. I wrote on the board “Disney should have a gay princess.” Around the room, I placed signs saying “strongly agree, agree, meh, disagree and strongly disagree.” I asked students to think about their gut instinct to the statement and move to the label which was closest to their opinion. At the label or different station I asked students to write down on small pieces of paper what their thinking was that lead them to their position. The reason that I did this was that it allowed students who are more sensitive to still have an opinion despite confidence-issues to voice it. These are the questions I asked my students; “Write down a sentence or two explaining your thinking and why you have moved to that spot. What has influenced your thinking? What was it based on?” At this point, I moved around the room and had small-sided conversations with students, asking them open questions and challenging their viewpoints further. 

Continuing from this, I asked my students to share with someone nearby them at the same label why they had placed themselves there and what their reasoning was. This was the starting opportunity to hear different opinions and perspectives. From here, I asked to hear from the different parts of the room, the responses of the people. As those at the “strongly agree” section of the room begun answering, hand shot up around the room with counter-argument. As students answered, I was careful to listen to what they had said and then summarise their answers. I think this was important so that students felt that their opinions were validated and valued. I made sure that I gave opportunity for every part of the room to share their responses and opinions.

As the discussion was occurring, I could see students scrawling down further arguments and discussion points. It was remarkable to see students have their assumptions challenged and look at their own viewpoints critically. One student from the “disagree” section raised a very relevant point. She said; “I disagree because, I don’t think that Disney movies, for kids should be focused on relationships, regardless of the type.” This was a powerful statement and received agreement from across the room. A second student built on this saying that the theme of Disney movies shouldn’t be on relationships anyway but about fun, family and adventure. This is an example of students thinking critically about relevant, everyday subjects.

I think that this lesson demonstrates a sensitivity to student’s needs and allowed them a platform to express and hear opinions. I was pleased with the way that students responded and how students saw the value of empathy and the tolerance for difference. I think the lesson was also meaningful because it was relevant to their lives and something that they could grasp. I felt the lesson was successful as I could see but how well the students were respecting each other, listening and responding with thoughtfulness that they were engaged. As, I was clearing the board to leave, I had numerous students walk past me saying; “thank you Miss, this is such an important topic to talk about!”

The idea for the lesson came from a Department Meeting in which we talked about the use of continuum and challenging assumptions. It was a useful tool to learn about and be able to put into practice.