Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Year in Africa

Our school has elected to use The Lion King for our end-of-year production this year. As  you can imagine, my mind went straight away to how I can use this across the school with all of my art classes. Having lived in Africa for 20 years has left its mark on my soul and any chance to revisit it is grabbed with both hands. So, I went about my usual internet searches to see what was around and started to piece together some ideas for my units.


My other constraint was to focus on the element of Shape and Form with all my classes this year. Last year we focused on Colour Theory and the year before on Lines, elements we needed to review and expand on further.


Another first was expanding my current class levels of Y1-Y6, to also include Kindy and Y0, children whose ages range from 3.5 to 4.5 years. Another big learning curve I'll post about later.

2016 is also the year our school is due another IB (International Baccalaureate)  evaluation which is a time to reflect on how well my programmes encompass the principles and elements of PYP (Primary Years Programme).


All in all a year of great new learning ahead for sure.





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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016 Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

Dear Friends,
All the best for the New Year.
The entire One Teachers Journey store at TPT is on sale 20 - 21 Jan 2016!  CLICK HERE TO START BROWSING


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

International Peace Quilt

Hello friends,
Recently I was asked to introduce the concept of the International Peace Quilt to my Y4-6 after school Art Club.
 

The main idea is to join with schools around the world in designing an International Peace Quilt. The aim for the designs submitted this year is for the quilt to be taken to the Rio Olympic Games.

I asked my students to think about peaceful experiences that they have, living here in New Zealand, in order to reflect our culture to the world. They planned their ideas and completed these in a variety of media.

Other requirements were to include a sentence about what peace means to them, the NZ flag and the school logo - how fortuitous that Kristin has the peace dove as it’s own.

A selection of examples from out art club participants can be viewed at this link, where you can also find out more about this organisation.


Schools International Peace Quilt Project




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With love, as always

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Signs for your Maths Wall Display

Hello friends,
Maths week is sneaking up quickly and this is a good time to reflect on our classroom maths displays. Are they helpful to the students? Are they interactive? Do they show visitors the maths that is really happening in your classroom? There are so many 'pretty' maths posters on line that you can download for each area of your maths programme. I have files overflowing with laminated wall display charts and posters. But at the end of the day, I only used these seldom and with discretion, asking the question, "How will this help my students improve?"

When I sat down to write interactive maths games for each knowledge outcome from stages 4-8, I also thought about how students could be the masters of their own learning. Over the years of interviewing students for assessment I noticed how keen they were to come back and be interviewed on their next bit of knowledge, when they knew what it was they needed to master.


So I incorporated this into the pack too. Following an IKAN test to establish their knowledge and next steps, students get a stage tracking sheet for their maths book of the knowledge they need to master and the games they can play to master them.
There are also wall posters explaining each piece of knowledge, to put up onto your maths wall. Students names could also be added to remind them what they are currently working on. Students track their progress on their sheet in their maths book so that they know exactly where they got up to during the previous maths session. They can play a game as many times as they want to and when they feel ready to be interviewed, they let you know.

You can quickly do this at the start of a focused maths group session as you wait for the group to gather. Keep the teacher checklist pasted into the front of your group modelling book for quick reference. 
As the programme gathers momentum, and students realise that they set the pace of their progression, you will be blown away by how quickly they progress through the knowledge stages.
Another bonus of this is students can set their own maths homework goals by keeping a student checklist in their homework books as well. Once you sign them off in an interview, they can update their homework sheet themselves and move onto their next goals to practise with mum and dad - meaningful differentiated homework - bonus :)

This week I tidied up my wall display headers / banners for my knowledge displays and wish to offer these to you all as freebies. I have used super cute illustrations by Philip Martin which you will love.


Two options are included. One is a simple banner header which you can print to preferred size, another is a display mat version you can print A3 and laminate to group you knowledge signs or group names onto. This will help keep your display tidier. There is a colour set to match each stage of my Knowledge Games Resource.

 All games in this post and all Freebie wall labels can be found here
http://www.help-me-learn.com/store/c3/Mathematics.html

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Teacher Appraisal Blog #6 First Posts

Hello friends,

You have hopefully set up your blog, found the criteria that your school uses, organised how you want to reference/link to them, decided on a labeling system and now are ready to make a start - but where to begin?

I decided to go with the following 2-prong approach.

Firstly I spent a little time working through the criteria. If your school is like mine, someone (or everyone at a staff meeting) has created a starter list of exemplar types that could be recorded against each criteria and provide evidence of your competency.

Make some notes on your Criteria page against these. Here is a screen-shot of my Analyst Page which I have now formatted in a layout and colours that I can easily copy and paste across into my home page when writing each post.
Using GREEN, I have gone in and made some notes against a few that can develop into possible post where these pieces of evidence are elaborated on and backed up with images, video, links to Google files etc. This method certainly familiarised me with the criteria and makes it easier to reflect in my daily practise.


The next time you arrive early at a staff meeting or sitting in the car waiting for the kids, pick one and quickly post about it. Or make a set time each week to do a couple.

The second way to start is to reflect on the week you just had. What was something innovative, a learning leap made by a student, a problem you resolved, a resource you made in response to a need, how did you support a colleague, what professional learning did you participate in, what innitiatives did you start, what meetings did you attend/run/lead, and so on...

Something (or multiple things) will jump out so troll through the criteria and find the one/s that fit this evidence.

Select the Posts option on the menu (just beneath Overview).
Start a new post by clicking the pencil or the orange New Post button. This will display on your Home.



I title the posts by content, not by criteria, e.g. Grandparents Day, Measurement assessment data, or Response made to eAsTTle reading gaps.

Keeping the front of my blog open in another tab (click on the View Blog button near  the pencil to do this), I can go to the  Criteria page that has the relevant criteria on it, then copy and paste that across to the top of my post (saves retyping each time).

I create my entry beneath this - remember that you are writing for an audience so try to make it as clear as possible. Include lots of visual material (pictures say 1000 words), links etc.

Now for the labels:

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am using 2 layers for labelling - the first is the category and the level within that (competent, accomplished or expert) and the 2nd layer is the RTC number, listed beneath this category that I am referencing in my post. This way I can be sure to cover both bases and can easily retrieve posts that relate to these.



Once I have completed my post, I copy the title - in the above image this would be Analyst-Competent, and paste it into the label box to the right of my post. To open the label box, simply click on the label word and it will open up. I also paste in the RTC number to help me track these. Click done at the bottom , when finished with the labels.
Any label used once will be recorded as a pick list beneath the labels box automatically. So for future posts on that theme you will no longer need to copy and paste, simply click on the appropriate words or numbers in the pick list below and they will pop into your box.

Your posts are automatically dated so no need to worry about that.

So there you have it. Now have a go, make 2-3 posts and see how your organisation system is working.  Then go back and make any tweeks, if needed.

If you have any elements you wish to link in or embed but aren't too sure about how to do it, ask in the comments below and I will create a new post and link you in.

Good luck !

With love, as always






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Friday, July 17, 2015

Teacher Appraisal Blog #5 - using labels

Hello friends

So I have posted a couple of pieces of evidence so far and have started building my archive and word clouds.


As you can see, I also personalised the titles of these 2 gadgets, which you can do back in layout by editing the respective gadgets. The Archive list (which I have re-labelled as My Reflection Journey) is starting to grow and the labels word cloud (which I have re-labelled RTC Criteria) is keeping track of the number of posts I have tagged to each label.

So...what are labels and why use them?

When you go to post an entry of evidence, you have the option to categorise that post by way of labels. The tricky bit is to come up with a labelling system before you start (or soon thereafter) that will make sense to you.

The great thing about a clear system is that as your number of posts grows, your word cloud keeps track of how many posts you have made against each category/criteria, or for that matter - how few.

I ended up going with a double layered system as follows:
Because my school has re-formatted the RTCs, I needed to use the school labelling system. For example, this post about data gathering relates to  the following categories -

So I copied these criteria across from the relevant static Pages on my blog and pasted them in at the top of my post so that it is clear for perpetuity, which criteria the following post is about. Thankfully the relevant  RTC numbers are also included at the end of each criteria. In my word cloud, I am looking to track just the main category and the competency level that the post is aimed at, and I copy and paste this into the labels space to the Right of the post (see image below).

In keeping with the National RTCs, I paste in the relevant RTC number as well. You will need to choose what works best for you.

Next time, I'll look at how to make a start on your post entries. Hope your blog is coming along nicely  :) Leave a comment below if you have any questions about labels, or anything else I have covered so far.

With love, as always



Thank you for visiting,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Teacher Appraisal Blog #4 - adding pages

Hello friends,

Today we'll look at adding pages to your blog.

The Why:

For me, I wanted some static pages where I could copy and paste the Criteria and Indicators for quick reference - all right there in one place.
My school has re-classified the 2 over-arching Criteria into 5 areas as you can see from the screen-shot below:

And within that, we have 3 tiers - Competent, Accomplished and Expert. I created 1 page for each of these areas and pasted in all the indicators - bolding key words in each for quick reference.

I then also added a 6th page to include the Teacher's Council version and labeled it Practising Teacher Criteria.

If your school is using those as they are - I would advice setting up 2 pages as follows

PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND PROFESSIONAL VALUES

PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE IN PRACTICE

Shorten these titles for the button to something that makes sense to you. The full version can be at the top of the page itself. Copy and paste the indicators in from the Teacher's Council website here:
http://www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/content/practising-teacher-criteria


...and now The How:

 STEP 1
In the 'back-end' select 'Pages' from the left menu and click - NEW PAGE
  STEP 2
Type in the title for the page and paste in content if you wish (you can do that later too) - click PUBLISH and repeat for more pages.

  STEP 3
To make these new pages visible, go back down to layout and edit the Cross-Column gadget we added in the previous post - called Pages
STEP 4
This page will pop up and this time there will be a list of the pages you have just made. Tick all the pages in the left column - you can see I just added the PTC page and it needs to be ticked). The list Order can also be dragged and dropped in the order you prefer it to appear.

 STEP 5
Once ticked and ordered - SAVE


I hope today's post has been useful and you can successfully insert pages into your blog. Write your posts on your home page as this is your dynamic page and will reflect in your archive and on your word cloud. The other pages are static.

Comment below if you have further questions for me or our community, or some advice you are happy to share.

Next time I'll post about why you should use labels and how to label your posts for easy finding / organising. Happy blogging everyone :)

With love, as always









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