I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Academically Productive Talk in Classrooms

This weekend my professional reading was an article on 'Academically Productive Talk: Supporting Students' learning in Mathematics' by Suzanne H. Chapin and Catherine O'Connor.
The article has great ideas on how to make a Learning environment for academically productive talk that will support both Language Development and Learning in class. It emphasis on the fact that all classroom talk needs to be respectful where each person's ideas are taken seriously and no one is ridiculed or insulted. The article also explains the 5 Discourse- Based Instructional tools that help in student learning. I have summarised these 5 tools in the presentation below.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Teaching Times tables

It was just a great week of teaching Maths!

The ethos of Learn Create Share is very much a part of all my lessons. This week when I was teaching multiplication tables a student asked me “Why do we need to learn them?” I demonstrated various examples from everyday life about how knowing our tables can help us solve problems faster. We solved problems  using blocks, counters and other equipment. As we went through the lessons during the week, most students had learnt their times tables up to 5. I was feeling good!

Suddenly I heard some students pose multiplication problems to each other! They went “There are four friends and they have four chocolates each. How many chocolates did they have altogether?” I was just thrilled to hear this. Then they decided to make a word problem game out for it. They wrote their problems on a square piece of cardboard and had an illustrated description of their problem at the back of the card. When they had finished they came to me and said “ This is our Create and Share bit for learning times tables.”
My heart melted. I felt truly satisfied to see these students understand the whole concept of timetables which is usually a very abstract idea to start with. I praised them heaps for their effort. Suddenly the idea got viral and everyone wanted to make little booklets of multiplication problems. At the end of the week each student took a booklet home to share with their family. 




Saturday, 21 February 2015

Just Fantastic!

I come from the Manaiakalani cluster of schools. For years together this cluster has been promoting Education through modern devices mainly computers.  The vision is to widen the horizon of learning for the 21st century student by making net books and computers available to our young students. The project allows free internet at home for students so that their learning does not stop outside school hours. It is not easy… especially if the average income of our families is below 20,000 per annum. It is always hard for our parents to lease a net book for their children.

Presently, in our school we have 1:1 net books for students who are year 5 upwards.

I teach a year 4 class and we have about 10 net books to work on.
Recently during our whanau conference one of the mothers came to me and said that she would like her child to have a net book and that she was very willing to pay for it. I was amazed to hear this. I just could not hold my excitement.  Here I was meeting a parent who was happy to invest in her child’s education. All I have to say is:

The awareness of investing in education is happening and this happening will definitely lead to better education and better society.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Holidays !

I would like you to have a little think of when you had a holiday that was one of your best ones in the past few years. My summer holiday of 2014 was just fabulous. Not just because I went with my family to the Gold Coast but also because I could do some of the things that I wanted to do for ages. 

Painting is my passion but I had lost it for years together. I remember as a child when I was in my Primary and Secondary school, I used to paint a picture after my Final exams. In my days of schooling we had to sit an exam at the end of the year for each subject and were promoted to another class only if we had passed them. It required a lot of burning of the back because it was an expectation in the family for every child to pass with good grades. So holidays after the final exams were always very special. It was in each holiday, after my exams that I had painted a picture. My Mum is a very creative lady and had encouraged me to keep my hobby alive for years together. She still has kept a collection of my paintings very safely in a folder. Some of them hang around the walls of her house even though they look old and aged. Painting has always been my way of winding down. I found this lost solace these holidays when I painted.

The name of my painting is ‘Creation’ and measures 300 cms x 45 cms
In the Ayurvedas and as in many cultures there is a belief that human beings are made of 5 elements. They are Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Ether. Ether is referred to the Sky as it is full of sounds. When all these elements come together in equal proportions, creation happens. This was the theme of my painting.

The five elements are represented by the 5 circles, green for Earth, yellow ochre for Fire, blue for Water and white for Air. The big gold circle with the symbol of ‘Aum’ represents sound or Ether. The middle of the painting shows the mixing of all the elements. And then the Creation happens which is depicted in the top three quarters of the panel.  The colours of the creation are gold and red and silver because creation in it’s purest form is beautiful.  

Each day as look at it, I feel spiritually connected. In some way I feel that the painting represents the new beginning for me as I am able to connect to the passion that was left behind years ago.
Thank you for reading this post!