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.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Co- Teaching : Observation with Anne Sinclaire

Today we had Anne Sinclaire come to our class to see us co-teach.  It is great to co-teach and it is because we both have a passion for teaching and we also want to learn from each other.

This is what Anne had to say to us-

Shared Reading
Text: Tane steals the show written by Lino Nelisi
WALT identify verbs in the story
SC: demonstrate verbs to show I know their meaning

  • Check students can identify
    • Author
    • Illustrator
    • Title
  • Get students to TPS their predictions only using the front cover - what do you think will happen in this book?
  • Introduce WALT - check students know what verbs are
  • Students go out in small groups and identify the verbs in the sentences provided (with T support). Share back to class.

Ashley it is great to see how you and Archana are co-teaching in such a positive and affirmative way. You really do enrich each other’s practice and it is obvious in the way you share ideas and the workload and support each other. In  your reflection of the highlights of working together, you are able to articulate exactly what you give to the partnership.  Ashley you have appreciated having a sounding board for your ideas/questions and someone who is confident with PCK and someone you trust to talk to about your decisions.  Archana has recognised the expertise you bring with your digital skills to enhance the learning for your learners. You both acknowledge the relationship you have has benefitted the learner’s growth over the year.   

After you had introduced the lesson you elicited some great responses  from the learners, who had obviously read the story so could answer  your question fully. I loved the way you did not keep them on the mat for too long but got them involved in the learning quickly. They all moved off and got onto the task as you and Archana moved amongst them. It was great to see how the class worked in groups and got into the activity with lots of energy and enthusiasm. When they came back to the mat you were both sitting waiting for them and ready to proceed. I can see from my last visit how much more you are working together and having empathy for each other and the learners. The Batman and Robin routine is really evident in your practice and this only comes about through trust, respect and empathy.

By encouraging the learners to ‘talk aloud’ and share their thinking, is giving the learners more confidence and permission to participate. Reading the story to the learners and then pausing to get them to identify verbs also gave them a chance to be heard. Archana was able to clarify parts of the task as it continued and then recorded the words on the whiteboard. I can see how much easier it is to manage the class and not waste time with 2 of you. You read the story Ashley and Archana recorded the verbs, rather than you doing everything and taking much longer.  This ‘mixing it up’ also gives variety to the lesson and changes of voice for interest. The learners were so well behaved and engaged and I could see everyone involved and interested and learning! You acknowledge the learner’s contributions - ie. the learner who came in late, but immediately contributed and was acknowledged.

The learners are constantly making connections - fia fia - who stole the show? It was exciting seeing the looks on their faces when you introduced the idea of a visual dictionary. Using the verbs they learnt and having them actually act out the words while you filmed them for the digital visual dictionary. Good on you for taking a risk and trying something, which could have been potentially problematic, but it worked so well. They will never forget those verbs. The class all listened to the instructions and really participated with high excitement. I loved the way you generated such excitement without once losing control of the learning. You are going to compile the movies and put them up on the class site.

After completing the filming you then explained what they would do next. The learners went off to their groups and logged in to the site for their follow up activities. This routine is established, so they know what they do each day and they helped each other.

  • Independant follow up slides on the powerpoint, which you went through with students. Explain each slide and get one or two students to offer example answers.

  • T to send students off to work on their netbooks on follow up task.

  • T to work with students who need support.   

Good on you both for working so hard to provide such a wonderful rich learning environment in your class, which is showing how you are developing the skills of adaptive expertise. I really enjoyed my morning with you and the gorgeous learners, so well done for providing a model of co-teaching and true partnership. I should have filmed this morning so I could use it as an example for others to see. It was also great to see the next steps actioned from the feedback form last observation.  Thank you both!!!

Nga mihi nui

Anne Sinclair ( Professional Supervisor)
May 23, 2016

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Balance in Curriculum

The last week was a very busy week as we had ERO at school.
Having discussion during staff meetings and Management Team meetings was a great PLD for us.

Out of the many questions, one of the questions that the Review Team asked was how do we know that we have covered science into our topics. They also mentioned that the Maori and Pacific students preferred to take Arts as their subjects and not science when they moved into universities.
Yes, that may be the case because our Maori and Pacific students have a talent for Arts and this talent runs into the families from generations to generations. This talent is very visible in our students and we do need to make sure that our students pursue this talent.
I also agree that we do need to have a balance in our curriculum. We have to make sure that we teach science to our students as well otherwise we would never be able to identify students who are interested in science. Students need to given the experience of science before they can decide whether they will like to pursue it later in their lives.
At university I had learnt that children have to be exposed to different ideas and subjects for them to open the window for that subject. The lecturer at the time had explained it like this:  A child's brain has lots of windows. All those windows have to be opened through an experience. This means that there will be an Arts window, a language window, a science window etc. As students have more and more experience of a subject, they will get better and better at that subject. This is why there needs to be a balance in the curriculum.
The immediate need is to go through different inquiry topics we will be teaching at school and make sure that there is a balance in our curriculum.
We teachers surely hold this responsibility that we provide opportunities and experiences for all different areas of the curriculum.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Shared Reading and social Consciousness

This Term, in the first few weeks we have had eight new enrolments in our class. We wanted to make them feel at home and also wanted to know about all of them. We decided to do this through shared reading.
We chose to read "Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street".

It is very important to celebrate every students culture in the class and acknowledge what they bring with them. The text that we had chosen was a perfect pick.

After reading the text we asked students wrote their stories about Tuna coming to Tamaki Primary and bringing things that were valuable in their culture. One of the stories that a student wrote read:

'The Tuna with the magical korokoro jumped out of Tamaki river, went on to Alamein road and came to Tamaki Primary school. It came to me and opened it's waha wide. I pulled out a piupiu. I wore the piupiu and began to kanikani.'
by- Joshua

Everyone used words from their languages to describe their item.
The next day students got lavalavas, piupius, pois and other traditional clothes from home. We took photos and made a class shared book about the magical tuna coming to our school.

This was a very powerful, engaging lesson. Building on students life experiences, talking and learning to read and write about their lives and their cultures was very empowering. All students were engaged and wanted to share and show off about their little things that they had brought to school.
Current real world examples help students connect to the curriculum, allow for deeper engagement and help students make their connections with individual and global identities.
A classroom can definitely be a space for students to develop and explore their social consciousness.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Co- Teaching

The first week was a great week in Terms of PLD. We have Paula Were for Literacy and I shadowed her for co - teaching sessions in the junior classes. These were awesome lessons as I got to see the practice of different teachers and also got an opportunity to work with the students who are in different classes. Teachers gained a lot through these sessions and everyone enjoyed teaching and learning. We talked about how to bring cultures of the students into classroom and how this would bring more engagement. We also talked about how we need to move on from what students already know and how to breakdown WALTS into smaller learning Intentions so that they are achievable.

I personally believe that co- teaching is the best way to do PLDs as we teachers learn from one another. It is where the teachers co-teach along side one another and share responsibility for planning, teaching and assessing. It is a way of supporting teachers where one teacher takes the lead and the other supports the students and then rotate their roles. It is a non- threatening way of supporting teachers where you are not judged on how you teach.  It is all about a practice where we all are responsible for the student learning, including the Principal, Curriculum Leader, Team leaders and the class-Teacher. It is about how we all can improve student achievement.

I feel that one session is not enough to bring desirable outcomes. We need to collaborate and do co- teaching more often and bring real fun into teaching and learning.