Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Farewell to 8Bh!

Dear 8Bh,

I have thought about what I would like to say to you many times this year, and I am still not sure that I have it right. One thing I do know for sure is that I was lucky enough to teach the best class of students I could have asked for. I feel so privileged to have been chosen to be your teacher and to have spent this year with such kind, dynamic, diverse and hardworking Year 8's.

Your honesty, your challenges and your triumphs helped me to become a better teacher so that I could be the best I could be for you. I hope that you felt loved, appreciated and encouraged throughout this year and I hope you enjoyed your time in Year 8. Most of all, I hope you had fun, had a laugh and got some learning in along the way. 

We've had such a busy year from getting to know each other, tackling new learning challenges, moving to a new classroom, hosting a bake sale to raise money for our Hornby community, presenting at Huis, Business and Enterprise, introducing Passion Projects, our EOTC Week and more! I know I made some great memories with you this year. 

I am so proud of the people you are and the progress you have made. You are all unique individuals with passions, dreams and goals. I have no doubt you will achieve anything you set your minds to. If you work hard, you can make it happen. I look forward to watching you grow as Year 9's and become leaders in our kura. Know that I will always be in your corner cheering you on!

If you leave with one thing this year, let it be this: don't sell yourself short! You've heard me say this so many times this year. Try your best in everything you do from the courts to the field, on stage and in class, do your personal best every time. You deserve to shine. 

Think positive, be positive, help others around you. Strive for excellence and accept nothing less. Challenge yourself, take risks, don't be afraid to fail, that is how you will improve, learn and grow. If plan A doesn't work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. Dreams come to those who chase them, so don't spend your time sitting on the sidelines. 

Thank you for an amazing first year of teaching at Hornby High School! Have a safe and happy holiday and I will see you in 2019!

Summer Learning Journey

The 2018 school year has come to an end, but that doesn't mean the learning has to stop! Did you know that it is proven that over the summer break, students lose a lot of the information they have gained throughout the school year?

We are part of a digital learning cluster called Uru Manuka which is parter of the larger Manaiakalani Outreach Programme. By blogging 3 times per week, students can actually increase their literacy levels.

Manaiakalani offers the Summer Learning Journey, which 7Ds, 7Al, 8Bh and 8Ts students have registered for as part of their Cybersmart classes with Miss Kelsey Morgan. This is an optional additional learning opportunity, however, it is one that I encourage all students to participate in! By blogging only one time per week this holiday, students will continue to accelerate their learning and not hit the "summer slide".

I can't think of a better way for our tamariki to prepare themselves for Year 9 next year! Take a look at the Summer Learning Journey website to learn more. Participants and winners have the chance to win up to a $50 prize for being the most active blogger at Hornby High School, among other criteria!

Best of luck to all those participating. I can't wait to read your posts this summer!

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Term 4 is Flying By!

Kia ora everyone!

It seems that time is just speeding by. We are in the midst of Week 6 of Term 4 and what a term it has been. Our Year 8 students are working hard on their Passion Projects. This is a project based learning opportunity for our Year 7-10 students where they work in collaborative groups outside their form class with a variety of teachers from across the school.

If you want to take look at some of the choices that were offered, the resources being used and some other helpful info, spend some time on our Passion Projects shared site.

Next week we will be heading off on our EOTC Week activities to celebrate the completion of an excellent year. All Year 8 students are expected to attend as this is part of our Year 8 curriculum. Please forward any questions or concerns to me by email, or ring the school with any queries. Monday we will be at Omaka Scout Camp, Tuesday we will be visiting the Rehua Marae and the Canterbury Museum, Wednesday we are back at Omaka and Thursday we are finishing off at Adrenalin Forest! I am so looking forward to these exciting activities that will push us out of our comfort zone.

On a more administrative note, reports are currently in progress and we have had quite a few assessments over the last few weeks in order to gather data to best give you a look at where your student is at and what progress they have made this year. These will be available on the parent portal in Week 9. Please note, there are no learning conferences this term. If you have anything to discuss regarding your student, I am happy to meet with you before the end of the year.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Market Day - Business and Enterprise Kete

Kia ora everyone.

Our year 7-9 students have been hard at work creating their company's, logos, posters and products for this year's Market Day happening next Wednesday.

I am so impressed with the creativity, artistic ability, innovative thinking and wonderful teamwork that I have seen from all of the students.

Check out the slideshow below for a taste of what you can purchase at our Market Day, 26 September at Hornby High School. We hope that you can join us!

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Hornby High School App!

Kia ora everyone!

We have had a very successful start to Term 3. Thank you to all the families who came to our Learning Conferences. It was great to meet with you again and to discuss your student's progress in Year 8. If you have not been able to access your child's report, please let me know and I can email you a PDF copy.

In other exciting news, Hornby High School is now part of SchoolApps. You are able to download this free app and subscribe to notifications straight to your phone about upcoming school events or notices. Please follow the instructions on the poster below.

As always, if you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to reach out to me! 

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Reflection: Finding My Feet in My First Year

Here I am on a Sunday night thinking about how fast this term is flying by. We are gearing up to start Week 5 of Term 3, which nearly marks the halfway point of the semester. What is even crazier to me is how comfortable and secure I feel. Don't get me wrong, I still have those moments where I wonder if I am doing enough or doing the right things for my students, but overall, I feel a sense of calmness and ease.

I feel truly grateful for all that I have learned up until this point in the year. The late nights and early mornings putting together a lesson and organizing my planning still happen, but less so. I am able to pinpoint what help my students need quicker than before. I know what websites have helpful videos and resources or where I can find Maths worksheets for all of my levelled groups. Overall, I have built a supportive, trusting and honest relationship with my students and feel as though I can read them now that I know them better. I can intervene and be preventative when I sense a behaviour issue arising, I can tell when a student is feeling down and might need some words of encouragement, I know when they need a break or when we have earned a classroom reward, and I find it so fun to be able to learn and grow alongside my 23 students.

I often think of the end of the year as a bittersweet moment. Yes, I will have one full year of teaching under my belt and be halfway closer to completing my time as a PRT, but I will have to say goodbye to my wonderful group of tamariki. This may be the first year jitters, or the feeling of closeness to this group as I do not have any other classes to compare, but each individual child in my class has a special place in my heart.

I had a conversation with one of my students on Friday and she said, "Miss, do you know that we spend more time with you than our own parents some days?" Yes. I know. She also talked about how we as educators, spend more time with them than we sometimes do with our own children, or partners or friends. I feel like there has been so much in the news and media lately surrounding the Primary Teacher Strike, the pay raise, the workload and on and on, and while I don't devalue these concerns in any way, I feel so genuinely lucky to be doing this job and working with this amazing class that I truly feel like I cannot complain.

Yes, the work is hard and the hours are long, but the time I spend fostering relationships with these unique and inquisitive children make it all worthwhile. I have found my feet in regards to the planning, testing and the administrative behind the scenes of it all, and each day I get to spend in class actually teaching and enjoying my time with my students is feeling more rewarding than before. I am worrying less about 'the perfect lesson' and am realizing that a restorative conversation or an inspirational video and class discussion on resilience is just as meaningful and just as powerful to their learning journey.

I wonder what the rest of the year will bring and how many more amazing memories we will create together as a class. I know each term will bring upon a new challenge or a new triumph, but for now, I am going to enjoy the feeling I have, looking forward to Monday morning, seeing my students ready for a new week and greeting each of them as they enter our learning space. I treasure the time we spend together, and I feel honoured to have them in my care from 8:30-3:00 pm. While that is just a small part of my day, it has a huge impact on me and I hope that they feel the same way.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Reading Plus - A New Initiative

Kia ora koutou,

We have been trialling a new reading programme within the Year 7 and 8 Junior Block called Reading Plus. With this website, each student is given their own log in and an initial set up test which helps gather evidence of their reading speed (fluency) and their comprehension. 

We have discussed at length that a good reading programme will interest students. There should be three parts; independent reading, Reading Plus and teacher led sessions. I am a huge believer in literacy and my students spend a lot of their morning work time doing reading related activities. 

We start each morning with 15-20 minutes of sustained silent reading. Students go fortnightly to the school library to select a book of their choice. My only 'rule' is that it is something of their reading level and something they are interested in. I find many of my boys go for graphic novels, however, more recently this term many of my girls are getting into these type of stories too. We also have a packed bookshelf in the classroom that students can make a selection from. 

I have been attempting to have students use Reading Plus for at least 30 minutes per day as well. When they are not working with me for reading groups or during writing time, the expectation is that they are independently self-managing and using Reading Plus. 

After seeing some of our initial results, I have wanted to make this programme a priority. Below you can see where the majority of my class is sitting. 

Ideally, we want to be sitting in the green box. Red dots indicate that the student needs significant intervention and teacher support. The red diamond indicates that this programme is too hard, or too complex for the student at this time. This is my Week 4 graph, and we started this programme in Week 2 of the term. I can already say that many of my blue dots in the 'red zone' were much lower when we started. 

What I love about this programme and why I have changed my Literacy plan to suit it is that students have choice in which articles they want to read and the programme is levelled based on their scores and achievements. They can also work at their own pace and I am able to track their progress on the teacher end. If students use this programme 10 hours per week, they will increase their reading level by 1-2 whole years after a span of 10 weeks. At first I was worried about having a digital programme being seen as a 'cop out', by telling the kids "go onto Reading Plus" but I found that 1) the results are speaking for themselves; this stuff works 2) the majority of students actually are excited for when this part of the day comes around and 3) by lightening my teacher load for even 30 minutes a day, I can focus on planning even more meaningful lessons in other subject areas. It's working smarter, not harder. 

I always push for students to do 'their personal best', but these results are showing me that we need to be moving reading and writing to the forefront. My students will be entering Year 9 next year and into the 'mainstream' high school system where they will have 5 classes a day with 5 different teachers. I want to ensure they are prepared and have the skills not only to succeed, but excel in their learning. 

I am interested to see their results at the end of the term and how many of them have moved up in the 'red zone' or maybe even entered into the idyllic green area. I will post another reflection on the programme in time and look forward to seeing the way my students will improve.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Reflection: Dances for Schools Workshop

Earlier today I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with Ezra from Dances For School. As you know, I spent last term organising and running a Year 7 and 8 dance group. Growing up I taught dance to girls aged 4-9 at my local dance studio, so I felt I had the experience to facilitate a dance group for our students.

What I quickly realised is that dancing at a studio and dancing at school are two very different things. I felt a little bit out of my element in my teacher clothes and with my teacher reputation letting loose and creating movement with my students, it wasn't natural. Whereas 10 years ago as Miss Chelsea, in my ballet skirt and tights, I had a different persona. The students were younger and they were all there for their 1 hour ballet lesson; I felt in my element.

I met Ezra on Instagram and we had been in contact earlier in the year to organise some school-wide dance lessons, and while this did not pan out, he invited me to attend his workshop in Christchurch. I am so glad he did. I got the chance to work alongside about 30 teachers in a practical and focused workshop aimed at teaching dance through the New Zealand Curriculum to students who have any level of experience.

We collaboratively choreographed a dance within the 2 hour workshop and had the chance to ask questions and get some great reading material on how to successfully teach dance in schools. We have an upcoming hip hop competition being held at our school and I have been asked to work with a group to represent our school in the competition. I was panicking with the added element of a competition over my head, not simply spending a term choreographing a short routine like last term.

These are the take aways from the PLD session that I know will benefit me as I take on this new challenge:
picking music in 4:4 beat 
- vocalizing what we are actually doing, and cutting out 'dance teacher speak' ex) less counting, less random sounds (if you have taken a dance class you will know dance teachers are notorious for making up their own jargon or sounds for steps. For example you may hear your instructor shouting, "and one two GA GA, pose, and BOOM hit hit hit")
- keeping spacing simple and effective
- using an invisible clock as a frame of reference and have each student dancing around their own clock so that the angles are the same for the entire group 
- keep steps simple and fun so that students can genuinely enjoy the dancing they are doing

With these take aways, I feel more confident in my own ability to choreograph an awesome dance routine for this competition and take on another term of Year 7 and 8 dance group as well!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Student Opportunities

Since the start of Term 2, students in 8Bh have been taking advantage of the many opportunities provided by Hornby High School!

We all attended a trip to the Buddhist Temple in Riccarton to learn more about 3G4G; 3 goodnesses and 4 givings. Students had the opportunity to tour the temple, meditate, learn about how to live a positive lifestyle and meet some of Christchurch's police force. A highlight was getting to try on some police gear and pose for photos!

On Wednesday, students Trisha and Faith attended a special workshop called "She Can Code" which promotes women in the digital and technology sector. The timing of this event lines up with the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand. The girls took a 1 hour course on coding offered for female students at HHS. Both said they enjoyed their time and were selected because of the excellent digital work they have been completing in class!

Also last week Year 7 and 8 students attended the EPro8 Challenge hosted at Cobham Intermediate. 8Bh student Aiden was chosen to participate in this science and technology competition. He worked alongside students in 8Gb and 8Ts to compete in problem solving challenges. All teams worked hard for their success.

Lastly, basketball season is in full swing. Hornby High has 3 Year 7/8 teams - one for the girls, and two boys teams. 8Bh students Sameer and TJ are on Hornby Blue and Eddy is on Hornby Gold. They, alongside their teammates, have been playing hard on Friday evenings and I have been lucky enough to catch their games. These boys have a passion for sport and that is evident on and off the court!

Speaking of sport, all of our students are participating in the Hornby cluster Winter Sport. Students are competing against other schools in a sport of their choice and are being coached by Year 9-13 students from HHS. Winter Sport takes place Friday afternoons both on and offsite. Check in with your student to find out when and where they are playing!

We are already halfway done Term 2! Reports will be live this coming week. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to let me know.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Are You Prepared?

Kia ora everyone and welcome to Term 2! Students have been getting back into the swing of things and we started the term off with a Science Kete. The focus in 8Bh has been on natural disasters and learners have been working on explanation writing using scientific terms and non-fiction texts about our natural world. Science is all around us!

Today we made DLO's using the infographic tool Piktochart. Students were working on completing a task within a given time frame and asked to post their final projects to their learning blogs. First we watched a video about how to be prepared for an emergency and what would be important to include in an emergency kit should a natural disaster hit. Below is an excellent example of student work from 8Bh. Well done Sam, on a great Piktochart!

Student work by Sameer A. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

8Bh + 8Gb Musical Theatre Performance

In Term 1 students in 8Bh worked hard alongside students in 8Gb to create a Musical Theatre performance which they shared at the Junior Arts Assembly. Each student had the chance to be part of the performance in their own capacity.

You can see that some students have solos, some are dancing, using props or playing various musical instruments all the while singing along to the song. All children had the chance to perform on a stage in front of an audience and they did so well.

Here is a video clip of 8Bh and 8Gb performing "We Know the Way" from Moana.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Kia Ora, From 8Bh!

For our recent Kete, we have been learning about the nationalities that make up Aotearoa New Zealand and the importance of our unique culture and heritage. Students were given the task to make a visual mihi, or introduction using te reo Māori. We put all of our mihi's together on Google Slides to share with you.

Please note, the majority of us are still learning Māori language. Please help us out by leaving a helpful comment if you notice any mistakes!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Sharing My Name

Students have been researching the meanings of their name and will be sharing their findings from conversations with their families and online searching tomorrow in Kete time.

I wanted to share the meaning of my name:
My first name is Chelsea and the story is that my parents wanted to name me Allison Catherine, but after much deliberation felt that the nickname 'Ally Cat' would surely stick, and by the time I was a teenager, I would probably be sick of it. My mother didn't want a name which was too common, or which could be shortened into something silly.

My father had heard the name 'Chelsea' in the movie On Golden Pond (which to my embarrassment, I still have not seen!) and he thought it sounded nice, he also liked the character in the movie... so Chelsea it was.

I did a quick internet search of the meaning of 'Chelsea' and found it is more than just the famous football team in England. Chelsea is of Old English origin and is a landing place or port for large ships.

Have you ever researched where your name comes from? Check out our students' blogs on the right sidebar to read more about the origins of their names!

Friday, 9 March 2018

Summer Learning Journey Winner!

Last Thursday we had a Junior Assembly and many students were recognized for participating in the Hornby Summer Learning Journey.

One of our students in 8Bh, Thomas, received a certificate for his excellent blog posts over the summer holidays. I want to say a big congratulations to Thomas and encourage you to check out his blog here.

All of our students' learning blogs are listed on the right side bar and we encourage parents, relatives and friends to leave a positive, helpful and inquisitive comment for our students to respond to. We hope you find our learning interesting and inspiring!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Year 8 Champion

Congratulations to our student Edrian.

In the Athletics report written for the recent school newsletter, Eddy was named one of two Year 8 Champions based on his performance at Athletics Day last Friday! His hard work practicing for the Athletics events in PE class has paid off.

Here is a video I took of Edrian during High Jump on Athletics Day.

Ka pai, Eddy!

You can access the latest school newsletter here.

What's in a Name?

Students have been given the task to research the history and meaning behind their name. They have been asked to discuss with their families and post their findings to their blog.

Where does their name originate from? Why was it chosen for them? Are there any anecdotes that go along with it?

I encourage all parents, families and whanau to help explain the names which have been chosen for the students, or assist them with their research into the history of their names!

I look forward to reading the students' blog posts about their name.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

School Athletics Day

On Friday we had our school Athletics Day and students participated either in the Competitive or Social league. I was very impressed with the amount of boys who chose to challenge themselves and compete for a chance to represent Hornby High School at the Zones competition. Well done all of you for being resilient and trying your hardest all day!

The Social athletes had a more relaxed morning where we opened up the doors in the hub for some cross class learning. The afternoon took them outside to compete and gain points for their houses. Many came in colourful mufti, face paint and for some, body paint! I hope that you are back to your normal skin colours on Monday. 

Thank you to all the parents and families who came out to support the children, it was excellent seeing you there. Here are some photos from the day.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

We Are Hornby: Kete Projects

Please note, some students are currently completing their projects. These slides will be updated by the end of Week 5 to reflect all students' work.

Please leave a comment with positive, helpful or inquisitive feedback for the students of 8Bh!

How 8Bh Feels About 2018

Today marks the middle of Week 5 of Term 1 and with only 11 weeks, we've reached our halfway mark! I wanted to take the opportunity to get some feedback on how the students feel our year has been going. We did an anonymous AnswerGarden response to the question "How do you feel about the school year so far?" and students were prompted to think about what it feels like to be in Year 8, in a new classroom, in 8Bh and with the classes and activities they are taking. Here is the feedback:

Overall, most students took the activity seriously (I've noticed some song lyrics amongst their responses!) and it seems the majority of the students are having an excellent year!

This type of informal feedback is helpful to me as a teacher, so that I can pinpoint areas where we can improve our classroom dynamic. We completed a Padlet response where students were able to list what specifically they are enjoying at school and most chose to include their names. For that reason, I will summarize their points: 

- most are enjoying being back at school for another year
- students like the responsibilities that come with being a Year 8
- students like our classroom environment; the physical space as well as the work environment
- they LOVE their Connect classes; shoutouts were made multiple times to PE, Science, Music and Technology
- the friendly, helpful teachers were mentioned 
- making new friends, and reconnecting with old friends
- having a new start

Thank you 8Bh for sharing your thoughts with me!

Monday, 26 February 2018

HHS House Competition

On Friday we had a fun afternoon of Year 8 Sport, followed by a school-wide House Competition. We had been practicing our cheers all week and met on the field to battle house vs. house. With a cheer off, a tug of war and a running relay, the afternoon went by quickly!

I want to make a mention to the students who volunteered to race for their teams, it was great to see so many students from 8Bh getting involved with their houses! Aiden (Shelford), Eddy (Lewis) and Michael (Turner) all represented their houses with pride. Well done, guys!

Here a few photos from the afternoon.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Welcome, Week Four!

We are off to a great start with our testing! We've discussed as a class that these tests aren't something to stress about, but for students to show us teachers what they already know, so we can help them learn what they don't know!

We've hit the ground running with our Maths and Writing tests and this week we will move to our reading and vocabulary. This is in preparation for when we open up the doors and truly get to enjoy the collaborative space our great building provides! We will move into ability groups for certain subjects so that students are getting the most out of their lessons.

I am very proud of the way the students in 8Bh are being resilient and showing me they are committed to their learning by trying their hardest and being respectful of our class environment. We are well on our way to a very successful year!

Also on this week we are diving into our independent novel studies! Students had the chance last week to visit the library and select a silent reading book which appeals to them. We will be doing activities which allow them to complete work based upon the book they are reading.

This is our final week to work on our Kete projects for our "We Are Hornby" unit. The students have been working on defining their roles and responsibilities in their different communities. We are tying this together by creating a presentation that highlights the values of Hornby High School and the responsibilities of students here. I can't wait to share their wonderful work!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Reflection: How I'm Making the Most of the Year by Getting Involved

I've always been an overachiever. In high school I danced over 35 hours a week, on top of attending school and holding down a part time job. In university, I was part of numerous campus clubs, holding leadership positions, attending events after class... and when that wasn't enough, I started an online magazine and hired an entire staff team to help me run it. When I entered the workforce, I entered with 2 full time jobs, a part time job as well as volunteering on the side. I like to be busy - I thrive on a full schedule.

Starting off at a new school I was worried about finding my footing. Are there positions to be involved with? Will the committees want to have a BT helping them? Will my mentors think I am taking on too much? Am I taking on too much? All of these thoughts racing through my head made me hesitant to get involved, but within the first few weeks I realized there are so many opportunities for staff with varying levels of commitment.

I knew right away I wanted to join the PB4L (Positive Behaviour For Learning) team. I had learned a little bit about this during my Graduate programme, and my last placement school was moving towards this model, and I had seen the presentation hosted for them. I truly believe the values and ideals which PB4L is built on helps relationship building, fostering student achievement and overall learner morale. If I am going to be using these practices in class, I want to know as much as I can! So, I joined... and was appointed 'cheerleader', which means I get to help promote our PB4L school wide initiatives. This will help me engage with staff school wide, as well as break me out of my shell during staff meetings, where I get to speak about our PB4L student rewards and incentives.

I am excited for the additional training which comes with this committee and believe it will be invaluable to the way I interact with my students, as well as with people in general. Handling tough situations in a positive way is beneficial in all aspects of life. I hope to reflect more on the subject of PB4L as I continue to learn throughout the year.

A new initiative for 2018 was the creation of a Book Club! I've always been an avid reader, and honestly, I love YA Literature. While I would be happy to coach/support a sports team, after conversing with our wonderful librarian, I knew this was an opportunity just perfect for me! We will read a new book each term and meet twice to discuss our progress. A number of my students are also signed up for the Book Club, so I figured this would be an excellent way to bond and build connections with them, as well as other students across different year levels. This also gets me out and interacting with the other teachers who are running the Book Club, and making lasting connections with staff. I am just a member here, but will be happy to help foster a love for reading and literacy among the bookworms at HHS!

Lastly, in our Junior block we were deciding on different roles and responsibilities for the team, and I  *eagerly* put up my hand with a suggestion for a dance group. I am unsure how this will unfold, but I am sure we can create an excellent programme for our students. The reason I was keen on this was because many of my students told me the love the performing arts, but not all of them are able to enrol in dance classes outside of school. While again, this was mostly the students in my class, I am sure there are students across the school who would love the opportunity to dance whether it's for fun, fitness or for technique!

I feel really happy with the ways I've chosen to get involved and do not feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities I have taken on. I think each role allows me to use a different part of my skill set to interact and help teach students across the school and overall, I want to do it for the kids! They deserve to have a variety of opportunities, and if I can help make that happen so that they can try something new - I am going to be the first one to volunteer!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Learning Conferences

Kia ora everyone!

Earlier this week the office sent out a link via email to sign up for Learning Conferences happening this week on Thursday 15 February. I am looking forward to this evening and do hope you are able to make it.

Classes will finish after Period 3 (12:20) and students will be dismissed at this time. Conferences run from 1-8 pm and you are able to sign up online. Please let me know if you did not receive the information from the office, and I can get it re-sent to you.

You can contact me at any time via email

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Reflection: My First Week of Teaching

I officially feel like a teacher! I made it through the first week in my own classroom and just feel on top of the world to be doing what I've dreamed of for so many years. My students are such a dynamic group of young people and I am truly excited to be getting to know them as individuals, quirks and all! So far we've had quite a few laughs, but also some serious moments where we are reminding ourselves what behaviour is proper for school. I give the students major credit as most of them have come back from the summer holiday with a positive, fresh outlook on 2018 and being in a new class with a new teacher.

I've always heard, "don't smile for the first month so they know the expectations and who is in charge", but my bubbly, excitable personality doesn't bode well with that... I can't not smile! I am learning that through having my own class and from the trust that the senior leaders have put in me by giving me this opportunity to teach. I am qualified and capable of making my own decisions as an educator and mentor to the children in a way which works best for both sides, them and me. My teaching style doesn't have to be a copy of anyone else, however, I can take the parts I admire from the teachers around me and their expertise and weave them together to help create the teacher that I want to be.

Behaviour management, maintaining clear and high expectations and my ease at being able to relate to the children in a positive way were all strengths that were highlighted throughout my teaching placements. I need to continue to remember this as I navigate these next few weeks making strong, lasting connections and positive relationships with my students, while setting strong foundations for the expectations of our classroom.

I know with more time in the class and getting to know my students, and them getting to know me, the kinks will be ironed out and all will fall into place. I am humbled to support them on their Year 8 journey and will do all that I can to help create an awesome year for them!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Close Reading - Treaty of Waitangi

On Monday, we used our Reading time to do a close reading of an article about the Treaty of Waitangi. Students were provided with the tools necessary to make a close reading; a key of helpful symbols to mark their work, high lighters and a response sheet which asked both fact and opinion questions about what they read.

We then met together to discuss the article, the treaty and the implications it had for New Zealand. Students had really thought provoking questions and spoke openly about the unfairness of the way the treaty came to be. I was very proud of the way many students got involved, volunteered to read, or helped me with pronunciations throughout the article.

Here is a link to the article if you are interested in taking a look and discussing it further with your child. We only skimmed the surface of a much larger conversation, but I can tell from our short discussion that the students are thinking critically about the wider picture.

I hope you all have an excellent day on Wednesday and take a few moments to discuss the importance of this holiday.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Term 1, Week 1

Kia ora everyone!

Our short Week 1 is finished and I can report that we've had an excellent start to the year. I am truly enjoying getting to know each student more every day. We have a dynamic class full of personality and humour and I can tell that 2018 will be a fantastic year!

We are working on building our J6 classroom community and that means taking risks, not being afraid to try something new and working together in groups. We've done a variety of activities from creating posters to performing skits and I am so proud of the way the students are willing to get involved no matter what the task is. We definitely have some up and coming actors/actresses in our midst.

As a class we have also been talking about setting goals and how we can reach them. Students wrote what their 2018 goal would be and you can find these on display in our classroom shortly! Many had attainable goals with a clear pathway laid out to success. Students, I hope you stay committed to your goals and passions and work towards achieving these milestones!

I look forward to Week 2 and continuing to focus on what it means to be part of our community, which ties in to our first Kete! A reminder for students, please have your Chromebooks for Monday so that we can troubleshoot any problems!

Hope you are all having an excellent weekend!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Open Afternoon - A Thank You!

A huge thank you to all the students and their whānau who came out to our  Year 7/8 Open Afternoon today! I truly enjoyed meeting you all and cannot wait for the rest of the year. If you were unable to make it to school today, I look forward to meeting you sometime soon!

Just a reminder: tomorrow we have our Mihi Whakatau welcome ceremony starting at 9 am sharp (late start time!) Students, please meet me in J6 in the morning for roll and we will head to the Auditorium together. Afterwards we will spend the afternoon together as a Year 7/8 team for introductory activities and a sausage sizzle! The day is an early finish at 2 pm.

Please arrive in full uniform!

 Many of you were asking about the Year 7/8 Stationery List which can be found here on the Hornby High website. If stationery can be at school by Monday 5 February at the latest, that would be excellent.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Building Our Class Library

I have always been an avid reader and spent many years working at Scholastic (the book company) while I was living in Canada. I love to read any genre of books from historical fiction to mystery and young adult literature.

I want our classroom library to reflect what YOU want to read! Please submit some suggestions for books and/or authors on this Answer Garden questionnaire. Students, parents, caregivers and whānau are able to respond to give their suggestions on what J6 might like to read! I will do my best to source some of these titles for our Year 8 students.

Reflection: Uru Mānuka Cluster Mini Conference Day 2018

Another day, another PLD session! With the beginning of the year starting, we have had a variety of opportunities to attend workshops on our teacher only days. Today the Uru Mānuka Cluster schools met for a Mini Conference Day, and it was a fantastic networking opportunity. Personally, I did my final placement at a Uru Mānuka school so it was great to see my mentors and teacher friends again after the holiday!

As these things go, most of us sat with our own colleagues upon the start of the session, but the facilitators quickly had us on our feet switching tables. The goal was that we had at least one representative from each school and/or grade level at our tables to maximize collaboration time. In the cluster there are a range of schools that cater collaboratively to NE-Year 6, NE-Year 8 and Year 7-13, so it's interesting to hear from teachers in different types of educational settings. I am part of the high school, but work in the Junior school teaching Year 8. We then got to work with introductions and our first activity. Our table had to discuss the concept of "Learn" from the Learn, Create, Share model.

These slides, A Taste of Manaiakalani, help explain a little bit more about what the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme does, and shows some of Uru Mānuka's Learn, Create, Share processes in action. 

Our group had a lengthy, if not heated, discussion about what it means to learn and where, when, how and why we learn. Something that was really interesting to me was the clear divide on whether you can isolate Learn from it's Share and Create partners, or if all three work together to provide the intended learning outcome for our tamariki. The majority were steadfast in that all three need to work together and that by feeding students information, it does not mean that a child is learning. Sometimes children need to work in the sharing role in order to truly learn a skill or concept and to develop new knowledge. By having them in the MKO or 'more knowledgeable other' role, a student may make strides in their own learning by sharing or creating with others.

Sharing and creating also do not need to be physical, attainable items. You can create new knowledge, learn from prior knowledge and share this with others. A tangible piece of work does not show that Create or Share have been met. There are a variety of tools which can show this such as student blogs, creating a Screencastify, producing a painting or sharing a dance routine, but these are just multimodal ways to show learning.

I feel like I could go on and on about learning and creating and sharing, however, I am interested to hear your opinions! What do you associate with the Learn, Create, Share model?

Edit: If you are interested in hearing more about the Mini Conference, our Hornby High School Principal Mr. Robin Sutton has created a post sharing his thoughts. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Welcome to 8Bh!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Reflection: Uru Mānuka Orientation Day 2018

Yesterday I had the chance to attend an orientation session for new teachers to the Uru Mānuka Cluster and Manaiakalani Outreach Programme. I was fortunate enough to have done my final teaching placement at Ara Tū Whakatā Gilberthorpe School and had some knowledge of what being part of Uru Mānuka meant. As a new teacher at Hornby High School, I am glad that I'm able to keep working within the Learn, Create, Share model and receive more professional development in the area of digital technology and enhancing achievement in tamariki through e-Learning.

For those of you who do not know, the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme provides an e-Learning action plan specifically designed for Decile 1-3 schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. The programme started in Tamaki in the North Island and has been successful in creating a variety of clusters or Communities of Learning (CoL's) nationwide. Uru Mānuka specifically has seen growth in performance across all three targets; Reading, Writing and Maths, since it was launched in 2015.

Us newbies spent the day learning from Miss Kelsey Morgan, who is the Uru Mānuka Cluster Education Programme Leader. Kelsey is very knowledgeable as she has been working within Uru Mānuka, and the Hornby area, for many years. Part of her role is that she provides new teachers and their students in all seven cluster schools with 1 hour per week lessons on the CyberSmart content she has created. This support continues for one year and I am thrilled to have Kelsey alongside me in the classroom as her teaching energy is infectious and her passion for this learning speaks for itself.

My biggest takeaway is that I still have much to learn about digital technologies in order to successfully teach in a 1:1 Chromebook classroom. While I am from the digital/social media generation, my Year 8 students will likely know much more than I do. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the variety of tools I will need this year; a Google site for my classroom to post lessons and tasks for students, a class blog to share our learning in J6 and this professional blog to document my progress. I feel supported knowing that I have Kelsey as a resource and I anticipate many lessons spent sitting alongside my students with my device out, creating and sharing content together!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Why Blog? The Start of My Learn, Create, Share Journey

Nau mai, haere mai and welcome to my professional teaching blog! My name is Chelsea Birtch, known as Miss Birtch to my students. I am about to begin my career as a Beginning Teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand and want to document my journey as a means of self-reflection, memory keeping and overall an example of positive digital citizenship.

I have previous experience with educational blogging and created my first blog when I was in high school as part of my Creative Writing class in Grade 12 (Year 13). As a Canadian expat, please excuse and understand if some of my terminology or spelling differs from the kiwiana way - I am a lifelong learner and constantly reminding myself that 'realize' should be 'realise' etc. Anyway, that Creative Writing class changed the way I saw education and creating and sharing knowledge. It was the early steps of my 'Learn, Create, Share' journey. 

In university while completing my undergraduate degree, I took an Education course called 'The Educational Divide'. Here we looked at the global inequities for education and the changes that were being made in order to benefit learners worldwide. My final portfolio was submitted as a series of blog posts outlining the growth of my learning and understanding of topics throughout the 8-week course. This was where I was reassured that I was on the right career path to becoming an educator, as I was inspired by the teachers' and students' stories and viewpoints. We learned through readings, watching video clips, documentaries and interviews and interacted with blogs, tweets and other forms of text. The course re-sparked my joy for learning and sharing ideas with others through multimodal forms. 

Finally, last year while completing my Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) from the University of Canterbury, we learned about a variety of tools from our Digital Literacy course. Most of my digital knowledge came from the hands on workshops and lectures offered and I again built on my prior knowledge of blogging and created an online portfolio, but chose to include other elements such as ToonDo strips, Prezzi displays, AnswerGarden tasks etc. I wanted to practice with as many of the applications and resources we were exposed to!

In hindsight, I have always had the 'Learn, Create, Share' model in the back of my mind and sought ways to express my knowledge digitally. I am fortunate to be working in a school which is part of the Uru Mānuka Manaiakalani Cluster and am excited to continue to explore these overarching concepts alongside my students.