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. https://whakataukihewakaekenoa.blogspot.co.nz/2018/01/crossing-rubicon.html 

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.