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!