Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Developing ideas for space and place

It has been a busy week, through my travels last week I brought a sphero, inside it was this notebook. One of the things that I liked was the Design process that is listed

ASK // What are the problems? What are the constraints?
IMAGINE // Brainstorm Ideas. Choose the best one. 
PLAN // Draw a diagram. Gather needed materials.
CREATE // Follow the plan. Test it out.
IMPROVE // Brainstorm improvement. Make changes.

When I saw this, I though of our own Learning Design Process.
It has become more important for me as I enter the second year at HPSS that I use the words to help develop students understanding of a common language.

As I start to develop my foundation SPINS for term 2, an ideas was put forward from a staff member to help develop the theme of Space and Place.

The museum Following this conversation, you begin your tour of the school with the mentor at your side, providing a running commentary and introduction to its key features. First, you walk back through the museum. The mentor explains that the museum is one of the most important parts of the school as it is a place for capturing and building a shared history. Each museum in each school is different: some reflect the industrial histories of the area, others a particular event and its causes, others specialize in a particular fi eld from botany to nuclear engineering. The purpose of the museum is central to the work of a future-building school, the mentor argues, because the museum makes visible that the world hasn’t always and won’t always be like it is today. 

The museum, says the mentor with a hint of melodrama, releases us from ‘the tyranny of the present’. It is a space where the other possible futures that might have emerged are made visible, where the uncertainty and contingency of each discovery is made apparent, where the struggles people had to go through for each scientific breakthrough, each piece of legislation, each new work of art, are presented. History, these museums show, is not a simple progression of inevitable change, but a site of debate, contestation and choice. These museums show how things have been different in the past, they provide a record and a collective memory of other ways of doing things, they provide a resource for confronting new situations. They are a commitment to remembering and nurturing different ways of living in the world. 

The museum ‘exhibits’ are often objects that are annotated with different historical accounts. Produced by the students either with new research that challenges them, or with greater discussion of the period, the exhibits often have alternative history simulations attached to them, crafted beautifully by the students, showing how a different decision at a key moment might have led to a different trajectory for social change. Some of the most annotated artefacts are those associated with the great war of 2020 that many children have a fascination for – surely it would have been easy to avoid this, they argue. Each annotation, each alternative simulation becomes part of the museum’s own resources, accessible not only by the school community but by the wider world. One corner of each museum in every school is also dedicated to the ‘museum of uninteresting objects’, which is wholly curated by the primary children, who are challenged to bring in an object that is of absolutely no interest at all; objects don’t usually last long, the mentor says, as the school’s members are usually pretty quick to point out something of interest in everything. This part of the museum, again, says the mentor, is important in encouraging students to look at things differently, to make the familiar strange, which is a core component of the future-building school.

An except from Learning Futures, Education, Technology and Social Change by Keri Fisher.

So I plan to have students investigate virtual or augmented reality ideas and develop skills to incorporate them into their projects. 

The second SPIN around the theme of Space and Place is to look at develop skills in Digital Media, to use our community as the context. We have a number of new initiatives on the point, so having the students developing a webpage to display content that they have created, edited and developed will be an important part.  The idea is for students to develop skills. 
Floortime is one that allow skills to be developed, outside the classroom of assessment? 
For the floortime I am co-teaching with another learning area, so technology and art together. The idea is to learn about the Battle for our birds.
Now the issue is food supply and the abundance of it during a "mast". This is when the beech seeds drop onto the forest floor,

The idea is for students to develop various native birds and introduced species and add a form of movement to them using electronics. I have an entire page in my book of notes that I have written up while planning this tonight, so I can go back to the teacher and present my idea and listen to the changes that they would like introduced to be able to cover the skills in their area. I think this is what I am liking about HPSS, is the co-teaching, not being SILO'd out. Being able to learn from others and develop the principles of HPSS. 

One of the parts that I like is how it fits into the theme of space and place.

The question now remains, how have I fitted in with the guiding principles of Floortime?

The guiding principles of Floortime are:
FloorTime replaces MyTime. It remains a time where students have greater freedom of time and teachers are encouraged to be as creative and responsive as possible.

Guiding Principles for all FloorTime modules
  • All sessions are as flexible and responsive as possible
  • All FloorTimes would be vertical (Year 9-11 together)
  • Teachers will offer engaging pop-ups based on interests and needs
  • Students are encouraged to be self-directed as appropriate
  • Students are encouraged to run pop-ups based on interests of students in the group

Standards creep towards year 10

I had this come through my email the other day,
I notice that students in Year 10 may now be able to gain some NCEA credits in Dance and Drama ( Maths and English credits have been offered for several years at Year 10). 
Is this a trend. Are we disadvantaged as a subject if we don't follow suit? Is this even a good idea? I see Hobsonville Point is doing the opposite - removing NCEA Level 1... 
After the initial shock of the email, and the want to type out something rather quick, I thought I would wait to see how the discussion went... also there is a 5 hour flight between Adelaide and Auckland
We have added a very simple 2 credit Unit standard as its being required by SLT. US25659.
Above was the content from the next email, hang on, what does he mean required by SLT? So the question went back?
It was for all departments 
I think the underlying reason is to increase pass rates for NCEA Level 1. Also to give students early exposure to NCEA. Its been going for 3 or 4 years now .
I would have to say I was stunned, "I think the underlying reason...?"
The thread went one for a bit more, more teachers talked about what they are doing at year 10 around assessment, more Unit Standards were talked about.
My reply is below
While I find the conversation that is happening incredible at present, it has raised both joy and sadness. The ideas around creative programs that build on curriculum and dispositions. The sadness is around some of the offering of standards that are being used to support these programs. I have had to think about what is the expectation that is being pushed on teachers by senior leaders. That has been why my replies have been around understanding of the impact of these ideas, some of which I am still working out to understand as there maybe a lack of my understanding. 
I am seeing standards that are around second change learners. Is this really the best offering for students? 
Is it good assessment practice by offering students a unit standard at year 10? 
Is offering students a unit standard at year 10 preparing them best for the learning required at ncea level one? Do students see the amount of work involved in a 2 credits unit standard that the only grade of achieved as an academic equivalent of another subjects achievement standard where the grades can work towards merit and excellence? 
Is this developing the best outcomes for the students? 
Is this starting towards a mentality of is this worth credits?
Is this helping with student wellbeing? 
What is the key driver for this change? 
Many would be asking what standard would could be offered to students at year 10, what does the student voice say? Part of me would like to see a conceptual or prototype standard that works towards students being able to critically reflect about their work, being able to communicate with others and developed through an understanding of learning. If it was to be a digital technologies standard, digital information skills, or digital media skills, however I would want to look at the knowledge based standards and limit the amount of words for each answer, similar to the idea that Julie put out last year around developing one of the knowledge based standards, give students the practical based skills, as well as evidencing the academic requirement of the subject.

Yes, at Hobsonville Point Secondary school we are looking at a 2 year qualifications pathway for our year 11 and year 12 students. 20 credits at level one and 60 credits at level 2. It does have its challenges and new learning that is taking place. I look forward to the end of this year and the exploration of what courses might look like during the next stage of learning.
While the conversation goes on,  One of the interesting emails included;
Last year our school ditched all standards at Year 10. Reasons for this:
- Student wellness.
- If one subject has credits available at year 10 that puts pressure on all subjects to offer them.
- We have no issue with NCEA Achievement so no need to fit early credits in.
I thought it needed something else using one of the resources that has been developed at school. I especially like the idea of the Kete - portfolio of assessment. The graphic below was created by Heemi.
We have been developing a lot of thinking at school around the ideas of what NCEA is and how we are going to deliver it. Though we have the teachers that have been through the process within other schools working at HPSS. We are also challenging the thinking and ideas of what programmes of learning might be.

This is one of the pieces that we have been working through the narrative with the staff on the ideas of NCEA.

The top section is us looking at what is it that we are trying to work towards, we are looking at it in the way of the bird. The Nga Pirere is the fledgling, Nga Manu is Branching, Kua Rere is the Flight.

The second half is the look of the Kete Aromatawai - the portfolio of assessment, what does this look like for a student.

Through the google group(subject association) it has been explained a number of times that the siloing nature of a students learning has not afforded itself to a classroom teacher being able to have a picture of where a students needs are. I know myself when I was a form tutor as well as a classroom teacher that I accessed the Student Management System to see where a students learning was at. Many times the students did not know themselves where they were at. Even with portals and NZQA a number of credits are not normally entered until the end of the year due to the nature of the subject or have been held due to the schools trying to get students to not look at credit counting or due to having moderation of grades before hand. This is tricky as a number of students, those that are going down the non academic pathways don't see the achievement of their work until too late. Even students that used the apps or keep notes usually had some credits wrong as what they were told in class is different to what has been published.

One person provided an example of not knowing where he was at within his own learning when he was at school on the group. He then found out he was at 144 credits in level one. Are students now are looking at the quality of credits, rather then the quantity of credits. With the ideas that came out in this thread, this was also the case. How can we be delivering quality credits? How is the structure of schools that are aiming for academic success developing pathways for students? How are the other 70% of students being catered for.

These are things that are constantly in our minds. What does a Kete aromatawai look like for the students in your class? How full is the kete and what would it look like for someone outside of school?

Though I am not a parent, I do not have a record of learning that I can look at and see, what does one look like for a student that has gone through a course that has a mixture of achievement standards and unit standards?

Maybe this could be a good teaching as inquiry topic?

Thursday, 10 March 2016


This came across my twitter feed tonight. To me it signalled a major issues that I have been dealing with years through my teaching. That is why did people not like it when I haked. I always looked for new ideas to improve engagement with learners.
How many processes in school are illogical or outdated, why is it a mission to change these?

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


While the learning of the student is important, there is also the learning of the teacher.

This was summed up this week by a post from Maurie, the principal of Hobsonville Point Secondary School. I believe it shows the learning that our teachers at school are going through and explains what their journey is at present.

I myself am I going through that Journey. Taking up a leadership role this year. The Learning Design Leader of Technology.

Over the weekend I attended the subject association committee meeting and contributed towards the discussions. Many of these are the same that happen at each new committee. How to develop a regional based structure, as well as Professional Development of the members.
It was interesting when I listened to the conversation, around how to develop regional based participation, the word clusters kept coming up. This causes many confusion of what a cluster is, we now have cluster of schools, clusters of teachers. The idea that has merit is one of Hubs. Considering how we have Learning Hubs at school, we need to develop what these regional Hubs will be focussed around, and who will lead the Hub. This will be developed as we go on through the year, but first thing, who is in each Hub? Have we got the areas sorted?

That night saw conversations with a cousin, who is into supporting youth through scouting. The ideas of dispositions and developing these as part of the scouting curriculum is of interest to me. It is great to see various students at school interested in scouting and talking about it with us teachers. The ideas around the slackline development as I talked about in my previous post came from his ideas. We are now developing a shared understanding of the lingo used. I also handed over the 12 GPS units that I used to support the Get Lost initiative that we ran at school last year for his scouts to learn how to use. Developing mini geocaches where scouts get GPS coordinates to be able to find, that then moves to geocaches around the city. Many talk about how the phones that they use could be used. But there is something in having just a basic tool to do a complex job that makes it unique. Also having conversations about his son's learning and how he is going at school, makes for some interesting conversations in the different way students learn.

Working through on Sunday writing an educational paper with another teacher about a project that we have been developing over the past four years has been one of reflection and challenge.
While writing this paper, it has been amazing the number of ideas and learning that I have taken from Hobsonville Point, and how before I was at the school was developing ideas and context around.
One of the ideas was around how teachers could mentor each other, which I see as the basis of the critical friendship that we have at school. See Ros' post about what this means.

The other is around growth mindset, being open to try new ideas, through searching growth mindset and Hobsonville Point Secondary School I came across Steve Mouldey's blog post which has been the basis of this weeks Hub lessons for me.

I will have to search the #hpssblog (only just being introduced) more for other ideas I can use in my learning.