#34 Weekly update

Weekly News Update # 34

7 December 2018

Looking Back:

Term One 2018 Link here


Term Two 2018 Link here

Term Three 2018 Link here 

Term Four 2018 Link here

Looking Forward:


  • Kāhui Ako Conference ‘19 is on Tuesday January 29th. We will e-mail out the timetable for the day and workshops again, towards the end of the holidays. See you all there.


Merry Christmas to you all… we hope you enjoy a fabulous summer holiday.

Professional Development Opportunity

Locations and dates:

1. Christchurch, Sat. April 6, Lincoln Primary School, 130 North Belt, Lincoln 7608, Canterbury.

2. Auckland, Wed. April 10, Orewa College, 76 Riverside Road, Orewa, Auckland 0931.

Time: 8:30am-3:30pm (1 hour lunch)

Ticket Price: $140NZD

Register: bit.ly/DuckworthWorkshop


Sketchnoting, or visual note-taking, is gaining widespread popularity as an effective and engaging way for to take notes and to facilitate understanding and learning. Workshop participants will learn how to develop a doodling mentality with various fun and scaffolded drawing activities throughout the day. Sylvia will walk you through the basic elements of sketchnoting such as how to set up your sketchnote and how to draw icons, fonts, arrows, people, faces, animals, banners, containers, frames, bullets, dividers, and shading. By the end of the workshop, even the most reluctant artist will become a budding sketchnoter, and will leave with all the skills necessary to create beautiful and meaningful visual notes. Come and discover the magic of sketchnoting!

Sylvia is an award-winning Canadian Teacher with 32 years classroom experience. She is a Google Certified Innovator and Trainer, Apple Distinguished Educator, and author of the books “Sketchnotes for Educators” and “How to Sketchnote: A Step-by-Step Manual for Teachers and Students”. You can find her resources at sylviaduckworth.com and her store at sylviaduckworth.shop.



Questions? Please email sduckworth100@gmail.com

#33 Weekly update




Weekly News Update # 33

30th November 2018

Kāhui Ako Conference ‘19


The timetable for our Kāhui Ako Conference‘ 19 workshops is now complete. We have endeavoured to ensure the vast majority of delegates have their original choices. Those with clashes in the timetable have been contacted and workshops rescheduled. Follow the link to the link to conference timetable for session times.


PaCT Pilot Group

On Wednesday this week teachers from Wainui School, Orewa Primary and Orewa College met with Kerry Upson form Team Solutions. Our focus for the professional development was on assessing using the Learning Progression Framework, discussing principles that underpin judgement making (OTJ ) and entering our data through PaCT.

While we did find the initial sign up and login to PaCT quite cumbersome and complicated, once set up found the entry of data was very simple to follow. We were able to view student reports for parents and teachers available through the tool and how these are useful for defining the next steps of learning and informing teacher practice. Schools involved in this pilot group will make decisions based on this trial if they would like to implement this further in their own school settings for 2019.

Please contact Sandy Blackburn or Linda Rubens if you would like any more information about this.

Four new features released in Progress and Consistency Tool – Education Gazette

The Progress and Consistency Tool released new progress features in October that have been designed to make students’ progress and achievement in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum more visible. Follow the link to see the latest features here Education Gazette

Orewa Kāhui Ako – End of Year update 2018

Below is our end of year update of the Kāhui Ako achievement challenges as set at the beginning of 2018. We have included the outcomes from our goals, as well as next steps for 2019. Our next steps are guidelines to support our futures planning, and may alter as the year progresses in response to our community needs and updated focus areas.


Action Plan updated – Focus Areas:

●      PTC2  – Practicing Teacher Criteria: Inquiry, improvement to classroom practice

●      Writing / Maths: Using Learning Progression Framework (L.P.F.) effectively, alignment of assessment across schools, models of effective practice for all learners, developing and embedding robust moderation programme.

●      Te Reo Tikanga: Identifying our practice from ECE to Year 10. Supporting teachers in their everyday practice, build confidence.

●      Learner Support: Develop a system to identify and share resources and programmes that support teachers to work effectively with learners and their wide ranging needs.

2018 Outcomes 2019 Next Steps

●      Moderation sessions of writing samples to identify base practice / alignment across schools.

●      Continuum in writing moderation designed and shared.

●      Use of a common assessment tool identified – L.P.F. selected.

●      Unpacked L.P.F. framework with within school lead teachers. (writing)

●      Developed / refined Orewa Kāhui Ako writing matrix based on L.P.F. exemplars.

●      Termly moderation meetings held using L.P.F.

●      Initial set up in pilot of PaCT group – trialing in writing.


●      Timetabled PD staff meetings  in our Kāhui Ako schools in 2019 on L.P.F. led by Across School Leaders.

●      Plan termly across the community  moderation sessions /embedding into our practice.

●      Developing the digital curriculum in writing – supporting best practice models.

●      Explore integrated curriculum and design thinking in writing.

●      PaCT pilot – continue to explore the potential of this for our community.


●      Inquire into classroom /school practices in maths.

●      Maths inquiries shared.

●      Use of a common assessment tool identified – L.P.F. selected.

●      Unpacked  L.P.F. framework with within school lead teachers. (maths)

●      Developing Orewa Kāhui Ako math matrix based on LPF exemplars.

●      Maths PLD application completed for funding 2019.


●      Confirm maths PLD – funding accepted.

●      Refine math matrix – trial with moderation. (within school leaders)

●      Establish moderation cycle.

●      Sharing of completed  math matrix  – across Kāhui Ako.

●      P.D. within schools – inquiries shared.

●      Explore maths – digital curriculum.

Te Reo Tikanga

●      Hui with Orewa Kāhui Ako Te Reo Leaders.

●      Korero on school practices/ resources used from years 1 -10.

●      News updates: Te Reo glossary developed.

●      Initial korero on pathways of our learners.

Te Reo

●      Hui – Develop overview of pathways from

Y1 -10.

●      Sharing of resources to support pathways.

●      In school support – Across School Leader.


Learner Support 

●      Otumoetai Learner Support 6 point model explored and shared across schools SENCO’s.

●      Kāhui Ako SENCO /RTLB meetings established.

●      Teresa Rosborough – meeting with all Principals/ SENCO/RTLB to unpack pilot model.

●      Continuum for Learning Support designed and shared.

●      Learner Support register – designed / refined / protocols shared.

●      Northern Presbyterian Support Services – initial meeting to confirm their support to run a  pilot with our community.

Learner Support

●      Continue Orewa Kāhui Ako SENCO /RTLB meetings.

●      Collecting of data: Learning Support register across schools. (termly)

●      Collating of data – re needs. ( termly)

●      Support for schools – working with Northern Presbyterian Support Services Pilot.

●      Development of our own Kāhui  Ako Learner Support model.


●      2018 Kāhui Ako Orewa Conference “Connecting Communities” – workshops run by teachers for teachers in our community. T.O.D.

●      Weekly updates established, Google+ Community page, weekly ACOL meetings, fortnightly COL Leaders meetings, visits to liason schools established.

●      Across school combined BOT /principals  meeting.

●      uLearn 18  &  ‘He waka eke noa!’ conferences  – presenting our Kāhui Ako Journey.

●      Appraisal of ASLP/ ACOL .

●      Appointments for 2019- 2020  ASLP /ACOL positions confirmed.

●      Appoint within school leaders. ( in process)




●      2019 Kāhui Ako Orewa Conference  “Weave the people together” – workshops run by teachers for teachers in our community. T.O.D.

●      Planned staff meeting timetabled for each school – led by Across School leaders each term.

●      Orewa Kahui Ako Principals meetings, community meeting, BOT – 2 x year.

●      Continue Newsletter update , Google + Community links

●      Develop Kāhui Ako website

●      Link newsletter updates to schools B.O.T. (within school leaders to set up)

●      Within School Leaders – Staff meeting time slot / management meeting sharing updates.

●      Sharing of Professional Readings in focus areas – alongside newsletter.

●      School Liaison visits -continue to develop.

●      Set up induction for new team members of the community.


If you know of colleagues who have not yet joined our Orewa Kāhui Ako Community Page  on Google+, please do share this link with them.


Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 10.24.25 AM

Thursday 6th December

Final 2018 Orewa Kāhui Ako Leaders meeting

3:30 – 4:30 pm Orewa College



#32 Weekly Update

Weekly News Update #32

23 November 2018

He waka eke noa: We are all in this together

On Friday, 16 November, the across school leaders were invited to a conference hosted by the Albany Kāhui Ako entitled He waka eke noa. It was wonderful to connect with other Kāhui Ako leaders who are either starting out on their journey, or are well along the pathway. The day started with a keynote address by Dr Ann Milne. Dr Milne is both provocative and blunt, reminding us of our responsibility to be culturally aware and responsive.

A selection of breakout sessions:

We then broke into smaller groups to discuss the successes and pitfalls we have encountered in our own communities. After morning tea, we attended workshops. The workshop entitled Ensuring Effective Collaboration in Kāhui Ako was based on the bestselling book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is a model and development programme that guides intact teams through a journey to improve in five areas that are key to productive team dynamics. They made the valid point that teams should be built on a foundation of trust. Without trust, healthy and candid debate cannot take place. The feeling we left this session with was that for a Kāhui Ako  to develop, we have to move away from my way or your way to the best way.


Another workshop was based on Design Thinking facilitated by Core Educator James Hopkins. This was a fast paced session outlining the concept of Design Thinking and the steps used in this process. Design Thinking is used to create learning experiences that help people unlock their creative potential and apply it to the real world. Design Thinking can be applied to all kinds of problems, seeking alternative answers to solutions. But, just like humans, problems are often messy and complex, and need to be tackled with some serious creative thinking. Different points of view are key in pushing teachers and students to advance their own design practice. For a quick ‘boot camp’ on the steps, follow this link to Design Thinking  Stanford.

Linda and Sandy hosted a session called From Community Schools to a Kāhui Ako.  It was an interactive session with many pertinent questions from the attendees. We looked at our starting point, which was setting up face-to-face meeting time, which we feel is a real strength of our Kāhui Ako. We moved on to the surveys we ran and the results, through to our focus groups and the strides we have made with these areas. Finally we looked at what we hope to achieve over the next two years, which is clarity and acceptance by the wider Orewa Kāhui Ako community. What we found to be really affirming was the number of Kāhui Ako groups that are also looking at the Learning Progression Frameworks (LPF) as a common moderation tool. We have been asked to share both our slides which outline our journey, as well as the writing LPF matrix with a number of fellow Kāhui Ako leaders.

Panel discussion led by a principal’s group:

The day ended with a Q and A session with a group of like-minded principals. The panel consisted of: Claire Amos, Maurie Abraham, Steve Saville, Nicola Ngarewa, Natasha Hemara and Andy Kai Fong. They spoke about disruption in education and how leadership is a combination of moral purpose and courage. If you would like to hear from them, they have launched a Facebook Group, DisruptED and they’re also on Twitter @DisruptedNZ. And last Friday they launched their first of a fortnightly series of podcasts where they want to reach out to teachers throughout New Zealand and help connect the innovators that are in all schools. The first podcast was a conversation amongst themselves, sharing their thoughts on leading in this space, and in the future they’ll be talking with teachers. They want to encourage teachers to share their stories of innovation and disruption.

Here’s a link to their first podcast on SoundCloud.

Visit to Whangaparaoa Kāhui Ako

We were pleased to be invited to the Whangaparaoa Kāhui Ako All Teacher PLD session on Tuesday 20 November. They kicked off with an update on their Kāhui Ako and celebrated their progress. They introduced the across school leaders to everyone, where this group outlined their focus areas. This was followed by a series of workshops. The options included sessions on Coaching and Inquiry, Transitions, Community Organisations, Learning Behaviour and Support, Anxiety and Mental Health, and for those who wished to simply network and chat, they had a fitness session or a walk to the beach option. It is great to be able to connect across communities and celebrate the progress they are making.

Ngaio pukapuka kōrero / Professional Reading

With the end of the year fast approaching, it seems timely to take stock of what we are grateful for. When we promote gratitude in our students, we are giving them a great gift. What we understand about the effects of gratitude is similar to what we understand about the benefits of giving up grudges and more generally embracing a stance of greater appreciation. Dwelling in negative emotions, including selfish emotions, is not the optimal state for learning,

growth, or well-being. In this blogpost, Maurice J Elias  looks at some classroom activities to promote gratitude.

Finally, thank you to all who have submitted their workshop choices for the

Kāhui Ako Conference ‘19. If you have any concerns about your choices, please send Linda an email: l.rubens@orewacollege.nz The timetable will be ready for you in next week’s newsletter.

If you know of colleagues who have not yet joined our Orewa Kāhui Ako Community Page  on Google+, please do share this link with them.

Coming up:

Orewa Kāhui Ako Conference ‘19 timetable will be out by next week.

                                                 In school leaders’ meeting dates

#31 Weekly Update

278_y5ZNtU7S1CWeekly News Update # 31

16 November 2018

Orewa Kāhui Ako Conference ‘19

A huge thanks to all those who have put together workshops for our second Kahui Ako conference. There is a definite increase in depth of coverage and the abstracts all reflect a growing  level of expertise across our Kahui Ako. This ability to share expertise through workshops by teachers for teachers is going to be a real strength of our Kahui Ako. Ka pai everyone!

Thank you to all that have signed up for their preferred workshops. If you haven’t put your selection in yet, please remember that today, Friday 16 November, is the deadline. Here is the link to the workshop descriptions. And here is the link to the workshop selections. This link is also where you note your dietary requirements.

PD Reflections

Albany Senior hosted a conference for across school leaders on Friday 16 November. We attended a session called Ensuring Effective Collaboration in a Kāhui Ako. The challenge they put to us was how to work in a space of disruption. They led us through the following questions: How to find a new way of being for your community. What ingredients do you need to ensure that you lead change across your community that ensures sustainable effective collaboration? It was an interactive workshop led by Nikki Urlich and Shona Smith. More information on this conference in next week’s newsletter.

School Visits

We are continuing to build a Kahui Ako leader presence through ongoing school visits this year. It is an excellent way to strengthen networks and share understanding of the strengths, needs and processes of individual schools.  

This week Sandy and Sorrel visited Orewa Primary and met with the Principal and in school leaders for the third time to update what is happening with Kahui Ako focus areas – Learning Support, Maths, Te Reo and Writing.  Along with these focus areas, future directions were noted, as the initial surveys and processes to work on Maths and Writing have been completed, with moderation processes beginning to be well imbedded.

It was suggested that we consider looking at how we might work towards integrating the new Digital Technology curriculum into schools as a Kahui Ako prior to 2020.  This would be a great way of using the strengths of collaborating across our community to see how other people are working on this and share best practice.

With all the innovative practice across our Kahui Ako, the visit also highlighted the importance of initiating an in depth discussion around how we assess and report. With the removal of National Standards and move toward LPFs and  trials of PACT this assessment discussion needed – what are other schools doing, what changes are coming, what is worthwhile, what not, when, how much. How does what primary schools do regarding assessment and reporting lead into college – assessment pathways. The possibility of a sliding scale on reports to more clearly indicate progress during the year was touched on, to cover learning in wider areas which may not show movement from one level to another from one report to another. This could be a good focus for our CoL.

Linda Rubens had her regular visit at Orewa North where Rhonda Beet, Debbie Waller and Linda worked on their presentation for the conference. Rhonda and Debbie are presenting their inquiry which is based on keeping reading alive in your classroom.
Te Reo nga tikanga Maori

The Te Reo nga tikanga Maori is completing a draft curriculum framework which references Tātaiako and the te reo Māori curriculum. The goal is to support integration of Te Reo in the classroom across our Kahui Ako by providing clear pathways with links to resources targeted at our teacher and learner needs.  They continue to build a glossary of pedagogical vocabulary available here to use in professional contexts.

Learning Support

Our Learner Support Register is being drafted and will be used to collect data from the beginning of 2019 from each of our schools. This will then be collated to inform  our future direction with the Northern Presbyterian Support Services. Over the next few weeks Sandy Blackburn and Linda Rubens will be contacting school SENCOs to share protocols on completion of the register.


The unpacking of the Learning Progression Frameworks for mathematics has been completed and a matrix created for quick reference by Lesley Carruthers and her team of in school leaders. This process has ensured a real familiarity with this tool and a deeper understanding of the LPFs and how to apply them for assessment. The matrix will be made available for in school leaders to share when the appropriate CLs have been added and will be a useful assessment reference tool for all teachers of mathematics.


The matrix of LPFs that will be used for moderation is now available and also can be viewed on our Kahui Ako Google+ Community Page.   The LPFs have been linked to appropriate curriculum levels.

Professional Listening and Viewing

  • Try learning how to say over 100 different things in te reo in less than an hour with Graeme and introduce your students to algebraic thinking at the same time!
  • Find out the #1 beginner mistake in Te Reo.
  • Build strong learning partnerships is a short look at how learning focused partnerships can develop networks of learning between learners, teachers and the community and whanau.

If you know of colleagues who have not yet joined our Orewa Kāhui Ako Community Page  on Google+, please do share this link with them.


In school and across school leaders meeting: 22 November


#30 Weekly Update


9 November 2018

Conf'19 Invite

Kāhui Ako Conference ‘19

Please diarise the following date: 29 January 2019. For this conference we have over 25 workshops to choose from. We will email you the description of each workshop today, and a link to a form to fill in your choices of workshops. Please complete the form by next Friday, 16th November. In addition to the workshops, we have a dynamic guest speaker and some entertainment to raise your energy levels. More details to be revealed closer to the time.

Everyone can Create Workshop

Linda Rubens was invited to The Gardens School in Manurewa to do a session on creativity in the classroom. Her session was based on the resources provided by Apple for Education called “Everyone can Create: Photo.” There are four books in the series and they are designed to get students to unleash their creativity. The audience was made up of a range of teachers from ECE right through to tertiary educators. The sessions were dynamic and the energy level in the room was inspiring, given the hectic time of year it is for all of us. PD where teachers become the students is always good as it reminds us what school life can be like for those children in our care.

Pāngarau / Maths Focus Group:

Our own summary rubric of the Learning Progressions in Maths is now complete, thanks to all the hard work of the Maths Focus Group over the last term. There is a link to the rubric here and you might like to have a look. Feel free to make your own copy. The rubric covers levels 1 – 4 of the curriculum and we can use the summary to inform our teaching and planning or to make OTJs.The full Learning Progressions give a detailed overview of how each strand progresses, as students develop their expertise in mathematics. For exemplars of each progression, visit The Learning Progression Frameworks at https://lpf.education.govt.nz/Live/home.aspx. You will need to create a login and then all reading, writing and maths progressions are available to you.

PACT Pilot Group:

A group of teachers from across the schools are going to take part in a trial of the PACT system with their classes next year. PACT uses the Learning Progressions in reading, writing and mathematics to assess and inform teacher OTJs. If you would like to join this group, please contact Sandy Blackburn at sblackburn@wainui.school.nz  or Linda Rubens at l.rubens@orewacollege.nz If you are interested in joining us for some advanced PD, we have a facilitator coming to Orewa College on 28 November. Please let us know if you’d like to join us.


Yesterday we were very pleased to welcome our new Lead Teachers to the Kāhui Ako meetings. Mark Ralston, from Silverdale School, and Leanne Evans from Orewa College. In addition, Matt Harrison and Suzy Carnachan from Orewa College will be joining us. We look forward to having them on board.

Ngaio pukapuka kōrero / Professional Reading:

A very interesting reading from the Ministry of Education website about what cultural narratives are and how to embrace them within your community:

Link to Cultural Narratives

If you know of colleagues who have not yet joined our Orewa Kāhui Ako Community Page  on Google+, please do share this link with them.




  • Reflections on ‘He waka eke noa!’ Kāhui Ako Across School Leaders conference.


#29 Weekly update


At our  Kāhui Ako after school meeting last Thursday, there was a real buzz of excitement as leaders shared and developed their workshop abstracts for our annual Kāhui Ako Conference, Tuesday, January 28th, 2019. Mark the date in your diary to join our whole Kāhui Ako for a day of workshops, fantastic speakers and entertainment.  

Our 2019 conference theme is ‘Whiria te tangata’Weave the people together. With our Kāhui Ako focus on inquiry and collaboration we extend our invitation to all of our community teachers and principals to share your inquiry journey in a workshop. Team up with a colleague and share what has inspired you, what has worked for you, and what you will try next!  If you are interested in leading a workshop please feel free to contact us by November 10th indicating your interest or any further information you may need.

Invitations for teachers to sign up for workshops will be going out next month, with workshops finalized by mid November.  

Visits to our schools.

Next week Sandy Blackburn and Linda Rubens will visit Wainui School staff to lead professional development in an after school meeting on ‘Introducing the  Learning Progression Framework – Key to the Curriculum Progress Tools.  

This pilot will focus on

  • Why we are using the L.P.F. for our Kahui Ako
  • What the difference is between the curriculum tools of PaCT and LPF
  • What the LPF progressions look like
  • How the LPF illustrations work
  • How the learner can use the LPF to identify next steps in their learning
  • How LPF can support teachers when making OTJs


If your school is interested in a similar session for their staff, please contact either Sandy or Linda to set up a suitable time, either this term or in 2019.

Rōpū taunaki / Learning Support Focus Group

Linda Rubens and Leanne Evans took a drive out to Mt Wellington to attend a PD session on iPad accessibility. While this session was targeted towards learning support students, we soon realised that all students and adults for that matter could benefit from some of the functions available under the Accessibility framework. To give an example, we have found that students prefer their screens with the brightness at a minimum, which generally means that the teacher can barely make out anything on the screen. However, if they went to Settings and Accessibility on their iPad, they have the option of inverting colours and changing how warm or cool the colours should be. This was developed for people with low vision, but works equally well for students wanting a dimmer screen, that we can all read!


Guided Access, which can again be found in the Accessibility category on the iPad, can lock students into one app. This was designed with ADHD students in mind, but could help all students who get easily distracted. Lastly, and this is a good one for all of us with ‘older eyes.’ In the Accessibility setting, you can increase and bold the font. This makes emails, messages, and everything you read on your iPad and iPhone bigger, bolder and basically easier to read.
Ngaio pukapuka kōrero / Professional Reading

Continuing from last weeks ULearn reflection I have included the following links from two conference presenters Karen Boyes, and Mark Treadwell.

Winner of the NZ Educator of the Year 2017 and 2014 and NZ Speaker of the Year award in 2013, Karen Boyes is a sought after speaker who continually gets rave reviews from audiences around the world. Her dynamic style and highly informative content—which turns the latest educational research into easy-to-implement strategies and techniques — set her apart from others in her field.’  Follow the link to her website here


Everything is hard before it is easy- Karen Boyes  As our senior students in our Kāhui Ako prepare for their up and coming NZCA exams the following blog by Karen Boyes may be useful. Follow the link here.

Goal Setting in Primary School  – Karen Boyes

An essential part of learners being independent and self directed is their ability to set and reflect on goals for their success. At each age and stage of schooling there are several suggested key ideas and strategies that will scaffold the learning for learners to be able to be highly efficient and proficient goal setters further up the school. Ensuring the foundations are strong will facilitate success later. Follow the link here to read a blog by Karen Boyes .



What does the future of learning look like?

Author of The Future of Learning, MARK TREADWELL, says we need to embrace learning systems that have proved over thousands of years to be far more equitable and successful than rote learning has proven to be over the past two hundred years.

Question: If the purpose of education is to ready young people for the life ahead of them, what should the future of learning look like? Follow the link to an earlier 2018 publication from Mark Treadwell  here.If you know of colleagues who have not yet joined our Orewa Kāhui Ako Community Page  on Google+, please do share this link with them.




#28 Weekly Update

Weekly News Update #28

26 October 2018

This week’s newsletter will be a reflection on the uLearn18 Conference which was held in Auckland during the October school holidays.

uLearn18/ uAko18


This year the Orewa Kāhui Ako was well represented at uLearn18. We had 18 delegates from across the community, two presentations and one fantastic gala dinner. Linda, Sandy and Leslie presented on the community’s journey that we have  covered so far. And Fleur Knight from Orewa College presented with several students included in the presentation to give student voice.

The three focus strands to uLearn18 were: Capability. Community. Change. MC for the conference was the dynamic and enthusiastic Stacey Morrison  She has fantastic stage presence and knows how to woo a crowd.

Day one kicked off with the first of three keynotes. Dr Hana O’Regan spoke about the following topic:  “Let your story be heard in the heavens, and your mana restored to the lands.” Hana’s focus was on contesting and resisting Māori stereotypes in order to do justice to learners, their futures and their outcomes.

The next keynote was by Pasi Sahlberg of Finland who spoke about small versus big data. “If you don’t lead with small data, you’ll be led by big data.” Small data is processed by humans, and reveals causation, collective wisdom and understanding the present. As opposed to big data which looks at big trends, processed by computers, reveals correlations and predicts the future. Big data spews out impersonal trends, where small data gives a more personal view. You can strengthen small data by using professional wisdom as evidence. Pasi asked students from a number of schools, across multiple continents, to draw a typical maths teacher. This is what they commonly thought: Unstylish males whose sole purpose in life is to solve equations. His point was that students arrive at class with stereotypes and preconceived ideas, often born out of the beliefs of their parents. We can use this evidence or small data to make changes in our own classes.IMG_3412

Day three ended with a beamed in hologram of Mike Walsh from America. Mike is a futurist and his keynote was both provocative and inspirational. Computational thinking starts with problem solving, and then leads to which tools to use to solve the problem. His challenge for us driving forward is that students should be able to answer the following question: “Can you make good decisions in ambiguous conditions?”

A selection of breakout sessions:

One of the standout sessions was by Philippa Antipas on student wellbeing. She said that we should be in a youth-adult partnership when it comes to wellbeing. Students should be active agents in their day at school. And perhaps most importantly, a reminder that you can’t nurture the wellbeing of others unless you are a well being yourself.

Then there was a workshop based on Project Based Learning (PBL.) It was introduced by a year 9 student who loves working in this independent way. She felt her learning was enhanced because she understood why she was learning certain concepts. Nicholas Pattison, her teacher, said that PBL should have the following factors:

  1. Access to outside expertise
  2. Access to necessary resources
  3. Projects should lead naturally to career education
  4. They should provide authentic experiences for the students

Nicolas had this as his parting quote: “If we want a modern education system, we need to think in different ways. We need to work with communities and iwis.”

Karen Boyes led a session on Visible Learning. There are 8 Cultures of Thinking:IMG_04353DE6434F-1

Each strand is important. But to highlight a few, she said  that we need to give students time to struggle. Don’t ask a question, and a second later answer it for them. They will never develop a growth mindset if we do this continuously. Rather, provide wait time and think time. Just like a computer takes time to download large files, so too we should give students time to process ideas. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work! Is this true for your students? Interactions: What do you want students to unconsciously learn from you? Use inclusive words like ‘us’ ‘we’ and ‘our.’

One of the best breakout sessions was by a group of teachers that went to Finland to find out more about the Finnish education system. One takeaway was that the Finnish teachers seem to keep things uncomplicated. No bells, because teachers decide when their classes need a break. No uniform rules. Less is more: Little homework, short days, lots of play, long family holidays. Children are encouraged to be independent from a very early age. Nothing happens or changes in Finnish schools unless it is backed by research. They believe in early intervention which will save money in the long run. So, don’t wait for the child to fail before they get the help they need. Classrooms are simplified and de-cluttered to promote calmness. They promote activated learning which means increased physical activity during and between lessons. Active citizenship is promoted by students (as young as 6 years old) running their own meetings with a chairperson and secretary taking minutes. This is done independently of teachers. And lastly, teachers are encouraged to have active meetings. They tackle issues while out for a walk together.

Fleur’s Breakout session: Integration, Design Thinking and Community Contexts

Three students from Year 8 at Orewa College presented with Fleur Knight and the presentation was called “Marriage by Design” focusing on how the New Zealand Curriculum can be integrated into Design Thinking in community contexts.

The students: Mischa Gabriel, Brooke Evans

and Hunter Kyne explained how they worked with the New Zealand Police and the Maintenance team at Orewa College to identify the cause and effect of vandalism and graffiti at the college. The students shared examples of how they integrated mathematics, technology and social sciences into action to improve student involvement and understanding about caring for their school. Fleur also shared examples of how she has worked with students from New Entrants to Year 8 on community based initiatives to meet community needs. She shared detailed planning created by students which showed a comprehensive understanding of the New Zealand Curriculum and an understanding of how they can actively contribute to and meet needs in communities. These student led initiatives involved students working with Government Agencies such as Auckland Transport, Auckland Council, the New Zealand Police, Auckland District Health and Auckland University.

Linda, Sandy and Lesley ran a breakout called From Community Schools to a Kāhui Ako. We prepared a card game and that was to be followed up with discussion about the successes and pitfalls we have encountered along our journey.  It was an interactive session with many pertinent questions. We looked at our starting point, which was setting up face-to-face meeting time, which we feel is a real strength of our Kāhui Ako. We moved on to the surveys we ran and the results, through to our focus groups and the strides we have made with these areas. Finally we looked at what we hope to achieve over the next two years, which is clarity and acceptance by the wider Orewa Kāhui Ako community. Time galloped along and before we knew it we were faced with our final keynote address. And uLearn18 was at an end.IMG_3449

Of course the one detail left off is the gala dinner. The theme this year was Under the Big Top. There was the predicted number of clowns and ring leaders, and even a few rogue lions. We were blown away by the entertainment: trapeze artists dangling from the ceiling.

Our group went as the Bearded Ladies and it was a fun way to end the conference. I think I speak for all when I say how grateful we are for PD opportunities like this, and the camaraderie that you build up along the way is priceless.


Ngaio pukapuka kōrero / Professional Reading

In this this article the focus is on the importance of the arts in education. With so many teachers and students rehearsing and perfecting their end-of-year productions, it seemed a pertinent article to include.

If you know of colleagues who have not yet joined our Orewa Kāhui Ako Community Page  on Google+, please do share this link with them.

Coming up:

In school leaders’ meeting dates