Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Starting Collaboration Reflections

What's on top?

  • Creating times in the day/week for normal classroom activities that are not curriculum based (hidden curriculum)
  • Managing use of learning assistants as in the mornings there are 6 adults in the space
  • Whole group sessions - split into 2?
  • Getting to know students who are needing those strong relationships to ground them
Innovative Learning Spaces (ILS) are really bound by context.  The context will guide the programme. What may work for one school or class may not work for another. I am fortunate to be working with another teacher who has a shared understanding of how children learn and what an effective year 6 programme looks like.  We have 2 other teachers that support us that also have this shared understanding.

My wonderings to share with my teaching team:

  • If there could be a block each week that isn't a shared learning time?
  • If the structures that we set up for literacy and numeracy could be explicit about how the Learning assistants are used?
  • If we could give feedback about having less Learning Assistants in the first 3 weeks as we establish our collaborative practices?
  • If areas outside of literacy and numeracy could/should be done in smaller classes?
  • Would more time with my smaller class help those students who need to anchor themselves and find their place?
  • Gather some student voice
  • Do some reflection with my teaching team

Monday, February 6, 2017

Intentions for 2017

Kererū - my favourite bird and good luck charm

I like the word intentions rather than goals. Goals imply that you have to succeed, check it off the list, reach something. I think that everyone has the best intentions at the beginning of the year and that intentions can lead to best practice - a living, breathing and continual state of being.

My first intention is to look after myself this year. I intend to get up early each day and begin with a walk or run to get my circulation going. I started doing this in the holidays and immediately noticed a difference in my state of mind. I also intend to drink more water each day, I find that I get so busy that I forget to stop and hydrate which isn't so great for the body or the mind.

My second intention is to make sure I have work/life balance. To do this I intend to set myself some specific tasks for before school (a time of day where I don't seem to get anything done) and to use google tasks to keep track of what needs to be done. I also want to utilise some of the lunch hour and finish my work (if possible) before I go home. I'd also love to have my weekends free, I know that this one may be a little harder to do each week but the intention is there!

Both of these intentions are to do with my hauora (my health).

Hauora is comprised of 4 areas:

Taha tinana - physical well-being
Taha hinengaro - mental and emotional well-being
Taha whānau - social well-being
Taha wairua - spiritual well-being

(Ministry of Education, 1999)

To be the best teacher for my students I really need to look after all 4 areas.

I have a special place that I like to go to clear my mind and recharge, and that is Zealandia wildlife sanctuary. As a member I can go whenever I want and spend as long as I like. When I am there it is possible for me to not think about school.

This weekend while I was taking a track away from the crowds I saw so many juvenile birds - tūī, tieke, piwakawaka and large flocks of pōpokatea. I spoke to a family that passed me on the track and they had seen nothing. This got me thinking about the need to be observant in both life and at school. We need to take the time to notice, to be present and to see what we can take away from the experience. Being present doesn't have to mean being seen and heard, for the quieter I was, the more birds I saw. I intend to take this quiet presence, this notion of observation into the learning environment.

And lastly as we merge our year 6 classes completely and become a learning whānau of 61 students and 2 teachers I intend to spend quality time building relationships with the students and working collaboratively with my co-teacher. I intend to use the quiet observation to help understand the learning needs that exist in my classroom, noticing the small things and making sure that they too are having their hauora needs met.