21 October 2010

Google Demo Slam

I've really enjoyed checking out Google Demo Slam this evening. There are some incredibly talented people in this world. See this weeks slams below, then go online and vote!

Contender Tahi:

Contender Rua:

YouTube - Everythings Amazing & Nobodys Happy

Sharing resources online = awesome!

I'm in the process of sorting out my bookmarks and 'read that later' pile and have come across a huge range of great resources that I have been meaning to get to.

The Learn It In 5 - How To Videos simplify online applications and give you a how to in 5 minutes. What a great idea! Sadly, they don't have an embed feature so follow the link above to check out the types of videos they have.

There's also a great online magazine with a great list of Web 2.0 tools applied to teaching.

The amount of resources freely accessible online never ceases to amaze me! Thanks everybody...I'm off to tag, bookmark and read :D

15 October 2010

Kōrero through pictures

Recently, I have noticed several kōrero that have been represented through pictures. I first connected with this method at the recent TedxAuckland event. Gavin Blake from Fever Picture intricately captured the Tedx Talks through images. All of which can be seen here.

You can see more about what Fever Picture are about in the video below.

Today, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Ken Robinson kōrero presented through animation. I particularly enjoyed this version imagery. I'm hoping that this will become more and more popular in coming months.

13 September 2010

Tips of fun maths, reading and writing at home

The lovely R.Jensen flicked this out on Twitter this morning. So I thought I would share the links here for those teachers that visit this blog. There are several links to resources for families to support their children's learning at home. While they are aimed at children attending school there are some lovely tips for families with children of all ages i.e. Make reading FUN!

Supporting your children's learning:

The websites themselves are text heavy but the downloadable PDF's look great. (Scroll to the very bottom of the page to find the link). You can also email 'orders@thechair@minedu.govt.nz for hard copies.

10 September 2010

Banned Books Week

An interesting title? Yes, well this is the exact same title that caught my eye this afternoon in my daily flick through my blog lists. The source of this title: Reading Today Daily. The post highlights a number of books that have caused controversy in the last year. They write;

To Kill a Mockingbird...the Twilight series...Catcher in the Rye...The Color Purple--these are just a sampling of the most frequently challenged books of 2009, according to the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).

So after further investigation into the ALA Website I learned the difference between a 'challenged book' and a 'banned book'. See full post here. Basically, a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.

So what kinds of classic stories have been banned over the years?

The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Beloved, Toni Morrison

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

I’ve read all of these stories and some of them more than once. If you want to see the full list of ‘banned and challenged’ classics go here. You may be surprised at some of the books that are in the Top 10 challenged books for 2009.

However, the purpose of this post is not to delve deep into the Banned Books List. The list is certainly interesting, but it has prompted me to think about early childhood settings and the books we provide for our young children.

While we don’t go as far as contacting an association to ban stories in our centres (not that I have heard of anyway), there is some level of power that teachers have in their day to day activities that actually limit children’s literary experiences.

Here’s an example:

What are your initial thoughts of the following book?

It's a book about a mole who goes around trying to find out who 'poohed' on his head. When I first read this I thought it was funny, however, when I shared it with a colleague she didn't find it funny she found it offensive. Who gets to choose whether this story is available for young children?

What about more controversial topics and books like "Where do babies come from?" or "Heather has two mummies". Who chooses whether or not children in your early childhood setting are exposed to these stories? What are your thoughts?

21 August 2010

Rules at School

This afternoon my 5-year old daughter and I enjoyed a casual conversation about school. It was interesting to see the amount of 'rules' that she could recall about school. For her this was important. I have tried to capture this with a Voicethread. We may add to this over the coming weeks.

Brown Bear

I recently visited Akomai, a blog created by an awesome colleague. Her gorgeous daughters have put together a Voicethread re-enacting the popular Eric Carle story "Brown Bear, Brown Bear".

Recently I have been looking at the notion of literacy and creativity. This story for me captures both very strongly, the way the girls have used everyday clothes to interpret their animals is very creative and the rich language experience of re-enacting stories is so powerful.

Here are some of the links shared on Janine's blog to extend on the story "Brown Bear, Brown Bear".

A forum for teachers with ideas for each book.
The official Eric Carle website.

Thank you Hannah and Bryony! Tau ke!!

11 August 2010

Kiwi Book Reviews

I especially enjoy finding new blogs to subscribe to that have a hint of Kiwi or Pasifika flair. This morning as I rummaged through a series of new blogs, I stumbled across a fantastic blogsite. Oh, the joy of hyper-linking and following a multitude of pathways is sure to reveal a series of little treasures.

The KidsBooksNZ blog is a fabulous blog with reviews of books written by New Zealand authors. The team of reviewers have a vast range of experience and passion when it comes to NZ Literature. Head along to their site and take a look for yourself. They also have a link for those that are keen on writing their own children's books, Kiwi Write4Kidz.

09 August 2010

Storylines Festival 2010

It's that time of year again! Storylines Festival: Children's Literature Charitable trust are hosting a series of Free Family Fun Days! The Storylines Festival of New Zealand Children's Writers and Illustrators has been a highlight of many families' calendars since 1993.

The festival is always great for children and adults to meet the real masterminds behind some of our favourite stories. The hands on activities are also fun and entertaining.

To check out where your local Storylines Festival is being held, check out this link.

My family and I are off to the Auckland Free Family Day at the Aotea Centre, with what looks like a great line up of events throughout the whole day.

29 July 2010

Uploading Comic Life to Blogger

Throughout the past few weeks I have had several teachers ask me how to upload a Comic Life to their Blogger blog. Below I have detailed how to do this.

Step One: Create your Comic Life document. When you have finished and ready to post to your blog. Click File --> Export --> Export to Image(s).

Step Two: A dialog box prompting you to save your file will appear. The software automatically defaults to a JPEG file. You may like to change the resolution and quality depending on the purpose of your Comic Life document. Name your folder, the software automatically creates a folder for your images. So if your document has 3 pages it will save 3 images in your 'folder' called 'Page_1', 'Page_2' and 'Page_3'. Press Export.

Step Three: Open up your blog, go to New Post and click on 'add an image'.

Step Four: Open up your blog, go to New Post and click on 'add an image'. The Blogger dialog box will appear. Click on Choose File and find the folder you just created. Click and open, once you are in there you can click on the Image - usually titled 'Page_1'. You can click on 'Add another image to add up to 5 images at a time'. When you have your images picked. Click on 'Upload image'.

Step Five: You will see a dialog box that says "Your images are being uploaded to Blogger". If your files are large they can take some time to load. Once your images have uploaded you will see a dialog box that says 'Done' or see your post as below.

Step Five: Make sure you have titled your post and added text to the body of your post if required.

Uploaded Comic Life Image

You can enlarge the Comic Life document by clicking on the image. The image will open in another window. This can make it easier to read.

24 July 2010

EduCampNZ @ Summerland Primary in Auckland

Gorgeous morning in Auckland, and a group of awesome teachers wait anxiously for the beginning of EduCampNZ. Summerland Primary School have kindly offered their school as a venue and what a gorgeous school it is too.

To check out the wealth of stuff that happened today hop along to the EduCampNZ2010 site kindly hosted by ACESNet. So first up;

Speed Geeking in Twitter Time
140 secs to introduce yourselves, a little bit about yourself, what your passionate about and what you can contribute to the Unconference.

You get 3 minutes to share with the group your cool idea, website or topic. Check out some of the topics that were shared:

Virtual and F2F: I learned that the contacts and connections I make online through Twitter and other forms of online spaces has been particularly useful for keeping up with what's happening around the place i.e #EduCampNZ. Was awesome catching up with people face to face today adds another dimension to the online connection. And always nice to put real face to twitter faces.

Junior Schools and IT:
Lots of handy hints shared in this session
*EasiSpeak Microphones: Using the microphone for recording poetry, questions and conversations.
*Engaging whānau through blogs in Junior School - feedback from some families that they prefer photos.

Looks like I have to become more vocal about what some of our centres are doing in early childhood regarding this. While services like Mahara and KnowledgeNet serve a purpose in some schools at the moment. One thing we found limiting with these 'pay-for' services was that once children left the early childhood centre and school they no longer had access to the resources and learning records they accumulated over the years. The idea of children developing life-long portfolios online through their lives was high on our list of criteria. Therefore blogs using Blogger soon become our preferred option.

When these portfolios are started the parents of the children create the blog and have administration rights. Teachers in centres are then invited as authors (sometimes with admin privileges). We have found by doing this parents and families quickly assume ownership. Therefore, they have the rights to invite other family members to become readers. Most of the blogs we develop in the early years are kept private with the assumption that once children take a stronger ownership of their blog they may then choose to make it open. (NB: CORE Education Early Years Facilitators are accredited Netsafe facilitators and offer all centres that we work with Cybersafety courses as well as workshops for families looking at the safe and responsible use of ICT).

We have some lovely examples of authentic and meaningful assessment and learning, shared meaning making with families and active engagement in curriculum by parent and whānau through the use of e-portfolios. We also have student that are now in Year 3 and 4 who are continuing their blogs in the compulsory school sector.

For snapshots of what's happening in early childhood education go along to Stories of Practice.

Right, Im off to wade through the huge mass of awesome links accumulated today.

15 July 2010

EDUCAMPNZ in Auckland - 24th July 2010

Kia ora koutou (calling all early childhood teachers in this years mentoring programmes!!)

We have an exciting opportunity to mix and mingle, learn, contribute and dialogue with some of the most amazing e-learning leaders in this country. It is also an opportunity to share some of our early childhood practices with the compulsory education sector.

Further details are outlined below:

EducampNZ is based on a user-generated 'unconference' or BarCamp The focus is on e-learning and education, sharing ideas we've discovered and learning from each other. Everyone is invited to participate in some way.

The purpose of EducampNZ is to both learn and contribute. It is based on the OpenSpace Meeting Format . No real agenda has been set and it will be up to you to determine the focus for the sessions, grow your learning, network and have fun!

Follow the link below and find out who is coming and other relevant details. http://acesnet.wikispaces.com/Educampnz+2010

Saturday 24th July, 10am to 3pm

Summerland Primary,
62 Summerland Drive,

The venue will be open from 10am to 3pm and you are invited to turn up and leave whenever it suits you. It may be useful for participants to have some idea of who might be there and areas of interest.

This is a not to be missed opportunity!! Look forward to seeing you all there.
Kia manuia

30 June 2010

TAMARIKI ORA - Sounds of Hope

Over the weekend Sounds of Hope aired on Maori Television. Sounds of Hope is a compilation of stories and songs collected from Kiwi musicians. The artist shared their thoughts addressing the issue of Child Abuse in New Zealand. A truly inspirational documentary that is a must-see for all New Zealanders.

Sounds of Hope screened alongside another 5-hour landmark documentary entitled Tamariki Ora. The content of this series was much more hard-hitting and heart wrenching and incredibly moving. Showing families who have overcome family violence in their lives and profiling their inspiring stories. While some of the content is hard hitting its a call for all New Zealanders to stand up for the children of Aotearoa.

Often when I am confronted with inspiring and confronting messages such as those outlined in these documentaries I ask myself - So What does this mean for me? It's alright to be inspired but the real proof of inspiration is action. So some of the things I hope to action include; spending more time with my own children - enjoy them, listen to them, hear them, love them. Learn more about the children that live on my street - try and encourage a real sense of community in my own street. And instead of saying 'tut tut' when I witness any form of abuse I'm going to say something and do something.

What will you do?

24 June 2010

CORE Education Scholarships

Any ideas about what I should do to fill in the long quiet hours over the school holidays?

Here's a thought - give yourself time to pull together your application for the CORE Education Travel Scholarship – it’s been set up to encourage and celebrate a teacher's or leader's thought leadership in education and the prize is up to $5,000 towards travel, accommodation, event registration & expenses for a teacher to attend an international education event. To enter, you need to submit a perspective piece relating to CORE’s Ten Trends.

Or perhaps work on putting yourself forward for the Professional Learning & Reflective Practice 2010 Awards recognising best practice in action. Winners get $3,000 (for an individual) or $5,000 (for a school or centre) to put towards professional learning. To apply, individuals, schools and early childhood centres have to submit proof of the impact of professional learning activities they have completed.

Both the Scholarship and the Awards are now open to teachers and leaders in all NZ early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools. Go to the CORE website for more information, selection criteria and application forms.

06 June 2010

Art and Creativity Blog

I stumbled across this fantastic blog this evening - Art and Creativity in Early Childhood.

I'm totally impressed with the visual aesthetics of the blog and the detail of the experiences written in the post. There are lots of resources that can be downloaded and relevant readings.

22 May 2010

KidRex - Safe searching for Kids

This afternoon I came across a link to KidRex.org. It's a website designed for kids, by kids! Its a customised Google search engine that promotes safe searching for young children. I thought I would give the search engine a go to see if it really was safe! I typed in a range of search words including popular shows for kids and common phrases and was impressed with the search results. Most of the results were official sites, lend themselves to being child friendly or educational.

When I typed in some inappropriate words, this is the message I received. There were a few searches that fielded Google Ads - many of them not overly explicit but inappropriate. I have emailed KidRex.org to let them know about this, so hopefully as time goes by some of these bugs can be ironed out. However, overall I think this site and search function has potential.

16 May 2010

Book Scavenger Hunt with Manukau Libraries.

My children and I enjoyed a great day out with Manukau Libraries. Thank you for hosting The Great Garden Scavenger Hunt at Botanical Gardens yesterday. We've never participated in such an event but we totally enjoyed the day out. It was great fun for our oldest son (10 years) right through to our youngest (4 years). Although, our youngest got pretty tired towards the end.

We started the Scavenger Hunt with a registration form each. On the registration map were clues in the form of stars on a map that lead us around the gardens finding book characters, once we found a character the task was to match up the character with a book and a fact about the book. All together there were 10 characters ranging from fiction to non-fiction. See below some of the characters we found. The kids were pretty pleased with themselves for finding all of the clues and the characters. Watch this space for a link to Lee's post about the event.

The Pig from Piggity Wiggity Jiggity Jig written by Diana Nield.

The boy from The boy with green hair by D.R. Evans

11 May 2010

I Can Animate

I have a 10-year old son. He has the attention span of a fly (usually). He's incredibly creative, inquisitive and articulate and is awesome with ICT. This afternoon we asked him to teach his younger brother and sisters how to create an animation. All four of them set out on their first animation creation. They watched this several times on completion and when asked what things they might like to improve on here is what they came up with:

*No hands
*Too many shadows
*Stay in one place

Watch this space for more animations over the coming months.

NB: Excuse the storyline. We don't condone violence in our family but when you see children engaged (all 4 of our kids spent at least 2 hours exploring I Can Animate this afternoon) you kind of have to roll with it. See for yourself :)

Teacher Dimensions to be replaced by Teacher Criteria

The Satisfactory Teacher Dimensions will be phased out in 2010 and replaced by Registered Teacher Criteria. The Registered Teacher Criteria (pdf) will be mandate from 2011. While I can't see any significant changes in terms of overarching principles, there does seem to be a simplification process carried out (not nearly as many indicators in the criteria as there were in the dimensions). The criteria is certainly open to interpretation in terms of how these are met by individuals but it's great that the strength of the requirements still remains.

Overarching statements

1. Teachers play a critical role in enabling the educational achievement of all ākonga/learners.

2. The Treaty of Waitangi extends equal status and rights to Māori and Pākehā. Thisplaces a particular responsibility on all teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand to promoteequitable learning outcomes.

3. In an increasingly multi-cultural Aotearoa New Zealand, teachers need to be aware of and respect the languages, heritages and cultures of all ākonga.

4. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the Code of Ethics / Ngā Tikanga Matatika commits registered teachers to the highest standards of professional service in promoting the learning of those they teach.

Towards Full Registration Booklet

There will be workshops around the country delivered from May to September 2010 to support professional leaders with the Registered Criteria. Visit the Registered Criteria section on the Teachers Council website to find out more.

Post by Naketa Ikihele

10 May 2010

Latest COI Reports online

Wadestown Kindergarten, Botany Downs Kindergarten and Kidsfirst Kindergartens Bush Street have recently published their Centre of Innovation action research reports. These are available for download from Education Counts. I'm looking forward to reading these comprehensive reports. Watch this space for future reflections and commentary.

Reports can be found here:

A curriculum Whāriki of Multimodal literacies - Wadestown Kindergarten (April 2010).

Inclusion at Botany Downs Kindergarten - Botany Downs Kindergarten (April 2010).

Central character story: Weaving families and their stories into children's learning in early childhood - Kidsfirst Kindergartens Bush Street (April 2010).

Post by Naketa Ikihele

09 May 2010

Creativity is Essential to Learning

I never get tired of listening to Ken Robinsons messages in this 20-minute video. Nearly four years on from presenting this at TED, his key points are still very pertinent today. Let me share the points that always resonate with me:

*Children starting school this year (2006) will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue what the world will look like in five years time and we are supposed to be educating them for it.

*Creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.

*If you're not prepared to be wrong you will never create anything original. We are educating children out of being creative because we are so concerned with them always getting it right.

The challenge then is to transfer these concepts into 'everyday' teaching practices and ways of working? What are your thoughts? And how do you ensure creativity is given the same status as literacy?

02 May 2010

Motivational Posters

Thanks to @achurches for sending this link through Twitter.

Poster Street has a range of great motivational posters for a range of contexts: office, kids, teachers and teens just to name a few.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Powerful photography that will make you cry.

As I was flicking through my blogroll this evening I stopped to read Garr Reynolds latest post on Presentation Zen titled "The storytelling power of photography". I would usually flick through key words before giving a post my full attention, the key words that struck me were 'storytelling' and 'photography'. I am quietly obssessed with digital storytelling and find myself attracted to any text related to the issue and have recently found myself intrigued with photography as well. So, I couldn't look past the title of this particular post. I am so glad I stopped to read this post. Within the message of Garrs post was the most amazing video I have seen for some time. Heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time. Please take a few minutes to watch the video embedded below, it will move you!

01 May 2010

Motivational Posters

Thanks to @achurches for sending this link through Twitter.  Poster Street has a range of great motivational posters for a range of contexts: office, kids, teachers and teens just to name a few.

Here are a few of my favourites:

23 February 2010

CORE Education Tours

I had the great pleasure of driving a group of American Educators from STE’s Special Interest Group of Teacher Educators (SIGTE) around Auckland, New Zealand today.

We were privileged to visit both Pt. England School in Glen Innes and Viscount School in Mangere.

Two very different journeys at both of these schools but fabulous efforts all the same. It amazes me how many international educators come to New Zealand (Pt. England School in particular) to hear/see/explore the great things happening when there are schools within driving distance who have yet to hear the wonderful work they are doing.

What touches my heart the most with these schools is the difference they are making for our Maori and Pasifika communities. I have posted my thoughts on Pasifika Education here.

The information presented today was nothing short of amazing. I am inspired to engage in their communities and learn from both their journey's. Check out the CORE Educations Tours Blog here.