06 November 2019

Reading Together - It works!

I have had the great pleasure of co-ordinating Reading Together in my school this year. Two of my colleagues have facilitated the workshops while I work behind in the background. I have to say, without a doubt this has been worth every bit of organisation and after school sessions. I can see why Pita Sharples worked so hard to have this available to all schools for always.

Here is some of the feedback from some of our families, that just warms my heart.

* I wish I knew about this for my other children
* I didn't realise you could make reading a fun time
* Mum is more engaged in homework
* My child has jumped reading levels.

If you ever get a chance to run this programme in your school, please do!

National Coaching in Education conference - Reflections

Better Conversations
At the recent National Coaching in Education conference in Sydney, Australia I had the great pleasure of listening to Jim Knight (Instructional Coaching guru) present on the importance of relationships and conversations. I've been nestled into his book Better Conversations for the last few weeks and have really enjoyed the real-life stories he has shared from thousands of educators/coaches across the globe.
There are a number of quotes that resonated with me, the one that made me think and ponder the most was the following quote about student voice: "Student voice is when a student expresses an opinion, it is heard by the teacher and something is done about it" (p. 28)
I've collected student voice (in early childhood and primary) and have to be honest, many times I have collected this as a tick box to say that it was done, then didn't do much with it. Which makes me think, should we be collecting student voice if we have no plans on doing anything with it?

OCoL: Ōtara Continuity of Learning comes to an end for 2019!

For the past two years, I have been co-ordinating OCoL: Ōtara Continuity of Learning with a desire to support early childhood educators and primary school teachers to talk about the transition to learning, to contextualise and surface challenges and opportunities specific to our Otara region. As we come to the end of our second year it is heartwarming to see that there is still a core group of people dedicated to meeting and learning from each other.

Together we are stronger!

Our November Hui will be the last one for 2019. Please bring a plate to share as we celebrate the year that was. If you would like to come to this session, please email naketa@kiamahira.co.nz. (Please invite other team members you think will be interested in hearing this presentation).

Learning in Nature
7th November
Wymondley Road School Library
3.45pm - 4.30pm

You are invited to hear a 45-minute presentation by Play and Learn teachers about the importance of learning in nature and the impact on oral language, brain development, mental wellness and creativity.

Play and Learn Education Programmes have been running for 20+ years in Otara and Papatoetoe. Their nature programmes are now nationwide. They will share their insights about their Nature programmes and share why nature is important for all learners.
OCoL (Ōtara Continuity of Learning) is an opportunity for early childhood teachers and new entrant teachers to come together to discuss issues relevant to our community. We established our group in May 2018, and have a core group of teachers who participate regularly. You can view notes from previous hui here.

12 September 2019

Nurturing learner agency through inquiry

Straight into the workshop with Kath Murdoch and she is challenging the group to assume at the crux of all learning is connectedness and relationships, and offers us a strategy to connect with the people in the group. 

Question swap strategy

What is one question you could ask anyone in the room in order to find out a little more about them?
Credit: kjinquiry

Write a question, find someone in the room and ask them your question, they then ask you a question - swap questions and find another person to ask your new question.

The way that you work with learners is so wound up in our beliefs about learning.

What is your image of the child?
Watch this video and identify words that describe the child.

What is the role of the teacher then?
* Facilitate the thinking
* Cultivate curiosity
* Scaffolding
* Design learning experiences that means kids are eager and hungry to find out.

How do I see the child?
How do I see myself?
How do I see the curriculum?
How do I view learning itself?
How do we see our community?

Know the curriculum so well, that you can let it go.

How well do you know the curriculum?

What is learner agency?

  • Having multiple pathways available to you?
  • Learners connecting with other learners
  • Agency means connection - self to others

Inquiry Strategy
  • THINK - Think of what 'learner agency' means to you
  • MAKE - Create your thinking using popsicle and matchsticks
  • LINK - Share your creation with another person, invite them to interpret it. You look at the other persons creation and interpret. Then find the common threads that link the understandings.

Gradual and immediate release of responsibility
Growing students learning capacity by flipping the instruction model

  • Which of these are great opening lines?
  • Share a list of opening lines from books.
  • Invite the participants to share the opening lines they like and why.
  • Write down they why words e.g. emotional, connectedness
  • Invite the participants to write their own opening line and share them..
  • Go and find more great opening lines
  • Now let's write.

28 July 2019

Māori Teachers' Conference 2019 video

Now that I'm working part-time I have been able to dedicate my time to immersing myself in Te Ao Māori. I am loving it! As a whānau, we have felt the pinch financially of me stepping down from the comforts of full-time salary work BUT it has opened up some many more doors for me in terms of living life. This video passed by my FB screen via Maori Minute and I purposely went on to hear Quinton Hita (who was awesome) and found some powerhouse speakers while I was there. See the video and website link below:

My takeaways:

* Quinton shares the knowledge of Te Reo Māori so that when he's 80 he won't be having conversations with himself (what an epic example of servant leadership).
* Are we feeding our teachers - they are so busy serving our tamariki - are we giving them space and time they need to be language experts?
* Education is a journey, not a destination
* Take a risk, our kids deserve it!

Māori Teachers' Conference 2019 video

25th NZ PPTA National Māori Teachers’ Conference, 7-8 Hōngongoi 2019, Sudima Lake Rotorua, Ngā Huarahi ki te Angitu Celebrate our successes together. Te Huarahi Māori Motuhake extend warmest regards and thanks for your support and attendance at our hui ā-tau. The video of speakers and snippets from delegates are provided for your interest, enjoyment and wellbeing. Please keep a look out for postings from a range of conference material throughout term 3. Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

I'm going back to school 👩‍🏫🦸‍♀️again.

I really don't have the time to study, nor should study be a priority for me as I transition from the comforts of 'full-time salary work' to full-time 'develop my own business work'. 

Nonetheless, I've enrolled in another Masters of Education and have started the Reflecting on Professional Practice paper at AUT. I've just opened my first reading, I almost slammed the lid back down when the first paragraph had 'epistemology of pragmatic constructivism' in one sentence 😳🤷‍♀️

I read on and found this beauty though:

'In changing and uncertain times, as experienced in today’s world, people want their leaders to act morally whereby they will not produce harm but rather will show the virtues of doing good, of honouring others, of taking positive stands, and of behaving in ways that clearly show that their own self-interests are not the driving motivation behind their leadership'

I am super excited about learning lots more and figuring out what 'epistemology of pragmatic constructivism' means. 😂

Original article found here 👉

Naketa as a child

21 May 2019

Pacific Symposium 2019 in Tokoroa, NZ.

Last month we presented "Identity in a Global World" at the Pacific Symposium 2019 in Tokoroa, NZ. You will find a summary of our key ideas below: 
Key themes:

C6  The service curriculum respects and supports the right of each child to be confident in their own culture and encourages children to understand and respect other cultures.

Global citizenship
C6  The service curriculum respects and supports the right of each child to be confident in their own culture and encourages children to understand and respect other cultures.

Unconscious bias
C3  Adults providing education and care engage in meaningful, positive interactions to enhance children’s learning and nurture reciprocal relationships.

Aspirations of whānau
C11  Positive steps are taken to respect and acknowledge the aspirations held by parents and whnau for their children. 

Our current system of lumping students into ‘Pasifika learners” has to stop. Our children come with so much rich cultural capital that can be completely disregarded if we focus on placing them into the kete of ‘Pasifika & Maori learners.

What’s important when talking about ‘identity’ is not how we categorise our students, but how they see themselves.

What is the story of your name?
How do you nurture identity in your environment?
If we want our tamariki to prioritise identity, it starts with YOU! What is your identity?

Global Citizenship:

“One Size does not fit all” - Refrain from putting our children into a Pasifika Learners basket.
Global citizenship is the idea that all people have rights and civic responsibilities that come with being a member of the world, with whole-world philosophy and sensibilities, rather than as a citizen of a particular nation or place.

The ability to walk in different worlds with confidence. 

Which worlds/spaces can you operate in confidently?

Unconscious bias:
  • Assuming an older person walking with a young child is the child’s grandparent
  • The belief that men will not have care-giving responsibilities
  • Expecting lower achievement from Māori/Pacific Nations students
  • Assuming a female applicant with young children will take more time off work than a male applicant

Once we know that biases are not always explicit, we are responsible for them. We all need to recognise and acknowledge our biases and find ways to mitigate their impact on our behaviour and decisions. - Equality Challenge Unit UK: Unconscious Bias in Higher Education Review 2013.

Aspirations of whānau
Ask whānau, what do you dream for your child? Record their answers and then ask yourself - So what? What am I going to do about this?

3 Level Guide in a New Entrant Class

The Three-Level Guide is a reading strategy which supports students to read the text closely by providing:  
  • clear purpose and direction for reading
  • develop comprehension skills as LITERAL, INFERENTIAL and APPLIED KNOWLEDGE

The guide is a series of statements written by the teacher about a text, some are true and some false. Students/readers are asked to agree or disagree with these statements and justify their responses using text and their own understanding/prior knowledge.
Our team were challenged to create our own version of 3 Level Texts. Here's my version of a 3 Level Guide for my Year 0/1 class.

Taking New Zealand stories to Norway (Repost)

Repost from Taking New Zealand stories to Norway

42 hours, 5 airports, 1 train, 1 taxi, and thousands of miles.

I have reached my destination.

Welcome to the 4th International Digital Storytelling Conference held in the beautiful city of Lillehammer, Norway.

With over 200 participants from all over the world, I am not phased at all by the fact that I am the only New Zealander present, and have probably travelled the furthermost to be here. The small number of participants provides an intimate context to establish and maintain some great conversations with others—a little different from the thousands I am used to at ULearn. We’re all here to engage in three days of professional learning conversations with one common focus—”Digital Storytelling”.

Day one: inspirational conversations and digital storytelling gurus. Without a doubt, Day One was amazing!

I was inspired during workshops as well as by conversations held throughout lunch and morning tea sessions. The mix of participants is so diverse, and somewhat humbling for an early childhood teacher from South Auckland. I’ve enjoyed conversations with university professors, journalists, health professionals, anthropologists, museum staff, psychotherapists, teacher service educators, organisations who work with youth—from all around the world.

The huge draw-card for me to this conference was the opportunity to see Joe Lambert (Center for Digital Storytelling) and Glynda Hull (University of California, Berkeley). They are my digital storytelling gurus! And after hearing them both speak I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to hear their ideas.

Joe Lambert’s message in his opening speech was clear: Digital storytelling is about giving voice to those who do not have a voice. It’s not only the ‘how to’ of Digital Storytelling but also how it can make you a better person and how it changes you.

Glynda Hull followed suit with some powerful statements, the most relevant for my work, was the following – ‘Sharing Digital stories both online and offline can have unexpected and unintended consequences’

She shared examples from the International Social Networking site Space2Cre8, a site that connects kids in India, Norway, South Africa, Australia, and the US, who share conversations about their cultures, schools, and lives as well as their digital artifacts they create in the after school program.

Hull discussed the notion of ‘mirror stories’, and demonstrated this with two stories: one created by a young girl in India and her struggles with day-to-day living, she then showed a story from a teenage boy in the Bronx who saw this story and decided to document his neighborhood and life – bringing to light the similarities and differences.

Day two: Workshops and Naketa’s presentation

Day Two offered a wide range of workshops, including my own “Engaging Community through Digital Storytelling”presentation.

My presentation: Engaging Community through Digital Storytelling

Naketa presenting at Lillehammer, Norway
Naketa presenting at Digital Storytelling Conference, Lillehammer, Norway

My presentation shared stories created by three to five year old children in the ECE ICT PL Programme, and ways that teachers and families in this programme used digital storytelling to engage families, extended families and community in the early childhood curriculum. The Ministry of Education funded programme certainly provided children, teachers and families with world-leading opportunities.

I had lots of comments about the age of the children creating their stories as well as their competency. I was a very proud Kiwi at this point.

My Takeaways from the digital storytelling conference
The workshops I attended were aimed at Identity and Engaging Community—something I am very keen to see influence my own practice with teachers. In my current work I am assigned to a Targeted In-Depth Community – Tāmaki-Maungakiekie. The work we are doing looks at engaging geographical communities in Ministry funded in-depth professional learning.

Practical strategies I have adopted from the workshops:

  • Who we are and what we do has an impact on how we interact – capturing this through digital stories is useful for team building.
  • Digital Storytelling as a reflection tool for early childhood teachers.
  • Place-Based Storytelling – children and families creating stories about their local community – maunga, iwi, marae.
  • Investigate more into the CDS model
  • Multi-modal literacies (advocate for this more in my work).
There is much more to implement once I reflect more on my learning and trial this with the teachers I am currently working with in Tāmaki-Maungakiekie.

Overall, the conference was moving both personally and professionally. I’ve learned that it’s healthy to step outside of our education bubble and our own country to be inspired. It has been refreshing to look outside of education as a discipline and hear the stories of social justice advocates, museum curators, health professionals (the range is extensive) and adopt practices into my own work and my own thinking.

If we hear stories of ‘other’ and start blurring the lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and focus on a ‘WE’ the world could be a better place.

20 April 2019

Everyone is advantaged by a structured literacy approach

Inquiry question: What strategies will best support students literacy learning in my class?

Bridging the gap between neuroscience, evidence-based research and classroom teaching
‘Structured Literacy approach’
Liz Kane Literacy
Tuesday 16th April 2019

Tennis Ball on Tennis Racket on Floor
Reading is like Tennis - Tennis is complex

  • Specific skills that develop to a level of automaticity
  • The strategy of how to play the game
  • We wouldn’t teach children the whole game of tennis, rather specific skills

In the same manner, we shouldn’t go to the whole to teach children to read.

Children with good memories and guessing strategies can look as though they are reading. Then you present them with words they have never seen before.
Centre for Independent studies education researcher
Jennifer Buckingham

The English alphabet has 22 letters (44) sounds and (over 200) spellings of the sounds.

What does the last 20 years of research tell us?
What happens in the brain when we learn to read?
What implications does this have in how reading should be taught?

Phonemic awareness
  • To learn the alphabet the brain first must learn to speak
  • Brain not wired for reading
  • We use circuits in the brain that we already use for recognising faces to start recognising letters
  • The challenge is to turn the letters into sounds

Dr Stanislas Deheane

Phonemes - a set of motor movements that are encoded with the sound signal
explicitly showing the movements as well as hear the sound.

Phonemic awareness - Identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in words
is a strong predictor of reading success

David Kilpatrick
Aggressively teach the code to these kids. - orthographic mapping

The English Alphabetic Code - the most complex code
Teach 5-year-olds the consonants and vowels of the word

Lesson sequence

Authors to follow up
  • The Simple view of Reading (Gough and Tunmer 1986)
  • Scarborough’s Reading Rope (2001)
  • Excellence and Equity in Literacy Education James Chapman and Bill Tunmer
  • Alison Arrow
  • Canterbury University Literacy Education
  • Maryanne Wolf

So what does this mean for me?
  • In Term 2, I am going to be very intentional about teaching ‘the code’ explicitly.
  • I am going to carry out a number of phonological awareness assessments.

14 April 2019

Ko wai au?

Tēna koutou katoa
Ko Putahi toku maunga
Ko Wairoro toku awa
Ko Ngatokimatuwhauroa toku waka
Ko Kohewhata toku marae
Ko Ngāpuhi toku iwi
Ko Te Uri o Hua toku hapu
Ko Aotearoa toku wāhi

I te taha o tōku matua ko Tamati Ferguson rāua ko Edith Ferguson nee Pure ōku tūpuna
I te taha o tōku whaea ko Taurariki Kamana rāua ko Tukura Kamana nee Karika ōku tūpuna
Ko Thomas Ferguson raua ko Tekura Viikirangi Kamana ōku mātua
Ko Murray Ikihele tōku hoa rangatira
Ko Lee, Ko Ethyn āku tama
Ko Mia, Ko Brooke āku tamāhine
Ko Naketa Ikihele toku ingoa
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

03 April 2019

Play-based learning road trip - Reflections

As part of our OCoL (Ōtara Continuity of Learning) group here in Otara, Auckland we have scheduled a number of road trips. These are opportunities to see learning and spaces in action.

Last week we had the great pleasure of visiting three spaces - Glen Taylor Primary School, Botany Downs Kindergarten and Kings School ELC. What an awesome experience. Each space was different, unique and totally catered to their people! 

Here's what I learned:

Glen Taylor
* Unproductive behaviour is minimised in PBL - for the whole time we were there 1.5 hours every child was engaged and doing/learning something. 
* Collaboration works - this school had two classes with a space between and the students just went between depending on their interests. The noise level was minimal as they were in two separate spaces.
* Resources - there were some super cool resources in this space it reminded me to really look at what I have available to my students.

Kings School ELC
* Environments impact behaviour
* Defined spaces help focus learning - they had an office set up like an office!
* They were also sewing with their students
* Op Shops are your friend! There are some cool sturdy pieces available that make the room look calming and homely, it doesn't break the bank and minimises waste.

Botany Downs
* If set up right, the classroom can be the third teacher
* Agency was executed at its finest in this space. There were 40 students in this space and all engaged in something.
* Think about your childhood and what was great learning for you, then try and replicate this for the children in your space.

Obviously what I saw was heavily influenced by what is on top for me right now - I am really thinking about the rights of the child and our role in ensuring they experience a magical childhood! 

My biggest takeaway from today though was probably THE ENVIRONMENT - how might I be more intentional about creating a space that nurtures curiosity and wonder?

Watch this space for my discoveries.