18 Nov 2015

We need a peaceful world...

Image link

TED TALK by a ten year old - empowering children NOW

This young girl is amazing - very confident and very astute! What she has to say is very appropriate to those of us (educators) who are aiming to increase pupil agency within their learning programmes...

11 Nov 2015

Henri Matisse - art appreciation

Henri Matisse 1948 (image source)
For art appreciation discussions this term we are looking at the cutout/collage works of Henri Matisse (1869-1954):

Biography information:
Tate Modern Gallery (For Kids) 
Museum of Modern Art

Classroom lesson ideas: Crafty Classroom   

First, let's find out how this modern artist worked when producing his cutouts:

Videos from the Museum of Modern Art

http://www.biography.com/news/henri-matisse-the-cut-outs-moma (pictures in my IWB picture drive folder)

Next, we will discuss some of Matisse's cutout works - What do they make us think of or feel? What do we like about each one? What do we not like? What questions do we have about each one?

Photos below are from this MoMA website source
Composition Green Background 1947
Large Decoration with Masks 1953
Le Clown 1947
Nuit de Noel (Christmas Night) 1952
Pale Blue Window `1948-49
The Codomas 1943
The Fall of Icarus 1943
The Sheaf 1953
Two Dancers 1937-38
The Horse and Rider 1943-44
Swimming Pool 1952
For our activity, we will each choose one of Matisse's works shown above and use this as our inspiration for a cutout artwork of our own design... (watch this space for a link to the results!)

14 Sept 2015

Writing revision -cool pupil video

This is a great video to show pupils how to revise and why it is important...

2 Sept 2015

Supporting pupils with dyslexia

A couple of resource links that we received this week:

From the DyslexiaDaily blog - 17 ways to support students with learning difficulties

This video comes via this link from the DyslexiaDaily blog - great if you need to inspire someone with dyslexia to see that they too can be a high-achiever!

28 Jul 2015

2015 INQUIRY - Science: Physical and Chemical Change

"A-ha Moments!"  How does it work? Why does it happen?

TERM THREE: SCIENCE INQUIRY - physical phenomena and chemical changes
Reason for this inquiry: Children are curious about physical and chemical changes and enjoy the experimental side of these discussions and activities – they need to learn about scientific process too.

Understandings: (Big ideas/Key Concepts)

  • Physical phenomena and chemical changes can be observed and measured. 
  • Physical phenomena and chemical changes behave in certain ways. 
  • Physical phenomena and chemical changes can occur naturally or be controlled through human input. 
  • Materials can be changed in lots of ways. 
  • There are physical and chemical changes. 
  • Some types of changes can be reversed, others can’t.

Core Knowledge: (Baseline knowledge)

  • Physical phenomena are light, heat, sound, forces (push and pull), electricity, and magnetism.
  • There are three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) and matter can change from one to the other.
  • We use controlled scientific experiments to observe and test physical phenomena and chemical changes.
  • Changes in materials include physical (e.g.stretching, bending, twisting, squashing etc), and chemical (e.g. dissolving, melting, heating, etc).
  • We use physical phenomena and chemical changes to help us in practical and recreational situations. 
Inquiry Skills: REFLECTING
Strategies: Using the question matrix.
Blended Learning: Reading and writing – research, recording experiments and following scientific method; Blog posts/Explain Everything; Videos of experiments and results
Key Competencies: Me as a Collaborator V
Value: Participation
Te Reo/Tikanga Maori integration: Questioning, understanding and appreciating our world and resources; use of cooperative activities and shared tasks
Special Needs: Targeted learners: support with discussions and written tasks – use tech expert classmates to support with creation/presentation of info
Further notes: I will begin inquiry with investigating physical/chemical changes, and moving into the use of scientific method for science fair projects. Trainee teacher to take children further, with physical phenomena (forces) theme, for posting Weeks 5-9

ASSESSMENT: by end of Week 10

Chem For Kids
Chemical change vs physical change

Learner.org: Physical Science course for teachers
Session One - what is matter?
Session Two - solids, liquids, gases
Session Three - physical changes
Session Four - chemical changes
Session Five - density and pressure
Session Six - rising and sinking
Session Seven - heat and temperature
Session Eight - extending the particle model of matter

BBC Bitesize

Scientific Tuesdays - colour changing chemicals video - use the idea for a inquiry starter??

Scientific Tuesdays - Color Changing Chemicals by JacindaBoyce

Mr Lehan Teaches You Stuff - a ninth grade video/powerpoint about change

Grade 9 Chemistry, Lesson 3 - Physical and... by snarlingunite

Science with Higgins - Soap in a Microwave

Scholastic Studyjams - states of matter video 


27 Jul 2015

Science Fair projects

Pupils will work in groups of 2 or 3 and can choose from any of the ideas below (which are from Science Buddies which has a huge range of fantastic investigation ideas):
  1. Is It Getting Hot in Here? - temperature/greenhouse gases
  2. Shaking for Butter - which temperature works best? 
  3. Bigger is Better - can I make my pikelets thicker?  Kim and BJ
  4. Growing, Growing, Gone! - the use of nitrogen fertilizers on plants 
  5. Radiant Radish Seeds - how much heat can a seed take?
  6. Do Plants Need Soil? - a simply hydroponics investigation
  7. Home Sweet Biome - which environment is best for plants? 
  8. All Packed Up - how does packaging affect the storage of fruit?
  9. Feed Me - how do different fertilizers affect plant growth?
  10. How can I keep my hot drink warm?
  11. What temperature should I store my popcorn at for the best popping result?
  12. Does weight or body position affect the speed of my scooter?
  13. How does yeast affect the thickness of my pizza bases?
  14. How can I stop the old nails and screws from rusting on my fence?
  15. How can I make my garden warmer for my seedlings?
  16. Does the temperature of the cream affect how quickly I can make my butter?
  17. Which soil is best for my seeds?
  18. What type of water should I use on my seedlings?
  19. Which manure is best for growing vegetables?

23 Jul 2015

Coaching as a Leadership Tool

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a workshop with educational consultant Trudy Francis, looking into the tool of coaching within a school context.

It was very useful, especially with my current roles of Associate Teacher for a third-year trainee, Literacy Lead Teacher running an Accelerating Literacy Learners programme, and a Deputy Principal overseeing an Effective Teaching Team.

I used the handout booklet Trudy gave us to record my notes, but here are my comments from my course report to the BOT:

Course Title: Coaching Leadership and Relationships – from skilful teacher to skilful coach
Course Leader: Trudy Francis  (C21 Learning consultant)  
Date: Wed 22nd July 2015          Location: Invercargill

Describe what the learning was about?
Workshop was focused on clarifying the coaching role and looking into effective methods for coaching within a school environment.
·        Coaching is about helping people succeed by developing their talents and transforming how people work together to achieve the aspirations and goals of their school community.
·        Coaching works best when the coached are empowered to make their own decisions with support, using predetermined goals for focus points.
·        Professional relationships must be built on/based on mutual trust and respect.
·        Coaches need to develop observation, listening and questioning skills – discussions with the ‘coachee’ involve active listening and exploratory questionning.
·        The GROW process aids the discussions between coach and coachee by ensuring the talking is focussed on the Goals, the current Reality, the Options available, and then What will happen next and When will it happen.

Professionalism: Teaching and Learning
What changes with/to your teaching will you implement as a result of your new learning?
·        The GROW process can easily be applied to pupil learning conversations – helping pupils to reflect on their current learning and discuss their next steps.
·        I can also use the GROW questions when working on my planning for any subject or group of pupils.

Professionalism: Conduct and Culture.
What implications does this have for your role in our school?
·        The GROW process is very much how I have already been carrying out my observations of my trainee teacher as well as observations of Jo and Wendy for the ALL programme, so running through it yesterday was a good reinforcement that I have been on the right track and gave me ideas on how to fine-tune my method and questioning skills.

·        Coaching can easily be carried out by any staff-member – it will be a natural step up from our Tony Burkin discussions about mind-growth and reflection/inquiry into our own teaching practices. I would like to apply it to our appraisal system – personal teaching goals especially – with teachers coaching each other (not necessarily just the ETT leader or curriculum leader doing it – actually a triangulation of people was discussed eg the coachee, the coach and another neutral observer). Would make sense to try this in 2016 once staffing changes have taken place.


22 Jul 2015

19 Jul 2015

This week's THINK ABOUT IT...

This quote may be 400 years old, but it is still very applicable - Sir Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, scientist and politician...
Image source

27 Jun 2015

Zentangle Broken Dishes

This week the team created their own version of a Zentangle display, which we have called Broken Dishes.
Our inspiration was a photo of a Cinco Mayo quilt from the WonkyWorld blog.  Each pupil had a paper plate with three rings pencilled onto it, and created a Zentangle design.  The plates were then cut into quarters and rearranged on the wall.

20 Jun 2015

This week's THINK ABOUT IT...

Image source


Our art focus this term is design and pattern 
and we created these little landscapes using the zentangle style...

Our inspiration was this picture courtesy of blog 'Amoeba Handmade':
Image source


I have decided that my Year Sixes are not taking enough responsibility to use capitals correctly so have put together this incentive...

Pupils will get to take a mini mint whenever they have correctly used:
M for the months of the year (and days!)
I for the pronoun 'I'
N for names (people, places, countries, brands, important groups)
T for titles such as Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir, madam
S for the start of sentences. 

Thanks to Raewyn Green from the Southland Campus of the University of Otago for the acronym hint!

13 May 2015

Today's art inspiration...

Our theme for the term is Design (patterns, using shape/colour/size/texture etc) with 2d and 3d materials.

I think this is a nice way to start us thinking about pattern (and it fits beautifully with our rainy weather this week!)

We had a really rainy day the next day, lending itself beautifully to providing inspiration for some short poems to do with our art.  See some of the results here: The Kahu Kids blog
It is a pin from my Pinterest page, via Nic Squirrel's Zazzle.co.uk website

15 Apr 2015

ANZAC resources

Image source
25 April 1915 - 100 years since the first ANZAC battle began...

Class mini-inquiry "Walking With the ANZACs" blog-posts:
#1 Intro videos

Poppy art idea "That Artist Woman" blog         Quiz

Link to the ABC Gallipoli documentary website - videos sharing the first day of the campaign - 25 minutes if watched back to back

Second ABC link - online 3D interactive documentary - very well done, lots of info, maps of the area, timeline, mini clips etc

Radio NZ - oral diary                     NZ Army museum

National Library online links  and  WW1 resource guide

National Library online images           NZ History WW1

NZ WW1 100 years website               TKI resources

Rachel Boyd blog - Anzac Day resources and videos            WW100NZ pinterest board

Definite read for anyone with a Year 6+ classroom! My pupils thoroughly loved it:
NZ author Susan Brocker's website
NZ War Memorials map              Stretcher bearers and donkeys            The Unknown Warrior

Research NZ soldiers          NZ Archives research a soldier           NZ Curriculum Online

English unit (NZ)            Teach Ezy maps of Gallipoli           Starters.co.nz NZ unit plan

Make a paper poppy                Last soldier to leave the beach           WickED Anzac resources

Imperial War Museum (UK)           NZ Battle of Gallipoli             Photo links

Walking With an Anzac           Capital E Theatre resource             Poppy Time lesson ideas

Someone has put a lot of effort into telling a little of the Gallipoli story with Lego:

30 Mar 2015

A new link or two for Just Cool!

Am adding a couple of new links to my Just Cool! page -

-this is a gorgeous little animated film about persistence:

- and some awesome photos of children from around the world doing what children do best...playing!

Would be great for writing prompts, social studies, discussions, photography/art....

They are all fantastic...this is one of my favourites!

Image link

18 Mar 2015

2015 Beach-goers! Rocky Shore inquiry

Term One 2015: 

Curio Bay, petrified forest
How do my actions affect the environment of the rocky shore?

Science inquiry - Level 3 Living World

Purpose: for pupils to learn about the living creature of our rocky shore and to explore the good and bad impact that humans have upon the habitats of these creatures.

QUOTE: "In all living things there is something of the marvellous." - Aristotle

CORE KNOWLEDGE: (teacher background info):

  • MRS GREN = movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion, nutrition
  • a rocky shore is an ecosystem full of different habitats for both plants and animals
  • human impact includes pollution and conservation, over-fishing and introduction of predators etc
  • at the rocky shore we should find mammals, fish, birds, crustaceans, molluscs, bi/uni-valves, plants

Sand dunes (and early Maori umu/ovens) - Curio Bay
  • MRS GREN is a scientific concept that defines what a living thing is.
  • Living things can be classified into groups.
  • Living things have different habitats.
  • Humans impact on habitats.
  • Living things have special features to adapt to their habitat.

Online Resources

NZ MARINE STUDIES CENTRE - lots of fantastic resources:
DoC info sign, Curio Bay

Who Eats Who? - use pages 16-19 for a food chain activity
Marine Life database website - find info on a range of creatures
The Southern NZ guide to rocky shore life
Life on the Rocky Shore overview sheet

Canterbury's Spectacular Coast - blackline masters and a food chain snap game

Incredible Science NZ - Life on the Rocky Shore is Hard

National Library of NZ Rocky Shore links

Te Ara Coastal Shoreline site

Image source
Defining Living Things: 
BBC for kids
slideshare powerpoint

Moulting yellow-eyed penguin (Hoiho) at Curio Bay

Curio Bay

Curio Bay

Curio Bay

1 Mar 2015

2015 - first episode of TAKE TWO NEWS

All about the Year Six Welcome evening, featuring Black Cap cricketer, Hamish Rutherford...this event is held to celebrate our Year Sixes as leaders of the school...

2015 TAKE TWO NEWS - The Year Six Welcome Evening from Edendale Primary School on Vimeo.

16 Feb 2015

Mini reward cards

Some business cards that I created via the Vistaprint website (when there was a heavy discount plus free postage during the summer holidays).

These are for on-the-spot recognition of great learning and progress or effort in the classroom - pupils can take them home straight away rather than have to wait for certificates at Friday's Celebration Time.  This way, I can give out four or five each day...

...pupils can track their rewards on a class list on the wall (so I can also see who might not have had one for a while) and they can claim a prize from the box when they reach the targets of four and nine cards (the number of spaces I ruled up on the class list!)

30 Jan 2015

Beginning of the year!

This year (and this week coming!) I plan to make use of these links that I have pinned on my Pinterest boards...mostly free downloads from Teachers Pay Teachers...
Link to image source

'All About Me' pupil info sheet - though I have had to twink and change the American spellings eg favorite into NZ's favourite etc - thanks Science Doodles at Teachers pay Teachers!

And some discussion points from this Hot Spot activity sheet thanks to Kristine from the Young Teacher Love blog.

We will be doing the "In Team Kahu we..." mural again, as I have a whole new team of pupils - let's set up our expectations right from the start!

'Parents' 3-2-1' question sheet - asking parents for info about their child - thanks LA Beach Teacher at TpT as well as asking them for their most appropriate contact information.

'Student Rights and Responsibilities' - gets everyone on the same page about the expectations in the classroom - thanks Angelia at TpT!

I always do What Kind of Teacher Do You Want? and so does Miss Freundlich, it works with any age-group and helps the pupils see that you are wanting to work with them as a team and will respect their opinions and needs.

And we look also at What a good pupil does, says, is and is not - here is Sarah's example.

We will build our own version of this Respect chart and also look at this How Big is My Problem chart.

I will be sharing a copy of Stephanie's poster of Glasser's What We Learn chart.

Star of the Week certificate -  I've ordered this, printed with Team Kahu in the title - thanks Creative Classrooms!

'Uh-oh!' - a note pupils can take home with any work that they need to finish because they didn't do it during their allocated class time - thanks Sally at TpT!

Attention grabbers - you call out, the pupils respond - thanks Traci at TpT! I will be adding "To infinity..." (pupils call out "and beyond!") - sound familiar??

Link to image source
When talking about our learning and skills progression, I will share this Assess Yourself Novice-Expert chart and I also love this Which Step Have You Reached Today chart posted on a Lifetime of Wisdom.

We will also be referring to this Positive Self-Talking chart as shared by Elliott Seif.

For group work and partner discussions I will have these on display, as shown here by Tanja:
Partners  and   Groups

Professionalism...what does it mean?

On Wednesday my school's staff attended a seminar with Tony Burkin from 'Interlead' titled 'Developing Mindsets for Learning and Leading'.

It was a really interesting insight into professional practice (not to be confused with teaching practice) and how our professionalism, and having a 'growth' mindset (ie willing to learn, change, reflect) as adults makes a difference to our teaching practice and working relationships as teachers.

Tony gave us a hand-out with comparisons of 'fixed' mindsets and 'growth' mindsets.

These are the notes I made along the way...


Andragogy. Leading adults. 
Pedagogy. Leading children. 

In our schools we need teachers who are learners and don't see themselves as experts, as experts think they know it all and don't want to change or learn more. 

Book: Carol Dweck 2006 'Mindset'

Book by Jim...? 'Unmistakable Impact'

To learn we need to feel anxious. This anxiety happens because we often hold a mindset we believe that "above all else I must be successful in my eyes and the eyes of others - success defines my worth." So if we don't think we will be successful we get anxious and from this we feel threatened and will either fight or flight to avoid it. This might include blaming others (staff,pupils, leaders, parents etc) and avoidance tactics etc. 

This means we prefer to want positive feedback aka praise over honest feedback and therefore do not learn or progress. It is a FIXED mindset. No growth. 

The opposite mindset of this is seeing the challenge as an opportunity where we feel fearless. We don't fear failure as we see it as evidence of being stretched and on the first step to growing/improvement. "I have to risk failure in order to grow. ". This person will internalise the blame for failure and look inwards firstly their own contribution to the failure.  This is a GROWTH mindset. Teachers need to embrace failure and see it as a way to move forward. 


Michael Fullan. 'professional capital' 2012
There is a difference between teaching practice and professional practice:
Teaching: happens in the classroom: (competency): positive behav management, curriculum knowledge, instructional practices, formative assessment. It's how you deliver your programme WITH the children. 

Professional: happens outside the classroom: (professionalism/disciplinary): meet agreed standards, accept that actions we take contribute to reputation of our profession, choose to work in accord with high standards of the profession even when we could get away with less, assess practices to see if try belong and add to those practices, seek to have continual growth. It is the planning,reporting,collaborating with others, appraisal and reflection,compliance re reporting and budgets etc. 

Teachers Council Principles of Professional Practice: autonomy, justice, responsible care and truth (see code of ethics for registered teachers)

Carrying these out is what gives public confidence in you. 

Engaging in professional practices will have flow on effects on your teaching practice. 

Hidden links between the two practices:
Teaching practice is visible (like the top part of the iceberg), while prof practice is the huge part that holds up good teacher practice (the hidden part of the iceberg) - if don't attend to the prof practices the 'ice' at the waterline will start to melt and the teaching practices will melt away too.

Thinking: What's the difference between Reflecting and Wondering?
Reflecting: is about self-improvement (see Parker J. Palmer 1998 book) - needs to be focused and a habit - Lt.  Col. Hal Moore, Vietnam: What's happening? What's not happening? How can I influence what's not happening?  - a reflective practitioner has a select set of questions that they never deviate from, and these take you deeper and deeper into your thinking each time, it takes structure and discipline and energy to do it. 

Wondering: just happens, is not planned and tends to be random, takes little energy, and is often not useful

See the Teacher Council handbook for the 12 characteristics or good reflection points. 

reflection v inquiry:
Prochaska's Model of Change: 
1. Pre-Contemplation (state of bliss)
2.  Contemplation (thinking about it)
3. Preparation (putting together plan of action)
4. Action (trying it out) often gets to a stagnant point  as it is hard to implement the change
5. Maintenance (developing it into a habit)
6. Termination
STEPS 1-3 are reflective steps while STEPS 4-5 are the inquiry steps, the action steps. Only in the action step will the right questions come up that you need to find answers to that will see you grow in your teaching practice. Inquiry is putting into practice our reflecting. It goes beyond 'learning' to CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT. 

Lifelong learning = continual improvement
Taking what has been learnt and applying it. 

Professional journaling rather than a professional diary. 

If only commenting on steps 1-3 of Prochaska's steps, then that is a diary merely of inner thoughts. 
The important stuff is steps 4-6, the comments on what is happening while implementing the changes, this is the learning trip,the questions I'm finding as I action changes to my teaching - concentrating on the failures (growth mindset) rather than just the success (fixed mind set)

Learning is about feeling uncomfortable, it will mean at some stage feeling ignorant or incapable, ignorant or negative or disruptive. A person with a fixed mindset will want to avoid being seen as these things but someone with a growth mindset will expect it to be par for the course as part of professional growth. 

Three types of failure: preventative, complex, intelligent. We want to foster intelligent failure: adapting, innovating, attempting, trialling. To do this you need to operate in Steps 4-6, and with intelligent failure eventually you will inquire and change and repeat the steps until you have a teaching practice or programme that is successful. 

Professionally serious OR gifted amateur?? Are you not satisfied with where you are at OR do you think you are an expert and don't need to make changes?

NEXT STEPS for me/school:
*return to my coaching notes from 2012 2013 to see about giving feedback and coaching/mentoring eg within appraisals. 

be sure to speak to colleague ASAP after an observation and to be open to the comments as the person receiving the feedback/suggestions

Staff personally each journaling about a priority learner. All do that so trying it first time together.

Look at our code of ethics and what it means for us as the professionals working here at this school