Whanau, Ukelele’s and “starting something good”….

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AVOIDANCE, HARD WORK & GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS

SO… I haven’t blogged for ages, for a reason. I’ve said I was going to, however, internally I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I haven’t been ready, too much going on inside to verbalise it or record it electronically.

So Quiet… ( I was going to use silence but that would be lying)

Where to start, amazing term so far. The new people on board have been just ridiculous. It has been awesome having more energy, experiences and ideas buzzing around the place, not to mention the extra strums to drown out my ukulele misgivings.

Lots has gone on since my last blog. Lot’s of HARD WORK and most definitely lot’s of GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS… all of which I have summarised below…

1. Re-working the model. Having new staff on board has been really useful. An opportunity to put the model of our ‘Dispositional Curriculum’ out there. Even re-visiting again in this way, as well as being up-skilled on the other important areas of our school curriculum has helped us to revisit and re-work it; over and over and over again. What were we missing? Well, the Habits and Quadrants (as talked about in previous blogs) were crucial, however, the learner, the community and their well being must sit at the core of everything. And so saw the addition of Haoura and community to the centre of our model. They must be explicit, it is not good enough to assume that developing the wellbeing of the whole learner will happen. We need to put the framework and support in place to ensure it does.

2. Pastoral and Special Education Support. I have been lucky enough to be given time to look into the programmes, structures and support that will help us be responsive to our learners, whatever needs may arise. I have been out visiting SENCO’s at other schools such as Glen Eden Intermediate and Kelston Boys. The conclusion I have come to is that we must have the support in place to respond to our learners needs. A go to person with the connections, of course, but the focus must be on up-skilling our coaches and learning leaders, building capacity within staff as well as resourcing outwards when necessary. When I’m looking into this arena I am well and truly IN MY ZONE and loving it. The partnerships and connections being built with other schools and people are so valuable and I’m really looking forward to delving into this even deeper!

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3. Building on my personal and academic excellence. We are in a unique situation, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-visit and re-jig education as we know it. Choice. However, easy is not a word I would use when describing this. The development of our Dispositional Curriculum has really allowed me to begin looking at my own ‘Habits’ and approaches to different situations. Learning to work with new groups of people, showing resilience when in situations of difficulty to me (e.g. academic reading) and learning how to manage my energy levels has been huge for me. I give my all to every task/session, that is exhausting. I emotionally and physically invest in every situation. That’s hard at times, I get exhausted. But above all, increasing confidence in my own abilities and expertise has been and will continue to be my main goal. I’m working on it. What an opportunity to do so. I should remind myself of this when I’m IN MY ZONE :).

So 5 weeks down, 4 to go. AAAAAGGGHHH. Surely we can decide on a model, framework and tools and adapt and modify it several times before the kids walk in the door? At the end of the day we’re going to be responsive, the framework will be in place, we’ll do what’s best for the kids, and if it’s not working we’ll continue to change it. We’re good at that.

In the words of the late Robert Nesta Marley… Empowerment and Agency – It’s what we’re about!

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Exhilaration, Exhaustion and more handstands.

It’s Friday on the last day of Term. Can’t believe this time has gone and been so quickly. About to set off to see my niece for her birthday (Happy Birthday Chloe Main) but i just doesn’t feel quite right. I decided it was necessary to jot down a few thoughts to sign off the Term. And what a Term it has been!

Only singular words can describe it adequately (or my brains just too strained to cope with stringing sentences together):

AMAZING, CHALLENGING, INSPIRING, LUCKY, HARD, MOTIVATING, EXCITING, WICKED, RELATIONSHIPS, FAMILY, CHANGE, MOVEMENT, SHIFTS, PEOPLE, LEARNERS, LEADERSHIP, FUN, OPPORTUNITIES, CHARACTER, HILARITY, PERSONALISED, WILLING, EMPOWERING…..plus all of the HOBSONVILLE HABITS

How lucky I have been this term to work with such an amazing and inspiring group of people. Bring on Term Four and adding more to that bunch. Whoop Whoop!!

Unfortunately I will not be spending my holidays visiting different continents, countries or islands (jealous much?), however, I’m looking forward to spending this holidays reviewing my weekly blogs over the last 9 weeks. Pretty stoked to say that I managed to achieve my goal of 9 blogs by the holidays! I stuck to it, and wish I had done it more!

Also on the holiday to do list –  read Megan’s GIANT book on the history of the world. Finally finish the first book I started. Begin creating my renovation ‘vision boards. Start practicing the splits. Learn to headstand. And finally continue to sharpen my skills as a Mexican food master!! 

Peace 🙂 

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Steaming Ahead, ERO and How We Roll!!

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It’s been a pretty spectacular last week since we broke through our jumbled mess to find some more clarity! At the time, man I was excited, but couldn’t predict how much more would come from that development of our Dispositional Curriculum.

We had thought long and hard about why we value Learning Hubs and why they were so crucial in delivering (or co-constructing) a truly personalised learning experience. We got that down. The principles behind a Learning Hub and what needed to be developed or worked on in this time was also clear. So since the Dispositional Curriculum Model was developed things have really started to take shape.  Like Thomas…we began to steam ahead!! Choo Choo. 

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Out of this we saw the development of our Habit statements (e.g. Resilience – I don’t give up when times are tough), this was choice. Taking it back to these simple core statements is where we felt we really nailed it on the head. At first we were trying to come up with several I statements to cater for every learner under every Habit. This was unnecessary. Resilience is going to look different for every learner and within this Habit they may have both strengths and weaknesses. In order for it to be truly adaptable and personalised all that was needed was one core essence statement. I like these. A lot. 

We also saw our definitions for the four Learning Quadrants begin to take shape. I argued, and argued, that much like the Habits, only one simple statement was needed to describe each of the quadrants; Strategic, Innovative, Relational, Meta-cognitive. I want it to be simple, usable and workable for all LEARNERS. I was wrong (not about the simplicity & usability but the need for one statement) and after some convincing withdrew my initial argument. The others were right. These quadrants each cover so many things, it would be impossible to narrow it down. It is also important that the coaches and learners have a good understanding of what it means to be Strategic for example in different ways. Therefore, a more thorough explanation was needed. What we have come up with so far is pretty good. Still most definitely a work in progress to be added to and critiqued by the next cohort as well as all the learners that come join us at HPSS. 

Arguably most exciting is the fact our Learner Profile dynamic document is beginning to evolve! In theory rather than electronically at this stage but that’s where Claire comes in. This document is going to the basis for our conferencing, goal setting, co-constructing and so much more! What a great basis to develop learner Habits and for the development of Personal and Academic Excellence. Super exciting. 

The visit by ERO was awesome. I like ERO, not just because we had scones and lunch but because they have an important job. I liked the way Maurie (see his explanation) prepped us for it. Just told us they were coming. That was nice, a real point of difference. Often the onset of ERO brings a sense of panic and false creation of ‘what we do’. At HPSS that’s not how we roll. Maurie spoke to us about this, at the end of the day we’re on track and the learner is at the centre of everything! That’s going to be good learning surely. The feedback, awesome. I was quite taken back. It was great to hear that the cohesive vision that we feel we have exists, and that we could explain our concepts, processes and practices well. That they could be understood and seen as workable. The ladies were great and it was also interesting to be involved in the process, including hearing the feedback. It was choice.

So we find ourselves making lists (on white boards usually) to ensure we are ready for the new roopu coming in next term. Really looking forward to them getting on board the waka! Kind of feel like they are already, virtually and in spirit at least. It’s been great helping plan the PD for them. Thinking about which experiences were important for us, how we take them through the last 9 weeks… without the time. Most importantly, how we provide the support for them and structures whilst allowing them to add their stamp to the mix. Wicked. 

So it’s Wednesday, and my brain is tired, but my heart and soul invigorated. How cheesy but true. 

Steaming off like Thomas!!

End of term? What end of term 🙂 

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Dispositional Curriculum, Handstands and Break throughs….

Wow…where to start on the last week? As mentioned in my last blog, getting together as ‘Learning Team Leaders’ has been awesome. Lea, Megan, Sally and myself have been nutting out what we feel Learning Hub’s, Learning Path’s, Learning Plan’s and Learning Journey’s are and what they will look like. This has  been complex. Weaving through the different models, important values and many ICT tools that will help us with the implementation of a powerful, effective, personalised learning programme for all of our learners.

We have been so impressed with the groundbreaking work the SLL’s are doing with the creation of the Hobsonville Point Learning Model (see Steves Blog). Share and Hear time over the last couple of weeks has been both interesting and invigorating. Watching and hearing the Modules of Learning take shape gets more exciting by the day. These guys are really making some big moves and establishing some great foundations for our learning to come from.

So where did this leave us? Full of ideas, knowing how we wanted it to look and work, but still a little confused of where to start! So many facets, so many tools, so many structures that need to be put in place to support the flexibility. This ‘supported flexibility’ so crucial in developing truly personalised and powerful learning. Again, insert weight on shoulders. Thursday saw us work on some clarity. Confirming the purpose of; Learn Path’s – The term given to what a learners day/week/term may look like; Learning Journey’s – The learners record and reflection of their learning, using tools such as My Portfolio; The Learner Profile – The heart of the hub – the model that identifies what we value in learning and learners, allows for personalisation and underlies everything.

So after this, we again started looking at specifics and again got tied up in the finer details. Add more weight to shoulders.  It took us stepping back for a bit friday morning to visit the heart of it all before, with the perfect timing and help of Maurie we really made a  breakthrough. It began to click…all of our different experiences, perspectives and ideas came together and the model evolved…

 

Friday was our day, 13th September, 11.10am. 

So what is the heart? The Learner Profile. This is where it all comes together. Where the habits take centre stage, where personal and academic excellence are pursued. The profile will clearly establish what we value, will kick-start conversations, provide opportunities for sharing and be the foundation of the co-construction of each learners individual Learn Path. Choice.

The pictures provide a better representation of what we established. We realised that we were being heavily influenced (and rightly so) by the Hermann’s Brain Model, Julia’s Circle’s and Hobsonville Primary Learner Profile. But what we needed to do was  to pull it all together and make it Hobby. Making it ours and making it in a way that will work best for our learners. Whoever they will be. The white boards got a smashing. Love it. 

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So what did we discover about the profile? 

  • The habits cannot be divided into the 4 important thinking areas of strategic, innovative, relational and metacognitive they look different in every area and so sit at the centre of everything. Being resilient in relationships is very different to being resilient when innovating or creating. 
  • The model needs to provide explanation and examples – we need to empower our learners, whanau and communities with the language to explore their learning.
  • Continuums are important as they allow for support and rigour. Making sure there is never a time to ‘stop’ working on something or improving. 
  • Evidence is equally important. It’s easy to say, but you also need to prove that you do. (That means all of us!).
  • Most importantly it provides the structure, support, flexibility and rigour we have been looking for. Students can and will make it their own. 

Only this picture can describe how I felt after we made this breakthrough. What a feeling!!! I am glad Maurie was there to emphasise the important step we had made. I am amped for us to present this to the rest of the team and for it to be pushed, tested and nutted out further. 

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So…weight is still on shoulders. However, I feel we have made one of the toughest steps. Establishing the beginnings of the Learning Hubs. Creating the first model (I’m sure there will be many adjustments) of the tool/model that will sit at the centre of our Learner Journey’s. 

Bring on this week. Loving the direction. Wicked team. Good work guys 🙂 

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Passion Projects…Why? How? Framework.

Moving into our areas of speciality has been a choice part of the last week. So much going on in my head and out so have found it difficult to blog. Where to start? 

The last five weeks really drilled into me how crucial  advisories/hubs are for maintaining personalised powerful learning. They are going to be a significant element of our school curriculum design.

However, the weight has hit my shoulders. Being a Learning Team Leader is exciting, I love the focus on learning and dispositions, the power of relationships and the possibilities they provide…But, we’ve got to get the framework and support right. The pressure!!

I did get into my zone, when exploring passion projects. The picture journey is below however I did come to a few key conclusions….

  • Passions will be discovered through relationships, engagement, exposure and opportunities
  • Project planning must come about – when the time is right – Don’t push it. It will lose it’s authenticity. However, support will be essential in setting a path for discovery. 
  • Once established continued support will be provided through structure, helping build connections, giving time for reflection, sharing, critiquing and collaboration. All whilst the maintaing the learners autonomy over the project. 
  • Exhibitions of learning, planning sessions and conferences will present the opportunity for learning to develop and for the learner, their peers, support group, whanau to reflect on the development of their dispositions or habits. 
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Relationships, Breakdowns and the Power of Advisories…

A very quick blog! I’m impressed that it is less than 7 days since my last, but felt it was necessary to reflect on the emotional experience that was Friday’s book club and the effect my current reading ‘One Kid at a Time’ is having on me. 

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I came into this feeling that one of the crucial things needed in order for this to succeed was an emphasis on personalised learning and relationships. This needs to be strong throughout the school, across all curriculum areas (and by that i am not referring to subjects but advisories, modules and projects). This has only been emphasised by the discussions, readings and site visits of other schools. 

For students to become life long learners, find personal and academic success their learning needs to be personalised, their ‘habits’ need to be developed as well as their academic capabilities. The Learning Hubs (advisories) will be essential in helping track and mould that students pathway. Everyone is an individual, their strengths and needs will be different. Their interests, passions and life journey will be different. Learning coaches will need to develop strong relationships, get to know their learner to the core, be a support but also a motivator, warm but demanding. If they do this they will help to foster passionate, contributive life-long learners. 

‘One Kid at a Time’ really lays down this message. What I like the most about it is the stories… Stories of a wide range of kids from different backgrounds, coming in to The Met with different strengths and weaknesses but all being found a path. No one should be left behind. Of course there are cases where it hasn’t worked. But there are miles more where it has. 

When I reflect on these stories the natural reaction is to connect it to your own experiences. For me this is connecting it to my last school. Which I loved. With kids that I loved even more. Leaving was hard but I believe so wholly in what we are doing that it is necessary to make a shift. So these kids don’t feel left behind, unvalidated, unsuccessful. 

I received a text the another night, that one of my favourite ruby teams was in the semi ‘whoop whoop’ lucky I kept my school supporters jacket. That was great, the second part was not. “Oh and I’m leaving school”. I was gutted. Although school isn’t for everyone. Why can’t it be? I had worked hard at exposing this student to new ideas and helping increase confidence in his own ability. It was working, but obviously not enough. The system and people, myself included had failed him. I felt gutted. 

So, Friday morning book club. As people were talking about ‘The Element’ and personal pathways, the lump in my throat emerged. I was keen to share what I had been learning from my book as I’m so into it. However, the minute I opened my mouth, the sobbing began. I couldn’t believe the message had affected me so much. I felt so excited about the possibilities that we will offer our students, but saddened that I felt helpless in the path of one of my previous students still dear to me. 

End of the story, I went to the rugby, they won!! Had a conversation about the course the student will be entering, I’ve heard it’s awesome, run by Michael Jones. Let’s hope it provides for him better than we had. Let’s hope they win in the semi’s next week – I’ll be there. That student will always be one of my students, our job doesn’t finish when we walk out the door and move on to the next place. It’s not just a job, it’s a mindset. I’m just glad I could offer some advise and support. Even just a sounding board.

At the end of the day, I learnt more from my students in the last two years at that school than they would have learned from me in a lifetime. I was privileged to work with them. 

So…

It is easy for people to say we’re in a bubble and that when reality hits things will be a lot different. Yeah they will be, but different and changing is what we’re all about.

It’s not about if we will make it work. It’s about how we will make it work. It’s not a choice but a necessity. 

 

 

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Bonding, Circles and Being in the Zone!

Pretty cool week since my last blog (surprise). So much has gone on both activity wise and in my brain. Once again sectioning it out to help the process come along.  As didn’t achieve my goal of blogging more regularly. My brain was tired.

Visiting

The two site visits to Ormiston and Albany Senior High at the end of last week were pretty choice. At that stage we had spent a good couple of weeks envisioning what our ideas and values would look like in practice and it was a great opportunity to see some of these in the flesh. I was really impressed by  the learning environment and came away with lots of questions. The teams were so open and reflective on their process and the opportunities and challenges that exist in such an environment. Having that opportunity to have such honest conversations with people walking the walk was great! Often schools can be really closed to each other and the  community. This was certainly NOT the case with either Albany or Ormiston. We have so much to gain and learn from each others experiences and it’s a great relationship that has been established early on! I came away impressed with how they have managed to tackle the assessment question but also VERY thankful to say that we don’t have to worry about assessment yet when our new whanau walk in the door early next year! This will give us the luxury of focussing on embedding our Habits and working on personal excellence as well as the academic.

 

Bonding

It had been a busy week for Maurie, Lea, Di and Claire. So Monday was an wicked opportunity to come back together and explore. The art trail exploration set up by Lea and the design thinking session organised by Di were fun, challenging and pretty wicked. I even almost completed the trifecta of bus, ferry and train all in one day… almost.

Our competitive sides came out in the Waterfront Discovery art trail challenge! My knack for expression through body form and the teams creativity meant we were the clear winners (despite the disagreement of the other team). Our beautiful product is in the link below. However, winnings not important (wink) and it was all about participation on the day?!

The design thinking course at NZTE with  Peter Harrison from Better by Design was pretty challenging, and inspiring!! I came home wanting to take the design approach when approaching every situation within my renovation programme! So simple, fun and helpful! Wicked work by that team!

Finishing the ‘life explanations’ with the team on Wednesday. Was sad as it has been so fun and interesting hearing everyones stories and inspirations. The key to relationships is knowing people and we’re getting comfortable pretty quick which these opportunities to share have helped develop!

 

Circles & GPILSEO

Using the circle process or ‘our circles’ as some of us have begun to name it (although we probably should make sure we credit Julia) have become a regular appearance in daily life at HPSS. The perfect way to move from the values/beliefs to the principles and practices. Difficult at first but such a necessary way of making sure first of all..

  1. You know why your doing something
  2. How it’s going to look within our school/community
  3. The particular practices we will need to embed to ensure this happens.

Some evidence of those we have done can be seen below. A definite work in progress but such a useful tool!!

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GPILSEO was introduced to us by Maurie yesterday morning. What a productive session. A great way for us to get back together as a team and nut out what’s important to us and how we make sure our mission is sustained within the school. Also nice to see where all the bits and pieces we have been working away on sit within the puzzle. GPILSEO will now be on my wall (don’t tell Alison) reminding me that without all pieces of the puzzle it’s just an awkward picture that doesn’t feel right.

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Being in the Zone…

If we didn’t have such a wicked day on Monday I would’ve said this mornings session was my fave so far. Man I love Billy Elliot and watching that clip really inspired me as to the importance of providing somewhere where students can explore their passions and get in their Zone. A picture collage of our representations of what we look/feel like when we’re in the zone is below. Even this was a great way to locate that feeling.

For me being in the zone is not doing Ballet…my mum (Debbie) said i danced like an elephant and was never very feminine…cheers mum. For me it’s sharing my passions with other people,  steam trains, cooking, laughing with my husband & brother (a regularity), engaging in someones history/experiences and bowling that wicked shot that makes my bumpy grin at Indoor Bowls. Even though I have many versions of my zone, the feelings are the same. I engage in my passions without anyone judging me or questioning the relevance, and if they do, i don’t care. Our kids need to feel the same. Ensuring our learning is truly personalised and responsive will help this happen.

In the zone

So thursday week 4…random pondering’s from my brain;

  • It’s about relationships!
  • Our team is really coming together, developing friendships, getting comfortable, challenging each other and still quirky 🙂
  • Once again PERSONALISED LEARNING IS POWERFUL LEARNING and EMPOWERED LEARNERS ARE LIFE LONG LEARNERS
  • The book i’m reading…’One Kid at a Time’ Eliot Levine…AMAZING!! Blog summary to come soon. Everyone should read this book!

 

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JULIA, HERMANN, POWER & PROGRESS

The last few days have presented some pretty exciting experiences. Working with Julia Atkin on Monday was pretty outstanding. I left feeling challenged (the good kind), inspired and confident.

It was interesting to see that I fell pretty much where I expected within the Hermann’s Brain model – red and yellow with a bit of the others. It was also interesting to see that a quite a few of us such as Lea and I had pretty similar models which would explain why I feel tuned into her brain at times! My model is below but for a more thorough explanation of how the model works see the link. Sally’s blog is also awesome for giving a really in-depth explanation.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herrmann_Brain_Dominance_Instrument

It was interesting to see us all as a bunch, on the yellow/red side of things. Essential for the task ahead and all with the right type of mindset: open, creative and focussed on relationships.

Julia really challenged us when looking at things to keep going back to the why. I took a classroom practice such as encouraging questioning or making connections between learning and the learner and was tasked with bringing it back to my core value. Why do I do this? Why do I believe it is important? This was something that I felt comfortable with, I feel very aware of the inner purpose for something. However, articulating it proved more difficult! With some encouragement and questioning I was able to co-construct with Jill and Julia my most important value/realisation of the day:

PERSONALLY SIGNIFICANT LEARNING IS POWERFUL LEARNING

Julia talked about the fact that when we take a practice and nut down to the core reasons we do something the same few values will keep re-appearing. She has about 5 that keep coming back. On Monday I began my journey, nutting out my core values in regards to education and realising the one above. I’m looking forward to discovering what else will appear.

EMPOWERMENT is something that I find myself coming back to over and over. Every time we are discussing a process, Hobsonville Habit, approach to education, I find myself drawing back to the same idea.

EMPOWERMENT CREATES RESPONSIVE, EMPATHETIC AND CONTRIBUTIVE LIFE LONG LEARNERS.

My role as a Learning Team Leader will be about relationships, manaakitanga, support and empowerment. At present, I feel empowered on this learning journey. The approach being taken by  Maurie, Di, Lea and Claire has helped us all feel valued and confident in what we bring to the table.  It’s like a really quirky and productive family. We need to make sure the next round of teachers to join our waka as well as the students and communities we will connect with find it the same!

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The Hobsonville Habits have been coming to life with our work over the last few days. We have been tasked with creating “I” statements for each of the core habits that we feel are important to develop in our learners (teachers and students). This sounds easier than it is, but the process itself is progressing. We are all finding it rewarding to nut out some of the finer details! Still in the big picture phase (my comfort zone) as we have a lot of work to do before our Learner Profile emerges but we are all revelling in the sense of progress. My main approach when dealing with these is to ask “Is it measurable?”. This is necessary to consider to ensure these habits come to life and don’t just get shelved to be pulled out every now and then. These “I” statements will help our habits become embedded in the school culture.

So, after the pondering and processing of random thoughts…another week-ish down, what am I thinking?

  • I need to blog more regularly to adequately process my thoughts
  • Man I love my job
  • Man I love my team
  • Life is good

         

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Reflecting on the Values…

Reflecting on the Values...

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