Thursday, July 18, 2019



Philadelphia USA

What an exciting privilege it was to be selected for the Marie Clay 2019 travel award.

I had been aware of the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) conference for some time. In previous years I had followed the conference online through the twitter hashtag, finding some great links to professional reading and resources. It looked like such a fun and energizing conference offering wide ranging learning opportunities. So of course, thanks to NZLA I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend this years’ event held in Philadelphia, USA.

ISTE is by far the biggest conference that I have ever attended and initially I felt a little daunted by the sheer size of it. However, prior to arriving in Philadelphia I was able to explore the conference website and download the app to design my own conference pathway. Every delegate at this huge conference custom designed their own experience. Throughout the conference I was able to use the app to modify my programme, collect resources, and receive messages, reminders and alerts. Each delegate also wore a ‘smart-badge’ on the conference lanyard which tracked their progression through the conference, although the option to opt-out of this tracking system was also offered. QR codes were also used quite extensively. In short, technology was integral to this conference, I really enjoyed working this way.

A highlight for me was attending a lecture based session entitled: ‘Leading from the LIbrary in a Digital World’, by Shannon Miller and Bill Bass. (They have co-authored a book with the same title) In this session they discussed how the very definition of literacy is changing and how school librarians should be leaders and digital mentors through this change. The five key points from this session aimed at school librarians were:

Be a force for change and be leaders

Digital age mentors - building partnerships

Know your culture

Tell your story - be a champion

Leading through equity.

I enjoyed this session very much, the key points really resonated with me and made me resolve to ‘tell my story’ a little louder by promoting the work I do in my school library more, digitally of course! I’ll be doing this through blogging and tweeting. Their point about ‘Know your Culture’ affirmed to me that at my school we work hard in the library to build a collection and deliver learning experiences which reflect the diversity of our community. They also stated in this session that; ‘Librarians have a broader lens than teachers and administrators,’ and ‘The library is the heart of the school’. I have to agree.

Throughout the conference I tended to focus on Digital Storytelling, because I think this is the essence of the change in what it means to be literate. It also encapsulates my two roles as a library teacher and a digital facilitator and my belief that as educators we should be encouraging our students to be creators not just consumers of content. A quote which I came away with from a Digital Citizenship session is: ‘The more they create content; the smarter content consumers they will be.’ I believe this to be true. I attended conference sessions on: Using Adobe Spark in the classroom, the chromebook infused classroom, GAFE Tools including extensions and add-ons, hyperdocs, activities for engaged and interactive learning. I found that ‘app smashing’ combining different apps to create content featured quite frequently and this is something I intend to explore further too! Many of the sessions were delivered by passionate classroom educators, much like those who can be found at our NZ based conferences. From each of these sessions I came away with resources and ideas for further exploration.

I also really enjoyed exploring some of the digital ‘playgrounds’ available at ISTE. Again my focus was building literacy through digital storytelling. I was able to look at some augmented and virtual reality tools and apps. I went to a practical classroom session from Apple which demonstrated some of the latest iPad tools available and the potential for students to create. I also really enjoyed learning more about green-screen production techniques and uses in the classroom and this is certainly something I look forward to trialling at school. I am particularly keen to help students to use green screen video techniques for book and library promotion. There is also great potential for students to use green screen video techniques to tell their stories or share their learning. I visited the NASA digital playground and learned about what they offer in education.

The expo hall was amazing, huge and packed with many of the latest innovations in education. There were so many products to explore that it was actually a bit overwhelming. However two of the many things which stood out for me were; merge cubes - a new augmented reality tool which when teamed with a (paid subscription) website allows students to build their own virtual world and then hold it in their hands. I thought this had great potential for students to build and interact with scenes from literature. It also offers other AR experiences with can be accessed through ipad apps. Another product which I really liked the look of was cubelets - a modular build your own robot system.

The mainstage speakers at the conference were diverse and interesting. They were billed as ‘Inspiring Stories from Bold Leaders’ and for me it was refreshing to hear from keynote speakers who weren’t necessarily presenting from an education point of view. There were some inspiring stories from creators of content too.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of attending the ISTE 19 conference is the on-going learning that it has left me with. The learning did not end when leaving the conference and in fact, hasn’t ended yet, as I still have many resources, links and articles to explore. My sincere thanks goes to the NZLA and to my school for making this wonderful learning experience possible for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Holiday Learning

I've acquired a few badges over the holiday break and I'm feeling quite pleased with myself about it!

Now I'm ready to tackle 2018 in my new role as teacher librarian / elearning support person. Although I still have a lot to learn about running a library!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ilep Course

I was lucky enough to compete the ilep course this year. It's a great introduction or 'refresher' in language teaching which I really enjoyed. I'm currently encouraging other teachers from my school to sign up for next year. There really are so many wonderful opportunities available for language teachers.

iLep inquiry

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Snapshot from the Past

I recently came across this lovely photograph. The smiling teacher in this picture is my grandmother, Eveline McQuoid.  She was born in 1899 in Coromandel. I don't know when or where this photo was taken. I believe Eveline did much of her teaching in the Titirangi or Huia area of Auckland and I guess it was taken in the 1930s.

Eveline passed away in 1970, so I never knew her, but I wonder what she would think if she could visit me in my modern classroom today.

Monday, April 10, 2017

End of Term Reflection

Forward thinking
Reading: Groups and rotations routines were established quickly. Students needed some scaffolding around expectations and using google tools including classroom. Shared novel ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’ was a good choice enabling some on line back-channel sharing thus reinforcing digital citizenship learning. Te Puawai readers established.

Writing: One piece of poetic writing and one piece of non-fiction has been assessed.. Routines of using feedback to create individual goals have been established. The class generally seem to have a very positive attitude towards writing.  The schoolkit writing programme (metaphor poem) was a highlight.  Surface features are a focus for some.

Spelling:  Weekly spelling tests have established specific words which target spellers need to learn. SpellingCity has been used as a learning tool.

Reading: Joining NZreadaloud is a possibility for next term - this will depend on the selected novel. Lower reading group must continue to focus on mileage and developing vocabulary as well as specific teaching of strategies ( Sheena Cameron resources) Will consider using a scrapbook for this group. TePuawai readers will have more regular running records - will use seen texts from their reading group work. Higher groups will move into higher level strategies including inference and will consider developing reciprocal reading.

Writing: Will begin next term with a focus on other forms of non-fiction writing. This will integrate well with science fair and statistics. Late in the term will re-visit poetic writing - possibly using The Literacy Shed and or pobble for on line motivation and learning activities. Punctuation will be taught in whole class lessons and followed up with target group students as appropriate.

Spelling: Will continue to use the essential word lists and commonly misspelled words as a focus. I expect to be ready to use an individual on line spelling programme in T3.
After testing and establishing routines most classroom teaching was based on whole class teaching with withdrawal target groups for extension and remedial focus. Grouping was fairly fluid and based on formative assessment. Maths talk moves was based on constantly changing randomly selected groups of 3. This was good for establishing expectations and practising maths talk.

To establish more concrete ability groups. Will consider using scrapbooks with the lower groups to record strategies.

Teaching and practice of number will continue throughout the year with a secondary focus on statistics next term. This will enable more gsuite skills to be taught and learnt, particularly using sheets to manage data and graphs.
Basic facts focus for target learners.

Digital citizenship unit completed. Using an interactive slide show was successful and a good way to introduce some of the GAFE tools.

Earth Science Unit complete - see separate reflection on unit plan

Next term the main focus will be ‘The Nature of Science’ as we work towards the school science fair.
Camp will be a major event of the term
Changes at Puberty will be taught in the last 2 weeks of the term
Swim for Life was the main focus for this term. The children really enjoyed this - engagement levels were high.

Winter games / fitness focus next term with the possibility of ‘expert’ students preparing, submitting lesson plans and (with support) teaching some class lessons.
Learning Languages

Te Reo:
All students are familiar with the school tirohanga, karakia and waiata. This was the focus for our early lessons. Since then we have covered basic greetings and unit 1 “Taku Whanau’ Integrated where possible.

Mandarin Chinese
Sisi, our MLA has taught a few Chinese language and culture lessons in the class.

Will continue to integrate where possible and move on to subsequent units in ‘Te Reo Tupu, Te Reo Ora.’

Chinese learning will continue next term and a keen group of learners will be given the opportunity to join an enrichment class with a view to completing the L1 Confucius Institute exam.

The class attended the Asian Friendship Festival where they presented a song in Chinese and a dance.

Team trip to Action World

Camp in week 3 will be a major focus next term.