Sunday, 20 November 2016

Our Last MIT Day in the Big City

So today was our last day as part of the Manaiakalani outreach programme.
Had a fabulous dinner with some colleagues at IVillage last night and then a busy day at the SPARK building today.
We reflected on our inquiries this year and how this years learning has impacted our teaching practice.
I learnt how to add audio into my presentation and then recorded my voice into my inquiry presentation. This will now be uploaded to the 2016 website on the Manaiakalani homepage.

I then created a Thinglink to show some of my learning this year.
Lisa's Thinglink

This year has been incredible. I have met inspirational teachers who are dedicated to raising children's achievement in many ways.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Looking towards 2017

After an exciting year getting back into using inquiry as a tool to increase my professional practice I have now decided to embark on a new learning journey!
I have been offered a scholarship to study for  a Post Graduate Diploma in Autism from Massey University.
I think my year with Manaiakalani has given me the confidence to continue with my learning.
Keep an eye on this space to see how I go!
Thank you to everyone who has helped me in this learning journey.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Post Conference - U Learn

What a fantastic conference. Having to present first was great as we could then take in the speakers and atmosphere and relax a bit. I have created a slide show of the conference which I will share as a link.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Great Success!

Over the past 4 weeks the teacher aides and teachers of our special needs children have been using the children's individual blogs to show their learning. It has been great to see their learning and for them to share their learning with their parents so well. Communication is a huge barrier with our SN students and by them having their own blog, they are learning a way they can share and communicate their learning on a daily basis. The next step is to get them transferring their "Our Day" worksheets to a digital presentation. This is still a work in progress and I will be talking to their parents and teachers about the best possible way of doing this.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

SAMR and Blooms Model of Learn, Create, Share

Here is a picture of how teachers can use the SAMR model and Blooms Taxonomy to help them integrate digital learning into a digital class. I really enjoy the examples and way it is set out.

Monday 16th May

What a great day we have had. Lots of reflection, discussions and ideas being shared with like minded people. Some things that have really stood out for me today is the importance of keeping up with my blog and posting each step of my learning. From the start of the year I have implemented some very successful strategies to help the children with ways to communicate - I just need to be documenting these. Today I inserted links to the children's blog sights on this blog sight. These are regularly updated to show the children's learning as well as ways in which we are helping them to communicate. Some other things that came out of today was the need to keep reflecting on the SAMR model and how we use it and why. Some great reading came from this - I will insert some links to the readings. I really liked this quote. “Climbing up and down the SAMR ladder is a good thing, I think. It challenges us to think deliberately about what type of tech integration is necessary for authentic and realistic learning to take place.” Aexis Snider We don’t want to consistently repeat what we already do - we need to be innovative. Are we challenging our learning and teaching? Its going above what we know. Step above what ‘already good practitioners are doing in our school’ - this is tough as the teachers I know already go above and beyond. Am I making the most of the opportunities I am being given? Some great thinking! So my goal for this term is to document more clearly the learning journey I find myself on.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Blogs are the Way to go!

Well it has been a busy term researching and asking questions of parents, teachers and even children about the many ways we communicate. Along with 3 children at school and their Teachers and T/A's we implemented the Our Day Communication board and At Home Communication board. This has has great success and very positive responses from the teachers and parents. I will collect some of the responses from the children on how we communicate to share with you. My next learning step is for the 3 children I am working with to have their own blog sights. My inquiry is on "How to improve communication" and I have spoken to parents about the benefits of using a blog to help with their children's communication. At present the communication between home and school is okay - but not great. It is hard for teachers and T/A's to find the time to communicate exactly what is happening on a weekly basis. I hope to improve this through the use of blogging.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Communication "Our Day" a hit!

I was so pleased to hear today from a parent of one of our SN children, that they love the "Our Day" communication board. We had the TA for the child create and decorate her own envelope for the communication boards to go in. She was so proud to take it home and show her mum and dad what she did that day. Great to have such positive feedback.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Readings from Te Whariki

This week I have been reading the Te Whariki curriculum. Partly to help me plan for my new entrant class and because there is a strand in here related to communication. It is recognised that "language does not consist only of words, sentences and stories: it includes the language of images, art, dance, drama, mathematics, movement, rhythm and music. During the early years children are learning to communicate their experiences in many different ways." And adults need to be able to understand and encourage both verbal and non- verbal communication styles. When I think of the special needs kids we interact with I think it is really important to remember this. At our school the children use a "Core Board" which has visual pictures on to help them show us what they are trying to say. This is a great tool - but perhaps there is a better way for them to doing this. Perhaps putting the core board on an iPad or devise? Each core board is personalized with the children's family members etc but imagine if they had the ability to take their own photos and videos on a regular basis to share with their class. "Language grows and develops in meaningful contexts when children have a need to know and a reason to communicate".

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Last week after visiting Sommerville Special School I decided to personalize one of their wonderful resources to suit the children in our school. This is copy of what I am working on with parents and teacher Aides to help the children communicate about their day. This will definately help parents understand what their is learning and how they feel about the topics they are learning.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Learning Journey - Making Progress - Week 5, Term One

After last Monday's meeting with my fellow inquiry people I had to come back down to earth and face my normal working week. Had a great week juggling the many aspects of classroom teaching and trying to find the time to organise my inquiry. Thanks to Dorothy I made an appointment to visit Sommerville Special School in Auckland - and here I am! I was greeted at the door by a dedicated and wonderful teacher called Donna. She and I sat with a SLT for a few hours discussing assessment, requirements and how their school meets the needs of the Ministry and other agencies. I left with new found focus and lots to process and think about. It is wonderful to see the many different ways in which we can assess these students progress and learning. It is all about changing our pedagogy and practice to focus on what the children can do and then teach them the skills needed to make the next learning steps. Donna sent me some interesting reading about "Narrative Assessment" and how we can use this as a tool to help our children reach their individual goals. It's so important to take the time to read as much as possible so we can talk about the pros and cons of how we assess and why. At Sommerville they have literacy and numeracy rubrics to assess their children in a variety of ways - that are measurable and suited to the many different ways our special needs children learn. I have been given the names Sally Clendon and Jane Farrall to research. Sally is a SLT who talks a lot about building literacy and getting the communication flowing through an enriched literacy programme.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Monday 22 February

My first day with the SPARK Manaiakalani group. It has been a fantastic start to our Inquiry journey. We met at the SPARK headquarters in Auckland over a coffee before going to a lovely meeting room. We spent the morning discussing our inquiry topics, critiquing and being more specific about our inquiries. We heard about the SPARK foundation and how it works as an organisation. It was great to hear about the amazing work they are doing within New Zealand. We got to know each other and had time to talk about how we could support each other with our inquiries. A great time to network. I contacted a Principal here in Auckland and hope to come down over the next week to discuss with her the ways she assesses communication with her special needs students. I adapted my inquiry topic to be more specific and manageable. Here is a photo of our meeting room - we are all hard at work!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

UDL - A Universal Design for Learning

This is a concept being used in the US to help teachers form an inclusive learning environment and network. I found this video that explains it very well. I love the below blurb which includes some of my favourite buzz words. This is all about the video. "Watch Alberta Education’s new Inclusive Education Video Series to learn more about inclusive education topics, including Valuing All Students; Changing How We Talk about Disabilities; and Using A Positive Behaviour Approach to Support Learning"