Log in
  • Blogs
  • Connected Rotorua Teachers

Connected Rotorua Teachers's blogs

  • One of my responsibilities as Learning Facilitator for Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru is to organise the termly Connected Rotorua meetings.



    I was lucky enough to have one of my Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru colleagues, Wendy Stafford, willing to present on the following:

    Plan a lesson / unit for Future Focused Learning (using symbaloo as Self Regulated Learning tool) Incorporating:

    - Key Competencies

    - Thinking Tools (SMART Goals, De Bono's Hats. KWHL. etc.)

    - Assessment Tools (SOLO, Blooms Taxonomy, etc)




    Here is what Symbaloo offers:

    "Creating a Lesson Plan

    You can use Symbaloo Lesson Plans to create a gaming-style virtual lesson plan using the best educational resources. Tile by tile, create pathways for students so they may learn at their own speed. You’re able to change the route of the path by adjusting the arrows in any direction when creating tiles. Simply add videos, documents, questions, articles, and educational games that guide students through custom learning paths from start to finish." (Symbaloo)



    "Personalizing Lesson Plans

    Not every student learns at the same pace. Some students require additional explanation on a particular topic and some simply need additional challenges.

    By adding questions to your Lesson Plan, you can test whether the student has understood the material. If the student answers the question correctly, they are able to continue. With an incorrect answer, you have the ability to write in an explanation for the student as to why their answer is incorrect before having a second attempt at the question.

    Students will learn the material at their own speed. There is also the ability to add in additional learning material around the pathway for students to have further explanations." (Symbaloo)




    "Real-time Statistics

    Built-in analytics tools gather insightful data and improve learning outcomes, while students enjoy an engaging learning environment.

    How long has a student been working on each step? What questions were often answered incorrectly, and who needs extra help? The built-in grading tool helps students and teachers evaluate and archive results from multiple lesson plans." (Symbaloo)



    Some of the attendants having a 'play'...







    ~ "You can teach a student a lesson for a day, but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. "  - Clay P. Bedford ~


  • What a fantastic turn out for our session on using Google Classroom as a structure to support Future Focused Learning, with staff from nine out of the twenty Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru schools attending.


    Hancine and I came prepared with our presentation slides, but with the number of attendees, decided to change 'the plan' and Hancine quickly sussed out that the knowledge were in the room.



    There were many new faces and we got underway with the usual introductions, whereafter people that felt comfortable, took up the role of leading a small group in setting up and using Google Classroom. The collaboration among our educators were great.







    If you are interested in learning more about Google tools for the classroom have a look at Monica's Google Site 101. Thank you for sharing this, Anne.


    A warm thank you to all who attended the session on a wet Friday afternoon/evening.



  • Connected Rotorua had a great start to the year with Shaun sharing his knowledge on how to manage evidence for the Registered Teacher Criteria.

    He shared these Registered Teacher Criteria (RTC) Reference Sites

    Shaun has been using Google Slides to collect evidence for his RTC. I've used his Google Slides since 2012 and personally find this to be a valuable tool [to use] to collect my evidence. It is also easy to hyperlink particular posts from my blog, which I tag (label) with the RTC.
    Two other examples of how blog posts are tagged (labelled) with RTC are from Shaun & Annemarie.
    There is also a template in Google Sites, created by Leigh Hynes to use. Watch this video on how to find this template.
    More RTC Templates

    And then last, but not least using SOLO Rubrics by Pam Hook to self assess RTC.

    ~ "If you have a candle, the light won't glow any dimmer if I light yours off of mine."
    - Steven Tyler ~
  • We kicked of our last meeting with Sara, talking to us about Excel Rotorua and how we as Connected Rotorua teachers can connect with them.  We are really excited to be able to be part of this project.



    We also had some 'nibbles' to get the conversation going... 

    Then, Tanya introduced us to 'Binary Code' which is a coding system using the binary digits 0 - 1 to represent a letter, digit or other character.  All computer language is based in binary code. Thus, when you learn most types of computer programming, you will touch upon the subject of binary numbers. Who knew?

    Tanya used cards to explain the pattern of  even and odd.  She also challenge us with the question "What is the biggest number you can represent using 8 bits in binary?" Hmmm....


    We were introduced to ASCII and started crafting some binary messages, using... stickers, paper and pens!


    Although one had to be onto it, it turned out to be an afternoon of great fun of CS Unplugged magic tricks, binary counting and coded messages.

    ~ "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon" - Paul Brandt ~
  • image

    Thanks +Michael Fawcett for providing this!


    It started at the first Connected Taupo meeting. Steve Katene and I started to say "What if...?"

     We started a Google doc and Monika Kern joined in.  It seemed like a great idea...

     A few months later, we contributed to the Education Aotearoa magazine and somehow the idea got printed as an event happening in term two.  All of sudden the pressure went on to actually make it happen!

    A few tweets went back and forth and finally a date was settled on in Term 3. Educamp Minecraft went onto the Educampnz wiki - http://educampnz.wikispaces.com/Educamp+Minecraft.



    Kassey Downard, Monika and I put our heads together - literally - in a Google hangout and came up with a programme loosely based on the educamp format (see the wiki).  We used Twitter to invite known users and the #edchatnz crowd.  I emailed local schools and the Connected Rotorua group.  Our Home and School committee catered soup, rolls and cake and Monika and I sorted out details like chocolate fish and coffee on the Friday night before.


    Saturday dawned and we were down at school sorting out all our last minute details.  And we were off!


    imageTwenty six folk arrived from as far as Keri Keri and Wellington.  Natalie, Steve and Wendy brought students and Kassey had six of our Mokoia kids on site to both present and tutor.  The teacher experiences were fantastic.  Shaun Woods skyped in from Christchurch.  Students from Richmond and Te Kowhai Schools presented their creations; so did our kids.

     After lunch, akonga had the opportunity to play in the "sandbox" in Kassey's classroom or talk to Steve and Michael with the pod of ipads Steve brought from Napier.

     Here is the Google slide: 


    Highlights for me were:

    • the passion of educators who came together from all parts of the North Island to join together for a Saturday of sharing expertise and learning from peers and students
    • the development of a Google community for Minecraft teachers - ttps://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/112525241209501940641
    • the student voice from a range of students from different schools, age groups and backgrounds
    • the detail, collaboration and problem solving implicit in the student projects
    • the success of the day - it all fell into place!

    Thanks to everyone involved.

     Here is the Storify:



    Other reflections:







    Visitors from Bruce McLaren Intermediate in Auckland and Te Kowhai School in Hamilton.



    Mokoia experts sharing their Hoot city collaboration.



    Sandbox time.



    Akonga at work.



    A Mokoia student talking through the PC version with the ipad experts from Richmond school in Napier.



    The teacher questioning the teen experts.



    Working with Mr Katene.



    Steve brought this pod of ipads with him.

  • The theme for our fifth Connected Rotorua meeting was Tweeting & Blogging.

    The evening started with Alex, sharing her "The Twittersphere - How do I get involved" presentation. She explained what twitter is and why you should use twitter as an educator.  To help people get started on twitter, she also shared a list of her favourite NZ and International Tweachers.

    Annemarie then discussed the protocol and security of blogging.  We were reminded that our school owns intellectual property - even the student blogs. 

    The evening concluded with me, talking about using Kidblog with NE & Year 1 students as an ePortfolio.  I ensure we tag posts, which makes it easy to monitor progress over time and also to use as additional information for OTJ's.


    I also talked briefly about my students' participation in KidsedchatNZ, a twitter chat for NZ schools .  I am not letting the fact that some of my students are still learning to read and write hold us back to participate. To overcome this 'barrier', I organise parent help for our participation.  Tweets are projected on the SmartBoard, which we read out loud, students respond to questions and a parent types it for them.


    My last 'tip' for the evening was that if you have a personal blog, tag your posts with the appropriate RTC 1-12 as evidence that you meet the criteria to be a Fully Registered Teacher in NZ.


    ~ "Most great learning happens in groups. Collaboration is the stuff of growth" 
    - Sir Ken Robinson ~

  • We want these meetings to meet needs and wants. Twitter was suggested at the last meeting, so Twitter it was! (And I don't need to be asked twice.)

    I think it's the MOST important arena for teachers to build their personal learning networks.  I've said it before - here's my post on being Attwicted to Learning.



    It's harder to convince teachers of this however.  in spite of this, a dozen keen folk came out to find out why this is so.

     Knowing Alex Le Long had presented on Twitter at the NZATE conference in the holidays, I thought we would spread the love and get her to share her presentation.  Thanks Alex! it was very informal, with questions and clarifications as we went along.  Two new tweeps joined up and others enthused that they would start using it more.



     We moved on to the topic of Blogging. as the discussion went that way, I talked about protocols and security:

    • Don't forget that your school owns intellectual property completed in its name - so by inference - even student blogs.
    • That means you need some identification and some pastoral control.
    • Use the school name in some form in the URL so that they are easily found. we use "mokoia-int"
    • Blogger settings allow you as teacher or administrator to both be an author and moderate either posts or comments or both. Suggest you get in there!
    • Use first names, not surnames in titles and URLs and never identify a student with an individual portrait photo.
    • Decide on the purpose of the blog.  Will it be to publish beautiful teacher-edited work, or is it rather evidence of learning? The latter is more real and helps with parent understanding about where their learner is at. Say this in the blog description which appears under the title.
    • Use the word verification; there are unfortunately, too many spammers out there!
    • Advertise! Use twitter to tell the world about the blog post. Get your network to RT (retweet). Your young blogger will need readers and commenters!



    Marnel talked about her Kidblogs.  She teaches new entrants and Year 1.  Even young students can post with a teacher's help.  And parents love being able to share their child's learning at home.




    Her children participate in Kidsedchatnz too, for which she is one of seven teacher facilitators. Make sure your children have real places to read and write, with real just in time audiences! 



    Thanks everyone for another great evening of learning and sharing.  Next time - Friday 5 September, we'll discuss eportfolios, so bring your ideas, your questions - and a friend!

    Connected Rotorua Twitter Handles:

    @mrs_hyde    @1MvdS    @ariaporo22   @lynmartin  @suewintersnz  @NeedhamVicki  @nobiek59   @JakBBB

    (This is a cross post from http://likeahoginmud.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/its-all-about-connecting.html

  • It was another successful Friday afternoon for our Connected Rotorua Teachers, when we came together for our twice a term PL&D meeting, this time on iPads. Having teachers attending such an opportunity on a Friday afternoon, just shows the dedication we have towards our profession and the desire to learn more on how to make learning meaningful for our learners and for ourselves in the process.

    We had wonderful discussions around using iPads in education and the administrative 'challenges' around them. We also shared our ideas around the usefulness of some apps. However, I want to emphasis again, that it is not about the app or the use of technology, but about how it can enhance learning and the learning outcomes around this.

    I came away enriched from meaningful conversations. Thank you to all the attendees for a productive evening!

  • Starting a group for teachers interested in improving their elearning pedagogy is something I've been thinking about for a long time.

    Rotorua has had a number of ict pd clusters - RELLCO, RCICT, Town and Country and Rotorua Lakes - which have come to an end, it and would seem, so has the momentum. I was involved in three of these clusters and I've found that to further my pedagogy, I've had to connect online with others away from Rotorua.

    Time to connect US!

    Last year, the Central North BeL facilitators hosted a meeting where a number of colleagues from the area talked about this need to connect. One teacher I worked with at another school here said, "Annemarie, do something!"  I've never been someone who sits back and waits for others to take a lead.  Marnel van der Spuy, who I had originally connected with online, has been my accomplice and travel buddy to Hamilton, in the search for PD. We sat down together, came up with a survey which we sent out to schools, then spent Waitangi day planning our first meeting on Friday 14 February at 4.30pm. We didn't want to take a Saturday as we didn't want to encroach on weekends at this point. Finding a day of the week when folk were free of staff meetings was also difficult. We settled for Friday afternoons, and because we wanted to accommodate peole out of town, we decided on 4.30pm.

    The first meeting was successful with about fifteen bodies, in spite of it being Valentine's day!  We used the time to plan what people wanted.

    Our meetings will be on Fridays at 4.30pm in week 2 and week 7 of each term.  We'll set a topic so that people can pick and choose.  Sometimes there will be an expert speaker; there will be time for informal sharing and a smackdown of ideas. 

    The second meeting is coming up - Friday 21 March at 4.30pm - and the focus is Google!  There will be a shared doc to add your ideas to as it would be great to hear a number of voices. See you there.

    (For those like me who can't get enough learning, Taupo Connected Teachers are also holding meetings.  The first was this last Saturday 1 March.  See me if you want to carpool for the next one.)