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Tessa Gray's discussion posts

  • Tessa Gray 21 Jan 2019 5:17pm () in Whakawhanaungatanga - Getting to know our learners

    Here's a cool template (I saw shared in Facebook) that takes getting to know our kids at the beginning of the year - a little deeper and helps plan for their pepeha.

    Also loving the invitation from parents/whānau to share their views on their child's strengths and needs. After all, 'we can't teach whom we don't know". All of this valuable information can help to group children and tailor learning pathways for their individual needs. smiley

  • Tessa Gray 16 Jan 2019 12:44pm () in Exploring Progress outcomes 2 for CT and DDDO

    I love it when teachers in NZ share! Thank you Amy Coker for this shared Google doc (Primary Teachers Facebook group).  Also see, Breaking down Digital Technology progress outcomes for CT and DDDO thread for more ideas. Does anyone else have anything to add?


  • Tessa Gray 16 Jan 2019 12:41pm () in Breaking down Digital Technology progress outcomes for CT and DDDO 

    I love it when teachers in NZ share! Thank you Amy Coker for this shared Google doc (Primary Teachers Facebook group). Also see, Exploring Progress outcomes 2 for CT and DDDO thread for more ideas. Does anyone else have anything to add? 


  • Tessa Gray 09 Jan 2019 4:11pm () in Breaking down Digital Technology progress outcomes for CT and DDDO 

    It's been rewarding taking some time to get more familiar with the Pīkau (online toolkits) hosted in Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko (National Digital Readiness Programme) this week and I've particularly enjoyed exploring the language, intention andlesson sequences to teach Progress Outcome 1 for CT:

    In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students use their decomposition skills to break down simple non-computerised tasks into precise, unambiguous, step-by-step instructions (algorithmic thinking). They give these instructions, identify any errors in them as they are followed, and correct them (simple debugging).

    The examples shared use 'kids and a grid' to follow simple instructions/movements (forward, left, right) to achieve a certain goal or solve a problem. Students take on roles - programmer, tester, kidbot to trial, test and fix instructions to get the programming right for any user. Using exercise of moving around a grid helps introduce ideas about programming without devices which isn’t necessary at Progress outcome 1.
    This easy to follow Pīkau (online course) goes on to make direct references to programming language for teachers such as;
    • Commands in sequence (algorithm)
    • Decomposition (breaking things down into smaller pieces/steps), same as decomposing, except less smelly than compost
    • Bug (term came from historical first bug found) and debugging (fix an issue)
    New learning for students includes the understanding that commands in sequence require precision and when these work, this becomes a 'complete' language. The exciting thing for students is that, often there are multiple solutions using different programmes (or commands), that can ultimately achieve the same results (some faster than others).
    This is a great way to demonstrate how different ‘complete’ digital programming languages do the same thing.
    Different programme languages
    The examples shared, exemplify sequence and decomposition at PO1 where students use the grid exercise to spell out names and put words in order to make a sentence (Literacy), shapes (Maths) programme boat to go on the river, elements on periodic table, life cycles, water cycle, sending rocket to mars (Science). 
    Have you used 'kids on grids' exercise before? If so, what contexts or problems have you presented so that students can create simple programming language (L, R, F) to achieve a goal?
    I'm off to find out more about Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes (DDDO) for PO1...
  • Tessa Gray 11 Dec 2018 5:09pm () in If you were the boss of education what would you do first?

    We’ve had our say in Kōrero Mātauranga and now here’s the final comprehensive report (140 pages), signalling some of the biggest (transformational) changes in schools in 30 years. It highlights some of the equity and performance challenges and offers recommendations for how these can be addressed.

    The 8 key issues are highlighted in this summary which include:

    • Governance
    • School provision
    • Competition and choice
    • Disability and learning support
    • Teaching
    • School leadership
    • School resourcing
    • Central Education Agencies

    As well as addressing the current teaching issues (recruitment, support and PLD), there is also some recommendations to address the very serious equity and excellence issues in our educational system which signals a need for a cultural shift in our thinking and transformational change in our education system. As Bali Haque (Chair, Tomorrow's Schools Review Taskforce) says,

    “When every one of our children experiences success, we will all benefit.”

    Keep an eye out for what's next and continue the korero and have your say @ #EdConvo18, #TomorrowsSchools

  • Tessa Gray 05 Dec 2018 11:49am () in Nurturing collaborative partnerships

    Schools are continuing to connect and collaborate together (clusters, CoLs and Kāhui Ako) to address common goals; and focus on children and young people's learning pathways to help them achieve their full potential. Collaboration wordartThis process involves a whole change in learning culture, so that shared goals are achieved within, across and beyond schools/kura, rather than individual school goals being addressed in silos. It's about meeting the needs of all learners across networked communities.

    In all of these communities, collaborative relationships and partnerships been established and processes for collaborative professional inquiry have been strengthenedSome of the key themes of success include; relationships, collective wisdom and partnerships.

    In the NZEI video below, Mark Potter Principal, Berhampore School talks about the key areas/phases of collaboration in a CoL - Forming relationships, developing collective purpose, planning for change and collective action, with an emphasis on 'taking time' to do this well. 

    Some of the key challenges identified with planning for change and taking collective action (as a collaborative endeavour) include:

    • Building the relational trust within and between schools
    • Understanding a theory of change
    • Understanding a collective, shared purpose for student achievement, common focus areas 
    • Fulfilling effective leadership roles in a culture of change
    • Consistency and transparency around goal setting
    • Ensuring all teachers and leaders have buy-in and ownership of progress 
    • Effective communication skills to share knowledge, expertise and create partnerships with the wider learning community
    • Increased evaluative capability through professional inquiry practices (collaborative inquiry)

    Examples of success

    November 20th, 2018 TeachMeetNZ hosted a sharing session with Across School Leaders in Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS). During this insightful session, teachers shared; their foci, how they have strengthened teacher practice, processes for inquiry (links to research) and key shifts and learning so far. Sonya Van Schaijik facilitated this session and has since linked to each inquiry (literacy, numeracy, teacher agency, student agency, transitioning between schools) in the following video in the ACCOS blog. Some key observations include how, ...collaboration has come to the fore, collaborative practice and theory have become more visible and meaningful in our initiative... 

    In Talanoathis Enabling e-Learning snapshot of learning, Collaborative inquiry using Talanoa – A communication process, Porirua East schools share how they have used Talanoa framework and Spirals of Inquiry to collaboratively support their teachers in changing their practice; to raise achievement for target students. This snapshot breaks down the processes, and highlights some early signs of impact for both teachers and students.


    Some more rich examples of 'co teaching' and learning can also be seen from Grow Waitaha – Collaborative teaching and learning. Grow Waitaha is a networked initiative designed to support schools to achieve pedagogical change in a meaningful and manageable way. Their examples of shift and change are powerful, as they in turn ask us to reflect on,

    • What benefits does collaborative teaching and learning practice provide for your learners? For teachers?
    • How do you know what the impact of collaborative teaching and learning is on your students? 
    • How does your school provide support, time and resources for effective collaboration? 

    Collaborative Inquiry

    If you want to know more about collaborative Inquiry, you can easily catch up with Rebbecca Sweeney in our Webinar recording: What is collaborative inquiry? Part of this original thread, What is collaborative inquiry? The Collaboration framework (CORE Education) also provides some key components to unpack and pātai to address as a self-review tool, when building collaborative culture of change - especially when multiple organisations are involved.

    You might also like:

  • Tessa Gray 28 Nov 2018 6:48pm () in Exploring Progress outcomes 2 for CT and DDDO

    Recently we hosted a discussion thread on, Breaking down Digital Technology progress outcomes for CT and DDDO looking at PO1 for Level 1 and 2. Today we take another look at the terminology and intentions for Progress Outcomes 2 (CT and DDDO), and link to new content material and examples of practice from across Aotearoa.

    CT Progress outcomes

    NZ teachers are always quick to connect and share new learning together. A great example of of this can be seen in the DTTA community (Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa) where educators like Sarah Washbrooke are sharing resources they have created, CT Activities Document for Classroom Teachers linking Digital Technologies POs to curriculum contexts and inviting teachers to use these in their classroom, while tech leaders like Zoe Timbrell (Co-Founder, OMGTech!) are sharing Google presentations and inviting teachers to use these with their colleagues. Feel free to join the DTTA community to find out more and get involved.

    In this video below, we talk to Gretchen Badenhorst and Joey McGrath about an interactive Google site they have created with Jeanette Irons and Julian Latimer, PLD to Integrate Computational Thinking into the Year 1-10 curriculumThis group of talented educators have created this site for teachers to use, so they can 1) get up-skilled with the Progress Outcomes for Computational Thinking (terminology language, intention, examples) and 2) use this as a teaching resource. For example, see the teacher guide for Progress Outcome 2. They also invite you to join the Google + community to chat some more.

    Technology Online (TKI) showcases exemplars and snapshots of learning for Progress Outcome 2 and Enabling e-Learning (TKI) continues to share stories of how digital technologies are integrated (utilised/created) across the curriculum in both schools and kura in the Media Gallery.

    Kiatakatū ā-Matihiko, the National Digital Readiness Programme is releasing new interactive media in online pīkau (toolkits) everyday and hosting regional ahikāro (meet ups) around the motu for teachers who are new to this mahi, or in positions of leadership in their schools (pouahi).

    In the meantime, if you’re still wanting to see what CT and DDDO looks like in the junior years, check out the Year 1-3 documentary winners for the MADE (Media and Digital Excellence) awards 2018 from Rāwhiti School (Christchurch). Amazing!!

    Whatever part of the journey you are on, we know you have resources and requests of your own, please feel free to dive in and share these below.

  • Tessa Gray 15 Nov 2018 9:30am () in INTERVIEW WITH A GURU: Flipped learning for students at Ashhurst School

    Anyone interested in raising student engagement, growing learner autonomy, might be been keen to flip learning design by using interactive video tools like Playposit.

    Any learning contexts can be turned into bite sized media/video files and tailored to encourage engagement directly with the content. This tool enables you to upload video, crop and add questions for students to interact with. I can see this would be useful to add to learning management systems etc. For more, see the following demonstration. 

    Can you see how an instructional tool like Playposit could be used before, during or after teachable moments in your classroom?

  • Tessa Gray 15 Nov 2018 9:20am () in Handwriting, that old chestnut

    With the introduction of reader pens and other assistive technologies to support reading and writing, the old handwriting debate continues. Here's a summary of some thinking for and against a focus on teaching handwriting. It also looks at the different needs of students (age, motor skills etc) and the reality of when/where handwriting is used in everyday contexts.

    What are your thoughts and personal experiences? We'd love to hear more...

  • Tessa Gray 13 Nov 2018 10:25am () in Design thinking in the curriculum

    Here's an example of how one school is redesigning their inquiry-based (or project-based) learning model and creating a mash-up with the design thinking phases in mind, to better reflect the students and the community (including partnerships with Māori) they live in. Find out more @ Design thinking and curriculum design

    Is this a process your school is undertaking at the moment? Do you have any ideas to share or questions to ask?

Tessa Gray

Enabling e-Learning online facilitator. I'm excited about the prospects of the VLN and how it can bring like-minded people together online. I am here to help promote discussions and share effective practice.