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Tessa Gray's discussion posts

  • Tessa Gray 20 Mar 2019 8:22am () in Support in the wake of Christchurch

    Cross posted from literacy list serves:


    Tips for parents and educators: Supporting children and young people

    In the wake of Friday’s shocking event in Christchurch, the Ministry of Education is providing support to schools, kura, and early learning services. This is a really tough time for New Zealanders and it is critical our children and young people get the support and care they need as they return to schools and other learning institutions. We also need to look after our teachers and staff.

    The Ministry is very focused on Christchurch but we know children and young people around the country have been impacted by Friday’s events and we are ensuring everyone is provided with the support they need.

    Tips for parents and educators on supporting conversations with children and young people have been circulated to all New Zealand schools and early learning services and can be found on the Ministry's website

    Other Ministry resources that focus on resilience and diversity

    Curriculum in Action: Change loss and grief 

    This resource helps students develop knowledge, understanding, and skills to support themselves and others in times of stress and loss. 

    School Journal Story Library: Home: Stories from New New Zealanders 

    Students share memories of what life was like in the countries where they were born and discuss what it has been like adjusting to life in New Zealand.

    Resilience and mental health resources provided by other organisations

    My FRIENDS Youth Resilience Programme

    This aims to help students in years 7–11 become confident, lifelong learners. It has been shown to help build students’ resilience – their ability to overcome anxiety and cope with difficult and challenging situations. 

    Mental health education and hauora: Teaching interpersonal skills, resilience, and wellbeing

    This NZCER resource supports teaching children and young people about mental health, wellbeing, resilience, and interpersonal skills.

    Common Ground 

    Common Ground helps adults to support young people in years 1–13 to manage hard times and enjoy happier lives. It includes tips on how to get help, initiate difficult conversations with young people, and identify a young person in need of help.

  • Tessa Gray 14 Mar 2019 4:43pm () in Leading Digital Technologies

    You might already be leading digital change in your school or have been newly appointed to help your staff become ready to implement the new digital technologies content from the revised Technology Learning area. As we know,

    Vision. Strategy. Implementation. Effective leadership is critical in implementing effective e-learning practices throughout your school. Enabling e-Learning Leadership (TKI)

    Digital technologiesWith the introduction of digital technologies (Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes and Computational Thinking), leaders need to manage the operation of e-learning and ICTs in an authentic, safe and inclusive manner.

    All staff need resourcing (including infrastructure, digital systems), time and opportunity to become familiar with and more informed about the new digital content. They in-turn, can become confident and capable to design authentic learning experiences; that enable students to be discerning users and creators of digital technologies.

    Where to start?


    1. Having an understanding of ICTs and e-learning capabilities as well as creating solutions while learning about Digital Technologies is a useful start. This PDF file, Differences between digital technologies and e-learning/ICT capabilities infographic from Kia Takatū ā Matihiko goes a long way to understanding the purpose and potential of digital technologies in our young people’s lives.

    2. Having a strategic approach to help plan for, manage and monitor this change is invaluable. The strategic thinking roadmap (downloadable PDF developed by CLA) is a very useful guide to supporting the development of your digital technologies action plan with five phases to work through: Strategic roadmap

    • Getting a team onboard
    • Understanding digital content
    • Beginning strategic discussions
    • Collating and prioritising key findings
    • Initiating goals and an action/implementation plan

    3. Having access to useful resources to help up-skill teachers and leaders with the new content, as well as facilitation strategies to mohiotanga (support) colleagues through this change, is also important. There are useful multimedia modules or Pīkau in Kia Katakatū ā-Matihiko (National Digital Readiness Programme) and there is also dedicated programme to support Pouahi | Digital leaders who have a passion for digital technologies and a desire to support and grow the digital readiness of their colleagues with resources to confidently lead others and stoke the fires of their colleague’s curiosity by supporting their learning communities to explore and implement the new digital content.

    4. Networking with fellow educators can help shed light on shared experiences, which can in-turn help to lead these developments – after all, we’re not alone. This Enabling e-Learning community, Facebook, Twitter, as well Ngā Kiriahi (Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko online network) can also help you grow and share your knowledge and advocacy of the new digital technologies content - as well as support leading e-learning in your school.

    You might be experienced in this area, or perhaps not leading this at all, either way, these networks and resources will go a long way to support others leading this this change in your school or kura.

    You may have already started leading this change to implement digital technologies, do you have any early observations about this process so far? What’s on top for you? We'd love to kick start this conversation and see how people are getting on.

    Also see e-Learning leadership: what does it take in a digital age?

  • Tessa Gray 11 Mar 2019 3:00pm () in Collaborative Teacher Inquiry

    In the latest Statement of Intent 2018 - 2023 published by the Ministry of Education, page 10 looks out over four years and acknowledges our education system is influenced by a variety of domestic and global trends, each of which presents risks and opportunities, one of which is;

    Collaboration and alignment – There is a lack of collaboration, alignment and coherence making the devolved system limited in its effectiveness. (Statement of Intent 2018 - 2023, p10)

    Question markA lack of professional collaboration could be interpreted to mean that we're less able to [collectively] address those things that need changing in our systems.


    Enabling e-Learning (TKI) has updated the resource, What is collaborative Inquiry?


    Teachers work together to identify common challenges, analyse relevant data, and test out instructional approaches.

    Collaborative inquiry as opposed to individual professional inquiry, is more than collective co-operation and involves;

    ...teachers, or members of a professional learning community (PLC), working together to systematically examine focused aspects of their educational practices by exploring student responses to instruction, leading to new understandings and changes in classroom teaching. Teachers work together to define problems, co-plan, co-teach, co-monitor and interpret outcomes, and then consider together “what’s next.” (Schnellart & Butler, 2014 )

    For those starting out, becoming a collaborative team takes time and perseverance, there are protocols for ways of working, and structural supports needed for relational trust to underpin the process of evaluative practice (including data-driven conversations) that can ultimately influence localised shifts in teaching and learning. See, Getting started - Effective collaboration. Enabling e-Learning has also published a number of examples, research and resources to support you with this process.

    For those who have already been working in this way, the question might arise, It’s the beginning of a new school year, should we start again? In this CORE blog post, Spiral of Inquiry: It’s a new year, should we start again? Rebbecca Sweeney writes,

    An influx of new learners in the new year doesn’t have to mean ‘new inquiry’ for the team. Collaborative inquiries morph and change over time based on the evidence you gather about teacher practice and learner progress.

    A better question to ask would be: What progress did we make with our collaborative inquiry last year and where to next?

    Do you undertake teacher inquiry as a individual endeavour (with peer review opportunities) or as a collective process facilitated through learning-focused conversations, where collaboration can/does result in improved teaching and learning outcomes? We’d love to hear more.

    Feel free to share how professional inquiry has changed for you, in the comments section below.


    For more examples of collaborative practice in schools, see Enabling e-Learning’s snapshots of learning:

    Also see our previous discussion thread (VLN), What is collaborative Inquiry?

    Image by geralt on Pixabay 


  • Tessa Gray 11 Mar 2019 12:14pm () in Who's sparking up your localised curriculum?

    NZC Online: Local Curriculum package support for schools and kura 2019

    Schools and kura want to focus on local curriculum – both design and review. In recognition that a range of leadership, teacher, and kaiako capability already exists on local curriculum practice, the Ministry is responding to this feedback with a package of support on local curriculum in 2019 including workshops with teacher-release time, guidance, and tools. 

    Leading Local Curriculum Guide series has been developed to steer your curriculum and assessment review and design decisions as you strengthen your local curriculum. It will support you to use tools to assess progress that is informative, and strengthen the partnerships you have with parents and whānau. There are three guides:

    There is also a tool for both Māori Medium and English Medium schools, Local Curriculum Design Tool or Rapua Te Ara Tika There is also a series of FREE workshops being hosted around the country to support you, Click on the city near you and you will get into the registration site.

  • Tessa Gray 07 Mar 2019 2:29pm () in Design thinking and hangarau matihiko in a kura kaupapa setting

    Enabling e-Learning has recently published this inspiring snapshot of learning, STEAM at Te Kura o Matapihi. This is rich story, highlighting how the students are creatively and authentically learning through, with and about digital technologies.

    At Te Kura o Matapihi they recognise the importance of connecting and engaging with the wider world using digital technologies. Their vision,

    … is to develop students (ākonga) who are confident in "Te Ao Māori me Te Ao Whānui" (the Māori world and the wider world). Ākonga are encouraged to remain committed to te reo Māori and tikanga Māori.

    To achieve this vision, they have employed e-learning co-ordinator, Sandy Bornholdt to help lead STEAM learning and teaching using the new Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matahiko curriculum content. Sandy describes her role at the kura, which involves:

    • supporting the teaching and learning, providing next steps for kaiako

    • developing the school the curriculum by incorporating e-learning and STEAM into their work and tikanga. 

    It works well for all involved, because while Sandy is strengthening te reo and te o Maori, kaiako are gaining confidence and capacity to use and teach technologies in authentic contexts.

    A strong pedagogy underpins learning processes, and their design model - Te whakaaro (Think), Te tipurangi (Design), Te Puawaitanga (Create) is used by both teachers and students. Design thinking is strongly evident throughout the Technology Learning area, so it makes sense to see this underpinning the design of authentic, integrated learning experiences, as part of their STEM and STEAM programme.

    For more about this design process in action, see a similar post in Ngā Kiriahi, the community for Kia takatū-ā Matihiko (National Digital Readiness Programme).

    This story is unique as it illustrates both e-learning in action, as well as Hangarau Matihiko and offers rich ideas for both teachers (EM) and kaiako (MM). You’ll find the transcripts are bi-lingual, so please feel free to share these with your schools and kura.

  • Tessa Gray 05 Feb 2019 4:06pm () in FREE Te Tiriti o Waitangi event and resources

    There's more gold circulating in 'the ether' about ways we can honour te Tiriti o Waitangi. Here are some digital resources and on-going conversations to help you in the classroom 2019.

    Treaty of Waitangi From NZC Online:

    How will your students learn about Waitangi Day this year? Use our resource page to plan for your learners.


    Te Tiriti o Waitangi / School Journal Story Library / Instructional Series / English - ESOL - Literacy Online website - Instructional SeriesThis comic provides a fresh approach to the story of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. It covers a wide time span, from the…

    From Te Papa:

    Waitangi Day activity bookHe puka mahi Rā o Waitangi

    A free downloadable activity book to help kids understand the significance of Waitangi Day. Learn through maps, flags, word puzzles, drawing, and colouring in. Perfect for primary-aged children.

    Want to chat some more? Check out, CORE Treaty Talks. Also see: https://vln.school.nz/.../waitangi-day-–-how-will-you-commemorate for more resources.

    If you have any more taonga to share, please feel free to drop these below. Enjoy Waitangi Day tatou.

  • Tessa Gray 04 Feb 2019 1:23pm () in Who's sparking up your localised curriculum?

    I've been working with a few schools lately, unleashing and reigniting the passion in the curriculum by unpacking constructivist models of learning, such as; Play Based learning, Project-Based learning, Passion projects, Gamification,  Student-based inquiry, STEAM, STEM, Makerspace and how this looks in our student-centred classrooms.

    Our big challenge or wero: What is an authentic context for learning? Sounds pretty easy really... an authentic context is all around us - in the houses/communities we live in, the food we eat, to the vehicles we use, how they're made and powered, cultural contexts for daily/special rituals - the contexts for authentic learning are endless, but we don't always find this easy to teach in our classrooms.

    Authentic learning contexts

    Schools and kura are coming together to map the year ahead, some are doing this with the input of their students and the wider community. This resource from Grow Waitaha is an exemplary example of how NZ educators are so willing to share their mahi. I found the exercise of asking akonga their views on learning, in the student conversation toolkit very powerful and the facilitated strategies and support material very useful. There are also examples of authentic/collaborative learning from Grow Waitaha in their authentic curriculum kete.

    On top of all of the wonderful school stories and resources already in NZC Online, there is a new Local curriculum package of support for 2019 rolling out soon (including in-depth workshops) for Schools and kura  who want to focus on local curriculum – both design and review. 

    So where you do start? Concept? Problem? Learning area? Key Competencies? Are these based on local stories, historical moments, tipuna, global or the students themselves? Are these issues-based or curriculum driven? I'd really appreciate some ideas for how you or your colleagues brainstorm contexts for learning. Likewise if this is a wondering for you as well?

  • Tessa Gray 31 Jan 2019 4:49pm () in Safer Internet Day NZ 2019 is coming!
    Welcome back to 2019 everyone! We kick off the year with Safer Internet Day NZ 2019 next week on Tuesday 5th February.  
    Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. 
    Safer Internet dayNetsafe supports an awareness on this day for people, schools, industry and organisations to unite together to raise awareness and start conversations about online. The theme this year is Together for a Better Internet#SID2019. Save the date, keep the foci in mind, engage with the Twitter activity and register your interest - as you set the scene and take action to help you and your learning community stay safer online.
    The NetSafe website promotes three actions to take this Safer Internet Day
    1. Start having conversations about online safety with the young people in your life
    2. Do an online profile check-up
    3. Share something positive online
    How do you see, Together for a Better Internet working in your school or kura?
  • 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

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.