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Anne Sturgess's discussion posts

  • Anne Sturgess 11 Nov 2014 11:35am () in Conference 2015

    What a wonderful initiative. I'm keen to attend and will happily share the information with others. 

  • Anne Sturgess 06 Oct 2014 1:54pm () in Book Group #1: Key Competencies for the Future, with NZCER | from 3rd October

    This book is critically important and should be compulsory reading along with the NZC. All students need to be change agents: This is especially true for those students who care intensely about social and environmental issues because they can become overwhelmed and hugely distressed by the immensity of issues they're exposed to every day. These are often the students that impress teachers with their heartfelt reactions to novels and activities that address significant issues - what the teacher can't see is the turmoil that continues to plague many of these children beyond the duration of the unit of work.  Quite apart from the real-world learning that takes place, being 'part of the solution' helps these children address this intensity by making a contribution. The Starfish Story is a great way to introduce the notion of being part of the solution in a manageable way. Although videos of the story are available, I find students engage more when I tell, and act it, myself.

    As a PLD provider for the last four years, I don't have access to my own classes now but the Te Ao Whanui class website provides an example of one way of engaging students in complex local real-life challenges based on the last Year 10 class I taught (in 2010). The learning programme for the year centred around the name of the class 'Te Ao Whanui.' Although the theme of 'Local Participation and Global Confidence' was the same for all 29 students, each of them could choose their focus for learning, design how they would weave strands and learning objectives into their personalised learning activities and how they would show what new learning had occurred (as opposed to simply showing the product of their learning). While learning was personalised, it was also collaborative, in that students worked within, and across, their project-based groups to learn from and with each other. Formative assessment was individualised as was the assessment for those students who opted to 'have a go' at a Level 1 Achievement Standard (all passed including two with Excellence and four with Merit). Although it's not obvious on the class site, all groups completed the projects, and their achievements far exceeded their own, and others', expectations. While the site quickly became inactive as a place for writing when the year finished, the learning and principles underpinning this way of working remained with the students beyond their time in this class. Resources used for the learning programme are available in Curriculum Stories (archived). I wouldn't use these in the same way again, especially since there is so much more available to students now, but many of the ideas underpinning the programme remain relevant (for now).

    I look forward to hearing others' examples and ideas of how to make these important principles active in learning at all levels.

  • Anne Sturgess 01 Oct 2014 9:17am () in Inviting your school community onto the modern learning practice (MLP) waka

    Morena Tamara, I agree... reminds me of an Irish blessing "May we live in exciting times." Some teachers have always taught this way but it's so much easier now thanks to the internet and accessible technologies and there's 'permission' to teach students not just content. That Principal who told me my Year 10 class needed to stay inside (i.e. not work on the deck) and that I should have more 'control' over their learning (i.e. all doing the same thing) is an anachronism now - I hope. My definition of an MLE - Great teachers using the most effective strategies and tools available at the time to create a learning environment that invites the gifts and talents of every child to rise to the surface and be nutured in a way that is joyous, celebratory and fulfilling. Success is an inevitable outcome of engaging in deep learning. I recommend Jackie Gerstein's blog to others who are excited about the possibilities of Education 2.0 and 3.0. Have fun at ULearn14

  • Anne Sturgess 17 Mar 2014 8:48pm () in MLE- Do these actually raise student achievement?

    Ryan, well done for putting the important question out there. We need discerning as well as early uptakers; early uptakers provide the practical experiences that allow those of us who stand back and question to examine new practices before adopting them ourselves (or not).

    Like Christine, I've been wondering about MLEs; their purpose, outcomes and cost effectiveness, and have drawn the conclusion that good teachers have always taught in a 'modern learning environment' by adopting the most effective teaching and learning practices available for the time and circumstances. For me, MLEs are not about the architecture, although the design should support better learning, it's about using the best of everything that is currently available to ensure all students are active learners and contributors. As Roger said, it's a change in mindset and creating a total enviroment that actively invites meaningful, effective practice grounded in well-researched pedagogy for teaching in this age. An effective MLE goes well beyond the walls of the classroom, beyond the large decks, beyond the wi-fi that's accessible under the big tree near the back fence of the playground, all the way to the local community and then beyond that to encompass the global community. I know of a small, local primary school that has not refurbished or re-designed but has adopted the MLE philosophy by opening up opportunities for students to 'learn anywhere, anytime' through the use of digital technologies and breaking down traditional ways of thinking about 'one class, one teacher.'

    Roger, I loved looking at your website; it's one of the most invitational school sites I've seen. Best wishes for the opening on May 5th.



  • Anne Sturgess 14 Dec 2013 8:12am () in Effective Supports and Approaches Related to Dyslexia

    Tessa, you are so right about the number of highly gifted people who experience dyslexia. I have presented several workshops on the topic of Burden or Bonus?, looking at ways of teaching gifted learners who experience difficulties with some aspects of learning (especially print-related difficulties). I have included an extract below from a chapter entitled "Celebrating the Square Peg" (in Moltzen, R. (2012) Gifted and Talented: New Zealand Perspectives, 3rd ed). Although the context for this chapter was gifted & talented education, I believe that learning environments should be designed so that every child is able to continually move forward in his or her learning (UDL principles in action).

    "Historical evidence abounds of people with special talents who have had a significant impact on society who also experienced difficulty with one or more aspects of learning (Gallagher, 1997). Well-known examples are Winston Churchill, Count Tolstoy, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Vincent van Gogh, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison. For every Einstein or Tolstoy whose talents are eventually recognised there are many more whose talents remain hidden. Failure to identify and nurture giftedness amongst those with learning difficulties is detrimental to the individual and counterproductive to the development of society."

    Chrissie, I passed on your suggestion and Michael is now working on developing an e-resource for teachers. Smile

  • Anne Sturgess 10 Dec 2013 5:25pm () in Child with severe expressive language diffficulties

    Here's a recommendation from one of my Edshelf collections: https://edshelf.com/tool/icomm


  • Anne Sturgess 09 Dec 2013 10:52pm () in Introduce Yourself!

    Thornton Moonrise

    Ko Anne Sturgess tōku ingoa. Ko taku whenua tupu ko Winiata, tata tonu ki Taihape, I ngā parenga o te awa o Rangitikei, I raro i te maru o Ruapehu maunga. Ko taku kāinga noho ko Thornton, I ngā parenga o te awa o Rangitaiki, I raro i te maru o Pūtauaki maunga. He uri ahau nō ngā kāwai whakaheke o Sturgess, taku taha ure tārewa, o McIntyre hoki, taku taha ūkaipō. Tēnā koutou katoa.

    My name is Anne Sturgess. I grew up in Winiata, near Taihape, alongside the Rangitikei River, under the guardianship of Mount Ruapehu. I now live in Thornton, alongside the Rangitaiki River, under the guardianship of Putauaki. My whakapapa traces back to Sturgess on my father's side and to McIntyre on my mother's side. Greetings to you all.

    I'm currently employed by the University of Waikato and work in two Te Toi Tupu MOE contracts; Blended e-Learning and Gifted & Talented Education. I'm also a member of the Coordination Team for a Masters paper in Professional Learning and Development.

  • Anne Sturgess 22 Nov 2013 12:53pm () in Effective Supports and Approaches Related to Dyslexia

    Here's another poem that was sent to me by a parent via the TKI GATE community, in response to posting Michael's poem. Antony had support with the spelling but the thoughts and structure are entirely his own and provide an interesting insight into his thinking. This video from Dr sally Shawitz, from the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, might be of interest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxUn4ggvgKI

    What is inside my head?

    Inside my head is:

     a city with me as ruler

    Blue prints of failed inventions

    And Explosions of lots of TNT

     A town of Lego


    Never ending Libraries with

    Loads of books

     A raging storm of thoughts

    Trying to get out

     A pencil case of no ink

    Food in huge cellars

    A big ball of blue tack

    A war with my writing

     Radios with the penguin band rocking out

    Now that is what is inside my head.

                                                                                 by Antony, aged 11, Term 2 2013

  • Anne Sturgess 21 Nov 2013 1:47pm () in Effective Supports and Approaches Related to Dyslexia

    Poem from Michael (Rm 17, age 12) (shared with Michael’s permission and his Mum’s and teacher’s)

    A Year 7 student shared his writing journal with me during a visit to a school yesterday. While students were creating digital stories using Story Creator, the teacher showed me the poem below, which was recently shared in the school newsletter. His teacher whispered to me “Don’t use the D word.” Michael and his mother are well aware of the implications of dyslexia but Michael had decided (albeit intuitively) not to be defined and constrained by the label.

    In the course of a wonderful conversation, I asked Michael about the challenges and benefits his way of thinking brings. He was articulate and enthusiastic in his response (and, interestingly, he was okay with using the D word in that context). The main point he made was that he doesn’t just see the outside of things; he sees inside in a way that others can’t – he sees the whole thing (his words). This idea is repeated time and time again when I have similar conversations with students. I told Michael about the Dyslexia Potential site and its focus on strengths, not weaknesses. Michael’s face lit up, especially when we talked about how he could use Book Creator and voice-to-text to publish his story (e.g iDictation) or simply use audio-visual media. Our conversation didn’t continue much past that point because he was so keen to get started with Book Creator. Michael has a story to tell and I know he will do so.

    As Michael wrote the poem (in his writing journal)


    Why does spllig hate me

    It is like words are being mest up in a bowl in my head (it hate a lot)

    Its is a bede suop gen reod but hest

    So why does spli heat me so mach it is because my bran is not nomel

    so haw is this brel going to were a slone dot ask

    the kid who does not haw to splliy

    It is like my bean has mest out splying

    It look word are spied all over the flood but I dot pek up the right one

    look in my bran it the but there is pes mass of the plazz

    As Michael translated the poem to his wonderful teacher


    Why does Spelling Hate Me?

    It is like words are being mixed up in my head (it hurts a lot)

    It’s like bad soup gone wrong but worse

    So why does spelling hate me so much? It is because my brain is not normal

    So how is the problem going to find a solution? Don’t ask the kid who doesn’t know how to spell.

    It is like my brain has missed out spelling.

    It is like words are spilled all over the floor but I don’t pick up the right one.

    Look in my brain but there is a piece missing of the puzzle.

    Coincidentally, a colleague shared information from magnocellular theory research that discusses the role of the parvocellular system’s ability to process static, large scale, visual scenes so efficiently and then extend them into cognitive domains to enable the ‘holistic big-picture’ thinking characteristic of the great artists, entrepreneurs and politicians (Stein, J. The Magnocellular Theory of Developmental Dyslexia. University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford, UK DYSLEXIA 7: 12–36, 2001). I’m keen to learn more.

  • Anne Sturgess 12 Nov 2013 9:47am () in Lawyer Susana makes history

    Thanks for sharing, Manu. An inspirational story worth passing on. Another example of the importance of  catalysts in people's lives, as per Francoys Gagne's model: http://tinyurl.com/Gagne-DMGT