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Steph Kitto's discussion posts

  • Steph Kitto 02 Jul 2016 2:58pm () in Forum: How do schools ready themselves for modern learning pedagogies?

    Kia ora. My name is Stephanie Kitto. I am the junior syndicate leader at Clyde Primary school and a member of the NAPP 2016 cohort.  I currently team teach in a NE - Yr 2 class. 

    At the beginning of 2015 my teaching partner and I, after a lot of discussion and research around modern learning practice, decided to combine the NE/Yr 1 class with the Yr 2 class to create an ILE. We explored classroom design, looked at how best to set up the learning environment, and discussed what we wanted to achieve by working collaboratively. 

    We began by removing a large concertina door that separated our two classes. This enabled us to combine the two learning spaces and create a larger flexible learning space. At this point our caretaker very kindly customised old furniture to meet our needs. He created several low tables by cutting down larger desks and creating ply-wood table tops in the various designs we had requested. We up-cycled old classroom furniture that was no longer being used, eg: adding three sides to single desks to create quiet office spaces. 

    We have a similar teaching & learning philosophy and this provided a good starting point for developing a shared vision for what we wanted to achieve by creating an ILE.  It allows us to plan and teach collaboratively, drawing on each other strengths and continuously reflecting and improving our practice. We are constantly looking at what’s working, what’s not working, tweaking things, trialling new ideas and reflecting. Universal Design for Learning principles help us to ensure that we are focused on our learners.

    As many have already have mentioned in this thread, it is not about the fancy furniture and you don’t need to wait for a purpose built space. Modern learning pedagogy is all about future-focused, personalised learning. It is about looking at how to best meet the needs of each learner. 

    For ILE’s to be successful I believe it is vital that there is a shared vision and a shared understanding of effective 21st Century teaching and learning pedagogy. You need to be willing to work collaboratively, to critically reflect on your practice, be open to new ideas, and continue to learn from others. 

  • Steph Kitto 28 Jun 2016 11:18pm () in Why are innovator’s mind-sets and in-depth collaboration and cooperation crucial in resourcing ILEs? | NAPP Kōrero 6 2016

    Hi Rachel

    I totally agree with you that one of the biggest challenges many schools face is around trying to change teacher pedagogy and providing the necessary PD and on-going support.  Time, money and the willingness of all staff to engage with change are huge factors.

    Technology can be a wonderful enabler and a fantastic tool if used effectively. However, if teachers do not have sufficient professional development and on-going support then it can become a substitute for pen and paper.  The other day I discovered some students using a particular app to share their learning. The app was chosen by the students for its 'novelty value' and was not the right tool for the job. When I questioned the teacher about what her students were learning and why this tool had been chosen, she admitted that she hadn't used the app before. She said that the students knew how to use it, so she thought it would be fine. She looked stunned when I explained that using this tool to share their learning would be like using chalk to write in a book.

    For me this really highlighted the need to ensure that effective pedagogy comes first. Technology should be used to support, enable and empower learners..... but to do this, we first need to support and empower our staff.

  • Steph Kitto 26 Jun 2016 9:12pm () in FORUM: What does innovation look like in your school? | An Enabling e-Learning event

    Kia ora, my name is Steph Kitto. I am the junior syndicate leader and ICT lead teacher at Clyde Primary School and a member of the NAPP 2016 cohort.

    I have enjoyed reading through this thread and finding out about the ways that schools around the country are exploring innovation within their school context.

    Recently I read George Couros book called ‘The innovator’s Mindset’ and would highly recommend it.  In his book he states that "Our job as leaders is to make sure that innovation isn’t simply a word but a mindset that intentionally and consistently shapes our daily practice."

    If we want innovative learners then we need to become innovative educators. Innovation starts with questioning and challenging assumptions. It is about creating something new and better.

    Innovation is about being brave and taking risks, but also importantly is about learning from failures and not giving up. This reminds me of a quote by John Dewey ...

    Teaching as Inquiry is a good starting point to encourage teachers to begin asking questions, taking some risks, trying new things, and become more reflective.  Timperley, H. (2014) states "Creating the conditions in schools and learning settings were curiosity is encouraged, developed and sustained is essential to opening up thinking, changing practice and creating dramatically more innovative approaches to learning and teaching."

    When trying anything new there is the risk of failure. The important thing is to learn from setbacks and to keep going. It’s important not to give up and revert back to the way we have always done things. 

    I agree with what others have said in this thread, that it is important to have a strong moral purpose, to know that ‘what’ and ‘why’ of ours actions and innovative ideas, as these serve to guide us to lead transformational change.

    Last year I was lucky enough to be part of the Core Education eFellows programme and spent the year exploring the questions I had around how to encourage and nurture curiosity in the early years of schooling. Through this inquiry process I learnt that in order to innovate you have to start by challenging your own assumptions. I also learnt that the journey of transformation and change is not always shared by everyone. Innovation is always judged.  With new innovations it is not always easy to keep the momentum going..... you need to truly believe in what you a doing and why.

  • Steph Kitto 13 May 2015 8:14pm () in ACET Recognition for 2015

    HI Sarah

    I am also applying this year. I agree that the paper work is very confusing. I'm not sure if we are going to have a workshop meeting in our area so I might be 'flying blind' as I put my portfolio together.

    I too would love to see some examples of portfolios. It's hard to judge just how much evidence is needed.

    After reading the group discussions I'm hoping that the task wont be all consuming!

    I look forward to keeping in touch as we put our portfolios together. 


  • Steph Kitto 07 Apr 2015 7:46am () in Establishing the “Why” of MLE

    Great to see this discussion added to the VLN. We have just changed our NE - Y2 classes to a MLE and for us it is all about collaborative teaching and having a shared vision for our junior children. It is a year of change for us and we are constantly reviewing and tweaking what is happening in our rooms. 'Why?' is at the centre of all our decision making, followed closely by 'how?' and 'what benefits will there be for our students?' I will be following this thread with great interest. smiley

  • Steph Kitto 31 Mar 2015 4:40pm () in I-pad storage

    What is the best way to store i-pads (pod of 10)?  Some of the docking stations are quite expensive, and since we have lots of 'handymen' around our school I'm looking at the option of some DIY storage. Has anyone created their own storage units?  Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. smiley

  • Steph Kitto 30 Mar 2015 9:05pm () in Interactive Whiteboards

    Hi Susan

    I was speaking to a teacher at Poolburn School (Central Otago) and she said they had one sitting in their library not being used.  Perhaps get in contact with the Principal at the school as I think they may be keen to sell it.

    Good luck

    Steph Kitto

  • Steph Kitto 25 Jan 2015 5:52pm () in What is In Your Backyard?

    What a great idea.  We have an EOTC week in week 3 so will be out and about enjoying our local environment. We'll focus during this week and add something in week 4.

    Steph Kitto 

    Clyde School - Year 1/2

  • Steph Kitto 13 Oct 2014 9:48pm () in Book Group #1: Key Competencies for the Future, with NZCER | from 3rd October

    My copy of 'Key Competencies for the Future' arrived today and I'm about a thrid of the way through it already.  I have been reading the VLN thread with interest and have been intrigued by the idea of 'Wicked problems'. Already lots of questions are racing through my mind. What might 'future focused learning' look like? What is really important for our learners? Re-thinking and re-imagining teaching and learning......  

    I'm reading the book through the eyes of a junior school teacher and wonder what a 'wicked problem' might look like in the junior school classroom? I really love the idea from the 'Life Long Literacy' project of integrating the key competencies into the literacy programme through posing a question that will provoke discussion and require chldren to justify their point of view.  I'd be interested to hear the thoughts from other junior school teachers about what 'wicked problems' might look like in the junior school.