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Raising achievement for Maori boys

Started by Taniwha 23 Mar 2014 8:39pm () Replies (17)

As my inquiry I am looking at how to raise achievement in writing for Maori boys. The child I am focusing my inquiry on is a Year 5 who is currently underachieving well below the expected standard. He struggles with ideas and also with spelling vocabulary. Does anyone have ideas to share on using e-learning to build his learning capacity and his confidence.


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 23 Mar 2014 9:00pm ()

    I have a teaching friend who has a similar inquiry.

    She is sharing her inquiry via a blog.


  • Taniwha (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 1:42am ()

    Thanks for the link.

  • Fiona Robertson (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2014 9:16pm ()

    I have a group of boys who can be reculant to write. I have been using the prompts on the 100 word challenge and they have been writing their stories on their blog. They love having an audience to read their stories. We have also used storybird this is another program that the boys love using and have also buddied up my target writers with a capable writer and they have worked ona story together. They have enjoyed doing this. I am also using spelling city to help the children learning their spelling words. they love this. 

  • Taniwha (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 1:38am ()

    Thanks for the suggestions. Gives me more options. Storybird is one of the programmes recommended by our digital technologies facilitator. Haven't had a chance to have a look at it yet. Does it have picture, text and sound options? I will also buddy this boy up to boost his learning capacity. After all, often these children learn better from a capable peer.

  • Heather (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2014 9:36pm ()

    sounds like blogs are good way of helping motivate some children.  it's instant and an audience is, in theory, immediate.  Thank for posting this question.

  • Taniwha (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 1:46am ()

    Hi Heather

    Maybe we could get these writers sharing their stories on our radio station. Also once KnowledgeNet is up and running for our students this will be a good starting place for sharing their work with their peers and their families.

  • Roxy Hickman (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2014 10:28pm ()

    Kia Ora Taniwha, 

    Rather than jumping straight in with a tech solution, I would start by asking what scaffolds are in place for learners to develop their ideas for writing? Do you use visual prompts, like photos and videos to help engage them in the writing process? Do you allow them to use voice recordings to get their ideas out, before having to write them? What is their hook? - the thing that inspires them to share their thoughts.

    You may also be interested in some of the discussions in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) group, particularly the story on Boys and Writing - Removing the Barriers and Smash the old images of a classroom with digital text

  • Anthony Faitaua (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2014 10:30pm ()

    Kia ora,

    I was inspired by my colleague to create a digital mihi using Tellagami. With my Pasifika lens on, I can see this working with our Māori and Pasifika reluctant writers of all ages. It allows students to write, record, create and edit their own work. One of things I like about is, it allows our Māori and Pasifika learners to have a voice and share their work in a different context. The foundations for learning remains the same, but the ways of doing it change. I haven't had the time to put together the actual process of creating this mihi, but give me a few days and I'll get onto it.

    I think, allowing your year 5 student to create something similar will get the student engaged. Also it doesn't have to be a mihi, it could be instructional, something like baking a cake? Also from my own inquiry on 'how e-learning can raise Pasifika achievement, I have researched that Blogging is a great platform for our Māori and Pasifika learners get engaged. To gain audience, have you looked in quadblogging? Here is my digital mihi. Hope this is useful.

  • MeganCroll1 (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 9:02pm ()

    Kia ora Anthony

    This is a fantastic way to create a mihi.   I have used telligami a little, but with a static photo.  Would be keen to hear how you made the transistion between photos.

    Another idea I had last year was to use Aurasma to link a video of my students presenting their mihi to a visual mihi.   We did get as far as creating a piece of art that included information about who they are and where they are from, but we ran out of time to complete the video recording.    Maybe this year...



  • Tash Jacobs (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2016 9:07am ()

    Kia ora Anthony

    I have used your mihi in the past to show and inspire students.  It now says it doesn't exist.  Are you able to reshare?

    Thanks in advance


  • Taniwha (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 1:25am ()

    Kia ora, Anthony

    Thanks. I think this could be a great starting point for my child's engagement as it would create for him a sense of self identity and give his mana a confidence boost. You are the second person to recommend Tellagami so I am definitely interested in exploring this e-learning tool. Also looking into the quadblogging.

  • Anthony Faitaua (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2014 10:43pm ()

    Kia ora Taniwha,

    I used to work with some challenging Year 9 and 10 Māori and Pasifika students in 2007. These kids fell through the cracks. No teacher, school wanted them. To be honest they came with some heavy baggage. To cut the story short, I eventually found from that experience, I needed to make connection with their upbringing. The biggest learning curve for me, was to throw the curriculum out and connect with their families. I went beyond the classroom walls and visited their families, made connections and create a safe environment for their children. What did that look like? For me, it was building that reciprocal relationship. Parents and their kids will be honest with you, no matter, with all their stories. Today, our whanau knows how to respond to their friends on facebook or other mediums. I firmly believe, we are now living in their backyard, lets embrace it and make learning collaborative.

    Good on you for connecting with your student through e-learning by using their prior knowledge. That is a start to building a reciprocal relationship. Well done. I would love to hear how it unfolds. 

  • Alana Madgwick (View all users posts) 29 Mar 2014 7:38am ()

    Kia ora Taniwha,

    What a fabulous focused inquiry that is sure to make a difference for you student.  I have recently been inspired by Eric Jensen's book: Teaching with Poverty in Mind.  His book starts off very depressing as he shares what adverse affects poverty can have on behaviour and learning- but as you read - you understand some of the behaviours and attitudes that some of our ākonga have when they FIRST step into our classrooms.  Thank goodness most of the book is about what we CAN do in the classroom to combat the adverse affects of poverty- I have no idea if this scenario applies to your student so please ignore it if it is not the case.  However if it is then one idea is- to help him is to set OUTRAGEOUS goals-John Hattie's meta analysis on what has the BIGGEST affect on student achievement is SELF- REPORTED Grades.  Now with students who have failed constantly in our school system and who live in poverty stressed homes- research shows they will get 6 negative comments to 1 affirmation.  Compared to students in high income homes who get 6 affirmations to 1 negative comment.  What happens is the child in poverty gets used to failing and needs someone to counterbalance the affirmations and massage that part of the brain that feels the affects of that stress,  That is why if you ask a child to set a goal -they might set low goals because they don't want to fail- However using the data available and you sitting with the child and ABSOLUTELY believing in their ability to learn- saying this is our goal-you and I are going to work together -and set something like him acheiving the writing standard by the end of the year.  But letting him say that with you-then letting him with you alongside him make a plan as to how to do it- could- no will work! How to weave technologies into this?  Well he could make a graph online that shows him recording his spelling achievements-that he has on his blog?  Or he puts his goal on his blog and weekly he makes one goal that he writes- you give him feedback etc.  Not sure- I am sure you can make it work.  Anyway see if that helps-I have made an outrageous goal myself- that all 670 teachers on the secondary literacy online community (which I am the facilitator for) adapt or try a new strategy that works for one student this year.  It is driving me crazy that goal at the moment- however if I aim for the moon - I just might reach the stars.


    Kia kaha

    Alana Madgwick

  • Cherelle Gibson (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2016 9:27am ()

    Hi, I'm a yr 4/5 teacher this year and have a yr 5 Maori boy who sounds very similar. He now loves writing!!!! Here's how I did it!
    I use Literacy Shed (a very rich writing based language resource) We watch the video clips and I plan my writing around them. I also give every student a 'success criteria' sheet for every piece of writing. They can see what they need to add to their writing to succeed, Surface features and Deeper features. Once they have finished writing they must check off the list and if they haven't done them they go back in red pen and make changes. This works so so well and just after a few months they start doing it automatically. My Maori boy came up to me the other day and said " I love writing now Mrs Gibson" I was stoked!


    If you would like a copy of success criteria sheet to look at just e-mail me at



  • Tony Cairns (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2016 8:45pm ()
    Raising Maori Achievement
    Raising Achievement in Science: Workshops and PD
    How to get More Maori and Pasifika Boys achieving NCEA in Science
    Maori & Pasifika (M&P) Achievement at WHS in 2030



    Maori Science




    Tony Cairns Science Teacher
    Wellington High School, Taranaki Street, P O Box 4035, Wellington 6140, NEW ZEALAND
    Phone: 04 385 8911 Fax: 04 802 7670 Mobile: 022 653 4021 Email: tony.cairns@whs.school.nz
  • TraceC (View all users posts) 30 Jul 2016 10:16am ()

    Thanks very much Tony for the link to raising Maori achievement it looks like its got absolutely heaps there so will have a good look over the weekend.  Much appreciated, Trace

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