Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dubsmash Wars

Nothing like learning something new


to have the kids being the ones to teach me makes it feel even better!

What a BLAST we have had over this last week. Having put a challenge out to our connected classes about a 'lip-syncing' competition in Week 8 with the finals via a Google Hangout, a challenge was sent back to us from Ms Nathan's Year 8's in Room 27 at Karori Normal in Wellington.

Dubsmash Wars!

Here is the video of their one after which the challenge was laid down!

We were in... do you think 'theONE6ers' were going to let this challenge go!


we have too many extroverts to let this pass up!

So I had to get the kids to teach me / show me what we had to do! 

To be fair on myself...I learnt quite quickly actually! What fun it has been to put this together. Pretty much song for song...I had to change up the intro as I couldn't figure out how to get the 'star wars' effect with the text 


I think I have done a pretty good job of the intro with my 'sound effects'! Anyway here it is... 

Can you beat this?

Thanks to Ms Nathan and Room 27 at Karori Normal for laying out the challenge in the first place! You guys were inspirational!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Constructive feedback

Finally the results of our 

2015 LearningMYway survey

are out!

I have been developing the LearningMYway pedagogy for 3 years. It has been such an amazing ride to be on... every year I carry out surveys mid-year and end of year.

I have learnt HEAPS!

The MOST important thing though is getting that student voice which is SO SO valuable. There are always interesting things which come up during these surveys which IS AWESOME. The kids are expected to be honest and constructive because we WANT to know the things that don't work so we can make changes... we know the things that do work because we see it everyday:)

From this first shot, all responders believe LearningMYway has helped them learn to manage themselves. It is also fairly obvious that all the kids are keen to continue to develop these skills they have learnt this year.

72% (18 out of 25) believe we got to know them as learners pretty well or very well. The 28% (seven out of 25) who are on the fence are the ones I will talk to about their views. We need to fix this!

What is VERY important to know is what the kids find difficult about Learning my way so we know what we can do to help and improve their experience.

The 2 most popular reasons why kids find it difficult were: (surprisingly)

1. "not having my own desk" - ACTION TO TAKE -  Offer a 'desk' to those who want one!

2. "not having enough tasks to get on with." - ACTION -  provide MORE learning experiences for those who don't think they have enough!

The 4 reasons which were the next most popular were: 

1. "difficulty prioritising my tasks" - ACTION -  discuss with these kids the best way to do this, have other kids SHARE how they do this.

2. "making wrong choices about where I sit" - ACTION -  continue to encourage learners to make good choices for THEMSELVES and to be aware when they are getting behind or distracted and that sometimes it might be a good choice to move away from your mates!

3. "not having enough time to complete things" - ACTION - talk with these kids about "home learning" - as we do not have "homework" kids need to REMEMBER if they are getting behind, they can always do this catch-up at home.

4. "other." - ACTION - find out what these 'other' reasons are!

What have the kids enjoyed about LearningMYway in order of popularity:

1. "having some control over what I am doing and when"

2. "being able to learn with my friends"

3. "being able to work at my own pace"

4. "having the use of chromebooks for online learning"

5. "writing some of my own timetable"

6. "connecting and collaborating with classes around the world"

     "not having set homework but rather learning which can be done at home"

     "learning about Growth Mindset and knowing I can get better"

7. "being able to choose where I sit"

     "being able to access my learning when ever I can / where ever I am"

     "using blogs"

8. "using Google Classroom"

9. "using online tools to create and present work"

10. "learning how to learn on my own sometimes"

      "having to use my initiative and solving my own problems"

Once again - some more constructive feedback to follow up on.




Sunday, 22 November 2015

Giving students a voice

Something I am 


about is giving students a voice. 

We just LOVED these comments from our students "letters home" to their whanau about what learning has stood out for them:)

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

"Our Language Wall"

During the Global Read Aloud we started a language wall on our big whiteboard which is at one end of our room. It is the best way I have come up with which teaches kids about language features in an authentic context. 

How it works is as we read the chapters, we scaffold the kids to identify when the author has used some vivid language. We help them learn which language features are which, and add page numbers on the 'note-taking' board. When we have completed the reading for that day - we get the kids to then select a feature to add to the 'wall' using colour-coded post-its.

Colour-coding helps kids remember the particular feature and the page number is added so they can go back to the book if they need to.

What is SO COOL is watching the wall 'GROW'! As we read, we can add extra 'features' as they arise.

The book FISH by L.S. Matthews had some wonderful examples of a wide range of features. We also came across 'idioms' and began a list of these too. There were a few kids who were keen to take control of the wall and would regularly add stuff as we had come across them.

As we moved our way through the story our wall got more and more full of wonderful features. We are now seeing the kids using more language features in their own writing and it is so cool.

At the conclusion of the read aloud our wall was a fabulous vision of features and vivid vocabulary! 

Tell us if this way of learning LANGUAGE FEATURES has been good for you. 

Do you think it helped you learn the different types of features? 

Do you think it has helped you understand how vivid language can help make a story or piece of writing 'come alive'?

Leave a reply!

Oh for sunny days at the beach!

So on Tuesday 11th and Tuesday 18th 'theONE6' did our learning AT THE BEACH!

We were EXTREMELY lucky to get both days SUNNY and BREATHLESS!

What an amazing part of the world we live in! On days like these I have no desire to be anywhere else! 
So nearly 90 of us (3 classes) headed out at 8.30am ready to start our rotations for the day. The kids rotated around sandcastles, beach walk, swim, surfing, and lunch. 

Here are a selection of photos from both days... when we arrived - this was the view which greeted us!

We started our day this week with a LOVELY walk down the beach to the little river mouth... 

where the kids had a blast playing in the shallow water.

The surf lessons and surfing were obviously the highlight for everyone. The kids were in HEAVEN!

Sandcastle building and just being out of the classroom having some whanau fun was a special part of the day.

Once again - a highlight of my year! It is certainly a trip well worth organising and planning for. We were VERY lucky to get both Tuesday's with the sun out and VERY pleasant. 

Leave a reply to share your feelings about the day - what was your highlight?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


Hi my name is Sharn Mrs Thorogood invited Chloe, Kristina, Jasmine and I to enter a competition for photography.
We had to take a photo that was to do with war,peace or friendship. I took a photo looking up at a tree and I wrote a poem about peace about it because its nature.
I got inspiration at looking at some quotes, gathered some ideas and then wrote about the tree and peace. I wrote it onto a Google Doc and sent it to Mrs Thorogood and she sent them to the maker of the competition. The web site is called and I won! I came first and won $100

                                                  Displaying 20151101_212155.jpg


Don't look down look up,forgive and forget the past and move on. There's no path to peace without your smile and happiness. Make peace with nice words, relish your present and hope for the future. As the leaves change so do we, today might be bad but tomorrow is a new day and sometimes we have to let things go. Make peace with your smile forgive and forget. 


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Snot Science

Yesterday Miss B. and I had our lovely boys group for Science.
We were determined to find something gross and icky that these boys would enjoy doing!

What is more gross and icky than......SNOT!

The boys did some great thinking to kick it off

  • it can be different colours
"why is that? Why is it sometimes different in colour?"
"when you are sick, when you have hayfever, when you are cold - it can be green or clear"

  • it can look different
"explain this - what do you mean?"
"runny, or rubbery"

"Why does our body produce snot? What is its purpose?"
"it is a type of mucus"
"it catches the dust that goes up your nose when you breathe in"

There were more responses and I was rather impressed with their thinking. 

So we got onto making some snot. 

We had 2 recipes but unfortunately one recipe was unsuccessful.
Luckily the second recipe worked a treat. In pairs they made some fairly good-looking snot. As expected we ventured 'out into the open' to play with it, feel it, poke it, pretend we had picked it etc!

Here are some photos of their snot we made.

After we had finished and cleaned up - we decided we would do an experiment and put some samples out to 'dry out'. TO see if it dries 'crusty' like the real stuff!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Student VOICE

After a korero this morning about LearningMYway and sharing what the kids felt were the KEY things which are important ... they set to THINKING about the 
things about LearningMYway in the classroom.

For me as a learner who is on a journey to provide the 'best learning conditions' that I can for our kids at school, collecting STUDENT VOICE is vital.

I was pleased to get some valuable feedback, putting emphasis on their thinking about the MINUS. As we are often sharing what is GOOD, the GOOD stuff is visible all the time... it was the stuff I can change or fix that I am interested in.
What came out of this for me to re-think were these things...
  • the need for more chromebooks (we are 1:3) - although being blended HAS worked, I feel the same in that we are using more and more online learning/ reflection tools, connecting more than ever before via Twitter, Edmodo, Blogs, GHO and the day-to-day managing of learning using Google Classroom and Google Docs and calendar has meant the kids NEED access
  • A few kids mentioned that a minus will be going to a Year 8 class which is NOT following some of the LearningMYway approach - so they will be unable to continue building their skills of self-management (might have a solution to this)
  • one student said that while some people embrace it others can find it hard to adjust - AGREE - and this is because they haven't had to work this way before. Only way to learn is to KEEP TRYING!
  • one thing which came up numerous time was 'the book cupboard'. Although this is not a HUGE deal - it is obviously something the kids want to change. The idea coming out is having their own file box or tray which they can keep all their books in and carry with them to their work space... makes sense when I think about teaching them to manage themselves and their learning - also managing their equipment is important!
  • being disturbed or distracted by others was a concern from a few - and my answer to this is to make a choice to sit away from those who are disturbing you - work outside or a quieter corner - because the nature of the way LearningMYway is means there will ALWAYS be people talking! (The importance of 'breakout spaces' becomes obvious when so many mention this).
Kids find it INTERESTING that...
  • we are 'connected learners'
  • that we don't have 'homework'
  • that we do a read aloud with classes across NZ and the world
  • that they get to 'move around' and talk and listen to music
  • that we do things differently to other classes in the school
  • that we can share our learning
  • that we do Mystery Hangouts, use Twitter
  • that we have choices
  • that we can take risks and know about Growth Mindset
SO... some easy stuff to fix and change, some wonderful 'interesting' comments which sort of demonstrates that LearningMYway is still embedding itself into the kids' mindsets (importance of continuing next year) and the PLUS stuff is always nice to read:)

Here is the slideshow of the kids PMI where you can read the PLUS and extras as well!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

I need my classroom to be...

So I have been thinking a lot about how we can engage and motivate kids in our classrooms.

Then I started thinking... if we want kids to be motivated to learn, the first thing that we need to make sure of is that they actually WANT to come to class!

SO then I started to think, what is it that makes a classroom a place kids want to be?

So ... I decided to ask them!