Searching for Elegant Solutions

I recently read The Falconer by Grant Lichtman and thoroughly encourage each of you to do the same!

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It really pulled some thought threads together for me and I found myself nodding away and tweeting quotes the whole way through the book. I had read the book to try and find ways to take Design Thinking from a process to a mindset and it has absolutely helped me to do this.

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Pride and Excitement

Wow! Term 1 of HPSS is done. Awesome, Term 2 is close to starting!

This was the thought running through my head as I drove to work this morning. It sums up very succinctly what this reflection is about: how Term 1 has gone and where to next.

To start our last day of Term 1, Maurie asked us to briefly say 1 thing that we are most proud of 1 term in to HPSS. These were the thoughts that ran through my head:

Excited Puppy

Source unknown

Original Source unknown

Over recent times I have gained the nickname “Excited Puppy” at work and even been given the picture above by a workmate to represent me. This is because I seem to be amped all the time about the awesome stuff happening at Hobsonville Point Secondary School or whatever the latest book/article/blog I read has taught me.

A week ago I wrote Warm and Demanding about how we were working through some challenges at school. That post cleared my mind again and helped me to see that we are going to figure out solutions and reiterate processes based on our vision. Since then I have been in a strong “excited puppy” phase again as I have been able to focus on all the great things occurring.
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Mid Term Report Card

As we are halfway through Term 1, I thought it must be time to reflect on (and share) how the term is going. In line with my current thoughts on assessment, it will be descriptive and diagnostic rather than a pointless grade giving exercise!

This term I am teaching 2 collaborative modules: Museum of Mihi with Sally Hart and Megan Peterson; and Mapping Me with Cindy Wynn. I have also been involved with 1 Big Project and am Learning Coach for Reweti Hub.

Museum of Mihi

Our course description was: “In this module we will explore your identity through the artefacts and interests that represent you. We will look at how different people choose to represent themselves with different objects. You will then decide how to share your museum of yourself.”

Megan, Sally and I have collaborated really well in both the planning and teaching of this module. Continue reading

The Tribe Grows

This week we welcomed 9 more staff to the HPSS team. This means that apart from some part time language and music teachers we now have our full teaching staff for 2014 onboard. This first week was all about getting them up to speed with our vision and values and showing them the way we work.

Our introductions helped them get on board with our ways as we welcomed them with our ukeleles then gave 3 minute brutally honest accounts of ourselves. Later in the week,
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Deschooling and Time as a Resource

According to wikipedia, deschooling “refers to the mental process a person goes through after being removed from a formal schooling environment, when the “school mindset” is eroded over time. Deschooling may refer to the time period it takes for children removed from school to adjust to learning in an unstructured environment.”

In this case it is the time for teachers to adjust to that unstructured, no bells environment where we don’t have to rush our thoughts in amongst catching a cup of tea while moderating an assessment, preparing a lesson and chasing up a missed attendance all at once. I should have been prepared for this to hit as Claire Amos had signalled it earlier in the year when she started as DP here in blog posts such as this and the other Leaders of Learning who started a week and a half before me had warned me I would hit this stage as well.

It is just such a foreign feeling for teachers to have the privilege of time to truly reflect, plan and think deeply that I was itching to rush a task along today and caught myself becoming frustrated with the (perceived) lack of progress. Today I have really struggled with deschooling and really taking the time the time to develop what are actually very important matters that deserve time.
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Curiosity and my brain

Today we were lucky enough to have Julia Atkin spend the day with us at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. First of all working on articulating our core learning values and then discussing our results in the Hermann Brain model.

This diagram shows the model that we used with Julia to develop a clearer articulation of our educational values:


Working through this model gave me a clearer picture of why I have seen value in Guerrilla Geography over the last 12 months. Initially I thought this looks really interesting and a fun way to engage students with their learning but I intuitively knew there was more to it. Today I finally drilled down to what is underneath this idea that gives it such value for me.
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Research Access Success

Two weeks ago, I sent an email to a group of people high up in the Ministry of Education and put it online in this post asking for access to academic journals as a teacher. I have had a range of conversations with people over the past 2 weeks about this and today had a successful outcome to the email.

The obvious message over the last 2 weeks has been that there are lots of teachers out there craving access to research so they can challenge and improve their practice. Everyone I have spoken to has been interested in what the outcome would be. Either because they also want more access to research themselves or because they see the value in it so much they are currently undertaking research or study and want to know where they can read once their study finishes. Continue reading