Why Blog?

I love to share things I come across with colleagues, parents and friends and others interested in matters to do with education. I am particularly interested in inquiry learning, gifted education, fostering independence and growing emotional literacy in our children. You may find posts interesting, you may not. You may agree, you may not but the important thing is you ponder about how it sits with you and your learning journey.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Two More Great Maths Sites

Back from the lead teacher's maths meeting and just had to share two amazing maths sites with you all.

Jo Boalar hails from Stanford University and is a maths guru. Her work dovetails beautifully with what is being published her by Dr Bobbi Hunter and others. Her website is youcubed.org

Another great site that has fabulous resources for the teaching of rich mathematical tasks is nrich - enriching mathematics.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Maths Week

It's Maths Week this week and here are some links to some great sites that will provide extension opportunities for many budding mathematicians.

Huge thanks to those involved in putting the maths week site together.

TKI - Gifted and Talented Online > Maths and Statistics. This page provides links to resources to extend able mathematicians.

Interactive Sites for Education provides links for many subject areas, here is the link to the maths topics.

Minecraft is still an app that many children enjoy and there is no better way to engage than to do it with something that they love. Here are a few links to Minecraft resources, click on the images.

By following the link from Smart Apps for Kids you will be guided to a page providing more Minecraft Resources than you need, 67 free Minecraft resources.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Brain Development, Learning and Implications

Today I had the great pleasure in hearing Nathan Mikaere-Wallis share his knowledge, insight and wisdom with the Christchurch Junior School Leaders. Nathan was part of the Brainwave Trust, and is part of X Factor Education, Christchurch. He has been a lecturer at Christchurch College of Education, lecturing in human development, brain development, language and communication and risk and resilience. Nathan has a background of working with children in counselling settings relating to domestic violence, sexual abuse and childhood trauma.

There were a number of core messages in his presentation.

  • Brian research is relatively new. In the 1990s there was more research than in the previous 300 years.
  • Teenage brain research is 8 years old.
  • Healing brain research is 3 years old.
  • The frontal cortex isn't fully developed until an average of 26 - 27 years.
  • First 1000 days of a human's life is pivotal to brain development.
  • Historically we believed that brain development and potential was mainly due to genetics. We now know that brain can be moulded by the environment.
  • What is happening at this time influences the brain stem development and frontal cortex potential.
  • Other factors have an impact; gender, place in family, temperament, parent's education, poverty, extended family.
  • There is an impact of the ability to learn cognitively in the future.
  • Di-ad relationship in early years effects brain development.
  • Relationships are the most important aspect of learning.

What can we do for children whose learning potential has been impacted?
  • Ensure they have a strong relationship with a key person - this challenges the idea of a transition class.
  • Extend the duration of this relationship - can they have this teacher for a longer period of time?
  • Predictability in the classroom.
  • Consider starting school closer to 6.
  • Personalise transition to school practices.
  • Reduce focus on cognitive learning and national standards in early years.
  • Focus on learning dispositions (Te Whariki).
  • Consider practices of mindfulness.
To hear more from Nathan you can listen or download a podcast from National Radio. You can also follow him on Facebook.

Difficult Converations

One area of my own leadership that I know needs constant is the skill of having difficult conversations. This is tricky and requires a lot of thought, planning and role play in order for me to be fully prepared. I have worked with Joan Dalton in a Learning Talk webinar and she has written many resources for this topic. Susan Scott's 'Fierce Conversations' is another fantastic resource. I haven't heard Viviane Robinson speak but this is a link to a shared powerpoint that has some wonderful tips and strategies. I will certainly look out for her in the future.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Modern, Innovative Learning and Practice

This is a great post from Derek Wenmouth from CORE. It examines what is the most important thing about MLEs and that is the practice. Does an MLE suit all learners, turning the question on it's head we consider does a traditional classroom suit all learners? The answer is simply "it depends". Derek poses some great questions to consider when reflecting on practice and moving forward with modern learning environments and practices. By visiting this page you can browse through categories to find other thoughtful blog posts on MLE and other topics of interest.