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!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Literacy for Gifted and Talented Learners

Differentiation is a struggle that we as educators face but needs to be faced if we are to meet the needs for all children in our classes. Often we are more adept at meeting the needs of the struggling children but truth is our able children need rigour and their unique needs to be met as well.

Issues to Consider

  • Identification: Who are these children? Have they arrived already reading independently?
  • Challenge: How can we help our gifted readers become more discerning readers?
  • Interaction: How can these children share their reading with others? 
  • Goals:Ensure we are setting realistic goals for these children.
  • Reading skills: Are we teaching to read smartly, utilising features of text and to understand deeper concepts of print?
  • Problems: Do we recognise that some of our gifted students may have reading problems and respond to these accordingly.
Brooke Trenwith from Cognition Education has provided these links to resources that primary schools are using to extend their gifted students.



A magazine created by kids for kids

 Reading lists can be found here

Resources to consider for purchase

Gail Loane's Book, 'I've Got Something to Say'.

Resources to Use

Search for Sandra Kaplan's 'Depth and Complexity Framework', via Google and you will find many examples that others have created that you might modify.

Experts to Contact

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Modern Practice

There is a lot of conversation about modern practice and future focused learning. I am all for after working smartly so if you have limited time check out this graphic which explains things in a nutshell. To read the article in it's entirety head to teachthought.com.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Deep and Powerful Learning

I have been reading a lot lately about powerful learning. I particularly like this Ted talk as it brings together many truths and resonates with core beliefs about aligning vision and practice.

Children need to have a say in their learning, it needs to be relevant and real. This relates to Fullan's ideas of the needs to connect, create and help humanity.

Well worth taking the time to view.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

I Just Sued the School System!

Similar content to Ken Robinson's talk about killing creativity but very easy to watch and a strong message.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Engaging Learners to Make Learning Powerful

What is powerful learning? When is learning powerful?

Student voice and agency is one way of answering both these questions.

Definitely worth checking out the full article here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Managing a Classroom

Great ideas to remember and consider...

Connecting with Learners

Relationships are at the heart of learning and this article certainly illustrates this. We recently held interviews for teaching positions and one of the questions was about what you would do if you realised that a child was not reaching potential in your class. This article, by Lisa Medoff, is full of fantastic ideas that are centred on improving the relationship with the child. The child the author references has ADHD but I believe the suggestions would work with most learners.

Click here for the full article.

  • Ask the student to help you figure out what he needs and how you can help him. 
  • Frame new strategies as experiments, not decrees.
  • Teach students how to question and challenge in a manner that will get them heard.
  • Rather than trying to clamp down on off-task behaviours, use them to get to know students better. 
  • Share stories with students about your own struggles.
  • Make deals with students about behaviours that you both want to change. 
  • Try as hard as you can to limit negativity in your interactions with a challenging student.
  • Have students teach you something. 
  • Take a beat to stop and acknowledge that a student may have the right answer even though it is different from what you were expecting.
  • If a student seems to be off-task or is having trouble getting started, don't assume he hasn't been paying attention; 
  • Allow students to work just outside the classroom door.
  • Be patient. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Modern Learning Considerations

An interesting graphic to help consider aspects of collaborative practice and the impact it can have on aspects of learning. Here is the link to the graphic.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Using the Learning Pit with Children

Love this illustrative video about using the learning pit with children to challenge deeper thinking and understanding of concepts.

The Learning Challenge with James Nottingham from Challenging Learning on Vimeo.
1. Surface level knowledge, demonstrating a grasp of the facts.
2. Questioning to develop deeper thinking (at the bottom of the pit).
3. Deep understanding and application

We are wanting to encourage thinkers and create knowledge that comes from discovering and finding answers. Eureka!

Fits nicely with feeling comfortable with struggle and using a growth mindset.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

21st Century Learning

I have been reading a lot recently about learning in the future and how this might look and be a little different to how we currently practice. This article reaffirms that New Zealand classes are well along the track to making changes towards learning for the 21st Century. It does however, bring up a few aspects that are worth considering that are focussed on teaching rather than classroom space.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

More thinking about 21st Century Teaching

I love the suggestions that this post offers about teaching children reared as a google generation. A few years ago Ewan McIntosh from No Tosh, was talking about the non-googleable question and here it is again. This article is full of ways to encourage our children (and teachers) to really become learners.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Handwriting - Resources for staff

Teaching Handwriting

The teaching of handwriting is has been the subject of many discussions.

  • How often should it be taught? 
  • How should it be taught? 
  • What is important about the teaching of handwriting? 
  • What is the purpose of teaching handwriting?

For many years we have been offered good voice recognition software. Many hours are needed to perfect touch typing, far more than what can be provided with the time and resources have at school.

Here are some links to interesting and informative readings and blog post to help us consider this.

Touch typing tools

The flip side of teaching handwriting is ensuring that we are equipping our children to live in a digital world. Can we provide links in our blogs to touch typing tools that children can use at home as part of their home learning?

Voice Activation Software

Voice activation software is great for children with a learning disability, giving them the space they need to get their thoughts and ideas down quickly. Smart phones have voice capability that allow users to dictate messages, emails and texts.