About time! Overdue reflections and where to now…

Well it has been a while….Term 2 has been a very busy time and I have neglected my blog…something had to give though! (Submitting thesis tomorrow!!)

In the world of HPSS we are very busy as all educators are. However, in a climate attempting to truly personalise learning, working in a responsive environment, connecting learning, it can get a bit crazy. In a good way though, we are connecting learning not only through the development and implementation of our teaching and learning programme, but also in our collaborative teaching and planning.

I have several reflections I would like to make about the teaching and learning I was involved in last term.

In the big module I was involved in-

The Master behind the chef.

M.A.S.T.E.R –
Through food
Exploration and
Rotorua”-which actually turned out to be Rangitoto!

Big Concept: Space and Place

Threshold concepts: Measurement, ratios, decimals and percentages, fit for purpose, rocks, soil, volcanoes, tectonic plates, water, nature of science

Skills: Accurate measuring and estimation, carrying out scientific and mathematics investigations, involving, concepts, knowledge, nature and practice, design skills.

Learning areas: Science, Maths, Food Tech
LDM focus: Explore, focus, generate

Learning Objectives:
Explore by deconstructing the processes and different perspectives in the nature of science.
Focus by synthesising knowledge of maths and science through food.
Generate through inquiry showing “what enables the MASTER behind the chef”?

As I had a mathematics hat on in this module I had some interesting thoughts as I reflected on this in an ongoing way across the module..

The module started off with a bang with a couple of great ideas instigated by awesome @McGhiePete . Starting with what learners bring with them around food experiences. Creating stories of food experiences to hook them into the module. This was followed closely by the core sampling that you may have seen if you follow any of us on twitter…this felt like such a meaningful activity, the kids were engaged and in their reflections at the end of the term this was a highlight for many…

core 1

core 2

From here over the term we worked on ways to integrate mathematics and science through food. At times I did feel bit like the third wheel. For mathematics I found it easy to integrate the learning with either food or science. However, at time it felt hard to integrate the three easily. Science shifted to the fore a little more naturally and the science hat was held by well known, Miss edchatnz @MissDtheTeacher
It made me question whether possibly two is company, three is a crowd in terms of integration? Something to ponder further this term as I am in a big module again. It could be it was just the three learning areas for that particular concept was a harder fit at the time.

In this module as we had 60 learners, from session three on I grouped learners so that I could run a differentiated programme for the mathematics. On reflection I think I did this in the wrong manner. Due to the large array of abilities I grouped according to ability, something I never like to do. I reverted to this with such larger numbers in the module. In hindsight I wish I had made differentiated tasks still, but mixed ability groups for supporting and extension to occur. I feel I really extended the top group who moved right up to use of trigonometry using clinometres around the school (which they loved!!) However, I feel like I did not extend the lower to middle groups. My colleague Cindy who I consider a guru, talked to me about how even the lower ability groups could still get to use the equipment, work with others, even if the trigonometry was beyond them. When I am involved in a mathematics module again I will definitely do things in a different manner. There were many other great parts to the module and I loved seeing the outcomes of the kids inquiry, where they showed their understanding of mathematics and science gained across the module through food. There were types of rocks, volcanic processes, types of volcanoes etc… all shown through food.

Thought in Sport:

Exploring the power of the mind in a variety of sports and literature.

Big Concept: Space and Place

Threshold concepts: Physical Activity, Making meaning, Communication

Skills: Critical Thinking, Evaluation, Paragraph Writing using PEE structure, motor skill learning

Learning areas: PE, English

LDM focus: Explore, Test, Reflect

Learning Objectives:
To explore by investigating ‘Thought in Sport’ in a variety of contexts.
To test the potential of your mind by applying a range of strategies to improve performance.
To reflect on the effectiveness of your performance improvement.

I feel like these two learning areas married up well in this module, where I worked with Lisa. Through the contexts of sport and physical activity we explored the power of the mind. With a specific focus on being collaborative, resilient, adventurous and purposeful. All aspects of either our Hobsonville habits or our school values. here is an example of the type of reflection the learners did.

-Thought in Sport--Reflective thinking Copy (1)

Here is a snapshot of a learner reflection…

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 11.56.40 AM

We also looked at aspects such as goal setting and being purposeful, see here…


Highlights for me in this module were the fact I really feel like we hooked in the learners who love sport, into the focus on English and paragraph writing. Their reflections and the shift in their learning were obvious. Lisa also hooked the learners in by allowing learners to select their own sport person and use their biographies in contexts they were interested. These biographies were used alongside their own experiences for relevant and meaningful reflections. Adventure based learning activities were experienced, tramping in the Waitakere ranges, pushing them in fitness contexts etc… but always reflecting on the habits and the mind…In terms of improvement, I would just say more time, to develop their learning more, working on a term basis, I would like a bit more time with the learners to take things even deeper.


NOW IT IS TIME FOR TERM 3!! Where to from here?

Once again I am in a Big Learning Module with awesome @rosmaceachern and super Sarah @hpssprojects this time…

It’s not all about me

This module has a focus on good citizenship and involves students critically reflecting on personal and social responsibilities within the context of sport, leadership and government. Students will learn how to be effective and powerful communicators.

Big Concept: Citizenship

Threshold concepts:
Interpersonal Skills
Rights and Responsibilities
Making Meaning
Creating Meaning

Skills: interpersonal skills, resource interpretation, paragraph/essay writing, oral language skills, communication skills

Learning areas: Social Science, English, PE

LDM focus: Reflect, Make Sense, Share

Learning Objectives:
To critically reflect and act on personal and social responsibility for self and others through the context of sport.
To make sense of the concept “rights and responsibilities” by comparing political systems and their influence on society.
To share understanding of citizenship concepts and oral language features by presenting an oral text.

We start on Monday and already in our collaborative planning I can feel some natural links arising, where contexts and knowledge will be connected, meaningful and authentic… Yeah to another term of exploring connections in learning.

Also in a small module…

Just do it! and analyse it!

Big Concept: Citizenship

Threshold concepts: Evaluating and Critical Thinking. Personal and Social Responsibility

Skills: Analysing data through O.S.E.M and communicate findings. Interpersonal skills

Learning areas: Mathematics and PE

LDM focus: Test and Generate

Learning Objectives:
To be able to generate explicit findings from data.
Test by applying personal and social responsibility to sporting situations and seek feedback from others on this

We started this the other day with some front loading before getting into the practical context. With students co-constructing what personal and social responsibility is.

p and s 1

Also students made their first reflection on personal and social responsibility, see here…

p and s 2

Here is the example of Hellisons..

Personal and social responsibility

The focus from here is to gather data through the practical over time. their own data on personal and social responsibility that they will analyse, with a statistics focus within the module alongside the data that they produce through learning in sporting contexts…

Anyway, I am excited about exploring the new connections in learning this term. I am also excited that we have developed SOLO rubrics upfront this time to look at assessment for learning over time and the shift in learning, rather than assessment of learning at the end. We continue to reflect and shift where needed, with our processes and at times it can be full on. However, this is to be expected when you are doing things in such a different way to what has been done in Secondary Education before. I hope we can continue to innovate, engage and inspire our learners and I promise not to leave the next blog so long next time, so that ponderings and reflections are out of control 😉