Friday, September 19, 2014

Te Waihora-Elllesmere : Waterwise Project

This morning I was privileged to attend a fabulous presentation of contextualised problem based learning - presented at the Rolleston Community Centre.

3 of our students, along with Science teacher, Marian Hansen, spent a week with students from a number of other schools (Gisborne, Kaikoura and Canterbury ) investigating and learning about 'the water, the lake and sustainability' 
This is the 2nd year of this programme - looking at the water issue in the region. Led by Jocelyn Papprill - youth engagement advocate. 

Lincoln Uni made their facilities available to the students for the week. They along with CPIT and the UC mentors have provided invaluable support.  Ngai Tahu, Untouched World and eCan also contributed to the collaborative nature of the project. 

Over the week over 500 trees were planted around the waterways. 

Team Dynamite

Discussed the issues of dams on NZ rivers, including the problem of the lack of silt  flow revitalising the coastline; the decline of eel (tuna) and the free flow water algae production. 

Team Questionmark 
Is this our future?

Great visual on what water quality might ( or might not!!) look like.

Message : young people need to get involved in local bodies and councils - for example Hamish Keown.

Team Jess and Lucy
'If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem'

The history and importance of Te Waihora to local iwi cannot be underestimated.

Message: The urgency of the need to create sustainable farming practices. 

Team AJ
Use you imagination - what we have could soon be gone. 

Educate, Activate, Facilitate - Youth Voice for Nature - educate the youth to activate action and facilitate change. Engage youth by using social media - easy access - as is radio.

Aim: music festivals to promote change in order to create a sustainable environment 

Team We Are G 

The message of starting school in their own school - Gisborne Girls' High - beginning with an Enviroment Council was one the girls had learnt from the Canterbury schools' models. 

Social media is away forward for many of the teams. But using the traditional stick game as a way of passing  on the message.

The challenge for the team is building knowledge around the erosion of the beaches. 

Team Film

How many regions will have to face the same problems before action is taken?

Created a short film to show the challenges they had overcome during the week - in order to share the knowledge and message 'take action'

Message: nature needs a voice 

Today we saw a snapshot of their learning - the tip of the iceberg! A group of great young leaders in the making. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Session 4: Kerikeri High School - no wonder they were school of the year

Nice to be hearing about a larger secondary school - 

Wonderful to hear another Kotahitanga story

Kotahitanga well embedded before PB4L

Progress slow due to size of initial team. Had reduced to a small team - and jobs 'contracted out' 

Key slide!!!!!

Perfect student vs perfect teacher
We've done the ideal RHS student - but have we ever done the ideal teacher????

Student Handbook
- interesting pages 'what to do if....'

Team - meetings optional - but small team kept momentum going

Align all paperwork with values
Eg student referral forms 

After school detentions became learning opportunities - rather than punitive 
At Yr12 replaced by after school parent meetings. No more afterschool detentions. 

Trial and error interventions
Eg Yr 12 truancy - rewards for no ? 
This morphed into students taking ownership
Positive phone calls home 

Getting the message out 

Third year funding spent on visual representation of the values.
Classroom competitions - the classroom that best displayed the school values.

Differentiated values for Yr levels
Students teaching students very valuable tool.

Aligned report attitude matrix - values 

This became the first lesson - with a range of activities for staff to choose from.

Second lesson was around exams and study leave.

Tackling Litter
Involved the property manager!!

Build an installation from school rubbish!!

Using students to create the visuals - video 
- after seniors go
- use juniors still at school
- teacher release time

When there's no funding????
- student team - expanded
- they judge classrooms
- feedback on matrix and activities
- shoulder tapped or took volunteers 
- classroom competitions increased - mark sheets aligned to values 
- staff prizes included a week in the principal's carpark; some afternoon release time !!!!

Rewards system 
- certificate system revamped

- no answer yet to the whole school rewards system 
- staff need to promote
- admin person offers the data 
- levels of awards - from form teacher up to Principal
- data shared - class data 

'Stop the bus' lessons
-1 per term - based on bubbling issues
- Cybersafety / Manners / Litter 
- different lessons for different levels 

- huge reductions in discipline and suspension data
- increase in class attendance
- importance of acknowledgment over reward 

Keynote 3 Dr Rob Horner - establishing and sustaining school wide

This session looks as if it will be more geared for those who might be thinking about coming on board - apart from the last part.....

'Using positive behavioural interventions and support effectively and equitably'

Don't get drowned in the details - pick the details that work for your context. 

Make it predictable 
Can students not just name the behaviours, but also explain what they mean - can they articulate them in their own language? Have they been acknowledged for dojbg things right in the last two weeks.

Create a culture, make it consistent! 

Make it positive - it takes a lot of work for students to believe that teachers are positive

Make it safe - bullying is an 'iceberg' behaviour - we only see the tip. Systemic problem that undercuts the fundamentals of a school - insidious and systematic 

You will not build an effective learning culture unless the social climate if right. 

In NZ 21% of schools on PB4L 

PB4L makes the circle of inclusion wider - we cannot be choosy about who we have in out schools - it has to work for all. The kids who learn really easily make teachers who use ineffective strategies look good! It's the hard to reach ones that are not easy to reach - benefits huge

A framework got building a 'social culture'.

Use consequences as a learning opportunity - don't allow little problem behaviours escalate. Use consequences that do not end up rewarding the student for the wrong thing. 
Language is power - give the students the language to explain what the values stand for in their own words. This becomes part of the road map to success. Teachers' goal is to make the students successful - make the students part of the community - that will enable them to learn. 

Tacoma - all buses have the PB4L values of the schools they service. 

#1 is the key 

NZ data shows ( only from a few schools ....) 
- truancy biggest behaviour issue
- boys and girls equal referral
- no set time of day for higher referral / incidents
- Pakeha/Maori little difference 

Reward behaviour not children - artificial ways of building ritual ' I like what you did' 

Fidelity measures - a core element of implementation 

- build schools where students are empowered to care each 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Keynote 2- Marcus Akuhata-Brown

Fabulous speaker - thought provoking messages 

Whakarongo - through the three domains of all of our senses - to enable us to weave together that which is disconnected; to weave together human relationships 

Marcus interests lie in how we are connected - both to people and to place.
Family and place are what's important. 

Amazing to hear the recitation of whakapapa... 

By identifying our origins and beginnings we can realise that the picture is bigger than ourselves....

Glass lid of low expectation - exacerbated by lack of connection 

Nice quote from Jared Diamond's 'Collapse'

Transformational change takes place when head and heart connect - theory alone is not enough.

Often we are far too quick to focus on what is going wrong - power in the recognition and honour from a community. Don't give up on the first negative response - sustained encouragement cannot be underestimated - they help form courage.

Connection can give meaning to learning - condition of care comes from a position of authenticity.

When you isolate people (students) they cannot participate - then communities develop (disengaged).
Where do students who have no connections to people or place, go to in moments of crisis?

As teachers we have a privileged place of influence. We can have a transformational, generational impact. Enduring processes of change. 

People are the only things that make a difference in people's lives - do that they can hear the 'call of the bird'!

Ghandhi - 
You must be the change you wish to see in the world 

What glass lids need to be lifted of our own worlds??

'I believe that if you see potential in someone, you have a responsibility to act  on that - and it will more than likely cost you something' Marcus Akuhata Brown
Really enjoyed this presentation 

School Stories - Queen Elizabeth College - No secrets, no surprises

 Even before QCC begins, I'm liking the documentation they have provided as resources to share! They can be found here - 

Only 210 students yr 9-15 - range if cultures and nationalities.

QCC had an interesting background - new student numbers high at Yr10/11 high absenteeism; unpredictable achievement....

Selection of the team was crucial -different skills  needed for different jobs. Team has been unchanged since Oct 2012.

# Visible Expectations
A lot of money spent on signage - making the values visible - seen from every part of the school.

Classroom expectations laminated on desks - for different aspects of a lesson - might be different for each subject. These  are not 'one size fits all' - teachers can focus on one or two of these expectations.  

All of the values are incorporated into the website design. 

Postcards home for top 'gold star' rewards (below)

Open night Quiz - good idea for prospective students - around the visible

All data needs to be available - otherwise there is no trust. 
- ODRs
- transparent
- collated using SWIS and excel
- analysed
- used to plan interventions and rewards 

# Big 5 and specific solutions
- logical efficient and powerful model of solution development 
- allows everyone to be aware of the issue
- target specific behaviours of a specific group  (this is somewhat a Tier2 issue and response) - manageable behaviour modification in a small school - worked with 8 Yr 10 boys around teaching basic social skills - weekly meetings - behaviour modification programme - replacement behaviours discussed 1-1 ; this was then reinforced by classroom behaviours. Students then need space to practice and make mistakes. 

- workload for all staff - double data entry an issue
- consistency amongst staff - 2-4 years to get the staff to do things regularly - make them as effortless as possible (eg referral as tick boxes) - staff need to be reminded to give out the reward cards ; dealing with new staff 
- communicating with whanau - can be a battle 

# Successes
- uniform and lateness - consistent approach - group approach year level at a time - no single teacher left to address issue alone a classroom - a 'correction script' - questions around the issue in a supported environment; compromises around jewellry and piercings 
- small group of defiant and disruptive 
- seeing and rewarding positive behaviour  - staff have become good at identifying good behaviour - seniors often feel left out 

-simple paperwork
- supported approach 

Session 1 - Why and How is teaching social skills important in promoting positive school climate?

Social skills cannot be taught in isolation - respect and consideration need to be modelled daily.

Data shows that if you have low levels of discipline referrals, there is likely to be higher academic success.
Social and academic skills need to be taught in conjunction - otherwise neither
 will be effective. 

Academic behaviour and social behaviour need to go hand in hand. 
Embed the social skills in the instruction.
They do not replace each other. 

Violence prevention is about teaching social skills. Positive climate building is about teaching social skills. Employers can teach the skills of the jobs - they need their workers to have the social skills already.

Teaching social skills needs to delivered and formalised. 

What are social skills?
Verbal and overt behaviours that students do.
What students give us, is what they have learned - therefore more likely to become habits.
Behaviours are 'situationally specific' Gresham, 1986
The consequences / social benefits - two groups of responses - peers' and adults' responses. 

Teaching academic and social skills - use the same process - model - reteach if not  successful. How do we teach a social skill - how do we reteach? What reteaching strategies do we have?

Need a simple model for teaching of social skills - need to quick and efficient in order to de-escalate the situation. 

We cannot leave social skills to chance - they accrue over time 
- acquisition - show model 
- fluency - practice
- maintenance - sustain with accuracy and fluency 
- generalisation - can be used across settings - use in new contexts - learn to discriminate
- adaptation - modify and fit into any new contexts 

A good social skills lesson has a name, a context and examples - reinforced at home 

Social skills are like habits - we have good and bad 
Charles Duhigg (2012) The power of habits 

Bad habits are difficult to replace with better behaviours. 

Some kids need more help to require a social skill than others (alarm clock analogy) - some may need that assistance throughout their entire school life.

How do we teach social skills in a differentiated way? This graph is a good image of range of support needed 

Understand functional assessments - in order to teach targeted social skills.

Teach the social skills like academic skill
Train for automaticity
Supervise social skills
Establish networks that maintain social skills
Resond to higher needs

The 'honourable' (sic) Hekia....

guess we do have to thank her and the Ministry for funding PB4L .....

First time I have heard her live - slick speaker!!

Lots of strong rhetoric - learning attitudes, learning behaviours, learning possibilities, learning communities...

500 schools in NZ in the initiative (not a programme). A way of operating and sustaining changed behaviours. 

The strength is in the evidence base - evidence overcomes our prejudice base.

Apparently we are developing a 'data - fluent' culture.  There is nothing to be afraid of on using data !!!

Party political broadcast just launched in middle of quite a good start ...

Alison Cleary (@AlisonCleary)
Hekia - Nothing to be afraid of in using data - there is no hidden agenda - I'm a minister of what you see is what you get

She respects the decision made by NZEI and PPTA ... Not that members have had a voice yet!!!!!

She has some notion that primary and secondary schools don't talk to each other!!!  Ooops after 5 mins of that tirade she acknowledges 'exceptions to this model' 

Happy to take 'safe' and 'unsafe' questions.... Followed by the next 'party political broadcast' - classic!!!!

What can we do to maintain funding - Hekia's question.
Our answer - scrap charter schools!

She had that data embedded in her head!

'We'll get what we've always gotten ' -FAB English from the Minister if Education !!!

Positive Behaviour for Learning - New Zealand a Connections Conference 2014 - Hamilton

About to kick off two days of 'positive behaviour for learning' - looking forward to hearing Dr George Sugai 

People are what makes the programme grow - we make it happen! 

We are all interested in improving our teaching and learning environments.

What does it actually mean to support all of our children, all of our communities.

Remember to check out the website - 

Challenges for us to think about -
- bullying
- violence in schools and communities is a main worry - in NZ lucky with our law and out community of elders (nice comment)

'The smallest things have the biggest effects' 
'Leaders pay attention to the basics and the fundamentals' Jim Rohn
If we get the basics right the big ideas will follow!

We need to get the kids out of the corner - academic and behaviour inextricably linked.
(Insert cartoon) 

The answers are simple - but they are not easy to implement.

What are the smallest things that we do that have the biggest effect? We need to work on having a sound theory. If we have a theory of action we can see a solution - that is evidence based. We do not have a lot if time to try a lot of interventions (* ask yourself would you bet your salary on this ???) 

What is a positive school climate?
- can we see it?
- can we feel it?
- how do we  know it? 

Insert gate slide 

For example - we know how to decrease violence in our schools and communities. 

School climate, classroom climate and what the teachers do is what makes the difference. 
Difficult to get out of a negative coercive cycle once it is established. Need to switch this to a responsive cycle. Prevent classroom climates becoming negative. 

NZs investment in training and funding this shift to a positive classroom environment. NZers are well along the well of establishing communities that have a common language and vision and experience. 

Our most successful classrooms and schools are ones where all the students and staff know why they are there - they all share a common vision. 
Do all out students have this? Vertical forms / pastoral teams would help build this!! 

PB4L - an approach for building a community for success - a framework- not a curriculum. We need to create an environment for this to happen. 
Sometimes the intervention is a mismatch to the what we actually want to happen (ie copying out school rules)

All children are exposed to a successful environment - sone need different supports to be able to engage I that positive climate. These students do not fall into one category, they may have a range if needs that vary and need different interactions. What are their strengths and what are their challenges?
Therefore what strategies do we need to use? 
The more strategies needed, the more specific they become - at Tier 3 these become individualised. These are not instead of Tier 1 and 2 but on top of.

Assess yourself 
What are the things that you have committed to at Tier 1, 2 and 3 to ensure student success.

Using Data 
We have to have information that tells us that we are using the right intervention; that tells that we are using the correct data to monitor progress - do we have implementation fidelity

Effective strategies maximise benefits.

Good question - can we contextualise the framework for NZ culture and communities ? Lots of US evidence and data to prove what works - but we want it to work here?

Capacity building 
Organisations are complex places often involved in many initiatives - how can they be implemented well? 
How can we bring all if these initiatives together? 

The value and importance of culture 
- need to support culturally knowledgeable staff
- support culturally responsive value making?
- how do we know that we have culturally valid data ? 

Summary - simple messages travel faster 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CETA 50th Celebration

50 years of the Canterbury English Teachers' Association -  Colin Macintosh and Helen Hogan were at the inaugural meeting - and they were here to celebrate tonight! 

Put a few generations of English teachers in a room with few glasses of wine - and let the conversations begin.

CETA team member, Anita and Helen Hogan 

Past CETA members - Colin Macintosh and Geoff Tait - catching up 

Two of the 'new generation' from RHS 
Franci Sutherland and Kirsten Kean 

Speaker for the night - Joe Bennett (with organic ginger beer) and Ros from Hagley Community College 

Colleagues catching up - Julia Malcolm (RHS) and Kath 

Amelia Gilmore and Steve Langley (past and present CETA and NZATE) 

Mike Fowler (Hagley) Sue Hume and Gloria Moyle (Marian) 

National English Co-ordinator, Trish Holden and Lauren (Aranui).

Chief soirĂ©e organiser - Marie Stribling -CETA chairperson 

Sublime Rhyme winners perform their words 

Harry ( St Bedes  - winner 15-18) 

Courtney (Aranui) 2nd 15-18

Steve Langley introduces guest speaker Joe Bennett 

Master wordsmith - Joe Bennett 

" I had no idea what I was doing when I stood up in front of my first class" 

Getting animated over explaining NCEA assessment!!

Parent teacher evenings - you see the parent, you forgive the child!!!!

You need the full gamut of staff to connect with every type of student ! 

As a teacher, you know not what you do!

Founding member - Colin Mackintosh shares memories. 

Rangiora High School team - helping CETA celebrate 50 years