What makes the end of the year so challenging?

Every year I think to myself, I'm not going to get caught feeling tired and stressed at the end of the year. I start reports early, finish off assessment as quickly as possible. Yet somehow still feel myself running on empty with just over three weeks to go. Then I figured it out. No matter... Continue Reading →

Stop selling boys short on reading

@eduwells recently published a list of cultivating boys interest in reading. Short, funny, non-fiction.  Yes books can be short and funny. Non-fiction facts are interesting.  He is right - my boys love those reads. But why should we assume that boys have no interest in long, scary, sad, exciting, infuriating, desperate, exhilarating  reads? The power of... Continue Reading →

Lifting the lid on your creative processes #edsketch16

"But you used a picture, that's cheating!" One of the interesting parts of learning to draw has been getting feedback from the kids. After a read aloud, the kids and I will spend 5 minutes sketching a key scene or idea from the book. As I was pressed for time in this exercise, I grabbed... Continue Reading →

Teaching for misconceptions

Visible thinking unearths powerful data for teachers and student to identify progress and next steps. One of the misconceptions I have stumbled on while teaching this unit has been around evaporation. Last week my students observed water evaporating with heat and condensing again with cold. Yet listening into their Doodlecasts, I was amazed how many... Continue Reading →

Seeing the unseen 

The most useful app on classroom iPads is the camera. As the children were conducting basic experiments on water - melting and evaporating. They collected data - taking pictures and video for later. The beauty of this data is that it can be slowed down, sped up, re-watched and zoomed in to pick up on details... Continue Reading →

Students teaching teachers

In New Zealand, one of the first concepts you learn about in teacher education is Ako. Ako means to both teach and learn. Teachers knowledge and practice comes through watching and learning from the children. One of the rewarding parts of organising teacher workshops is when I the children themselves are able to come in... Continue Reading →

Making learning rewindable

Noticing and naming is a very powerful act of teaching. "I like that Suzy is checking her writing after she drafts." "I can see you are showing commitment right now." "I like how you thought about this problem from more the one perspective." We are giving our approval to acts that children do and say... Continue Reading →

#maythefourth -Some fun and some seriousness

As a teacher and Star Wars fan, I love May the Fourth. It's a time to do some Star Wars-related silliness. This year, it took a different twist. Last week I came to school swimming gala day with the Rey hairstyle because... why not? The kids went crazy and wanted me to do their hair... Continue Reading →

5 ways to encourage creativity in the classroom

Embrace the weird Do you keep pushing kids for the answer you want to hear? Do you assess for misconceptions as well as prior knowledge?  Do you seize on teachable moments or blindly follow the planner? Be less helpful Do you answer every question? Do you give kids quick fixes or ask questions to help... Continue Reading →

Talking to strangers

As part of building businesses, the children wrote a pitch and then presented to children during lunch. Some children took to the challenge, others found it incredibly challenging to approach their peers to talk about their businesses. With the best of intentions, we teach our children not to talk to strangers. But by doing so we... Continue Reading →

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