Thursday, June 9, 2011

Talented Students

I have the privilege of teaching a lot of talented students.  They amaze me with their talents, but also the way in which they can roll with ideas.  I had an idea, an idea for our assembly item on Friday.

During this term we are looking at the question "Is New Zealand really a great place for young people to grow up?", from this we are focussing on many things and one of the areas is looking at New Zealand's history with hurting our most vulnerable.

A little of what we did....

The students used a google doc to name kids within New Zealand that have passed due to injuries inflicted on them by the people that are meant to love and care for them the most.  With this they had to write if possible the age of the child and a very brief summary and of course a source for me to go and check their data.

Music in the Classrooms
The motivation and focus from the class musicians is amazing.  They were asked to find songs that they thought would match the mood we were trying to create for our scene, learn within a short amount of time, learn to perform with others and modify to meet the needs of the item.  They even want to practice during their morning tea and lunch breaks, now that is dedication.

In the pictures you will see my whole class using the ICT lab. I am working with a small group of my students who will be playing and singing during our assembly, even though we are in an ICT lab we are not using it in the traditional way, we created the space to meet our needs.  The rest of the students were working on their camp recounts, ukelele song and personal thank you letters to their parents.

Everyone involved
The other students roles are just as important, they are having to learn words, learn to present to an audience, work together, share ideas of how they can improve their performance, understand the content of what they are presenting and ensuring they move the audience from the remembering the negative and leaving them with a powerful message of the importance of rising up, standing up and helping to make change.

I am sure my students will give 100% when it comes to performance time.  The work they have done leading up to the performance has been amazing, learning that you can't get from a text book.

Apologies for the quality of video, but hopefully you get an idea of what is going on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."  
Henry Ford

There are sometimes in life where a quote just really hits the mark....and today the above quote from Henry Ford was on my google dashboard, as if waiting for me to look for it.

The students in R27 work really well together in class and are becoming confident and competent users of google docs, because of this I decided to set a home learning task that put the power into their collective hands.

It was called "Operation Beans" as we would like to hold a Bake Sale at school to raise money to fill two bean bags which have been donated to me for the students to use.

I split the students up into four groups - Letter to Mr Ellery, A3 Posters, Accounting and Target Market.  I assigned students to the above groups based on their talents.  Along with the titles I gave the students guidelines on what I expected them to do.

During class I spoke through the roles and what they needed to do and spoke with a number of students about what they needed to do as individuals.


  • Some students gave it a really good go.
  • A couple of students exceeded expectations.
  • Shows that some students are developing their self management skills.
  • Some students are applying what they have learnt in class to their home learning tasks. 


  • Students left their work to the last minute so had no time to complete their work to a high standard.
  • Some students did no work at all, and thought that this was ok.
  • No group finished their task to the expected level.
  • Excuses as to why they did not do it.

What would I change for next time:

  • Continue to re-inforce with the students about the importance of giving something a go and really spending time thinking about what is asked of them.
  • Reiterate the need for the students to seek advise from their parents about how to take their home learning to the next level.

I believe in developing the students ability to collaborate, and while this was not an epic fail, the next time I design a task like this I will go into it a little bit the wiser.