Archive | November, 2013

Stonefields School Visit

27 Nov

Stonefields School Visit  



Learning Thinking- Learning Focus for Stonefields School


Learning Thinking

Mark Treadwell


Today I was fortunate enough to visit Auckland, Stonefields School, where I will be working in 2014. It was wonderful to be able to meet the Team, see the school and spend time in the hubs. Working in the hubs allowed me to observe the teaching approach and methods used by the teachers already established there and to see what I was in for 2014. It was very exciting but at the same time overwhelming and nerve raking as it is a big change from Manchester Street School, where I am currently based, in little old Palmerston North. I had to battle traffic, get familiar with my new living area, in Epsom, and try to remember too many names :S. while I was visiting I meet my team for next year and had time to listen to Mark Treadwell, who is an expert on the brain and how we (Humans) think.

Mark shared with all of the staff, for 2014, how the brain works and some ways it learns best.  He stressed the importance of NOT rote teaching (memory), but through experience and meaningful situations is where we gain and learn the most.

Here are some of the main messages and ideas I got from his presentation:

  • Knowledge is proven, gained and it evolves. It is information and facts we know or learn.
  • Ideas are the relationship between two variables and it can be anything that changes.
  • Concepts are connected with knowledge and ideas. These three factors all influence one another and are connected to create memory and allow thinking to occur.
  • We have 23 senses- not 5. These senses all engage the brain and all have a part in data we take on conscious and unconscious.
  • To teach rote teaching is a non-productive approach.  Mark urges us as teachers to NOT use this method within our classrooms.
  • What do we need to know or understand to survive? That is what we need to be teaching in order to survive and work in this world.
  • Teach what matters, and is going to be worthwhile.
  • Why not give children information JUST IN TIME NOT JUST INCASE. Let the children know new strategies when they NEED it.
  • Curiosity is a huge drive for anyone to learn. If you have a genuine interest you will want to find out and learn about that new idea.

 I really enjoyed listening to Mark share his ideas about how the brain works. It was very beneficial to me as a teacher to change my approach to teaching. To teach children through experiences and interests rather than useless information and ideas that is learnt from rote teaching and learns just because it is expected.


Overall it was a great day. I got so much out of Marks talk and from visiting Stonefields School. I feel very excited about my future at Stonefeilds School, but also a little apprehensive as it is a BIG new step and a BIG change in my life. I just hope I make friends fast and can be guided into the Schools systems well so I feel like I know what I am doing and making sure it is done correctly. Auckland is a large place, filled with many people, I am ready for the adventure, but I am also hoping I come out on the other side stronger as a teacher and as a person. Whatever happens happens, and I will work through situations and problems as they come at me.


Here are my notes from Faye’s appraisal/ observation-

25 Nov

Here are my notes from Faye’s appraisal/ observation-

Faye’s Final observation and Appraisal for 2014:

25 Nov

Faye’s Final observation and Appraisal for 2014:

Reflection of Faye’s Observation


Faye came into my classroom on Wednesday the 20th of November to do her final observation for my yearly appraisal. I felt quite out of routine and a bit muddled having it so late in the year, as at the moment class time has been used for assessments, tests, portfolio work etc.  I know that it went well but there are a few things I would like to get better at as a teacher.

 I was really proud of my class and their behaviour and how they carried out my routines. They are a great bunch of children and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them this year, and I will miss them very much.

Here are my notes from Faye’s appraisal/ observation-




Here is my next step to work on within my teaching:

  1. Reciprocal Teaching- As I was a little unsure of how to teach using this method, Faye has given me some resources and lesson ideas on how to use this method in a worthwhile way. It will help to teach reciprocal teaching better and allow the children to get the most out of the lessons. I will look deeper into these resources.
  2. To lead in a curriculum area– I was a bit unsure about why she wrote this as I already am head/ lead teacher of health within the school. I would like to take on more leadership responsibilities though, within any school I work within in the future. I am very open to doing this and will accept any new responsibilities offered to me.

Overall I felt that the lesson went really well and I was proud of how my children responded to me during the lesson. It was great to see what Faye believed I did well within my teaching and to see what she thought about my contributions to the school.

My next step:

My next step and goal in teaching is to feel confident and comfortable working with more junior and younger aged children. I know it will be a new challenge for me in my teaching career but I am excited to build relationships with them and see how I can interact with them to create positive experiences for them in learning.



Professional Development

13 Nov

Professional Development



Reading- Learning Focus for 2014 (at Manchester Street School)


Daily Five/ CAFE


Liz Hansen



Today Liz came in to work with the entire staff with a focus on Reading and using the daily 5 programme and also shared with us about CAFE.

Liz shared many ideas and ways to use and teach Reading within our classes using these systems and programmes. I found she had many wonderful ideas and her approaches to reading were very achievable for all of the staff to use and adapt in their own classrooms. I also felt that the Daily 5 and CAFÉ were very similar to my own teaching approach within the classroom now. It made me feel good about my own teaching and that what I am doing now is effective.


I gained new ideas and information from hearing Liz share these ideas. Here are just some of the main ideas that I thought I would definitely like to use within my own classroom and use these activities or tasks to teach Reading within my class:


  • Daily 5 and CAFÉ enhance our reading programme at      the moment. It doesn’t have to be big changes or challenges to use it and      adapt it to your teaching approach in reading.
  • Lots of choice for children to choose activities      and what they want to focus on in reading sessions. If they choose it-      they enjoy it more.
  • Not guided reading groups, but they are strategy grouped.      Some teachers struggle with this change and it can take a bit to overcome.      I know that I was a bit unsure of it when she said it aloud. I know that I      will trail and have a go with this teaching approach though to see how it      benefits the learners in my classroom.
  • Resources I liked and had a look at through the      session:

–          ‘Scardy Squirrel’- Melanie Watt.

–          ‘Not a Box’ and ‘Not a Stick’

–          ‘The Treasure Thief’ – Beatrice Rodriguez

–          ‘The Chicken Thief’ – Beatrice Rodriguez

–          ‘Flora and the Flamingo’ – Molly Idle.

–          ‘The Weather Machine’- Donovan Bixley.

  • Books without words can be just as effective to      teach children skills in reading rather than text books.

As you can see I have got many ideas and key tasks to implement and put into my classroom programme for the rest my teaching career. I know that how I am teaching reading is effective, BUT I now have some new ideas to try out and have a go with to progress and become a better teacher in this area. I want my children to progress and do their very best and using Daily 5 or CAFÉ will ensure this happens. I look forward to looking into this deeper and having more experience using it within the classroom.