A little about me...

Kia ora!
My name is Juliana Treadwell and I have the privilege of being a part of the MDTA 2016 crew! During my first year of this course I will be a part of an awesome year two/three class at Tamaki Primary School with my highly knowledgeable mentor Sally Barlow. I'm super pumped for this crazy adventure and through this blog I hope you can live and learn vicariously with me and enjoy the experience as much as I am!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

"Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for" - Unknown

The past couple of weeks have taken a rather interesting turn, thanks to a rather hard soccer ball to the head I received my 5th concussion and have been put on strict R&R until I make a full recovery. Taking it easy and being told that I am incapable of doing something is definitely not a strong point of mine, I love being busy and pushing myself to the limit, so to be told I can't do anything but rest didn't go down so well initially. However I have realised that rest was exactly what I needed, rest my body and my mind so my brain can repair is a very important process and I needed to take it seriously if I was going to recover 100%. So I had to push my stubbornness aside and enjoy relaxing, and create mini projects that didn't strain my mind too much. I have been fortunate enough to have strong support from my school, colleagues, MDTA crew and of course my mum that has allowed me to take the time I needed and be in a place where I can recover fully, thanks team!

It's been weird to actually have free time to create a terrarium or go for a walk on the beach where I'm not constantly thinking about all the things I am meant to be doing, or mentally planning for school or assignments. I have even lost the fast paced Auckland walk and slowed right back down, which my friends will not appreciate. 

I guess I have learnt that even when school and uni are so intense, and seem to take over every part of my life, I need to make sure that I take time every now and then to relax and enjoy the ride, make sure I am aware of the big picture thats going on around me. For now, I just can't wait to get back to it, I miss my class and the kids but I know once I'm back that I should be well rested and ready for some serious learning time! Until then I will be working on creating some concrete herb pots and keeping my mind as relaxed as I can, once again thanks to everyone for their support and understanding.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

"In the social age, knowledge is only powerful if you share what you know" - Charlie-Helen Robinson

The idea of recording my thoughts has always been a difficult one, my personal attention span has been a  factor, trying to listen to someone talk and taking notes that manage to stay on topic is quite a struggle. Usually during a lecture or tutorial I have to rely on my memory to retain the information I have been taught, due to the occasional lapse in concentration, This generally ends up with a bunch of empty note books with random words or drawings scattered throughout. 

However today we started looking into the art of Sketchnoting. Taking the main concepts from a lecture, talk or discussion, pulling out key words and sketching diagrams, pictures and arrows to show how the ideas all work together to form the concept on one simple page. This allows you to quickly glance at the page and make connections without needing to scroll back through a hundred pages of traditional notes. 

The sketchnote I tried out today was looking at the concept of SHARE. You can interpret the picture in your own way but the main idea I was trying to portray was the concept of a genuine audience. Learners in your classroom have to be at school, when you tell them to engage and listen to another learners work or project it's not their choice, it is mandatory do to so which creates an unauthentic audience. However with technology as te kūaha (the doorway) you can create an environment where people from all over the word are searching for students learning online and engaging in discussions by their own choice. I believe this creates a authentic, genuine, engaged audience which learners will thrive off sharing with. 

Friday, 1 July 2016

"The more we share, the more we have." - Leonard Nimoy.

Today was a day dedicated to adventuring through other schools in our cluster. An opportunity to observe the learning in a different environments and how they motivate and engage their learners. I spent my time at Point England school in a year one and in a year four/three classroom. Being friday there was a diverse range of activities going on, however there was still plenty of learning to observe. 

One of the most useful things I observed today was in the year one class the teacher had used sound bytes on Explain Everything activities, a short voice over at the top of each page that quickly explained the task. This supported her learners that were not competent readers to still understand the task and what they are required to do. This is something I will look into implementing into my own practice, it can allow my less able readers to be able to rely less on constant teacher support and be able to become independent learners. 

The experiences available to us within our cluster to be able to share ideas, discuss our pedagogy and expand our perspective of learning is invaluable. The conversation we are able to have around practice with such a range of teachers, no matter their years of experience, decile or age of their  class leads us to learn so many new techniques, discuss challenges and collectively work to solve underachievement. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

"It's essential to find out why you think, say and do things... then better yourself." - Sonya Teclai

The process of reflecting can be a eye opening experience. You think you know what you believe and how it effects the way you act, but until you have to articulate your beliefs sometimes you don't fully realise the complexity of your own beliefs. This six month reflection has challenged me to look at my personal philosophy around teaching, how it has developed and if I am staying true to what I believe in my daily teaching. So here it is, I look forward to seeing further personal development and what challenges lay ahead...

Friday, 17 June 2016

"I do not like being in front of a camera." - Kelly Wearstler

This week I have started filming for my 6 month reflection of being a MDTA teacher. Mate what a challenge, attempting to summarise 6 months of hectic learning, challenges and celebrations into a three minute video. There has been so much happening it took almost the whole day just to try to organise my ideas, remembers the ups and the downs, the challenges of juggling teaching, university and digital immersion. Then trying to communicate all this and how it effects my daily teaching practice. 

The challenge was not the ideas, but sitting in front of the camera and trying to seriously communicate what's happening inside my mind. I found it difficult to not get awkward in front of the camera and to attempt to control my facial features. I generally come across as angry when I am thinking so I had to focus strongly on looking relaxed in front of a camera. 

It made me think more about when we ask the students to make videos, generally I am quite flippant about it, "just go film", it's not actually that simple.  A quality film that is well thought through takes time, a few different takes to make sure you have the message set clear. 

Keep posted for the final edit of my six month reflection coming soon....

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

"Make time to celebrate your achievements no matter how big or small." - Unknown

Testing time of the term is once agin upon us. Initially I found it to be a draining time, testing the vast majority of our learners can become quickly uninspiring if you are constantly comparing them to national standards and focusing on 'the gap' between where they are and where they need to be. It's pretty easy to get caught up in the negative "we have a dam long way to go" mindset so instead this time I tried to focus on their results in a new light. 

The child who use to whisper sentences to himself before he would dare read them out loud he now reads confidently and clearly even with a teacher he doesn't normally read with, and at two levels higher. 

Another learner who cold hardly sit still long enough to read a full book, he can now focus enough to attend to every word of a text.

One boy who has been at the same magenta reading level for the past two years has progressed up two reading levels!

One writer at the beggining of the year could hardly write a sentence, he is now writing stories with a beginning middle and end. 

One reader that didn't know their alphabet sounds are now chunking and sounding out blends. 

Another writer who was unable to write basic sight words is now sounding out words like; class, black, sharp, licked. 

Although we could still brand these learners as well below expectation, I'm starting to realise that this is unproductive towards their next learning steps. Of course we are aiming high and ideally we will reach that level, but for this moment let's just celebrate that they are making personal progress. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

"If we teach today as we did yesterday then we rob our children of tomorrow." - John Dewey

Todays digital immersion session has been based around creating a screencast that directs a user how to navigate our class sites. While I was creating this screencast I had to decide my target audience, because how I would teach my students how to use this site is vastly different from how I would teach whānau or a colleague about navigating. With this in mind I decided to focus on a brief description for parents and colleagues on how students use our website during our reading sessions. The screencast shows the process of learning by listening online and discussing the book as a group, creative tasks on Explain Everything that showcase what the students have learnt, as well as a brief description of how students then share their work back to the teacher for feedback then up on the blog for the world to view. 

Upon reflection, making a screencast like this to explain to the students how to use their site most effectively could be an idea. They know the basics on how to get their work but they don't yet use the site independently or to take control of their learning. If I made a video for the learners on how to use the site to guide their learning most effectively maybe this would create more independence and they could be utilising the site to its full potential.