Thursday, 31 March 2016

LDC 2 - Mindlab Assessment

Despite the issues with the Mindlab portal, I am happy I'm finished with this assessment. Mind you the work has only really just begun as we begin to implement this six month digital and collaborative innovation plan.

Insert doc here: (Really wish there were more options on Blogger for mobile app like embedding!!!)

The best part about this assessment is the Lean Implementation Plan. The simplicity of it and how we can see straight through to the actual issue and how we can further develop it.

I was grateful for the extra day to upload... even though it didn't work in the end for me - But I was able to get a bit more guidance from both eLearning DPs and our new Principal :) Was able to rewrite it as well or at least a quick edit between finishing school and Pasifika practice.

Hopefully my emailed assessment will be taken - if not - I'll try upload it today and add the overall plan I made with the early adopters and inquiries that I wrote too.

Made a small workaround with Google Docs as you still can't add portrait and landscape docs in the same document. Added a table with two columns - shortened the left side to use for the description and used the snipping tool on Windows to take a clip of each plan that I'd created in another document landscape. Pasted it into the table on the landscape doc - turned pic around landscape and stretched it to fit the whole page. Not as clear as it would have been if you could have both aspects landscape and portrait available - but it will do for now.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

An Open Message: Tatou Tatou

I wrote this post back on the 11th March. I never put it here. I should have but I didn't.
Anyway here it is... after tonight's weeny shock at seeing one of my students in his colours with the other members at the supermarket... think tonight is just as pertinent as any to share this. If anything it hardens my resolve to find a way through to this particular class where it's such an issue daily.

An open message to all gang prospects, gang members who entice younger high school students and their leaders who allow this to happen:

Every day I am happy to see my students walk through the door of our classroom. I am passionate about wanting them to learn and believe that they can achieve. To push them forward to be the best possible them that they can be.

The issue I see every day is my students kowtowing to my other students in hopes to become a new member or within their mode of operandi as prospects. These students happen to be among my wide list of awesome students and it breaks my heart that they only see this as a possible future for themselves. That they give up working on their beautiful art and creative writing or drama and dance because it supposedly doesn't help in their future lives.

Our students deserve more than this. They deserve whanau who believe they are capable of achieving more than they ever possibly dreamed of. Our students try their very best in class and work hard to learn the behaviours appropriate in each class and at school. They push themselves to please us as sometimes we're the only happy face to see them during their day or they trust us and believe that we'll have their best interests at heart.

Whanau, I know you all want the best for them too - but at the end of the day - we need to break the cycle. And it starts with all of us. To find a place of calm and understanding and know that there is a better place out there for them. To let them be free to make their own choices (albeit whether that means they choose to stay in the gang as that's the only life they know).

Believe in them. They are more than what you may see. They are talented and wonderful kids who ache to have someone tell them this. They crave encouragement. They literally sparkle when you encourage them and tell them you believe in them. Let them see the world and all its joys and hardtimes too. But most of all - let them be kids. Don't force them into something because that's how it was for you.

I'm proud to teach our students. I care about each and every single one. I will always do my absolute best to advocate for the safety and happiness of every one of my students - past, present and future kids.

Just give them a chance to see the opportunities awaiting them.

Naku noa,

Alex Le Long

Friday, 25 March 2016

End Of March Reflections

It's usually at this point in the year when I have to reassess and think more deeply about what I'm doing, the why and for who.

For much of my (albeit short in the grand scheme of teaching careers) career I've always been focussed on student well-being, staff development and personal inquiry based development. I'm a sponge. I've said it before and I'll say it again - but I soak up good things - as much as possible, and with that I get laden down with the bad stuff too.

Some times that bad stuff, although a mere drop in all the good that I do in my classes, school and homelife, can actually put the brakes on my overall wairua, hauora and personal mental state.

When I'm stressed I procrastinate further. I do things I shouldn't when I could have managed my time more effectively. I think about past issues rather than focus on the task at hand. I assume that this is similar to how my students must feel and why they sometimes choose to be immature, irresponsible and silly in class.

This month - on the 4th - I turned 28. Two years til 30. For the longest time I've been a goal setting person and there are goals I've accomplished and goals where I'm still striving to achieve them.

One particular goal - career oriented - has inadvertently led me towards another path. I'm still hooked on the idea I had previously and it bugs me because I don't want to change course, but I know I need to readjust my thinking, priorities and perspectives. At the end of the day - I just can't do everything. No matter how much I want to or think that I can do.

At the crux of the issue is that my passion for teaching is stretched throughout many areas. Particularly around staff development.

This new role will mean not only do I get personal inquiry based development, but I will also be able to do even more good in staff and student development too. It will undoubtedly improve student well-being and opportunities and can have an incredibly large impact.

The work that I'm doing in school - or the work that I'd like to do more of in school is stabilising. We have more hands on deck who are willing to help and give back. This is something I've wanted. At the end of the day I want to work in an environment that is collaborative, positive about sharing ideas and best practice and where innovation is recognised. We are heading there. After long struggles - we are on our way.

I need to readjust my thinking, my role in this as a mere cog in the awesome wheel and hopefully provide guidance and help where needed. Perhaps this is enough. I don't have to do everything. I shouldn't have had to either. The words a colleague said a few years ago on our way back from an educamp still ring true - I just don't have the clout. One day I may do - yet I'm happy to help where needed for now. I just need to figure out where that is.

I've spent a lot of time developing myself professionally and sharing my ideas at different conferences and spaces yet I really wanted to have a space where I could do that at school.

Finally realising that that space is in my class with my students has taken a long time. I still am crazy passionate about upskilling staff and my peers but my students should be the ones getting my awesomeness first.

Seeing my Y12s take on the Kanban boards so easily yesterday reminds me that I do know my stuff and that I need to implement it more often in class. Especially now that things are becoming more accessible and I can finally put things into practice.

These thoughts have been circling for a while in my head. Good to finally get them out of there..

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Easter Craziness

Held three easter egg hunts today for my students today. First one for my social studies class - hugely rushed but this was my favourite. I only had a few minutes to put them all in hiding places but with two helper easter bunnies to help it was done in quick as time. The smiles on their faces were crazy cute and they left buzzing. (Sorry other teachers!!)

Y11s was funny as because I'd actually strapped them under the tables and hidden them in even harder places. The Y11s pretend that they are too old for these things but they were straight into it - saw them way too fast and kept quiet while others still had yet to see them to make sure others had the surprise. The rush of the 2 minute hunt was manic. No students hurt but maybe a lot of chocolate eaten.

Lastly - the Y10s which was who I'd actually planned it for in the beginning. The Y11s helped to reset and the Y10s were eager to get into it as they were the ones who'd first given me the suggestion (due to wet weather of school easter hunt run by Interact). These guys are the most respectful and focused students I've ever met when it comes to chocolate. Who ever said that rewards based recognition didn't work for extension students?? Haha  So proud of them all. What was even cooler was that during the chaos of 4th period where Interact were coming to collect the baking for the bake sale - the rest of the class self-managed - organised parts to be read by students for Act 4, Scene 1-5 in Romeo and Juliet and began reading while I was still sorting out the Interact Club's stuff.

So proud of both the Interact Club and the Pasifika Group.  :) #HeightsProud

Really looking forward to this weekend so that I can do some homework, marking and relaxing with whanau and friends.

Just realised I left marking at school.... Gah!!! After everything I did in trying to sort stuff out today.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

ICT Advisory Board for PPTA

Pretty excited. I nominated myself a couple weeks ago for the open position in area 4 (Bay of Plenty) on the ICT Advisory board with PPTA.

Couple days ago I got the letter of confirmation. There were a couple whispers at conference that I'd gotten it but I wanted to wait and make sure before I said anything about it.

Not too sure how much I'll be able to share while on the board - but the position is for two years - 2016 and 2017. I'll be helping advise on ICT implementation and learning a LOT in the process I'm sure.

Really looking forward to it. First meeting is early April.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

PPTA Issues and Organising Conference 2016

As yesterday was my 28th birthday, it felt good to be here in Auckland with my union friends, discussing things to do with Establishing Teachers within the PPTA around the country. My students were a bit gutted that we couldn't have a shared lunch yesterday but got lots of Happy Birthdays from them on Thursday :)

Notes from our Delegates training day yesterday:

Notes from 1st Workshop - Saturday: Community Engagement with Bill Anderson

Tweets from this session:

Tweets from 1st Keynote - Richard Wagstaff from CTU

Notes from 2nd Workshop - Saturday:

Tweets from this session:

Notes from 3rd Workshop - Sunday:

Tweets from this session:

Slides from 4th Workshop - Sunday: Social Media Organising - presented by Lynette O'Brien, Lawrence Mikkelsen, Michael Tarry and myself.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Professional Development 2016

The last few years I've been writing a blog post listing the different professional development I've undertaken.

Here's the PLD for 2016:

School PLD
Kia Eke Panuku
eLearning Workshops

Structured Learning
MindLab by Unitec - Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning) - [November 2015 - July 2016]

Educamps and Connected
Connected Rotorua
Connect Day - Hamilton
EdchatNZ conference

Twitter Chats:
Class Dojo and #dojochatANZ

- PPTA Issues and Organising
PPTA Maori Teacher's Conference
- #EdChatNZ Conference
- PPTA Annual Conference

Thursday, 3 March 2016

MindLab Assignment: DCL2 (Trello and Blendspace)

For this assessment, I had to rethink my original idea from DCL1. I had to redefine my idea and make it narrower. According to the rubric... I think I did okay. I sent this in this week - hence the insecurity and unsure attitude at the moment...

Trello and Blendspace are awesome! Thanks to everyone who participated in these sessions with me. We'll be doing more the rest of this term too :)

Notes from my Interlead journal:

For this assessment I have to:
* create an essay or video presentation where I describe and analyse a digital and collaborative learning innovation that I have implemented.
Over the past couple of weeks I've been really fortunate that I had some bites from emails I sent out about sharing Blendspace and Trello to colleagues here at Heights.
Personally, I absolutely adore Blendspace. When my friend @brianhost showed me it last year during a Google Hangout session, I was absolutely blown away. I love that it is connected to my Google account for school, I can drag and drop the different bits of research and information for my students from multiple different areas (Google Drive, Dropbox, Webpages, Google, Tes and more). Probably the best thing though is that you can collaborate together on a single Blendspace board and share it easily to Google Classroom with the link or even make the link into a QR code for students to scan with their phones.
Trello on the other hand...I'm still figuring out how best to use it. Though the most obvious thing would be the way it creates simple and quick collaboration with your peers. We used it as a way to show our learning and the learning we wanted to learn next during our PLD sessions on Blendspace and Trello. I think it has huge potential but needs more time to use it and think through the multiple ways we COULD use it to help improve collaboration and idea generating at school and in the classroom.
What I enjoyed most about the sessions:
colleagues sharing and learning from each other, the lightbulb moments, the frustration and then understanding, teachers being students and realizing the struggles in learning something new, how easily I find multi-tasking when sharing with staff around ICT and elearning, seeing colleagues develop more confidence in using the tools and sharing them with others (even becoming the tutor themselves!!), encouraging their peers to find new ways to achieve different results, developing alternative solutions and ideas with how to use the tools in class and with colleagues, collaborating!!!!, becoming better at figuring out pace with different colleagues to ensure they aren't feeling overwhelmed or bored,

What I struggled with during these sessions:
remembering that not everyone is as keen on PLD as I am... haha, finding clarity to speak clearly with peers after a long day of school (despite my excitement),  finding ways to use Trello that we weren't already doing with using it...

Assessment Breakdown
20% Describe the rationale for a digital and collaborative learning innovation that you have implemented
30% Document and critique your innovation with reference to relevant educational research, and investigate how theory has been applied in a digital and collaborative environment
30% Gather and analyse data using methods appropriate to the context
10% Use and present suitably referenced source material, including peer reviewed journals
10% Deliver and present content effectively, considering structure, narrative and language

Next Steps:
* Ask colleagues to share what they've done with Blendspace (grab a screenshot for essay/video...)
* figure out whether to do an essay or video.... (should really have filmed a session if I'm going to do an essay... and can speak more clearly via essay)
* find research to back up what I've done with digital and collaborative learning (look through the readings again on the MindLab portal)
* See if there are any more staff willing to learn more about Blendspace and Trello
* Implement Blendspace and Trello as an effective programme of learning for co-construction and shared power in classroom
* Locate the Lean Canvas plan (shoe plan...) that we did at the MindLab for more direction

Mindlab Assessment: LDC1 (Class Dojo and PB4L)

For this assessment I had to critique a change initiative that I had been involved in. I went well over the word limit and still don't think I said everything I needed to. I should have discussed and critiqued the leadership theories in more depth and the leadership of the change initiative itself.

MindLab Assessments: DCL 1

A bit of a catch up needed...

I'm all about visible learning - however have been slack in putting these finished documents and videos up. I think I'm better at essays than videos. I say um too much but I do want to get better at doing the, as it's something I need to work on - speaking clearly and getting my point across. Perhaps all that is needed is a script that I've worked on that I read out. When I read poems or Shakespeare I'm awesome and I don't stumble... so... we'll see how that goes. My next assessment NEEDS to be a video as it will make it extremely easier to implement and show an educational contextual topic as a result...

For the Digital and Collaborative Learning Assessment I had to create a video discussing an area that I wanted to focus on and implement a change initiative.

To create this video I used Screencastify and an embedded video that I created through which you can check out individually here: 

The slides can be found here: