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11. Childrens' Reflections

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10. Responses and Final Reflections.

Phew! All done, what a ride! I think it took us 7 weeks all in. Considering the amount of upheaval that we experienced, we did a great job. What I wanted to prove most of all was that YOU CAN DO THIS. In a very short time. I'm a 2nd-year teacher struggling to get my program together...but won't I always be? Yes, the cross-curricular work was not to the best standard but that was through my inexperience. I now see that I could EASILY have improved the standard of the work by either:

making the quality of the work PART of the Mantlehaving some forethought about my core subject teaching, and theming that work according to the topic and our focusMy MOTE was very separate from my core subjects. This needn't/shouldn't be the case. I did this because it was the first term and there was too much going on with assessment and class setup and what not. Next time I will integrate the MOTE story across the curriculum. It's easiest to do with art but making it part of literacy an…

9. The presentation to Mr Jacob Mana and the Local Iwi.

On the day, we had the presentation at 2.30pm. The principal, my teaching assistant and my tutor teacher were attending as the company owner and representatives of the local Iwi respectively.

I booked the hall so that we could have the morning and afternoon to rehearse. At 11am, they practised in their teams whilst I put some of their work up on the wall. There were a lot of unfinished works but I was not phased by this, we did what we could and concentrated on the hands-on stuff. 

Next time I will use what I have learnt to improve the transmission of the learning into other curricular areas. (More detailed photos of their work will appear in the last blog of ONLY photos.)



Then we set about the final rehearsing. Three girls from the same freeze frame were absent so we had to re-jig and get rid of one of them (5 instead of 6). Instead of me calling out the six-word poem at the beginning of each freeze frame, I split this in between the two girls with nothing to do. One of them was obvious…

8. Polishing and Rehearsing

Viv has left us for the Plains of Africa (with her Robert Redford!) so I will be finishing up the Blog myself :)

The last week has been hectic and a little tense, in a good way. We have been using every minute available to finish their adze stories and their logos so that we have something to present at our final presentation and to put up in our room. They have been awesome at helping each other either with their story completion or colouring in.

There has been a lot of 'counting down' the days, hours and lessons, by myself, so that the pressure has been subtle but present. As you would in the real world when you have a deadline to meet. Things like: "Mr Mana is coming on Wednesday...do you know your story? What if he asks you? Is your personal freeze frame telling your part of the tale? Check each other and give each other advice".

The general excitement has been palpable. We have stopped often to reflect on the identity element across the learning. I have felt freer …

7. Preparing for the presentation to the client

We're almost at the end of term now and it sounds like you are still getting plenty of buy in and interest from the children in the class, Miguel?

Engagement is not a problem. Every time I think I'm going to lose them, I just say 'are you ready to get into your groups?' and off they go." Sharing the 'work in process' with the Voki of Grace was a really useful way to check in with the overall purpose.

That's great to hear! I've really enjoyed seeing the photos of the children and work and hearing how committed they are to getting their ideas across, whether that's through writing or speaking. Today we discussed a possible tension which can arise with written work .... With children so pushed for time, and focussing on the CONTENT rather than the FORM or POLISH of their writing, how can a teacher scaffold the children to ensure their written work is edited? You mentioned that it's been fairly rough quality so far? What are you seeing in the w…

2. Planning discussions

Viv says:

We began our journey with several planning conversations in January / February. Here's some of the background information we discussed in those meetings.

Who are the learners?


Intermediate age children in New Plymouth schoolVery 'willing' class who have already established strong relationships with each otherSchool wide inquiry topic for the term:  Identity Client, commission and responsible team selected: The class will be positioned as a team of museum curators commissioned by the local council to investigate a traditional greenstone Adze found by a builder digging in a local park. Note: Miguel made the very sensible and pragmatic decision to adapt an existing plan he'd experienced himself as a student at university. He could see how that resonated strongly with the required topic of 'identity'. 

Possible curriculum tasks emerging: Investigating the original purpose, meaning and manufacture of Adzes in Māori culture. Exploring why this Adze might have been …

5. Writing and researching

It's now week five and the formal commission is underway...

Miguel, can you describe how the class responded to the VOKI presentation? From what you told me, it sounds like it was a rich opportunity for aural language as they listened, inferred and questioned.

I also liked what you said about holding back from directing the children and instead asking "how do you think the information should be presented to the client?" I think you found the children came up with ideas similar to what you would have planned - plus some other 'angles' you hadn't thought of...? I'd love you to share some more on the temptations to lead and the benefits of walking alongside the learners - this sounds like a really important part of your experience...

Yes! After watching the video (I spoke about 'Voki' on the last blog, see images) I asked: "so...how are we going to do this?". And then I went quiet, resisting the temptation to lead. We have time restraints a…