Sunday, July 26, 2015

#TeachMeetNZ Presentation

TeachMeetWikiSpaces My Profile

Teach Meet NZ, what a fantastic experience! I was asked by +Sonya Van Schaijik to present in term 2's #TeachMeetNZ on a topic I am passionate about. At First I was a bit hesitant and had no idea about google hangouts and presenting live to an audience over the internet. But my motto is to say yes and so I did.

I immediately knew what my topic was going to be. I feel passionate about personalised learning and worked long hours with @jessosullivan00 to create and introduce personalised goals on google docs for the children in our class.

The whole #TeachMeetNZ experience was fantastic professional development for myself. It made me reflect on how far we had come as two teachers working together in a Learning Studio of 50 kids with 1:1 iPads. How far our 5 and 6 year olds have come from their single cell classrooms the previous year to developing their mindset to a new modern learning approach to learning. I felt extremely proud and was excited about sharing this with my PLN.

Before the final #TeachMeetNZ presentation we had 3 practices with +Sonya Van Schaijik. Practising even the smallest things made a huge difference to my confidence on the final presentation. I felt more nervous during my practice presentation than I did during the final presentation. It was really interesting listening to other teachers discuss their passions. There was a clear theme throughout everyone's presentations of having high expectations for your students.

Thank you +Sonya Van Schaijik for this experience. I am definitely recommending it to my colleagues at New Lynn Primary.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Little Heads, Big Brains

It took me a while to think of a name for my blog that encapsulated the 'idea' that I will most likely refer to in my future reflections. The same 'idea' that I reflect on in my everyday teaching.

I had a brainstorming session on google hangouts with +Alex Le Long and after some deliberation came up with the name for my blog. I am not 100% set on it yet, so it may change. Open to suggestions! :) But I feel that it captures the 'idea' that I am trying to get across.

Referring to modern learning pedagogy and technology in the classroom, I have often come across other teachers asking "How will that work in a junior classroom?" and being unsure about how children who are so new to school, can think in these 'abstract' ways. For example expecting children who are learning their alphabet letters to identify their next learning step, may be a daunting task.

I have felt the same way and have asked the same questions. But a big part of my philosophy and the 'idea' that I often think about is to have high expectations for the children and provide them with the opportunity to succeed and learn from their failures (falling forward).

Having the end goal in mind is the first step. What do I want the children to accomplish and then working my way back and thinking about the steps we will need to take to get to the end goal. Starting with a small group of children first, I make them aware of the end goal and then model the steps it takes to get there. All the while giving them opportunities to explore independently and co-constructing their next steps together. Working with a small group of children first makes this daunting task more manageable and gives those children the opportunity to be the experts while implementing the task across the class.

Taking small steps towards something big makes it manageable for myself as the facilitator and the students as the learners (and often vice-versa). Facilitating their learning and making it their responsibility to make and take those next steps gives them responsibility in their learning and teaches them that learning is a process that never really ends. It also conveys to them (and myself) that they can complete those daunting tasks, be successful and the experts.

So in conclusion, don't be afraid to have those high expectations of your junior kids, if you believe that they can do it, they will definitely believe it. Have the end goal in mind and the steps taken to get there. They might have little heads, but they have big brains!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The beginning of my blogging journey

This is me starting a new adventure in my career. Making my practice public, feeling vulnerable and uncertain. But excited to be out of my comfort zone and sharing my thoughts and ideas with others.

I am not a writer and will most likely keep my posts brief and to the point. But I want to share my teaching experiences, my ideas and ask questions.

A bit about myself. My name is Steven de Bruin and I am proud to be a year 1 and 2 teacher. I love teaching 5 and 6 year olds and have a passion for teaching kids how to read and write. I teach at New Lynn Primary with my teaching buddy Jess O'Sullivan in our Learning Studio. We practice a modern learning approach in single cell classrooms, patiently waiting our new environment.

We have a Studio of 50 children and two classrooms. We share these two classrooms, the areas in between and have created different learning spaces within. We are lucky enough to learn with 1:1 iPads and we use a blended learning approach.  The kids use Google Drive and their books to show their learning. Using Google Apps for Education has complemented our personalised learning approach and has meant that the kid's goals are individualised, relevant and up to date.

Looking forward to writing my next blog post about "Little Heads, Big Brains". If you take the time to read this please comment :)