Sunday, May 31, 2015

An Evening of Dumplings

Cocktails, school community, colleagues, electric fry pans, chopsticks, dumplings and a fabulous venue all great ingredients for an AMAZING evening of fun.


Over the past few years our proactive Parent Support Group (PSG) have organised cooking classes.
At one of our earlier meetings Davina asked if I would run a Dumpling class as a member of the PSG.  As much as I love eating dumplings and making them I am definitely not an expert.

A couple of years ago we had a group of chinese grandmothers that made dumplings to sell at our Art and Cultural Festival. They were a hit so it was a no brainer that I ask one of the grandmothers that helped at this event.
When I approached Amy’s (a student at Newmarket School) mother and grandmother Maggie and Mrs Li they were more than happy to help out for this community event.

During the coming weeks Maggie and I met to discuss the event, how it would pan out, the types of dumplings we would make, what we would need and where the evening would take place.
Little did everyone know that Mrs Li (Amy’s grandmother) had made a selection of dumplings for me to sample - they were divine!

Fortunately, Davina - PSG Co-ordinator, parent at Newmarket and owner of Vida Flores kindly offered her shop as the venue for the dumpling evening. Tickets were selling fast.

For many of us Wednesday didn’t come fast enough.  The evening was to start at 7.30pm so I wanted to be at the venue at 7pm to help Davina set up and to help Maggie and Mrs Li.
When I did arrive Davina had everything set up and Maggie and Mrs Li were ready and raring to go.

The evening went without a hitch, except for the dumplings I burnt…. well actually I think Wendy termed this as “well cooked” - just the way she liked them.
An evening that was community oriented, I believe everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Who wouldn’t when you get to try a Canton Ginger Kick Cocktail, a chance to make, cook and eat dumplings and of course amongst great company at a fantastic venue.


Many thanks to Paloma for many of the photos.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Expert Taste Testers

"Taste testing .... ice-cream flavours" was all that was needed to gain my attention!

When we were contacted by Epsom Girls Grammar School's HOD in Food Technology wondering if we had some children who would take part in some taste testing of different ice-cream flavours (there goes those words again!) we or should I say... I jumped at the offer.
We love getting involved with our local community so what a great opportunity.

A team of seven, year 11 students wanted to conduct a small questionnaire and some taste testing of different ice-cream flavours with approximately 20 of our Newmarket School children from a range of ages.

The purpose of their market research was to find out what attracted children to choose one flavour or colour over another. The ice-cream they were tasting were from all existing Tip-Top brands as the girls were working with the designer at Tip-Top to develop a new flavour using the results from their findings.

The children were soooo excited!!! They were bursting to get through the door.
Once the girls from EGGS explained what they were planning to do and the children had completed the short questionnaire it was time to taste!!!

The ooohing and arrhhhing that I heard was music to my ears. I must admit a little oohing came from me too!
Goody Goody Gum Drops, Jelly Tip, Cookies and Cream, Raspberry and Lemonade Fizz and Neopolitan which was the vanilla, strawberry and chocolate were the selection that the children got to sample. 
From this selection I was surprised by the outcome. Most chose Raspberry and lemonade fizz or Cookies and Cream as their favourite.

We are looking forward to the Epsom Girls returning and sharing their findings with us, the new flavour they have created from the results but most importantly to taste the new flavour they have developed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Google Hangout

Who would have ever thought I would be hosting a "hangout"?

Tonight I hosted my first Google Hangout! I loved it! It was exciting!

My Inquiry this year is to work collaboratively with parents, teachers and children in strengthening the home, school community partnership by including parents in learning conversations regarding their children in Yrs 4 & 5 and see what implications this makes on their child's learning.  

Part of my evidence of progress and outcomes was to think of ways to accommodate and support parents using other means of communication (Virtual Google Hangout) as many of our parents find it difficult to get into school during school hours.

After an initial meeting with Asinate I sent home some resources that she could use to support her child's learning.
I wanted to go through the resources but as Asinate found it difficult to make it into school for another meeting I offered a Google Hangout which she had no idea about but was willing to give it a go.

In preparation for this meeting which we were both excited about, we needed to get ourselves onto Google plus and ensure we added each other into our circles.

I had three practice sessions with Sonya to ensure I was prepared.

7pm came and went - a few teething problems but nothing that Sonya couldn't iron out. Thank goodness for Sonya.
Informative information shared and great learning and questions from both parties.
Great feedback and next steps from Sonya, which I have taken on for my next follow up using Google Hangout.

Summing up:  This is what Asinate said : "She thought using a Google Hangout was easier than Skyping and taking part ,“ Was all worth missing Shortland Street for.

For me: “Am I sold on using Google Hangout?  Absolutely!!!”.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Following up from my previous post titled "Te Reo Maori" I decided I needed to "walk the talk" and make my learning visible.

So here it is. My learning in action. Taking a leap out of our examples on our school wiki, here is my Pepeha.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Te Reo Maori

An area that I feel that I needed to work on has been my learning around Te Reo Maori.
This has been playing on my mind for a while and so I decided to go back to our Newmarket Wiki and reflect on areas that needed revisiting.

Little reminders like the Newmarket Maungawhau story around The Maori legend -  "The Story of Mataaho" and the relevance of the volcanic crater and how it is viewed as sacred and to honour the wairua by refraining from entering the bowl of Mataaho. Our children retold the story of Mataaho using Voki and they used SOLO Hot maps and rubrics to help them identify their learning outcomes. I enjoyed revisiting their work.

This has highlighted the importance of honouring The Treaty of Waitangi, our school vision and values and a reminder of embracing the language.
In order for me to sustain what I have learnt I need to continue to build on what I know and practice new words and phrases and in particular using the correct pronunciation.
I have been supported by Sonya Van Schaijik and we currently have a Maori Language Assistant  - Matua Hone who is providing professional development for the staff each week.

Being bilingual has meant that I am fortunate to speak two languages, therefore I feel privileged to be embracing and learning a third -  This is my learning journey which I will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

WELS 2015

WELS 2015

I was fortunate to attend the World Educational Leadership Summit 2015 in Singapore with my Principal Dr Wendy Kofoed and colleague Sonya Van Schaijik.

As stated we were addressed by :
" THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVERS & SHAKERS IN EDUCATION OF OUR TIME" - six professors who I follow closely Pasi Sahlberg, Tony Wagner, Yong Zhao, Simon Breakspear, Stephen Murgatroyd and Sugata Mitra.

The highlight for me was attending the master class with Professor Sugata Mitra. I was particularly interested in going to his workshop as I had heard his TED talks around "The Hole in the Wall" and SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environments) and wanted to hear more about "Questioning".

Professor Mitra is a TED Prize winner - "The School in the Cloud",  a global experiment where children puzzle through big questions and ideas on their own with little assistance and teaching one another in the process. In his initial research Professor Mitra suggests that children in SOLE environments can learn almost anything by themselves.

To sum up, for me the "take away ideas/ key points/ highlights for the day were:

# a clearer understanding of how the principles of SOLE could be used and implemented at Newmarket.
# make it Non Prescriptive!!!!
# having Dr Sugata model and demonstrate the process and taking part in the experience.
#  how SOLE encourages collaboration
# clarification around timing, questioning, how and what to assess ( not necessarily every time) and when it could be used ( frequency).
# possible challenges - moving from 1-1 devices to 1-4, Teacher Control
# a need to redesign the curriculum and to ensure we evaluate on a regular basis
# importance of student, teacher,  parent and community voice when redesigning the curriculum.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Parent Hui's 2015


Hui 1 Thursday 19th March 

Hui 2 Thursday 26th March


One way to share our learning with our parent community is through our Parent Hui days and evenings.
It was so great to see our talented staff share their knowledge and skills in a collabrative co creative way. (Refer to links above).
As Assistant Principal and Curriculum Leader I felt a sense of pride when the teams sought feedback for their presentations and took on board the critical discussions and suggestions.
Overall in my opinion the team collaboration was successful because the teachers worked together collaboratively and produced and presented a coherent artefact for our school.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Belinda Sharing Good Practice

As always Sonya Van Schaijik alerted all staff that another TeachmeetNZ was being live streamed on Saturday 21st March at 2pm.
I watched the whole session themed around Science as I have a passion around science.
I was particularly interested in hearing and seeing Belinda Hitchman from our school share her thoughts around coding in the classroom.

Belinda was fantastic. She presented like a pro and gave viewers an insight into how coding can be used effectively in the classroom.
A highlight for me was hearing Belinda use the analogy of how learning to code is like the Nature of Science.

As usual after the session I provided feedback to both Belinda and Sonya which I know from experience they will use to fine tune their practice.