Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Another Summer of Learning

Following on from the success of the pilot one year ago, the Summer Learning Journey is underway again for Manaiakalani school children while schools are closed and everyone is on holiday. Rachel Williams has expanded the programme and her team, and they are supporting our children to continue learning during the Summer holiday period. 

The Summer Learning Journey utilises the embedded blogging programme existing in Manaiakalani schools and provides engaging activities for our young people to interact with throughout the Summer. Where this differs from other programmes which may provide stimulating holiday learning is the ongoing community building designed into the programme.  Every post shared is commented on by at least one adult and the children are encouraged to connect with each other and interact with the posts their peers share.

We look forward to the report that will emerge after school resumes as the researchers evaluate the impact on academic outcomes for the participants.

In the meantime we invite anyone with five minutes on their hands in the next couple of weeks to go to this URL : twitter.com/clusternz and follow the links to one of the 400 children who are currently participating in the programme. Become an active participant in their learning journey by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are a sample, randomly selected from the Twitter feed:


One thing that drew my attention was the number of boys participating (writing). Food for thought for teachers and CoLs beginning the year with a goal of "doing something about boys writing..."

We note that the Education Review has also published an article recognising this initiative.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Talking Really DOES Matter

...especially in the first three years of life.

The NEXT Foundation have made a generous gift to New Zealand funding an initiative called Talking Matters - a campaign to promote the importance of communicating with babies in their first 1,000 days.

For years our teachers have been aware of the significant negative impact on children who arrive at our Decile 1 schools having heard 30 million less spoken words than their fortunate peers in suburbs not too far down the road. They spend their life playing catch-up. We work hard to accelerate learning with highly effective teaching strategies and try not to focus on the wistful thought that we are starting 5 years too late!

We are delighted to hear that a group are taking action. Watch Talking Matters Director Alison Sutton talk about this exciting initiative to educate parents about the importance of talking to babies and immersing them in conversation, songs and rhymes - as well as reading to them.

You can watch a further video where Prof Stuart McNaughton comments on the significance of this initiative.

Alison Sutton on Talking Matters for NEXT Foundation from Nicola Smith on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Digital Pedagogy

The search for digital pedagogy that raises achievement
Graphic created by Russell Burt
Dr Rebecca Jesson from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre attended our recent Manaiakalani combined Boards of Trustees forum and presented current findings and recommendations resulting from the research carried out in our schools.

Her half hour presentation was informative, to the point and made very accessible for the audience - most of whom were not educators.

The graphic on the left illustrates one of the outstanding findings shared by the researchers - that learners who spend three consecutive years in the Manaiakalani programme make more progress than the average kiwi kid.

The video below is a highly recommended watch for people wanting a progress update on the 12 Manaiakalani Schools in 2016.  

Another standout quote from the night for this group of parents who may have had questions about their children being in digital learning environments assured them that the face to face conversations teachers have with the young people can be more powerful because of the digital.

"Manaiakalani is one the most effective interventions across the world for improving face to face conversation". 
Dr Rebecca Jesson, Nov 2016

Manaiakalani: The Hook from Heaven

We are delighted to see the story of Manaiakalani shared by Oiwi TV and the amazing team from Hōkūleʻaʻs Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
Manaiakalani: The Hook from Heaven from Oiwi TV on Vimeo.

 Thank you for including us in your journey and telling our story through your eyes.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Connected Learners Share

The Manaiakalani Digital Immersion programme is designed to support teachers in their first year of teaching in a 1:1 digital learning environment. This eclectic group of teachers includes beginning teachers and teachers who have been decade(s) in the profession; teachers who are in their first year in a Manaiakalani school and teachers who have been in one of our schools for years but have never had the opportunity to teach in a digital learning environment until now.


One of the professional learning opportunities designed for this group is a whole day professional learning group once a term. This provides a chance for teachers to come together and explore their own teaching inquiry, to network and share, to learn more about Manaiakalani pedagogy and valued outcomes, and to develop some new digital skills.



Click to open presentation
Today we had 35 teachers attend our plg exploring the Manaiakalani focus for Term 3: “Connected Learners (young and older) Share”.

We began the day with an overview of the goals, valued outcomes and pedagogy of the Manaiakalani Programme, and teachers formed groups of three to share how they were outworking these in their practice after two terms (six months) in our schools.

The focus then shifted to how we as adults share. This initial conversation separated out personal, social and professional sharing. There were predictable differences  and robust opinion sharing around:
How do you share?
How do you define the boundaries for your sharing? If you have them.....
How do you deal when the boundaries blur or are breached?

Click to open this collection of reflections
A ’speed dating’ session followed designed for our teachers to each share aspects of their professional learning arising from their Teaching as Inquiry this year.

After connecting with half a dozen teachers they were invited to reflect on what they had heard and learnt, in light of their own Inquiry. With 12 schools represented here it was apparent that this was quite an eye opening time for everyone. Why? Schools interpret this important aspect of teaching in a variety of ways and this can be seen in this slide show.

We then spent time exploring how our young people share in Manaiakalani schools and touched on some of our celebratory events like Schools Inc and the Film Festival. But our major focus was blogging which is evident in all our schools.  We have endless anecdotal evidence from teachers and learners about the power of blogging in raising learner engagement and outcomes and discussed this.
Click to open the padlet

But it was the research of Rachel Williamson which excited attention and debate. An external evaluation of an integral component of our education programme. After spending time reading the report and talking in groups, our teachers contributed to a padlet with an ‘I Should” statement.


The most frequently recurring statements indicated that our new teachers had not been interacting with the learners’ posts and had become aware that this was important.

We ended the day with a ‘Create’ activity inviting everyone to create an infographic sharing the data they could gather from their own blog analytics. These were shared on their own blogs and in our Manaiakalani Google+ community. Reading through these showed the ongoing depth of critical thinking in this group. Some of the teachers chose to share their infographics on the presentation below as well.




 It is a privilege to be part of a group like this who are so open to exploring their own practice and go to great lengths to improve outcomes for our tamariki.

Thanks to Karen and Georgia for sketchnoting the session today and sharing on your own blogs.