Mark Treadwell Reflection

Several of my colleagues and I were fortunate to attend a seminar, courtesy of the Feilding ICT Cluster, with Mark Treadwell. Having been absent for our cluster’s presentation, due to Apple Bus Tour, it was an excellent opportunity for us to come up to speed with the rest of the cluster. I was keen to find out more, in particular the rational behind his Knowledge Net Network; one of the last user-pays Social Networking sites within a strong trend of high quality Open Source Software.

Much of what Mark was saying during the day was not new to me and I found some of his statements quite opposed to my own beliefs about imagination and intelligence. However I persisted with an open, yet critical mind and was pleased to hear one of my key beliefs, about best practice teaching, being validated by Mark.

Mark advocates that there needs to be a strong educational shift from teaching CONTENT (traditional themes and genre) to facilitating CONTEXTS (Values and Competencies). This view alines itself perfectly with what I refer to as the Fourth Stage of Formative Practice.

Stage One – Prescribing the Learning Intention and Success Criteria to the student for each lesson and self-assessment.
Stage Two – Collaborating with the student to create their own success criteria for each lesson.
Stage Three – Purpose is introduced as apart of the LI, SC process for each lesson.
Stage Four – Learning Intentions and Purpose become Global not genre specific – we are able to use these Global Concepts in every lesson we facilitate or teach and the children are able to adapt their person SC to suit the context.
Stage Five and On – I am not sure what is next but I am very excited about finding out.

I am still contemplating the shape of this model, however I do see Formative Practice as a series of learning stages an Educator must progress through. The New Zealand Curriculum now allows and justifies this fundamental shift in educational practice. The beauty of Global Concept Practice is that it fits perfectly with the Ministry’s vision for the 21st Century Learner – To be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.

So I was unable to ask him why he charges for such a antiquated website, but I was inspired to delve into the New Zealand Curriculum, Formative Research and my own practice at a deeper level so that I will be ready to take that huge educational leap when the time comes. And hopefully I will of been able to build up pair of sturdy wings so I may soar.


wordle – Beautiful Words

My Site

My Site is an very new (less than four months old) and interesting site, that creates these colourful ‘Word Clouds’ from text pasted into the site. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

At first glance, not unlike the creator Jonathan Feinberg, I thought was merely an entertaining way to display what ever you had on your mind. However, upon closer investigation, the potential for enhancing learning quickly became apparent. According to his FAQ section, Jonathan has received other 100 requests from teachers since Wordles conception.

Let’s have a look at an example of powerful words:

"The Struggle for Human Rights" a speech by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

"The Struggle for Human Rights" a speech by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

Some enterprising person has inserted Eleanor Roosevelt’s speech on human rights into You can clearly see the 150 most used words (small connective words are automatically removed). As you can see in Eleanor’s speech, the themes of Freedom, Human Rights and People have a strong presence. Lets compare Eleanor’s speech, with George Bush’s speech on Sept 11, 2001.

Statement by President, George Bush, Sept. 11, 2001

Statement by President, George Bush, Sept. 11, 2001

Hmmmmm . . . Anyway, give a Wordle a go, it is a great way to analyse documents quickly and painlessly. Just look at this next Wordle, it could save us all some time.

The New Zealand Curriculum

The New Zealand Curriculum

โ€œJust remember all…that words are powerful, so very powerful, that it can change attitudes (for the better or for the worse), with or without provocation. They can be triggers, reminders, movers, and emotive…Be kind with your words and listen tooโ€ ANON


In Our Hands

In Our Hands

“To be encouraged,

modelled, and explored”.

Excellence; Innovation, inquiry, and curiosity; Diversity; Equity; Community and Participation; Ecological sustainability; Integrity; Respect.

Recently we, as a school, have been exploring the Values found in the new curriculum document. While the document does not officially come into effect until 2010, it would be beneficial for all those involved in Education to carefully unpack the inevitable implications of this document.

Unlike previous curriculum documents, the new document is comparatively light reading. However it has been carefully crafted to emphasizes the need for these values to be “expressed in the everyday actions and interactions within the school”. It is also pleasing to note that the document specifically states that these values are neither “exhaustive nor exclusive” allowing us to tailor them to the needs and values of our own diverse community.

Within my own classroom this term, we have chosen to explore the values of Excellence in-depth. As a school we noticed that the value of excellence easily under-pinned the other seven values, the Key Competencies and conveniently coincided with Beijing ’08. (Three birds with one stone!)

As a class we explored Excellence in our learning, our-selves, our peers, our community and those awesome

I Wana Be Like Mike!

I Wana Be Like Mike!

super-stars we all admire. We came up with synonyms, actions and affirmations. Check out Wordle for fantastic display ideas.

The unexpected benefit of this intense (almost a week and a half) exploration was how well the value of excellence fit into our classroom ecology. Students identified excellence in their relationships and interactions with each other.

Another surprise when unpacking excellence was how highly they valued the accomplishments of their peers. When asked to identify individuals who showed excellence, most of the names were of children in their own community who had done something selfless. How perceptive children are!

Olympic Stuff for Juniors +

Here are some colouring in PDFs of the Fuwa and Rings found at

There are many other colour junior activities at this site as well (fun and colourful rather than substance)














Beijing ’08 is Great!

This is the first year of my teaching career where I have been the Teacher, not the Student for the Olympic Games and its been fantastic. It is a wonderful platform for inquiry learning and my students are fully engaged in their investigations. I am also very impressed with the Chinese Olympic Mascots. The Fuwa relate perfectly with both the games and the Chinese Culture, not to mention incredibly cute.

The Fuwa

All About The Fuwa

Our class inquiry this term is centred around three questions based on information I would like them to discover. Along with this the students are required to complete five independent learning activities based on five different sub-topics based on the Olympics.

Here is a copy of the stations and activities (all based on different HOT tools):

Inquiry Rotation

As a side note we have decided to un-pack the curriculum value of Excellence, which is well matched with the games.

Curriculum Values Display

Anyway thats all for now, much TV to watch now

๐Ÿ˜‰ Marama

Pixton – Martha 1.0

Pixton – Martha 1.0

Posted using ShareThis

Just a bit of fun in Pixton ๐Ÿ˜€

Pixton is a great little site that allows you to make online comic strips quick and easily. You can upload these comics to the site and others can make comment about them (I am very excited because I got my first ‘LOL’ last night) and you can comment on other strips. Pixton was recently reviewed on and you can check out their thoughts at this link:

In terms of use in my classroom, I can see it as a great way of creating situations and scenarios for the Dare programme we are doing next term.

Of course the old debate of clip art, to use or not to use, comes to mind. Are we stifling creativity and making it too easy by using pre-made figures and scenes? Are we encouraging kids to use other peoples creativity?

Personally, and feel free to disagree, I believe that in this case we must look at the purpose of using this platform. That is of course is feedback from an authentic audience. The power of Pixton is not the ease and speed of use, it is the social networking aspect. Students are able to express themselves in a relatively creative way and find out what Jim-Bob in the big old USA thinks about it. And I can tell you it feels pretty cool when a stranger gives you a LOL!

Inquiry Learning

Hi All,

So here is a blog I have set up about Inquiry Learning. Now I am by no means an expert. I have picked up most of what I know from watching other teachers and experimenting with my students.

As you all know, every child, class and situation. What works for me may be irrelevant for you, however I have found the following key points have helped me no matter who I am planning for.

1. Never assume anything! Especially what the children know or understand.

I once tried to facilitate a brainstorm on why Good Oral Language Skills are important with a Year Five and Six class. After getting nowhere for quite a while, I realised that the children didn’t know what the term Oral Language meant. Once I had explained this term the brainstorm was very successful, all of their knowledge had been blocked by my use of an unfamiliar term.

2. In order to be curious about something, you need to already know something about it.

I always begin any class inquiry topic with an immersion rotation, or pitch a mini class inquiry to hook the children’s interest. Lead the children to some key learning that will scaffold their understanding and own personal inquiry.

3. Good questions are essential, and good questioning must be taught.

They need to be taught about, open ended, closed, leading, and higher order questioning. Use Bloom’s, DeBono’s and Thinker’s Keys to scaffold them.

4. And finally, do it all over again and again and again.

Again it is the assumption thing. Don’t assume because they have done it before, whether it was last term or last year that they will remember how to conduct an inquiry. You will need to teach, use and refer to the basic skills of inquiry over and over again. I often use guided reading as means of teaching these skills.

Anyway, here are some resources that I have begged and borrowed in PDF.

inquiry-model – This was given to me by our team leader and could easily be turned into a check list.

issues-inquiry-learning1 – A student workbook used in a Yr5 & 6 class

Keywords, Skimming and Scanning Skills cards

scan-card1, key-words-card1, skimming-card1

Tools for good questioning

venn, bloom-rubric, 6hatsplanning, thinkers_keys_all-1

Please feel free to add anything else you think may be useful.


Welcome All

Well, finally … here I am, a part of the Web Generation. Blogging my life for all to read. Well not my entire life, I’m going to leave most of that private, you never now who’s looking?!

I will be using this blog as a professional outlet. A blog for like minded educators who wish to share their experiences, and in-turn filter out ideas to use in their own classrooms.

The first thing I wish to share in my home page:

If you haven’t got a site yet, get one and if you don’t know what one is check out one of the many How To … Videos you can find on YouTube.

So, please comment, share, and network with me.

E noho ra!