Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

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

“Just 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 too” 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)