Creating a safe learning environment

For the beginning of this school year, I’ve been really focusing on creating a student-led environment where students feel safe to take risks and to feel valued for who they are and what they bring to the class.

To build  a positive classroom environment, I have been doing a few different activities.

The first activity was a class treaty. I had decided to let the students come up with the way we were going to do this activity to promote student voice and engagement. We had a few options for how we could achieve a class treaty and it was decided that in small groups, the children would brainstorm different values and statements for how they’d like our classroom to be this year.

The students then decided to write these on post-it notes and to organise them into categories of ‘yes, no, or maybe’ and a final list of ideas were formed. A group of students who wanted to do the display then created a class scroll (still to be finished) which has really encouraged a big sense of ownership.


The next thing is that I’ve created a ‘Room 17, Class of 2017’ magazine/book. Here, we included some information on each student so they can get to know each other a little deeper. This will also be a home for class photos and other things the students want to include as a ‘year book’ of sorts.


Next, we created florets – a Pasifika flower that shows the following things:

  1. Name
  2. Family
  3. Dreams and aspirations
  4. Our interests and hobbies.

This was a great way to promote discussion between students and to see where there are similarities across students. The students said they felt a real sense of pride in who they are and that it made them feel more valued as a member of the class – that they were valued.

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Glasser Behaviour Management

Connecting Behaviours.jpg

On a daily basis, I use the Glasser and choice theory principles to engage with students. I use choice theory and the 7 connecting behaviours to discuss student behaviours. This has helped students to take more responsibility for their behaviours and to see how their choices create both positive and negative consequences. 

This has been particularly successful for dealing with student issues as a way to remedy the friendships.

I am still learning how to use this most effectively, however, I think I have already come a long way in my behaviour management approach. Now, when I deal with behaviour situations, I am more kind in my behaviour management and it is more of a discussion between all parties involved rather than a top-down approach.

Gathering Student Voice to Inform My Teaching Practice

In Term 2, I noticed that my students’ interest and motivation for Writing was decreasing. Students seemed bored and when I said it was writing time, would respond negatively.

This prompted me to create a writing survey to help me get a better gauge on their attitude towards writing and to see how I could make it better for them.

survey

I created a Google Form for students to fill in and said they would have free reign to write what they truly felt. I had made sure that students knew I wouldn’t get upset if they admitted they didn’t like what was currently happening in class.

From this, I found out that almost all students wanted to write made up stories which prompted me to plan and implement a narrative unit in Term 3. I also found out that my students wanted to do more free writing each day. As a result, I implemented 20 minutes of free writing 3 times a week. The students responded really well to this and love it when they see ‘free writing’ or ‘writing’ on the daily timetable.

I would like to take a student survey now to compare the results and attitudes towards writing.

Tātaiako PD with Gaye McDowell.

October 25th, 2016.

As a staff, we participated in a PD with Gaye McDowell where we unpacked each part of the Tātaiako framework.

In this session, we discussed what each section means to us as individuals and we were able to make connections with others on these aspects.

For me, I have realised through this discussion that I am already integrating all 5 cultural competencies in my everyday teaching practice.

We got into small groups and created an image out of sticks that represented our thoughts of each competency.

Teaching Te Reo Maori

During Term 2, I taught the non-kapa haka group a Te Reo unit: Taku akomanga – my classroom.

To prepare for this, I looked at the motivation for my students – they weren’t interested in doing lots of book work, and I thought this wouldn’t be very engaging anyway. I used the He Reo Tupu Maori document as a guide to plan this unit and found engaging resources to help with this such as: flash cards to play games with (snap, go fish, memory), bingo cards.

I chose these activities because they’re highly motivating for students and knew they would be more likely to take the learning on board because of the engaging context.