Friday, 27 May 2016


Today we used StopMotion to create a short movie which demonstrates a concept for our learners. The concept I demonstrated was working together to overcome challenges. I used play dough to create the characters. The characters were three 'blobs' who needed to get over a rocky hill.

This was a really enjoyable 'create' task. I worried I had not collected enough footage for the movie, but was surprised by how many photos I could use multiple times in the clip to strengthen the storyline and emphasise the concept being demonstrated.

If I was to use StopMotion again, I would increase the number of photos, and reduce the size of each movement between photos. This will create a smoother motion of the characters.

I feel that my learners would be hugely engaged in a task like this. However, I do wonder how long it would take to complete a task of this nature in the class setting. It would be necessary, as with all learning experiences, to question what the purpose would be of creating a StopMotion movie with my learners, and whether the time that would be spent creating it would be beneficial to my learners. 

I can imagine that creating StopMotion movies could be effectively used for rewindable learning with learners in the junior school, for example, by using play dough to create numbers and letters. However, I do not know how often I would use this technique for rewindable learning, and in my own reflective practice as a teacher of year 5 and 6 learners. 

What a great day we have had! This task required problem solving throughout the whole process and a lot of collaboration and sharing of ideas.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Creating an iMovie

This year, I have made three movies for our team 4 space. In the first movie, learners share a message of kindness. Check out this movie here! This movie was the first movie I created so while creating it, I did not think at all about the type of shots I was using. I was more concerned about collecting footage which included the learners who were speaking.

The second movie I created was about team 4 swimming. The footage for this movie was collected by myself and my colleague, and involved a range of shots. When editing the footage, I played a lot with the timer, speeding up the scenes in order to maintain interest of the audience. I also thought about the sound that I added to the movie, choosing an iMovie backing sound which I felt matched the mood of the movie.  I also used reverse clip, which made it look like the clip was moving in rewind.

In digital immersion this week, we spent time exploring iMovie by creating a movie about learning. Check out this movie by clicking the link below, or  here!

The movie I created shows snippets of a typical day in our innovative learning space. I feel that as I continue creating movies, I get more efficient with the process. In this movie, I played with the filters on the images and footage. I also explored the ability to play with the audio. I started thinking of fun ways I could use this with my learners to create movies and act out characters (possibly as reading follow ups). The screenshot below shows the section of iMovie under which you can alter this!

A recurring issue I have come across while creating movies is that titles seem to automatically alter in format throughout the clip. This is something I am still working on fixing.

For my next movie, I am going to ensure I think carefully about a variety of shots I want, before collecting footage. I feel that through my latest movie, I have tended to stick with panning shots, which gets repetitive after a while! Different shots I want to attempt include close ups, aerial shots, and low angle shots, and a range of other interesting shots. Something else I learned from this process was the ability to place two clips side-by-side. This is an interesting technique which allows me to show multiple shots of a similar thing at the same time. One colleagues used this approach to show the same photo in the same clip, creating a tiled technique. Another colleague used this technique to show the same moment-in-time from different peoples' points of view. Next, I want to learn how to increase this to three or four shots at once to show the same moment-in-time from a range of angles. For future movies, I also want to learn how to use the blue screen, which we are fortunate enough to have in our learning environment. 

During the process of creating a movie, I was able to increase my confidence in the movie-making process, as well as explore other techniques available on iMovie which I can use to improve quality of my movies. I feel that the best way to improve in movie-making is to create more movies! I could be making movies in the classroom to capture important moments in teaching for learners, or by capturing a range of work created by our learners. One thing I am reflecting a lot about at the moment is ways to engage learners and increase their motivation to post work on their blogs. I could use iMovie to assist with this by capturing a range of blog posts and creations in a short movie which can then be posted on the class blog.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Importance of Perseverance and Motivation

In this post, I bring to you a visual and oral summary of my Teaching as Inquiry to date! Today, we joined the digital immersion PLG with colleagues from a number of the Manaiakalani schools. The first learn-create-share element of the day involved creating a presentation to our colleagues which promoted a fictional object/item to assist in tackling a problem which teachers or learners may encounter. We promoted a pair of glasses which would 'make stuff talk.'

We discussed the 'share' element of Learn-create-share in more detail and discussed the difficulties that sometimes arise with translating our thoughts and ideas in our heads, into a tangible form. This is an issue we face as teachers, and is also an issue our learners often face. A lot of reflection occurred in the classroom this week around giving learners the experience and confidence to translate creative ideas in their heads into artwork.  I faced the challenge today of translating my thought process from my Teaching as Inquiry up until now (which has included research into people like Palincsar & Brown, 1986), into a visual and oral explanation.

The task took a lot longer than expected, and I faced a number of frustrations along the way, but through persistence, and motivation from my colleagues, I came up with this:

 If I can reduce the time it takes me to create one of these reflections, I feel that this could be a very valuable way of reflecting on my learning as a teacher in the future. This would be a great technique to share with my colleagues who did not attend the PLG today as it could be used for their own reflections, presentations, and there is even some big ideas floating around my head of whether this is even something our learners could use to share their learning!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Graduation 2.0

On Friday, I attended the University of Auckland graduation to receive my Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary).  I was extremely fortunate to be able to graduate alongside others who were at university with me last year, as well as a number of members of the Manaiakalani whānau who I am so lucky to be working with, as part of the MDTA and school. The day was an exciting opportunity to celebrate successes and hard work, as well as acknowledge the incredible range of other skills and backgrounds everyone who completed the Graduate Diploma had previously graduated with.

The day started off with a parade, followed by a faculty morning tea. During the faculty morning tea, we were spoken by Professor Graeme Aitken, Dean of the Faculty of Education.

During the ceremony, I was able to cheer on three other MDTA teachers as well as the former MDTA graduates who were receiving their BEd (Hons). Here is a photo of me receiving my Graduate Diploma.

Graduation was an exciting day to celebrate becoming a teacher, and completing a full-on year of study to achieve this, however this is by no means the end! As I sat in the Aotea centre, the deadline for my next assignment approached. As teachers, we are continually learning, and it is exciting that I can continue to improve as a teacher through continued professional development and postgraduate study.

Watch this space. 2018 should see me walk across the stage for a third time!