Teacher Professional Development

Teachers and staff at Kumeroa-Hopelands School are learners just like the students! Each week we meet together as a teaching staff to reflect on our practice and identify ways we can become more effective teachers. Below you will be able to find some of the ideas and concepts we have been looking at lately.

1 September 2016

Karen Lethbridge lead us through a session on self and peer assessment. This session was very timely due to the work we had done the previous day as part of our teacher only day.

Kumeroa Hopelands PPt

31 August 2016

Today, Claire Ruth and I headed to Wellington to hear Carol Dweck speak on mindsets.

You can see one Carol’s videos on mindsets here:


30 August 2016

Last week we carried out some school wide assessment in writing using e-asTTle. The assessment focussed on narrative writing and asked students to write about a picture where two individuals stood in the opening of some bush. As part of professional development today we moderated our marking of these pieces of work to help ensure that marking of writing across the school is fair and consistent. It was pleasing to find that on the various pieces of writing, from different levels, that we marked individually and discussed our marking; our judgements of the level of the writing was very similar.

9 May 2016

Today, Claire shared a reading entitled ‘Teach Comprehension’ from Teaching Essentials by Regie Routman. She then asked us to compare and contrast this reading with one from Effective Literacy Years 1-4. One of the standouts from the Regie Routman reading was ‘If we want our readers to be critical thinkers, inquirers, and problem solvers, we need to introduce them to challenging and interesting texts.’

We then discussed the ‘Hunches’ aspect of the spiral of inquiry and Simon distributed two readings around Hunches that we will discuss at our next staff meeting.

2 May 2016

At today’s staff meeting we looked at Timperley, Kaser and Halbert’s A framework for transforming learning in schools: Innovation and the spiral of inquiry. Today’s session examined the ‘focusing’ aspect of spirals of inquiry. As part of focusing, we analysed reading PAT data and confirmed that comprehension and engagement are two areas with in reading that we need to focus our spirals of inquiries. Simon also distributed a reading entitled ‘The case for teaching as inquiry’ by Lindsey Conner. This article highlights the difference Teaching as Inquiry to make to not only a teacher’s practice but also to raising student achievement.

11 April 2016

Karen Lethbridge from the University of Auckland joined us once again to look at the Scanning phase of the Spirals of Inquiry. As a staff, we analysed student e-assTTle writing data to begin to establish some hunches around what our inquiries might begin to look like.

4 April 2016

At today’s meeting, goals for teacher appraisals were set and the idea of ‘walk through appraisals’ was introduced. Walk through appraisals are a more natural and authentic way of capturing what is happening in each classroom. The idea of observing each other’s practice was also discussed and the timetable was to be looked at to see if this could occur more regularly.

14 March 2016

Writing moderation took place at today’s meeting. Each staff member shared a piece of writing and as a group, the piece was marked. As each piece of writing was marked, staff discussed why they had assigned a score for the particular element. They would need to justify why they scored the element of writing as they did. What the staff found was that they were reasonably similar when marking students’ work. This is pleasing as it shows that results across the school are consistent and helps to ensure the validity of the data.

8 March 2016

At today’s meeting Class Learning Profiles were completed. These class profiles gives a snap shot of each class and the learners that make up the classes. They include an overview of learning needs, health needs and what has happened in the past to cater for each student.

29 February 2016

Today’s session was used to begin planning camp and also to plan the School Book Fair which will be held next month.

22 February 2016

The tracking and monitoring of priority learners was the focus of today’s session. As a staff, documents which will be used to record anecdotal as well as more formal observations of the priority students were developed. These are shared documents which means that any and all teachers can add information to give a more global view of the learner. The Scanning phase of the Spirals of Inquiry was introduced and staff had the opportunity to read through the ‘Seminar series 234 – A framework for transforming learning in schools: Innovation and the Spiral of Inquiry’ by Timperley, Kaiser and Halbert (2014).

15 February 2016

Today, Karen Lethbridge from the University of Auckland lead a session on active learners and co-construction of literacy learning. She took us through the Assessment for Learning principles and each teacher identified an area that they would like to focus on. The Assessment for Learning principles are broken into six different areas: Building learning-focused relationships, shared clarity around next learning steps, promoting further learning, clarity about what is to be learnt, assessment and active reflection.

9 February 2016

At Kumeroa-Hopelands School we are very lucky to have Kim Sutcliffe teaching the Perceptual Movement Programme. Kim lead a session with the staff which involved several activities, both practical and theoretical. The staff thoroughly enjoyed some of the more physical activities where exercises are carried out to promote the crossing of the participants centre line. There is much research which suggests that these types of activities helps promote learning and improves readiness for learning.

29 January 2016 (Teacher Only Day 2)

Since any teaching strategy works differently in different contexts for different students, effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students.

Ministry of Education, 2007b, page 35

Teaching as Inquiry was the order of the morning today. The fundamental purpose of the Teaching as Inquiry cycle is to achieve improved outcomes for all students. Less obviously, but very importantly, the cycle is an organising framework that teachers can use to help them learn from their practice and build greater knowledge.

The Teaching as Inquiry cycle that teachers at Kumeroa-Hopelands will be following in 2016 is known as the Spiral of Inquiry. The Spiral of Inquiry is a framework for transforming learning in schools, designed by Helen Timperley, Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert. 

We started the morning by looking at the 7 principles of learning: 1) Learners at the centre, 2) Social nature of learning, 3) Emotions are integral to learning, 4) Recognising individual differences, 5) Stretching all students, 6) Assessment for learning and 7) Building horizontal connections.

We will be looking at the first part of the Spiral of Inquiry process, Scanning in our staff meeting in Week 3.

28 January 2016 (Teacher Only Day 1)

Before the students returned for the 2016 school year, as teaching staff, we were busy looking at how we could improve our teaching practice to best meet the needs of our learners. We started by looking at the Practising Teacher CriteriaThe Practising Teacher Criteria (Criteria) describe the essential knowledge and capabilities required for quality teaching in New Zealand. They apply to all teachers in their everyday professional practice seeking to be issued with a full practising certificate, or renew full certification.

We then looked at Tātaiako and considered how we could reflect these cultural competencies through our practice. We played a game were we had to match the various competencies with the correct descriptors.  

After lunch we looked at Ka Hikitia Accelerating Success 2013-2017. After we discussed the Vision and the five guiding principles of Ka Hikitia we analysed Focus Area 3: Primary and Secondary School. We talked about some of the case studies found in the November issue of Ka Hikitia in Action and we had lots of ideas of how we could run similar programmes at Kumeroa-Hopelands School. Watch this space!  

11 November 2015

Staff moderated several pieces of writing today from a range of levels. The general consensus as to the level of the piece of writing was very similar among staff. This was encouraging and reinforced that we are on the right track with our Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJs).

9 November 2015

As part of our work with Karen Lethbridge during 2015 we have been focussing on improving writing. At the beginning of the year students wrote a recount to give some baseline data about their writing ability. It is that time of year when we are wanting to collect data again to establish if the interventions that we have made in writing have had any impact. Yesterday, all three rooms, wrote a recount. The prompt given was Whānau and family time – Think of a time when you did something special with your whānau or family. Today we looked using the e-asTTle matrices to asses the pieces of writing. On Wednesday we will meet again to moderate.

3 November 2015

Karen Lethbridge, a Leadership and Assessment Facilitator, from Auckland University worked with us again today. We looked at ensuring that our overall teacher judgements (OTJs) were valid and reliable. We focussed on making OTJs in reading. Karen gave us an excellent sheet to track judgements and record the type of judgement that we were making. I know that we all found this session very worthwhile and informative. The session highlighted the need for making more detailed notes about students when assessing formatively. This allows teachers to make more accurate OTJs at mid and end of year.

27 October 2015

Today we considered how we might develop more effective feedback/feedforward. In his book, Visible Learning (2013), Hattie discovered that effective feedback had the second biggest impact on student achievement.

We looked at some resources provided by NoTosh. The first was a video which highlighted the need for specific feedback, focussing on one aspect of the work at a time. The video can be found here.

We then looked at the HAKRS critique protocol. We discussed how this protocol is excellent for guiding both teacher and student feedback. The HAKRS protocol can be found here.


Finally, we read an article from the Guardian newspaper written from a student’s perspective on what makes a ‘perfect’ teacher.

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