Traffic light self assessment system – geddit?!

I’ve just found this site – – that seems a good tech replacement for the old traffic light paper system. A few year ago when I was teaching Year 11 Physical Education and anatomy and biomechanics, another teacher introduced me to using the traffic light system. You would have a sheet with terms or questions on one side and a column on the other and students needed to colour the empty column in with the colour that reflected how well they understood the term or question – e.g. red if the didn’t at all, green if they were sweet with it.

I am no longer teaching anatomy or Y11 PE but I straight away thought I could use this in Digital Technology, firstly with my juniors learning Scratch – to get a quick gauge of those that have used it before or not. And as we progress through the teaching and learning, checking in with where they are at with understanding Scratch as well as where they are at with their project. Oh I think this could work quite well. And with seniors learning HTML and programming etc.

Here is the page on how to get started –

I will have to have a bit more of a think about how to use in Physical Education and Health.

Have you come across geddit? How do you use it?

Keen to hear what other people are using – do you use something similar? If so, what and how?



2013 Reflections

A bit of a reflection on what I got up to in 2013.

Professional goals –

Goal 1: to continue to develop my own learning of how to use Moodle so that I can support teachers in creating asynchronous learning opportunities.

Definitely did this well in 2013. I attended the NZ Moodlemoot in Hamilton in the April holidays. I took the Moodlebites for Course Designers 8 week online course. Attended the online iMoot conference – looking forward to the next one of these, great learning from all over the world. And I also was a participant in the Learn Moodle MOOC.

I have worked with a lot of staff over the year to help them implement their teaching and learning ideas using Moodle.

In 2014 I am looking forward to working with Moodle 2.6 (as we upgraded at the end of 2013) and using badges! However, I know that I need to work on looking at the effective pedagogy and not just getting focused on giving out badges just for the sake of it. I am planning on trying to have our Year 9 Health content all online and not using a paper workbook. I have been collecting information about learning and instructional design plus gamification to help me with this, as I also want to make the Health content more engaging.

Goal 2: develop and implement a Project Based Learning unit for Year 10 Shaping Up (Inner Beauty? Lets get real!) that helps develop critical thinking.

The unit ended up being called ‘What Matters Most…is what you think of yourself’ – shortened to What Matters Most (see previous posts) It was a huge step out of my comfort zone with my teaching and took a lot of time to set up but so worth the effort!! I am planning on using it again this year with some changes to it following great feedback my students and I received. I will think about how I might be able to do something similar with other units in our junior health courses this year.

Goal 3: learn and use iPad as a effective teaching and learning tool in Physical Education.

This didn’t really happen last year. This maybe due to not having enough iPads or not putting the time aside to think about how to use them effectively in class. What I did get happening in my Year 9 class was students using their own devices more for the creation of content. I would like to build on this in 2014.

What I have done in 2013 is used the iPad for my own uses very effectively. I find some of the apps on it great for planning and I have reduced down the amount of paper I use.

Ideas for 2014

With my senior Year 12 Sports Studies class I would really like to utilise Google Apps a lot more, particularly to make it easier for them to record information. For Social Responsibility, I would like to set up a form for them to enter in their reflections and have something like a rating system, so it is really easy for them to do, so they can do it on their phone for example and it collates it all.

I would also like to use Google Apps for all of the written assessments as I think this made a difference to my ability to give constructive and timely feedback. I don’t think all the students particularly like it but I think overall it was more effective then a written report on paper.

For Digital Technology, I am planning on using Scratch in 9DT. I would like to have two topics, one on computer science – ie Scratch, and the other on digital media – which I think I will stick with Photoshop and Pixlr and have the students creating a digital poster. What I need to work on is creating units where the students have stakeholders outside of the classroom.

Then there is Year 12 Digital Technology! There will be lots of learning going on with this, php, MySQL, programming, Python!!

So, roll on 2014 and the joys that it is going to provide!

What do a mohawk and making connections have in common?

On the 23rd of October I took part in the Canteen Headshave that had been organised by our head and deputy head girl. It took place in the school hall with quite a few students and teachers watching.

There were 8 students that had ALL of their hair shaved off and they all had long hair! Big ups to them, as I can’t imagine what it would be like to shave all your hair off at 15, beginning in an all girls’ school (I have had short hair forever and went to a co-ed secondary school). They also had number 0’s, I only went to a number 1. There was also one other teacher that joined in.

I got the hairdresser to shave mine like a mohawk with the intention that it would all come off but on the spur of the moment I took hold of the mic and said to all the students “If you can raise $100 by the time Mr Dixon gets his head shaved I will keep the mohawk for a week!”. Mr Dixon was just about to have his started so I thought I was pretty safe. How wrong was I! About $150 in less then 5 minutes.

Mohawk 1

So, a mohawk at school for a week! Plus, one of the hairdressers had colour hair chalk and about 4 students jumped at the opportunity to let their creative talents loose on my head!

mohawk chalk

It was really cool participating in this event and helping raise money for Canteen but I got heaps more out of it. I made connections with students.

Even with students that I have never taught, I now have a connection. Walking around school with a mohawk is a bit unusual and when students saw me with my mohawk and knowing why I had it (although some didn’t know) they would smile at me or make some positive comment. Students who I didn’t know giving me a little smile and me smiling back, that is a connection, a little connection but worth a lot.

Which links in nicely to this from Justin Tarte’s blog:

We can’t accept that our content is more important than the relationships we establish with our students. It is with almost absolute certainty that students won’t care about your content if they don’t care about you. Develop strong relationships to truly bring your content to life for your students.

Teaching, to me, is more then the content I teach. It is about the students, it is about the relationships we as people have with them. It is about being positive role models for the young people I see every day. What I do, how I behave, how I care, what I say does make a difference – what I teach, not so much.


He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!

What matters most – Project Based Learning unit

I have been thinking about creating a project based learning unit for quite awhile. I decided that this year it would be one of my goals to create a PBL unit for the unit we have called Shaping Up – it is about body image, nutrition, self-esteem, media etc. I kind of felt that a lot of the issues in this are really important and that I didn’t want to continue standing up the front going through power points, showing videos and getting students to write in the workbooks. I guess also I was kind of bored with it – it was exciting to teach. And this year I have a fantastic Year 10 class so feel really confident about trailing this with them.

Through my Twitter PLN I came across people who have been creating their own PBL units (@MissDSciTeacher@catwooller) and people who tweet useful links with regard to body image and the media (@WellsChristine). This has meant that I have been able to gather resources both on how to create / develop a PBL unit and body image, media etc. I also connected with Alex Perry (@alleyperry) and will use a resource she created for assessing key competencies – as I didn’t want to asses the outcome of the projects.

So, here is my first attempt at creating a PBL unit. I would love people to have a look and give me some feedback – What Matters Most Project – Google Doc. Good or bad, all is welcome, please leave comments.

Other links that have been useful:

Pasifika Education – It’s a shared responsibility

Pasifika Education Plan Presentation

Our staff meeting today was a presentation from Anton Carter, who is the Programme Manager for the Pasifika Unit from the Ministry of Education. 

Below are links to the MOE pages and plan:

MOE Pasifika EducationPasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 page

Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 pdf

A couple of things that stood out for me were:

“New Zealand’s education system must work better for Pasifika Learners”

And the five focus areas –

  1. Parents, Families and Communities
  2. Early Learning
  3. Schooling – geting NCEA Level 2
  4. Tertiary – completion
  5. Education Sector-Wide

The plan seems quite comprehensive and it will be exciting to see how we can implement the Schooling aspect of it.

Another bit that stood out for me were these comments:

English is a mechanism to connect knowledge, rather than being the most important language.

“Your a genius because you can speak two languages.”

“Student tested in English, poor result, tested in Tongan, off the chart.”

Other resources:

Talanoa Ako: Pacific Education Talk link to site

Talanoa Ako July 2013.pdf – the Pasifika education newsletter.

Down the Back of the Chair – MOE Resource Catalouge for books

Individual Education Plans – TKI

Effective teaching for Pasifika students – TKI MOE

Effective governance – Supporting Pasifika success – BOT resource

Engaging with Pasifika parents, families & communities – media gallery

Quote from Anton’s presentation:

O tu, aganu’u, ma aga’ifanua a le tamaititi o le a le mafai ona ulufale atu i le potuaoga;
sei vagana ua fa’atauaina ma fa’aulufaleina muamua i le loto ma le agaga o le faiaoga.

The culture of the child cannot enter the classroom until it has first entered the heart and consciousness of the teacher.

The Power of Twitter – use in secondary schools

It is Tuesday evening and with with work that I am doing with another colleague about Twitter use at school, we were trying to find secondary schools where teachers and students are using Twitter for teaching and learning.

Quick search on Google and not much comes up. Few tweets out using hastags and handles (people) and get retweets, suggestions of who might be able to help and these:

Otaki College Hamlet Project 2013 – click on Twitter Feed.

Paraparaumu College – Twitter use

Some sites on how Twitter is being used around the world.

Teachers first take on using Twitter as PLN:

Podcast about Twitter / The best PD you’ll ever get! / Create a Personal Learning Network (PLN) / Use it with your students

Billy has used it in the past with his Y13 PE class. Tweeting things like ‘Remember your PE gear tomorrow”. Click on the above podcast link.

I love Twitter! It can be so powerful if used in this way! Thanks PLN!!

PS (PLN = Personal Learning Network)

Update 3 Sept: just been looking at @alleyperry‘s tweets and found this link, some good ideas on ways students can collaborate using twitter.