Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Web of Inquiry-Jono Broom

There are lots of inquiry models out there, and a lot of them require you to follow a step by step process from finding a question, researching that question, and then spitting out a presentation showing what you've learnt. 'Doing' research isn't that straight forward though, we know that simply from our own lives.
Example.
I was at the Louvre in Paris today, and being artistically and historically incompetent, I was looking at all the statues and thinking "how did they make those? What tools did they use? How long did they practice?" But the overwhelming urge for me was just to have a go at doing one.
Just to have a go...
Then I might do some research on better ways to do it...
and then I might have another go...
Then I might show someone, do some more research and maybe have another go.
Some models try to cover for this kind of fluidity of research projects, and as they do, get extremely complex and confusing for both adults and students. In fact, people working with some of these models can lose interest pretty fast, and the learning becomes a chore. The intrinsic motivation of exploring something is lost and it becomes 'work'.
This model aims to change this. It's not so much of an inquiry process, as an inquiry web. It has general direction for students and teachers, but also lets them range very wide in the process, so they have control of their own independence, self direction and self motivation.

There's four steps to this web;
Experiment
Engage
Explore
Explain
I'm going to use the statues from the Louvre Museum as an example.

Experiment: The first thing anyone needs to do, when initiating a "research project" or "inquiry project", is to experiment. Not 'ask questions', they come later. They may have some questions at this stage already and that's great, but the prime importance is to experiment.
Get a rock, use what you think they used (probably a chisel and a hammer?) and see what you can do. Try it out.
This is also great for kids to do self-diagnostic assessment. Where are they? Where do they want to go from here? Do they want to be a Michelangelo? What do they want to aim to accomplish? What are their goals?

Engage: This stage is imperative. Students must engage with the topic here, they must understand what they're doing and why they're doing it. I don't mean just knowing the WALTs and WILFs, I mean actually understanding what they're doing and wanting to do it because it's what they want to do.
They must want to keep going. If they don't want to keep going, my advice would be to go back to experimenting and find something different that they actually want to do.Remember, 'inquiry' isn't necessarily about the topic you're studying or the content the students need to learn about, it's about the students learning the 'process' or how to 'navigate the inquiry web'. Learning how to learn.
This stage is also where, if they are engaged, they will have some questions. They will naturally develop questions from the experimenting phase, for example, "how did they get the stone so smooth?" "How did they make such fine cuts without cracking it?"
[It might be a good idea for students to record their questions as they are experimenting. Sometimes students just say these out loud and forget them when it comes to researching.]

Explore: This is the logical next step after the students have engaged with the topic. Students need to explore their topic and find out the answers to their questions.
http://www.google.com is a useful tool for this. This also might be where students organise field trips to places of interest, or seek out experts on the topic through different mediums.

Explain: Most students, having found out something new about a topic will want to go straight back to experimenting and try out their new ideas (In fact, so would I) but in order to track learning, it is really important for them to record what they have found out. Even if it's just notes in a scrap book.
Eventually, after going through this process possibly a number of times, they will 'finish'. Explain is also the stage where they can start a presentation to show their learning. Blogs, movies, cartoons, written reports, websites, a series of photos with explanations, dramatic pieces, a display of their finished product with a museum plaque beside it, a comparison of their product before their research and after their research, the options are endless, and are growing larger with each year, and each new development of technology.
Presentations should be shown to people who matter. Teachers, other students, parents, the public. Other people out there researching into things are probably asking the same questions, on the same topics. Maybe your students' presentations could help answer them.

There are certain situations where the order of steps may be switched around or even removed completely. Some spheres of learning, especially practical ones adhere to the previously mentioned model. More academic or possibly more specialised ones may require a different approach. For example making a path or garden may require someexploring into how to do it before actually experimenting. Looking into the use of castles in the 11th century may actually cut out the experimenting phase all together.
This model keeps things simple, but allows for a large amount of adaption and modification by both students and teachers.
Remember, without engagement there can be no real learning.

I would love to hear from you if you are thinking of trying this in the classroom or have some suggestions or feedback. Leave a comment here or follow me on twitter @cleansweep_






Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Spirituality in a School? - Karyn Gray

I said to someone recently that my life has ben immeasurably changed, for the better, by having been part of this school, and by becoming part of these young peoples lives, and thats so true.

When I came here three years ago, I knew my life was going to change, and it sure has.

Most of my life I have lived and taught and lead in fairly typical white middle class communities, with a few exceptions at times.

Coming to live, and lead a school, in a predominantly Maori rural village was going to mean I needed to learn a new way of being, and quickly.

But its taken me three years to really understand what I’m learning.

As a staff we meet on a Monday to begin our week together with karakia (prayer)  and waiata (song).
We close the week on a Friday after a positive reflection session with a karakia and waiata together.

Our learning communities (groups of students that learn together) meet each morning and all student and staff start the day together with karakia and waiata. Most learning communities do the same thing at the end of the day.

The idea of prayer in a secular school would have concerned me in another environment.

In our environment it is the right thing to do.

We attend a lot of tangis, (extended funerals) I have often attended tangis of people I don’t know over the last three years, just because it is important in our context to show that respect to the wider whanau (family) as well as the deceased person.

I go to kapahaka wananga (haka group practices) and I see kids , who can be hoha (difficult) in a classroom be completely focussed late into the night. I see something different come into them, or over them.

We blessed our new school last week and I got that in  a way I wouldn’t have necessarily in the past. I understood the traditions that were happening, and a lot of the korero (speeches) that were being spoken, in a way I definitely wouldn’t have been able to three years ago.

I’m not a particularly religious person, but this year I got something else. Somehow I just got it a whole lot more this year. I am not religious,and I wouldn’t say I’ve found religion, but I have found a much deeper level of spirituality. 

One day I went to a tangi of someone I barely knew and I just got it. I got the spirituality that comes with tangis. I got the spirituality that comes with the Maori culture. I got why there is so much crying. I cried for 24 hours. I went to sleep crying and I woke up crying and I just got it. And after I came out the other side of that, I just got spirituality on another whole level.

And once you understand  it- that whole spirituality that comes with being part of the Maori culture, or being immersed in it, it doesn’t go away.

And getting that, helps me learn with our kids and our whanau. 
It helps me learn with them. 
It helps me help them to learn. 

And it helps us keep developing our school community. 

We talk a lot about “I” words at TKAS. A big “I” word for us is Identity. We know and embrace the fact our young people need to fully develop, and understand their own identity in order to make the most out of their learning opportunities.

Learning isn’t something that can happen in isolation at TKAS. We know we need to understand ourselves and those around us in order to make the most of our learning. 

And we need to understand and fully embrace the Maori culture we are immersed in in order to make the most of our learning opportunities. And when we embrace that culture, we have to understand the unspoken, and sometimes covert as well as overt spirituality that comes with that culture.

As we wind up our third year I think thats a pretty good understanding to have.

Our core business is learning, but so much has to happen for optimal learning to really take place, anywhere. 

How much do you embrace this in your learning institution? Is learning something that happens in isolation? 

Or is learning a part of the culture of your students, and do you make their culture a part of your learning?

And does that mean that learning looks different from school to school? And for groups within schools? And is that okay? I say yes.

My life has certainly been immeasurably enriched by being exposed to what I have been in the last three years.


As I write what is probably our last staff blog for this year I close with a karakia:


Kia tau ki a tātou katoa
Te atawhai o tō tātou Ariki, a Ihu Karaiti
Me te aroha o te Atua
Me te whiwhingatahitanga
Ki te wairua tapu
Ake, ake, ake
Amine

Friday, 20 December 2013

My Story of Change: Jono Broom

My name's Jono Broom, I'm going into my fourth year of teaching, and this is my story of change.

In 2010 I went to teachers college in New Zealand. I did a one year diploma. I learnt all the usual things, how to plan lessons, how to manage a class full of bright eyed learners, how to be a good team member, how to use curriculum and progression documents, basically, how to teach.

I graduated at the end of the year, and in 2011 started my new job, at the brand new Te Karaka Area School. Our induction week was intense. I was overwhelmed with things that I'd never seen before, school charters, annual plans, school values. Things that I'd never actually seen before out in the open, but I was finding out existed behind the scenes.

I was assigned my first class of 30 6-7 year olds and, to be perfectly honest with you, I struggled. My classroom was a mess, my reading programme was atrocious and my maths programme was almost non-existent. The one thing in that year that I'm really thankful for, was when I went to our principal and told her I was struggling, she employed someone to work with me. Another beginning teacher. Together we sussed out some of the ins and outs of making a classroom work, and managed to get through the year. By the end of which we had amazing relationships with our students, and some pretty decent results to boot. 

Our classroom looked like a pretty generic classroom that year, we had kids doing reading at reading time, and kids doing maths at maths time. We had PE where all kids were required to go for a run with us, or play a game with us, and we all joined in together when it came to art time.

The next year was slightly different.

I was teaching 5, 6, 7, and 8 year olds with Megan, my tutor teacher and team leader. We were team teaching, which was something I'd done in 2011 sort of, but not like this.

In room 5, we decided that we didn't need writing time, or reading time, or maths time, we wanted to try and do them all simultaneously. Ambitious? It would seem so. We'd obviously need some sort of timetable to make this idea function and our first one was not quite a complete disappointment. We made cards for the children with on them, which teacher they were going to go to for each lesson at different times of the day. They would have lessons with different teachers at different times for maths, reading, and writing. If they weren't with a teacher, they would be completing an independent activity based on a different curriculum area. It was chaos. Organised chaos, but still chaos. We rang a bell every 15 minutes so they knew to change stations. The youngest of our kids couldn't read, and every 15 minutes they'd come up to one of us, asking where they were supposed to go next. Something had to change.

Phase 2 was a picture-based timetable on the wall, that the children rotated around. Everything, including the children's names were Velcro and we often let the children choose who they'd like to work with. We called children out of the rotations to come and work with us in targeted ability groups. This went a lot smoother, and children were able to independently swap stations, and know where they were supposed to go next.



Our classroom was definitely not a generic classroom. All the children were doing different things at different times of the day. Some reading, some writing, some maths, some art, some developmental, we even had a science station in there sometimes. It wasn't a perfect system, but it was a start.

Guy Claxton in his book Why School talks about the three r's and three c's:

"The three r's - responsibility, respect, and 'real' - and the three c's - choice, challenge and collaboration."

I'm not sure how many of these we were actually hitting in this classroom, but the learners were definitely challenged, both at the independent stations, and during focused learning times with teachers. They had choice at most stations about how they would do the task, they worked in groups, and the groups changed to make sure they could collaborate with others. Most of them took responsibility for going where they were supposed to be next, and making a quick start on their learning.

The teachers of this year group continue to modify and improve this model, and are still using an updated version of it today.

In 2013 I was moved to the 9, 10, 11, and 12 year age group. I relished this opportunity because it would let me extend what I'd learned with the juniors, with a group of learners who were far more capable.

We set up our classroom based completely on the learners time tabling their own days. Both teachers in the classroom would put up a timetable on Monday, with the lessons that were being run that week, and the learners that were required to attend. At these lessons, learners would also be given follow up activities, that they were required to complete sometime before their next lesson. The class was also researching into an inquiry topic, which we would set up at the start of every term. They were required to research into, write up, and report back individual projects.

Each learner had a timetable. At the beginning of the week they were required to fill it in with: when they were having lessons with teachers, when they planned to do follow up activities, and when they were going to keep going with their projects. It was quite a hit.




This was the furthest from the conventional classroom I have come so far. There was no maths time or reading time, no writing or art time, everything was done, all day, everyday.



Going back to the three r's - responsibility, respect, and 'real' - and the three c's - choice, challenge and collaboration, our learners had responsibility over their own time, managing when they were going to do their own independent activities. They were respected, we didn't follow them around with an eyeglass, making sure they were on task. If they weren't on task we soon knew about it anyway, as the classroom was small, but it was their own responsibility. Their reading and writing was put to good use in their projects which made it real for them, however I think we could have done this better, and will be doing It better in 2014. They had choice, over when and often where  they were going to complete their work, and even how they were going to present their project ideas to the class. They were challenged according to their ability through a series of matrices, and could timetable their days to work with their friends to promote collaboration.

I took unpaid leave from Te Karaka Area School to take up a job in the Middle East. What I found when I went over there and started work in September blew me away. The amount of rote learning, of teaching to tests, of punitive punishment, of repression and oppression, of holding kids back because they shouldn't be learning above their age, of humiliation of kids, of old, conventional chalk and talk teaching was unbelievable. I stayed in the Middle East for two months before leaving, and asking for my job back in Te Karaka, and I don't regret it for a second.

What we do for these kids in terms of r's and c's doesn't just make it more interesting and fun for the learners, it also makes it more interesting and fun for the teacher. 

Times are changing. I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and looking ahead to 2014. Guy Claxton's book Why School is one of my favourites, and the one that has modified my practice the most to date. As well as the r's and c's, it also talks about learning muscles.

"Learning muscles. These are curiosity, courage, investigation, experimentation, imagination, reasoning, sociability and reflection."

I like the idea of learning muscles. It tells me that we can get better at these things if we 'work out' with them. We're basing our classroom around these learning muscles next year. We're trying to gear our kids up for the 21st century that they are going to go into and we want them to go in with confidence.

Times are changing. Education needs to change too. Our curriculum was being consulted on in the 1980s. Our curriculum is almost 30 years old. Our curriculum was being developed when CDs, walkmans, video players, answering machines and fax machines were being invented. These days our students have more technology in their pocket than that which sent Neil and Buzz to the moon. Even if our government starts looking at our curriculum now, is it going to be what the next generation of kids need in 10, 15, 20 years time? 

We can't wait for the government to legislate change. Change needs to start at the school, at the classroom level. So I ask you now, how many r's and c's are you using in your classroom? Take a moment to reflect and see if you're hitting the learning muscles. See if you're preparing your kids for the future instead of the past. 

If you aren't, should you be? 

Leave a comment, let us know how you're thinking about doing things differently. 

Collaborate a little. 

Try out your own learning muscles.






Saturday, 14 December 2013

Packing Up, Letting Go, Moving On- Karyn Gray

Three years ago we moved into an old run down site while our new school was built.... 6 to 12 months I was told.

And this old run down site has served us well for three years.

Its made us understand that property and flash stuff and space and room aren’t the most important things in a school.

We’ve learnt that having running water and toilets that flush properly aren’t always the most important things.

We’ve learnt that with a bit of stubborn determination and a bit of luck in appointing a teacher who was a master electrician and a knowledgeable “IT Geek,” (his terms) we can run 150 devices simultaneously through a whole lot of temporary cabling, wifi units and even more good luck- except when it rained and we got ‘weather fade!'

We’ve learnt to understand why kids wear no shoes to school in the balmy 27 degree days that hit us from November to March and why they wear gumboots in the rain of winter when the ground turns to rivers in hours. (Even though we keep trying to get them to stop wearing the infernal gumboots!) 

And we learnt that focussing on the gumboots or what they wear is just not the most important thing. And we will keep enforcing uniform, but we’ll always remember that there are more important things too. 



So if we learnt that all that is just not that important what did we learn was important?

We’ve learnt to figure whats important in teaching and learning without the benefits of flash buildings and furniture. 

We’ve learnt to tackle adversity. 

And we’ve learnt the lessons from the geese story- when someone at the peak of the formation gets tired, we all took turns pushing ahead and doing the leading.


But what was the biggest think we learnt?

Relationships. 

It was the absolute key to us making a difference to these kids.

We had to build a relationships with these kids. Very few of us knew any of them at the start. And building a true relationship with young people takes time. They were naturally suspicious of us, they were very wary and some of them were absolutely aggressively anti everything we stood for. But we persisted, and over time they gave some as well.

To sit at a senior dinner last week and hear Year 13 students speak without being asked to all about how much they hated us and what the school was doing at the beginning, because it was so far from their understanding of what school should look like three years ago, but that now they get it. That they get we are just here to help them and help them find their way in this big world. That was both heart breaking and heart warming in the same moment. So much energy spent fighting us at the start but where they have come to makes that all worth it.

To see those big Year 12 boys, who as Year 9 and 10 boys wanted to do nothing but throw things at me, refuse to complete anything, be completely non compliant and draw gang symbols, now come past you at the end of the day and stop just to say “hey, whats your day been like, have a good night,” and even sometimes stop and just give you a hug goodbye not for any special reason but just because they can, kind of says it all really.

Our kids hug each other, a lot. 
Our kids and teachers hug, maybe not as much but they do. 
Our teachers hug each other. Our kids see that too. 
Long may all of that last. 

I get the reasons some schools have no touch policies but that will never be us. Just wouldn’t be right here. Touch is important in our school. Touch is important for our kids. And touch is important in our staffroom.

Relationships. Its what has turned a bunch of strangers three years ago into some of the tightest, closest staff members and friends I have seen.

Maybe its the nature of a small school. Maybe its the nature of a remote school. But our teachers aren’t just colleagues. They are friends too. And that, of course at times brings its own difficulties. But it makes our school a pretty special place to be.

And it makes endings sad. In fact in the last six months I’ve made a number of the hardest, toughest farewell speeches Ive ever made in the 15 years I have been a Principal. 

Through the years we have said goodbye to some really special and talented teachers. Some of them have gone far away. Some of them remain close. But we know there are always threads linking them and us to the time we spent in these old run down buildings. 

They were really special times.

See in that time we built a school. Not the buildings but the fabric. 

A school that has an absolute vision, and is on a mission to meet that vision. 

We know what we don’t want to be. And we are figuring out what we do want to be.

This week we said goodbye to our students for the year. Some of our seniors students are moving out into the world on their own now. And we also said goodbye to a number of staff. 

And so their day to day presence in our lives is broken but those threads remain. 

You could not have been part of what we have been for the last three years and remain unaffected by it. Parts of them remain with us, and they take parts of us with them.

And now we prepare to say goodbye to our old run down buildings and the property which has served us way better than anyone maybe even realises. 

Because while we’ve been building the school vision and being we‘ve had an amazing group of architects, builders and contractors building this amazing new school building for us down the road.

So over the next week we pack up the remains of 3 years of development in order to move into those new buildings. We figure out what needs to come with us and what doesn’t. Its time to shed some of those early struggles and move on with confidence and excitement. 

But we take with us the threads of those staff and students who have already moved on. 

We take bits of all of you into that new building with us next week when we bless it before we begin the task of moving into it ready for our learners to be back with us at the beginning of February.

A friend sent me this poem this week:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;

to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go. 

~ Mary Oliver 


And its a really poignant place to stop this blog post.

To those staff and students who have moved on, we let you go...but we keep a piece of you in our hearts, always.

To these buildings, you have actually been the making of us as a school. We let you go too. But we will remember our times with you with absolute fondness. You’ve helped us all focus on whats the most important.


We are excited about moving into a brand new modern learning environment. 

But let us never forget its not the buildings that make our school.


It’s the relationships. And it always will be.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Han SOLOed....Alleyne Chater

Han SOLOed

For the sake of the title, you have to pretend that my name is Han. Just humor me!
My inquiry was around trying to embed SOLO Taxonomy in my senior classes.
For those of you out there in cyber space that don’t yet know about SOLO, check this out www.pamhook.com and in particular, how it can link to the NZ curriculum http://pamhook.com/wiki/HOT_Wiki.
One area I focused on was trying to get my Advisory students to use the HOT alignment diagram http://pamhook.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/HOT-Alignment-Diagram.pdf. I found this to be an amazing piece of equipment to help students approach their learning from multiple angles using a variety of structured techniques (De Bono’s thinking hats, Bloom’s etc.).

One thing I didn’t do is to gather some kind of baseline data, and that was my first mistake! How can I show any kind of student gains if I have nothing to compare it to? Now, if you know me, you know that you can’t believe half of what comes out of my mouth, so it is essential for me to be able to prove all my talk with evidence!
Anyway. I took my class through this rubric and also inquired into some of the content and what it means. We also looked at how we could use it. The fact that it links with NCEA achievement made a huge difference in terms of creating significance, or meaning for my students. Getting them to use it on their own however was an entirely different matter! On going coaching on how to use this rubric in different situations was the key and it seemed to be going well and then I also started working in the middle years (Yr. 5 to 10) and that's when the fun began. I have always thought that primary teacher had to have a broad knowledge base, but working with my principal enlightened me on a whole range of things I had not thought of. Even the basics of how to comprehensively teach reading and writing caught me out, and I found myself doing a lot of professional reading on all manor of topics and it all came back to the same basics of student/teacher relationships and classroom dynamics and expectations.
In a nutshell I found myself challenging my attitudes and identifying my ways of being and/or bad habits I had developed over the years. So I decided to SOLO myself creating a rubric for me and in some ways it is good for all! Here goes!


















EXTENDED ABSTRACT
Every day is a new day. I am always looking for ways to improve my pedagogy, lesson content and delivery so it is relevant, inclusive and dynamic. This is done through PD, networking with other teacher, professional reading (including using blogs and twitter) and actively involving myself in online forums. My students come from a range of backgrounds (from supportive families to dysfunctional and abusive). Students have a broad range of learning needs. I will always show them respect and do my best to foster a positive, caring and safe classroom environment. My students trust and respect me. I love my job and understand the immense responsibility I hold in my hands.
RELATIONAL
I understand my attitude and depth of pedagogical knowledge have a huge bearing on how my lessons go. I try to do my best but I still have bad days. I engage in PD and professional reading (including some online forums), but don’t have the time to really implement things I learn. I think I get on well with the students and think they resect me. I know students come from a range of backgrounds, but sometime don’t understand why they don’t see how important it is for them to engage in their learning. I am not yet the teacher I want to be.
MULTISTRUCTUAL
I do staff PD and professional reading when it is compulsory. I’m too busy to develop in-depth programs, but think my teaching is good. I get on well with the students, when they listen and do what they are told.
UNISTRUCTUAL
I do staff PD and professional reading when it is compulsory. Sometimes my planning is lacking, but the students still need to do what they are told.
PRESTRUCTUAL
My teaching is fine; it’s the students that are the problem.


If teachers really want to find out how the are as a teacher, we should all regularly survey the students to gather intel on what they think. Many teachers do, but many teachers don’t, and I think this is because they know in their hearts that they are not doing their clients justice. If we got paid on client satisfaction (and I don’t mean just letting kids cruise), I think many teachers would be skint!
I have enjoyed this journey and at times it has been confronting. I will continue to use and develop my knowledge of SOLO’s Taxonomy and will never give up in my quest to embed it in student self directed learning.
Just so you know, I am at a blend of Relational and Extended Abstract. Occasionally dipping downward to the Prestructual barrel, of which I am not proud.

PS. The hardest lesson I have learned is that I should never use sarcasm. I love it, but students don’t. It’s like holy water to a vampire! Here’s the clincher! Students can be as sarcastic as they want! I hate being the adult sometime! All those awesome come backs going to waste! But seriously, just by cutting sarcasm, I feel much more trusted and respected by my students. It may be just in my head, but it has made a big difference either way. Thank You.



Sunday, 1 December 2013

“BECOMING THE HERO OF YOUR OWN MOVIE.” Solomon Blake

“BECOMING THE  HERO OF YOUR OWN MOVIE.” mmm

Since its inception over a year and half ago the 321 Action Inspire Programme has evolved immensely. From just introducing students into participating actively in a variety of health and physical activities in addition we are now currently providing significant learning opportunities for students.

My intial inquiry was entitled “Becoming the HERO of your own movie” this was based on the concept of getting out of a rutt and making the conscious decision not too play the victim. I would explain to my 321 students that they each have a conscious decision too make, the decision whether or not they want to achieve or not. I would explain to them that we all acknowledge at times in their lives things may not be going as well as they may have expected. Whether it be problems at home or at school, with teachers , friends or family, challenges in their lives which will always be around the corner and it is up too them how they deal or not deal with them.

Living their life, like as if a film crew were recording every move, action and word was planted in their minds. Students could either choose to become the guy or girl who is forgotten about or dies after a few scenes, the loser the VICITIM or they could choose to become the HERO of their own movie the one who achieves success after being at their lowest in the beginning of the movie, the part of the movie when everything is going wrong  but after a realization that if things are going to change they have to make the change themselves. Just like all the Rocky Balboa movies.

For the 321 students, in order to become the HERO of their own movie I had to change what I was currently offering and extend my thinking through providing them with significant learning opportunities These were provided over time which included understanding and demonstrating good exercise techniques, personal heart rate, instructing a workout, improving fitness levels, identifying and tracking their own body composition analysis, individual food journals, working in small and large group activities, listening to motivational speeches either through mixed media or guest speakers within the health and fitness industry, learning and understanding concepts like OARS and BEDS, introducing SOLO Taxonomy within the programme, completing workout reflections and lately, creating inspirational static images. All of these had to be expressed in some way not just through thought and action but through written evidence, evidence that could be visually seen by
 the individual and the teacher.

Results over time were amazing and those students who wrote down their goals on a weekly basis, who completed reflection sheets on how they felt before during and after each workout and who consistently recorded data based on their body composition analysis ie weight, bfat% and muscle mass percentages aswell as recording what they were eating during the week had considerable movements in their health and fitness. Writing down their goals and reflecting on their results and creating new goals I believe made an
impact on their learning and improved health and fitness journeys..

mmm but was this enough?

Reading the above one may view the programme as being successful and I believe it has since its inception, however for me the huge success of the programme hasn’t been due to the content of the programme, but I believe it has been hugely credited due to a concept that was recently introduced earlier in the term term through my colleague and friend Matua Morgan Ngata. Through his many travels through the Blog world he came across the following text called

The Happiest People Pursue the Most Difficult Problems.”

The following concept and key words were then introduced to the 321 action Inspire programme.

1.MASTERY
2.MEMBERSHIP
3.MEANING

Although I believe the 321 programme contained variable amounts of all of these ingredients, bringing it to life through the use of the 3M’s have successfully provided the direction, the self management checklist and the “ahaaaa moment” for myself and for the majority of my students.

Delving into the 3M’s 321 Action has discovered how the following affects us;

MASTERY was more than just achieving a successful grade, completing a task or even a workout. It became more about being the best they could be and reaching their full potential and working towards mastering their
knowledge base and skill level.

MEMBERSHIP is about belonging to an idealogy that is bigger than yourself, valuing who you surround yourself with, people that support and share the same beliefs that you have. Attaching yourself to this thought which leads you to a road that you feel you can either walk alone or with assistance.

MEANING is about the reason why you are doing this? it must have value and you must believe in it whole heartedly, you must believe in yourself before anyone else believes in you and itss not about instant gratification its about a lifestyle change.

Since the introduction of the 3M’s I can honestly say I have seen shifts which have surpassed the Gym and are slowly transferring into the school but more importantly into the hearts and minds of some of the students.

Seeing students form relationships and create opportunities to promote healthy lifestyles outside the gym has been mindblowing, Senior Students returning to school to complete standards although they have the authorization to return home has been incredible. Both senior and middle year  students making a stand for what is morally right and confronting fears of being labeled from their peers has been humbling and lately to discuss career options and opportunities for the future with some of the senior students has been in my mind the success stories and learning impacts for 321Action.

We have also provided a link for students to share their feelings, express opinions, stories, facts, pictures about their health and fitness as well as communicate and make contact with experts in this field for advice by setting
up our very own 321 Action Facebook page.


In closing I am honoured and privleged to have not taught but learnt side by side with some of most talented, dedicated, supportive and loving students during the 321 action Inspire programme and I look forward to running and extending the 3M’s not just in my INSPIRE programme next year but also my teaching career and personal life as I believe it encapsulates…….

“BECOMING THE HERO OF MY OWN MOVIE” and hopefully “YOURS”

Na Matua Sol