Monday, September 17, 2018

It's all about Relationships

Manaakitanga and Whanaungatanga
These are words that are often said around the staffroom when we have PD around getting more out of the students.
It is difficult sometimes to see a way forward so it is good to look at what we are doing now to see what works and what needs more effort.

Where do I see myself in this?
I often have chats with the year level deans about the students that I have "soft spots" for and they quite often inform me that they are with the most unlikely students. They tend to be students who are more challenging for other members of staff to get a relationship with.

Student 1
When student 1 was in Year 10, he was a challenging boy and I made the conscious decision not to worry "too" much about the actual graphics work but focus on the relationship. He really enjoyed drawing and making things so I allowed him a lot of lee way about what he drew and made an effort to sit with him and talk about his work at regular intervals and why he was interested in what he was drawing.
He then chose to do NCEA Level 1 Design and Visual Communication with me. Again, I made a decision in my mind not to "push" him too hard, but accept what work he gave me and give him feedback about it. I sat with him at least once a lesson, listened to his stories from the weekend, talked about games, music, movies etc and supported him with the skills for his drawn work. I also made sure that his portfolio site was always up to date with his ongoing work so that he did not feel left out or behind the rest of the class. (I did this for him him, although I insisted that he sat there and watched and find his work in his Google drive while I did it).
Other progress that he made was putting his work into the Google Plus community when he had finished it. We post work there for the whole class to see, share and feedback on. It takes a bit of nagging on my part to get them to do this but by the end of the year, student 2 was posting his work straight away without anyone nagging him. I would know when my phone pinged an email alert from the community that he had done this. "thank you #$%^&*" I would say across the room, like I would to all the other students when they shared their work.
He started year 11 at Level 3B reading and 3P maths.
He ended the year with 22 internal credits and 3 external credits in DVC.
He started the Level 2 course with me the next year. This was going to be more of a struggle as there is a LOT more work at Level 2 then there is at Level 1. I got him to talk about his work to me and I would write down exactly what he said so he had evidence of analysis. It was not that he could not type it himself but if I left him to it, he would slide off into gaming and it would not get done.
Although student 1 left school before the end of Year 12, he did get 12 credits in DVC for the work he had completed there.

What did I learn? 
Relationship first. The work came then.

Student 2
Student 2 is in Year 11 and again he is one of those students where other members of staff do not have a good relationship with him. I have a big soft spot for him and he tends to get away with far too much in my lesson as I think he is funny.
I have spent the best part of the year trying to get him to finish something and he has been sitting on zero credits and one of the students in the "zone" in all the staff feedback sessions.
He has not finished the first project yet and we are onto a different one now. I have been banging my head against the wall trying to get him to come back to the after school catch up sessions I run on a Wednesday for the last two terms. He has come twice but most of the time he forgets.
He has got 16 credits in total for all of his subjects at the time of writing this and 3 of those are from DVC. So it is not just my lesson that he is struggling to complete work in.
He received those credits in DVC just last week when he finished the work for the rendering internal. I was sitting with him and showing the technique needed for each part of his design and he was completing a section at a time, following my broken down demos. As he was seeing design coming towards completion, there was definite change in his attitude, He wanted to finish it. He was seeing all the other lovely completed sheets from the other students and he wanted some of that.
Now he has those credits logged, his first words to me as he walks in the room are "what am i working on today miss?"

September is better late than never eh?

What did I learn?
Seeing achievement happen and seeing that he is just as good as the others in the class has given him confidence.

Student 3
This is  a totally different situation. Student 3 is a very polite, well spoken young man who gets on with all the teachers he meets.
His record says that he has passed Level 2, but a lot of those credits were achieved on an external course last year and he has achieved very few credits actually in lessons at school this year. I have spoked with a number of his teachers and we all seem to be struggling with the same thing, getting him to complete work.
In my lesson, he is doing Level 2 DVC and he did not do Level 1 last year. This is always a bit of a struggle but doable if you put in the effort. So far, he has not completed the first two assessments, shows no interest in coming back to the after school sessions each week on a Wednesday to catch up (although I do understand the commitments that he has after school), and we are currently on the big design project. Again he was showing little or no interest in completing anything until recently. We started making his models on the laser cutter and he saw how well his design work could come out in a well made model. I saw a light come on in his eye when his client was enthusiastic about his laser cut models. He is now keen to finish.
Even though he has not been working very hard, I have kept up the conversation with him, helping him with design work, talking about movies and what they did at the weekend etc on a Monday morning. I have been trying to work on the relationship even though sometimes I want to murder him for his lack of effort.
No one was more surprised than me when I found out today that he has chosen DVC again next year.
I know that this year was a "wasn't anything else on the option line" kind of thing so to know that he actually chose it for next year is great.

What did I learn?
Relationships matter to students who have commitments and expectations after school. They appreciate the connection even if they still don't put in the effort and complete the work!

Seeing your work come out at a good quality and having your client love it is a very motivating thing.

Then I get to my junior classes as a whole, but especially the Year 9 students.
I am not shy to admit that even after all this time (23 years teaching!!!), I still have a hard time with my junior classes.
The situation is that I see them for 1 single period and 1 double period a week, for 13 week rotations, so I see 3 different groups in a year.
I personally do not enjoy the rotations as I feel that I am just getting to know a group when they have to move on and I have to start again with a new group.
Students who I have known in their intermediate classes are fine but I find it difficult to connect with the other students over this short period of time only three lessons a week.

Questions I need to ask myself :-

  • Why do I clash with some of these students when I find it easy to connect with my senior classes?
  • Why do I have a better relationship with students who I have known in juniors once they get into the senior school?
  • Is it just the rotations?
  • Do I need that connection and relationship just as much as we say the students do in order to grow?
There is no easy answer to this but I had an interesting breakthrough today.
A group of students who I have not been getting along well with recently were in the class today. I sat with them and had a talk. I asked them if I had disrespected them in some way. They needed to tell me so I could apologise as it would not have been on purpose. I needed to know what I had done to deserve them treating me like they were. And of course that was not making me treat them in a fair way either as I was dreading going to the class. We had a really good, honest talk today. I told them how I was feeling today and asked them to tell me how they were feeling. I could not go on any more they way it was so it was not a big risk.
We agreed to move forward and not look back.

What have I learned?
I really need to work harder on the relationships in the junior rotations (especially the year 9's).
Be honest with them, they appreciate it.
Treat them with respect. (of course I do this but we are all human ).

Friday, September 14, 2018

Student Reaction to Moderation Feedback

I have been reading this book, Mindset by Carol Dweck.
I want to learn about this as I think it is a big stumbling block for my students as they are going though the design process.

  • The do not want to do multiple designs.
  • They want to do one then stop.
  • They do not like keeping any of their designs which they see as a failure - I have to keep an eye on them to not let them remove sheets from their sketchbooks that they don't think are up to scratch.
  • They get discouraged easily when they think their drawing "talent" is not good enough.
I have difficulty in convincing them that it is the process that we go through that is important and if they throw out everything they do not like then we have no process to show!

The students have been completing their first bite at standard AS91066 where they have to render their design work to show shape, form, light and shadow, materials etc.
I photographed their drawings, put them in a folder and sent them to a colleague in another school who moderates my planing and marking for me.

The feedback that we got was that some were ok, 3 students were going up a level and 4 students had work to do to reach the required level.
The students who received the "positive" feedback were very happy, especially those who had their grades increased. 
I was worried about the reaction of the students who needed to be told about the work that still needed doing ie ... their work "wasn't good enough". I didn't want them to feel discouraged as they all work hard.
I was a very proud Graphics teacher today. The students set to with the improvements that were suggested to them with absolutely no complaints or bad feelings. There was no mutterings or grumpy faces. They worked hard over the double period and three of the students completed everything needed while the other one is well on it's way. 
Now my challenge is to keep this growth mindset going and for the students to accept feedback on their design work for what it is, a productive process to help them improve.

Argumentation with Dr Cynthia Greenleaf

Monday, September 10, 2018

Literacy - Verbal Descriptions of Work

Over the course of this year, my Year 11 students have been the focus of my inquiry into literacy.  They have been making a pleasing amount of progress with their analysis writing about their designs.
What we were doing today was talking about their design modelling as they were doing them. As part of Manaiakalani Class OnAir, we have been looking at ergonomics and anthropometrics as part of the design process. The students have been making models of their design developments of the wearable tech project they have been doing. They have used each other as the models for this process to get the size and proportion correct. This has involved a lot of discussing with each other what they are doing and giving each other feedback and suggestions as they were working very "closely" with each other.
This was happening very smoothly and they were able to answer the questions I was asking them about what they were doing, right until we tried to do it on camera! With some note writing, giggling and a lot of "not yet miss!", we did these recordings today. It is interesting to see the difference it makes when the analysis "medium" is changed from written to verbal.

Manaiakalani Class OnAir Lesson 10 - Ergonomic Design Modelling

Link to Manaiakalani Class OnAir to see the whole team.

Link to Extended Lesson Plan Here

Direct Instruction

This was a short talk about how important anthropometrics and ergonomics are in designing. This was backed up by a small presentation explaining the meaning of the words by breaking them down.

Class Site Content

Link to the class site where there is extra information about anthropometrics and ergonomics and how they are used in design work.

Learner Generated Content

Ongoing Lesson

The students are building their design developments on each other in order to get the size and proportion correct.


These are the starting models that the students have been making. They will take these and develop further after analysing what worked and what did not work.
The photograph is a link to take you to the folder of images.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Manaiakalani Class OnAir Lesson 9 - Starting a New Project - Wearable Tech

Link to Manaiakalani Class OnAir to see the whole team.

Link to Extended Lesson Plan Here

Direct Instruction
This short talk with the students was about looking at how their chosen tech has changed over a timescale of 10+ year so they need to think about how this will affect their designs for the future.

Class Site Content

Introduction to the Topic

Before we had this session we had quite an extensive whole class chat about what wearable tech might be. This video is quite long (20 mins) as it is the whole pre topic chat.

Chat outline on the board

This is the board showing what we were talking about during the introductory chat about the topic.

Learner Generated Content


Talking about his headphone idea and what will .be different in the future


Talking about his wearable fitness tech and what needs people will have in the future.


Talking about his watch design and why it is looking more like jewellery.


wearable tech that creates holograms for personal communication.


These timelines were produced on Google Drawings. The link here is to images of the work produced.

Start of Concept Sketches

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Is all this technology making us antisocial?

During today's all staff PLD about sharing, we were asked to make a blog post about :-
"Is all this technology making us antisocial?"
I agree but in a different meaning to antisocial. We are all talking to each other online and responding to each other's posts but it is not in a very supportive way. There are too many "keyboard warriors" ready to jump down the throats of anything they don't agree with. We need to "listen"more and judge less
 Image result for keyboard warriors

Friday, August 24, 2018

Manaiakalani Hui 2018

This year at the Manaiakalni Hui, the CoL teachers had to create a 1 minute video to introduce their inquiries and then host round table sessions for people to find out more information.

Here is my round table session.

Here is my 1 minute introduction to my inquiry.
Look for more information about this on the "Inquiry" and "Literacy" tabs on my blog

Check out the introductory videos of the rest of the Manaiakalani CoL teachers on this link and check out all of the blogs of the CoL teachers on this link to see their inquiries in depth.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Literacy Activity with Year 7 and Year 8

With my intermediate Technology class today, I wanted to start off the lesson doing a short literacy activity where we look at the difference between 2D and 3D shapes and forms. We would also be looking at what various geometric shapes and forms are called.

We had a whole class discussion to start with where we were talking about what different things were called.

  • A square is 2D and a cube is 3D
  • A circle is 2D and a cylinder and a sphere are both 3D
  • A triangle is 2D and a pyramid and a cone are both 3D
  • a rectangle is 2D and a cuboid is 3D

The students were good at coming up with these words themselves. I wasn't telling them as we had Google images open in front of each student so they could research as we were talking.

This is my very messy board as we were talking.

We then talked about what everyday things that they knew that were the same shape and the same form of the things we were talking about.
I then wanted them to find some pictures of these shape, forms and things to illustrate a table on a Google drawing.

Here are some examples of the work produced by students today.
They were enjoying doing this so much we over ran my plan for the lesson quite a lot!!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Student Voice - Feedback about Design Project

My Year 11 class have recently completed AS91067 where they were using the influence of a designer on their own design work.
These are the questions that I asked the students to think about. I purposefully did not send them a Google Form with options to tick as I wanted them to think and give me their ideas in their own words.

Chair Project Feedback

What new drawing skills did you learn during the chair project?

I have learn exploded drawings, cross sectional drawing, learnt how to do parallel & perspective drawings, also rendering colours, texture & material.

Rendering with different colours on drawings.

I learnt how to draw in 3D.I also learnt how to render the looks on my chair.

I learnt how to how to draw ergonomes, cut through view, and exploded drawing.
What did you think of all of the pair and team exercises that we did?

I feel like there wasn’t enough pair and team exercises for me to decide on how I feel about them. But the activities that we did throughout this year we very eventful and joyful and I think there should be more of that so we can bond more with different peers.

It was fun and pretty cool to work others that I wasn’t close with.

I think that they were good because a lot of the skills came in handy n the individual work on my final design.

I thought they were quite enjoyable because it helped us gain experience of working with other people.
What did you think of having someone else come to teach us about literacy?

I think it was a good idea, because the teacher who taught us had good tips and feedback for us.

Alright, it felt normal.

I think it was alright but it could have been taught better by Ms Ferguson.

Having someone else come teach us about literacy allows us to gain better writing skills when working on our chair project and helps us get to that higher achievement standard.
Did you learn any new literacy strategies during this project? What were they?

Yes, I don’t exactly remember what the literacy activities were could but the helped us how to structure our sentences properly, by doing analysis breakdowns.

Analysing our work and explaining to our audience.

Not really but i did learn how to make a little booklet.I also learnt how a few language features and some techniques for my paragraphs.

Indeed, I learnt how to describe my chair design by making a statement then follow it with a reason, opinion or judgement.

Did you find it easier to write the analysis of your designs after we had practiced and learned some new ways of doing it?

Yes it definitely did.


Yes,because i struggled a lot with some better words to use for my analysis so it was good to practice and learn better language that suits my chair.

Yeah I found it easier after practising writing my analysis because it helped me get used to what sort of information I will need to provide in order for me to achieve an Excellence.
What do you need in future projects to help you to achieve?

Just keep practicing on writing analysis.

Someone explaining the steps to me and a lot of practice.

For future projects, I think I would like to have more fun activities that will help me understand the project better.

What do you learn in other lessons that can help you in DVC? (don’t just think about the “Subject Content” but the way that you do things)

In english learning about language technique could benefit me in DVC as it does involve literacy.

In BCATs when I colour and render my drawings and also shadowing.

In other classrooms, we do quizlet lives and kahoots to help us understand topics better.
Do you feel that you were supported enough during this project? If not, please give some ideas of how this could be better.

Yes I do feel like I was supported.

I was well supported.

Yeah I feel like I was given enough support I needed for this project because I managed to get work completed with quality.

If you were to plan this project for next year, what product would you suggest designing instead of a chair?

Maybe a desk design… I’m not quite sure

Maybe a table.

I would like to design cars, computers and sports balls or superheroes.
Is there any other comments you would like to make about this project or how we did it?

No from all

My take outs from this :-

  • Getting expert input into the strategies we have been trying, both in school and from one of our local primary schools, has had a bog influence and the students have appreciated it.
  • The students have appreciated the amount of work we have done on literacy strategies and feel it is helping them with their analysis work.
  • After reading this feedback and talking to the Technology specialist on PD recently, I think I will give the students a selection of different things to choose from to design for this standard.
  • Group work has been popular so I need to work more of that into my planning.
  • More light hearted activities to cover / revise the content at times would be welcome.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Whole Staff Priority Student PD

We had a whole staff PD this week where we were looking at the priority students from Year 11.
We had a set of students to look at and the criteria for selecting these students was that they will have achieved in some lessons but not others. This was so that the teachers where the students were not achieving could talk to other teachers about strategies they could use that were working.

The tables in the staff room were set out with a student name on each and we "bus stopped:' our way round the students. At each table we met with other teachers of that student and compared teaching strategies. Those teachers who were achieving with the student gave advice about what strategies they were using that were working.
Also at each table was a scribe so that they could take notes about the conversation for later referral by the teachers of that student. This was so the focus could be on the chat and not the note taking.
Here is a blank of the layout we were using. These were all on the same presentation so all the information for all the students was in the same document.
We were set the task of trying one strategy with one of our students and feedback on the next staff PD session to say how it went.

My Take Out

What I took away from this session was about a student who was doing really well in Science but I was yet to manage to help her finish her first project from the start of the year even though she has been coming into the Wednesday after school catch up sessions that I have been running.
After talking to her science teacher, he explained what he did was to keep on at her every 10 minutes or so, checking on her, making sure she knew what she was doing and keeping her on track. I had made the mistake of presuming she new what to do as she spoke a good story but didn't produce the actions.
I have tried this during this week's lessons after the PD session and it worked really well. She produced much more work than usual in the time.
I have fed back to her science teacher that I took his advice and was pleased with the outcome.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Manaiakalani Class OnAir Lesson 8 - Final Chair Designs

Link to Manaiakalani Class OnAir to see the whole team.

Direct Instruction

The instruction to the whole class was quite brief as it was reminding them of all the elements that needed to be included on the their final design sheets. I had prepared the board in advance so they could see the layout I wanted them to follow. The rest of the instruction through the lesson was on a one to one basis depending on the needs of the students.

Here is some of the ongoing lesson


This work was a culmination of a much longer series of lessons based around analysis, design and literacy. I feel that the students did well as they were pulling everything together that we have been looking at over my inquiry.

Class Site Content

This is a diagram explaining the input the students have had from my inquiry about subject specific literacy.

Learner Generated Content

Extended Lesson Plan

Lesson Topic :- Final Chair Design Sheet
Year Group :-  Year 11
Learning Outcome
To be able to use all of the skills regarding drawing, rendering and analysis to produce a final chair design presentation sheet.

Success Criteria
Using SOLO

Extended abstract
Students draw a 3D final chair design.

Students identify the main parts of their design.
Students draw a 3D final chair design and can render the design to enhance the 3D qualities using tones.

Students can describe their design using noun groups.
Students can relate their final chair drawing to the materials it would be made from by using rendering techniques to show those materials.

Students can link a statement about their design to a reason by using a linking word.
Students can create a design that is inspired by their chosen architect and render it to look 3D, like the material it is made from and position it in space using shadows.

Students can reflect on how their design relates to the work of their chosen architect.

Links with the New Zealand Curriculum

NCEA Level 1 - Curriculum Level 6

Outcome development and evaluation

Critically analyse their own and others’ outcomes to inform the development of ideas for feasible outcomes. Undertake ongoing experimentation and functional modelling, taking account of stakeholder feedback and trialling in the physical and social environments. Use the information gained to select, justify, and develop a final outcome. Evaluate this outcome’s fitness for purpose against the brief and justify the evaluation, using feedback from stakeholders.

  • Thinking - using all the drawing, rendering and literacy strategies we have been working on all together to produce the final design sheet.
  • Using language, symbols, and texts - writing the design analysis and using visual techniques to simulate 3D forms and surface finishes.
  • Managing self - completing a finished final design sheet ready for assessment.
  • Participating and contributing -
  • Relating to others -
Prior knowledge
We have  done a series of literacy exercises to build up to this point.

We have done sketching and rendering techniques in 2D and 3D.
We have done research about materials.
The students have produced design developments in relation to their chosen architect.
Lesson Sequence

Session Outline
Student Activity
Teacher Activity
Sit round the front table and listen to teacher input about how to layout their final design sheet.
  • Prepare the board with layout example.
  • Discuss the potential layout with the students so they know what to include on the their final design sheet.
  • As the lesson is going on, do one to ones chats about their analysis writing, using questions to the students to get them to think and answer.
  • One to one / small group help with rendering skills and detail drawings.
Students to work on their individual presentation sheets to show :-
  • Rendered 3D drawing of final chair
  • 2D cross sectional view
  • 2D plan, side and front views
  • Analysis notes using the structure we have worked on
Work will be photographed and shared in the class community for all the class to see each other’s work.
This is the final work for this project so will be included in their sketchbook of evidence for the freehand sketching external - until them they will be displayed on the classroom walls.

A2 paper
Drawing pencils
Coloured pencils
Graphics marker pens
Next Steps
Next Lesson
This task will take longer than one double period, so it will need time in following lessons to complete everything.

Further in this project
This is the end of this project, but all of these skills will be used in the next one.
Reflection and Analysis

What went well.

Lesson Content :- The students knew the main bulk of what they have to produce for this activity as it is a continuation of both the project they have been working on and the skills they have been covering.

Lesson Pacing :- I knew this was not going to be complete in a double period so the pacing is as expected.

Lesson Delivery :- My introduction was uncharacteristically short but I think this is because it was just a sum up of what they already knew. The delivery throughout the lesson worked well on a one to one / small group basis as needed.

Student Outcomes :- The outcomes are of a pleasing standard and clearly shows what they have been learning.

What still needs work.

Student Understanding :- I still have students who were in the lower ability class in Year 10 who are having difficulties understanding what we are doing at the moment. I do not have a specific example for this layout produced, just the individual things on the class site and the layout sketch on the board, so this would probably have helped. Having examples of 3D rendered products for them to refer to would help too as their understanding and visualizing of what their design looks like in 3D is a problem.