Critical Reflections

Critical Reflections

Session 1 - 9/03        Building Positive Relationships with Children


Barriers: Social skills

Depressed, Lonely


Barriers: ESOL, finds it hard to keep friends


Barriers: ADHD


Barriers: absent a lot, struggles to retain information

I spend each morning talking with my students. When I know the things they are interested in then I include them in topics we will read or write about. Sometimes I use things they are interested in as a context for Maths activities or role playing when learning through play. I strive to involve all students and find their strengths to celebrate.

During morning news I take note of students' prior knowledge and use it as a brainstorming topic for writing.

We go outdoors and use materials from outside to build a waka and we raced them in a mini pool in the classroom.

During our Inquiry we learnt how to weave a basket out of paper, we drew paua shells, we learnt about the kakahu and korowai. One student even brought her own one to show for morning news. We sing lots of songs and do different sort of dancing - the latest one is Salsa.

Students are encouraged to ask their whanau to share their photos on our facebook messenger so I can cast on to the TV.

Spending time talking with my students every morning and touching base with them when I am on release at school has made me aware of where they come from, what their world view is, how I can help them to grow and when I need to listen so they can share more of what they already know and what area they personally need to grow.

Reflecting on my practise has helped me try many different approaches and strategies. I have learnt that not everything works all the time - so much of what the students bring to school has an impact on what they are able to give. I still have high expectations of my students but they are gentle, appropriate and consistent.


Barriers: impulsive , forgetful


Barriers: follows others even doing the wrong thing - needs to find his identity


Barriers: finds it hard to do the right thing at the right time


Barriers: struggles to focus and listen

It has been a long but productive journey getting to know these tamariki and helping them to be excited about learning. What I appreciate about these students is that they reflect the environment they are in. This helps me reflect, on the spot, whether I have given them enough time, attention and scaffolding for each activity we undertake. Many times I have caught myself moving on and notice that they are off task. I learnt quickly not to assume that they are deliberately playing up - every single time they have just not understood the instructions.

I started getting them to think-pair-share what the instructions were and then release them in pairs to get ready to begin their work.

Getting to know the things they are interested in and what their skill levels are in each activity has helped me identify what their barriers are and what I can do help them remove obstacles.


I get on well with all of my students. I know most of the parents however I don't always see them as my students either scooter or walk home with older siblings.
It is a joy when students in my class have siblings who want to come into the classroom and talk with me.
The constant message to parents are that our Room 5 door is always open and they are welcome to come in and see what we do and they are welcome to join in. At times I have had some younger siblings and parents come in at the end of the day. They have joined in our karakia and waiata which their children have loved.
I have tried to attend all consultation meetings with the community to ensure that I am there should any of the parents would like to chat.
I know my students and their friends - it has been a goal of mine that all students in my class become close friends and look out for each other like whanau.
I have shared photos of my family, my sky-dive, my pets and if there are stories that connect us - such as going to Te Mata Peak or Splash Planet we have a full on class discussion.

There are a few parents/colleagues who have given me great feedback:

One nan told me that her grandson wanted to return to Te WHai Hiringa because of me and his friends. She has been very happy with my teaching style. Her grandson enjoys school.

Another mother has said that her son loves coming to school. She has also noticed that he is really into his learning at home too. She brought me flowers and when she has time off work she comes in to tell me what a great job I am doing. She is so thankful.

All three mums of my new students have all told me that they are so happy that I am their daughter's teacher. They were excited and their children are also very happy.

Another mum for a student in the junior school says that her daughter always asks to come to my class. She has asked if I could have her daughter in my class next year.

A current student in my class has been put in my class for next year - according to my team leader, her mother has requested for her to stay in my class.

I have had a few relievers tell me that I am doing a great job in my class. They notice the students behaviour is really good. They have also noticed how much their writing and reading has improved.

I have received good comments about how good it is to see my students walk to and from the library or the hall - they are always well behaved and keept their lines straight.

Kim (RTLB) has frequently praised me on how well I manage my classroom. She says that the relationship I have built with the students is strong and the environment in my classroom is positive and productive.

Reading Recovery kaiako has told me that a student from my class really enjoys being in my class. He constantly asks her if he can take his work to show me.

These positive comments have encouraged me through the times when I have struggled with keeping up with the paperwork or felt like a failure when some students don't seem to be improving in their learning outcomes.

Session 2 - 30/03      Teacher Attention, Academic, Social, Persistence and Emotion Coaching and Praise

My goal was to create visual pictures to indicate different activities on schedule

I feel good about adding the visuals as it made our daily timetable accessible to all my students.

Session 3 - 11/05    Motivating Children Through Incentives

My goal is to develop students' confidence to learn independently.

I feel good about introducing the classroom mirror to my students. It is used in our complimentary circle - when someone says something positive to a student they run to the mirror to repeat what was said to them. Students in my class started off quite shy and are now excited.

One thing I really want to learn is descriptive and academic commenting during interactions with students - I have been coached by Nicola from IY.

Session 4 - 1/06 Decreasing Inappropriate Behaviour

I feel good about how often I use the kete cards, mana pom-poms, Dojo points as a way to catch students doing the right thing and praise them throughout the day.

I used to praise the results before but now I praise the effort - especially when I realise how hard a student has persisted on an area they found challenging etc

We are working independently during our reading rotation and relying on our groups to remind each other of the standards and expectations for each activity.

We have created Nottingham's 'The Learning Pit' to help the students understand that learning is hard and that there are strategies they can use to overcome learning challenges. This aligns with our 3 Kete Values.

Reading Group Rotation

Session 5 - 22/06 Decreasing Inappropriate Behaviour - Part 2

Session 6 - 27/07 Emotional Regulation, Social Skills and Problem Solving


3 leaders to begin our day

whakatau hinengaro

3 different leaders guide the class for breathing and grounding ourselves ready to start our day


Each student shares how they are feeling - some are open to share why otherwise I speak one-to-one at another time.

We notice the students who are feeling sad/tired and seek ways to awhi them or give them the space that they need.


Happy boy, using very positive language in conversations!


Working co-operatively with friends.


Has lots of ideas and experiences to share so I have introduced morning news for those students who have something special to share.


Attendance is still low however when he is at school he has made good friends and enjoys learning.


Organised, keeps his shoes, jersey and book bag where they belong.


Confidently works on activities he wants to practise further. Has show lots of interest in Maths.


Has benefitted the most in the problem-solving charts.


Is able to focus and answer questions. Has become thoughtful and clear in his communication.

Session 7 - 31/08 Transition Plans

Laviira Transition Plan.docx

I already have 3 students who have transitioned into my class and 3 from my class who transitioned into another class.

This was quite an emotional of the students who left Room 5 has returned.

2 of the students from Kakano have settled really well into our classroom. I have reached out to their parents and we have a good relationship.

As a syndicate we have discussed which students we would like to keep and which ones were ready to move on to another class. Knowing my students and having a good relationship with the teachers in my syndicate has made it easier for me to choose the best teacher with the strengths to meet the needs of my students.