Visit to Summerland School,
West Auckland, 19/8/2010
Some reﬂections from the day
Tina Donnell, Kaipara Flats School
This selection is not quite random. It’s
examples of good things that caught
my attention as I walked through the
school with Luke Sumich and the
Twin Coast ICT cluster group.
There are certainly some good things I
saw that my camera forgot to record.
in the Reading
This was a set of six
scrapbooks set up for the
children to write in
independently as a follow-up
to reading activity.
The instructions asked the children to use
the hats to think about a book they had
previously read from their book bag or
The work was on unlined paper and the
children were free to write and draw to
show their ideas.
It was a tool for thinking rather than a
The books appeared to be well used and I
liked that the children were getting a
chance to revisit texts using an open-ended
I also liked that they get to choose which of
the texts they have read to follow up in this
This display caught my eye, partly
because of the use of Kid Pix for print
publishing in colour.
I don’t use Kid Pix very often in this
way, as I am aware that colour printing
costs 5 times as much as B&W.
However, this was a purposeful use of
Kid Pix in the goal setting process and
I can see how the ﬁsh could be
printed quite economically with more
than one ﬁsh per page.
While there were many
differences evident from one
class to another through the
school, sharing learning
intentions and success criteria
was a common thread.
These are some examples of the goals children chose.
A tool for
tables as Basic
In a Y5&6 class, this child was
using a chart she had made to
help recall the 7x table.
The multiples of 7 were
recorded from left to right on
each ﬁnger on the chart.
Luke Sumich described the
1. Once the chart is made, place
hands over and lift each ﬁnger
to ﬁnd the answer - e.g. for 3x7,
lift the third ﬁnger
2. As you become more
conﬁdent, bring your hands to a
mid-point, away from the chart
and use in the same way.
3. Turn away from the chart, and
only use it if you forget the
One common thread in the classes at
Summerland was the level of independent
I was impressed by the focus displayed by these
two children and their ability to work
cooperatively using a “Figure It Out” maths
On talking to the class teacher, she explained that
she had spent a lot of time teaching the children
to be aware of how they learn best. She has set
up the routines and the environment to cater Thinking about it, ICT is one of the factors that
both for children who prefer to work alone, makes independent learning easier to implement in
undisturbed by others and also for children who a classroom - where the tools can be set up to
need to talk with others as they work. engage the child, to guide a process, to hold
Interestingly, the noise level in this class was low attention and to track progress.
and there seemed to be quite a few children (The other important factor being the vision and
working on their own. These children were quite skill of the teacher.)
separated from the main group.
Post-it notes could be standard issue for
paper supplies in classrooms.
They are so handy as a tool in
I have found it useful to use them
alongside an ICT tool like
Kidspiration, when I don’t have
enough computers for my groups, or
simply as an alternative choice.
I thought this was a really
good example of extended
thinking around a current
Following on from the current
A junior class tool for organising
for independent learning
While we were in the room, we observed children going up to the chart
and moving their photo to a different area of the board, before they moved
to that activity.
One child moved two photos and another child commented, “You’re not
allowed to move someone else.”
Frisbee Golf? ... or maybe large ball.
Each exit from the trap had a + or - minus
rule to score.
I liked this idea, because homework
notebooks can be a bit invisible in
the classroom and this gives
children a visual reminder and
reward for their effort.
I imagine it could also be self
managing and encourage goal
setting, because the children are
able to move their image along as
they read more.
This shows the rocket image
with the children’s photos
that can be moved along as
the children read more
I’m actually not that keen on
“art” where everything looks
so similar, however as you
will see in the next slide the
goal setting did not have an
(I did also see lots of
examples of work where art
was the focus .)
So the focus was on
working together and at
the same time, the
something about paper
Using the exemplars to illustrate where
the children are currently working...
... and also giving an idea of
what the next steps will be
Teaching children to reﬂect on their
learning and plan next steps is an intrinsic
part of current educational practice.
The use of 21st century ICT tools makes
this process easier, as children are able to
revisit learning experiences through a
variety of media and Web 2.0 tools such as
voice thread and blogs.
I liked this display of
sentence starters to help
children think about what
they did and what they
learned in the process.
Modeling books were in evidence in most classes and I liked the way
they were on display and available to the children. I saw several
children working with a modeling book alongside for reference.
Charts created with the children can be so useful and relevant
compared to published materials.
I’ve been thinking lately that it would be good to have art materials
stored and displayed attractively to encourage the children to use them
independently and to care for them as well. I hate the way the colours of
the crayons get all spoilt when stored in one box, so I liked this solution
I spotted on the way out of the last class we visited.
...oops, I forgot the ICT and there was
lots of it.
It appeared to be just another possible
set of tools in the learning process.
Use of ICT
Junior class, a group of children using
laptops to plan writing while other
children worked in books.
Y3/4 class, using DLO as a teaching
tool with a group of children using
laptops sitting on the ﬂoor, with the
Mixed group, Y1&2 with Y5 or 6 child as scribe on
laptop, talking about materials and procedures for a
Ipad - in use by one or two children in some classes.
These are currently shared, with one between 2 classes,
very recently purchased, in exploration phase
Children using websites on desktops or laptops in
classes as part on the reading or maths independent
Other things I was taken with...
Black paper and metallic markers used in a Y chart, looks like, sounds like, feels like.
(Chart looked great.) The teacher described how the day before the children had
been excited by a sudden hailstorm, so she let them go out in it. Afterwards, they
brainstormed words for the Y chart, working in small groups and she acted as scribe
to publish their collated ideas. (Y3&4 class, I think)
The snowball game as a brain break. Pieces of paper handed out, children write a
question, put name on the back, screw up the paper and stand up when ﬁnished. On
the signal, they throw the paper to the other side of the room. Children then pick up
a paper, answer the question and ﬁnd the author, point scored for correct answers.
(Good to meet @heymilly from Twitter PLN)
Using personality types as an aid to understanding learning styles in a Y5&6 class.
The children were able to articulate what their personality type was and how that
affected their learning. They could talk about positives and negatives.
I was impressed by the good humoured way they approached this and also by their
understanding of how they could use each other’s strength to improve their work.
While some children and the teacher talked to us, other children continued quietly
with their work.
Yellow - creative; Red - emotional; Blue - analytical, big picture; Green - organised,
...and another thing
one class had an interesting range of
furniture, high tables with barstools, low
tables for sitting on ﬂoor to work, tables at
standing height, padded cube seating, and
study carrels, as well as standard height
tables in different shapes and arrangements
The children were able to choose where
they preferred to work, some working away
happily underneath tables, in one instance.
Many thanks to Luke and the team at Summerland School for allowing us a window into their
Thanks also to Sue Pritchard for organising the visit.
(...and I guess I can reiterate, it’s not about the tools, it’s about the teaching & learning that takes