Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Be Resilient

I haven't posted on this blog for a while.  Mainly because I haven't worked on developing the sport site so there wasn't anything to share.  The last time I worked on it, it was taking about half an hour to create one button, I couldn't work out how to centre them on a page...I got lost with the 'coding', then there were too many buttons, it looked too busy, lots of pages to update...etc.  It became frustrating and discouraging.  I just wished that someone else could create the site and I just updated it.

My inquiry was about having a site for everyone to use but creating it has been the problem.

In the meantime I continue to inform students, parents and volunteers through texting, emails, face to face meetings and newsletters.  That is still working.  My school holidays over the next couple of weeks will be spent simplifying the sport site...delete, delete, change...have a coffee...google "how to" etc... so that it becomes manageable.  I wish I could change my inquiry to focus on key relationships and the progress of students, but I need to be resilient about this and get this job done.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Face to face chats + texting = increased participation

March 2016 Intermediate girls softball team at the
Auckland Inter-Zone tournament, Rosedale Park, Albany

How do you get more children playing sport?  How do you get whanau support?  How do you find good volunteers?

There are a couple of ways that have been effective so far:

1. Face to face chats
2. Texting

In this digital day and age of multiple social media networks, it's the face to face conversation with someone, that is still engaging and effective.  Texting a volunteer or whanau directly, is what I also find is successful.

I'm fortunate, that in my role, I'm able to walk around and be available to chat with students, families and the local community.  My office is located in a handy place that's near the main school and hall entrance, the toilets and the office reception area.  It's the central location of our school where I see lots of students and whanau - it's the opportunity to 'catch up' with them.

Face to face chats with students is basically having a chat with individuals to see if they'd be interested in playing a sport, what sport etc.  I listen and try to 'read' their reactions, their body language and what they're trying to say.  Then I offer options that they'd possibly be interested in or offer solutions to what hinders them from playing.  I chat to them about the benefits for them, encourage them to 'have a go' and invite them to 'join in' anytime.  I leave the conversation to say that I'm available to chat more about it, to go away and think about it and to contact me anytime (whether I'm out at a practice on the field somewhere or by leaving a note in my office mail box or by email).

The texting form of communication is so good too.  There's always someone who has forgotten to give their parents the newsletter or they'd missed watching P.E.N.N, or they'd forgotten what the coach had said or they can't even remember what day it was today...

By texting a parent or whanau member directly, they'd receive the most recent news, given friendly reminders and are informed about any changes.  By being accessible by mobile phone (99.8% of adults I imagine, have one) is very helpful for parents so they get answers straight from the adult in charge.  It's also a good way to gage what support is needed, an opportunity to be encouraging and positive in all circumstances and most importantly, a favourable time to share how great their kid is.

It would be interesting to see how much more we can engage our students and community when the sport site is updated...

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Introducing my 2016 Inquiry to staff members

My 2016 goal is to basically create a mini website, a sport site.  I'm not a fancy web designer nor do I have the desire to become one :) however, I do desire for an online location for our sport and P.E programme that's easy for our students and families to navigate and find all the information that they need to know, plus more.

This is a presentation to a group of staff members to introduce what I'm working on this year.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Inquiry Focus 2016...ummm...

I've pondered a lot on what my inquiry focus should be this year (10 weeks later...) - a specific focus on analysing my current teaching practise in sport and to share this evidence with the world on how that can be improved for better student outcomes for our Maori and Pacific Island tamaiti.

I've narrowed it down to 2 areas of personal and professional interest.  First, there's the sport site...using this online location as the one place to inform a larger focus group: everyone in our school and local community.

Then there's another area that absorbs my interest, the 'face to face' interaction I have with a selected group of children, like the sports council (house / sport captains) and the 'gifted' students who are in every sports team - these children that I see almost daily.  My desire is to see them become all rounded happy athletes, who embrace education and develop a resilient and reputable character.
Undefeated Winners of the Auckland Cricket U12's Girls
Quikhit Grade 2015/2016 season - Melville Park, Epsom

The second group is the one that drives my practise to become a better teacher, coach and manager.   But maybe one way to work smarter and to reach a larger number of athletes and the community (apart from the sports council & gifted students), is by developing the sport site as the hub for everyone.  A place to learn from, to teach from, to inform, to celebrate, to accelerate.

Okay, now that I've made that decision on what to focus my teaching inquiry on, I need to share what's been going on...

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Google Apps for Sports Admin

A few people call me, the queen of google spreadsheets and I agree, I basically use google sheets all the time!

I spend a lot of time in Google Drive, updating documents regularly - there's a lot of information and lots of children and adults that I work with daily, so that in order to remember everything, I make the time to put the details in the docs to refer to at any time.  I've also learned over the past few years, to consolidate what's needed and what's useful.

It's important that I document this information for:
  • Board of Trustees reports (usually once a term)
  • an annual review at the end of the year
  • budget purposes
  • prizegiving awards
  • to track our progress with physical education and sport 
  • make improvements for the following year
  • evidence to report back to the child, teachers, parents & the ERO (Education Review Office)
  • provide feedback to sports organisations
  • share our history to current teams, parents & clubs
I'm so thankful that I'm able to store all of this 'in the cloud' that I can access from any device, anytime - with the peace of mind, knowing that even if my laptop crashes, the information is still kept safely in the school's google domain.  Phew!!

Here's a list below of the google docs, google sheets and google slides that I use to record what we do with sports and with anything to do with physical education at our school.

Google Sheets for 

  • Sports Teams (includes Player of the Day / short report of the game/tournament)
  • Kiwisport (timetables, class lists/numbers, overview, evaluations)
  • Swimming (timetables, instructors hours)
  • Netball (team lists, fixtures & results, fees, uniforms, dates, meetings, player info)
  • Basketball (team lists, fixtures & results)
  • Cricket (team lists, fixtures & results, player information)
  • Rugby & League (team lists - weight, position, club team)
  • Sports Monitors (timetable, list of things to do, issues, general notes on gear/students)
  • Beep Test (class lists with weights, levels to achieve, info, other fitness tests)
  • Sports Budget (term costs)
  • Sports Uniforms (list of all uniforms & storage gear at school)
  • Athletics (plans for school athletics day, includes PMI Evaluation)
  • Athletics Y7-8 Records
  • Cross Country (plans for school cross country day, includes PMI Evaluation)
  • Coaches & Managers (list of coaches/managers/helpers for teams, each term)
  • Commonwealth / Olympic Games (plans for school day, includes PMI Evaluation)
  • Sports Expo (list of local clubs & RSO - Regional Sports Organisations)
  • Netball Prizegiving (list of awards, programme)
  • Sports Prizegiving Awards (list of awards)
  • Sports Representatives (all codes, trial dates, list of kids who trialled/made the team)
  • Class Lists - Boys & Girls
  • Sports Fixtures (weekly document with the trainings, games for the week)
  • T1 Team Sports, T2 Team Sports, T3 Team Sports, T4 Team Sports
  • Sports Photo Schedule
  • Staff Meetings / PD
  • NZ P.E & Health Curriculum

Google Docs for

  • Sports Gear (for teachers to record what gear to borrow)
  • Board of Trustees Sports Reports (created once a term)
  • Newsletters (for each code)
  • Coaches & Managers Meetings 
  • Annual Sports Review 

Google Slides for 

  • PES Coaches & Managers
  • Coaches & Managers - Netball
  • Swimming Progressions
Also in Google Drive for
  • Sports Movies
  • Sports Photos
  • Folders (to file docs, sheets, slides)



Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Saying Thank You is a Powerful Thing...

Just after the bell went at around 3.05pm-ish today, I got a visit from an 8 year old boy who came to my office door and quietly said, "Miss Va'afusuaga, thank you for P.E, I really like it", with a huge smile on his face.  That made my day.

And this got me thinking about the many people who have made P.E and sports possible this year for so many children.  I haven't thanked them all properly yet and would like to mention some, who come to mind...

I think about the coaches who changed their working hours so they had time 
during the day to train and attend competition games...Thank you!

To the generous donors who have paid for netball fees, netball dresses, 
rugby boots, rugby fees and P.E shorts for our players...Thank you!

To the coaches and managers who have consistently taken their
teams to games in all kinds of weather...Thank you!

To the coaches and managers who have had babies, who are facing 
health challenges, yet they turn up faithfully with a smile and a cheer...Thank you!

To our staff members who have an 'everest' amount of work to do, yet, 
make the time to coach or manage a team...Thank you!

To a 'reading support' volunteer who buys mini chocolates every week
 for our Players of the Day...Thank you!

To another 'reading support' volunteer and her grand-daughter 
who mend our ripped sports uniforms...Thank you!

To another thoughtful 'reading support' volunteer who collected lost tennis balls 
and brought them to school for the children...Thank you!

To the sweet grandmother who baked cookies for 13 weeks for 
60 netball girls before their evening games...Thank you!

To people in the community who donated old rugby boots and 
sports equipment for our children to use...Thank you!

To the sports clubs who provided subsidies for 
players to help families out...Thank you!

To the parents who baked cakes for the cake stall 
and ran sausage sizzle fundraisers...Thank you!

To the family members who attend games, cheer for everyone & 
help with transport, lunches and packing up...Thank you!

To the students who worked at fundraisers, washing cars and selling sausages 
in the weekend to help their team-mates pay for their sports fees...Thank you!

To the staff members who help transport netball players to evening games...Thank you!

Also our local college and a local church for allowing us 
to borrow your vans to transport our teams...Thank you!

To our local college for providing umpires and referees for our tournaments...Thank you!

To the private school who give us their second hand sports equipment 
that's in good condition...Thank you!

To the sports monitors who turn up each day, giving out equipment, dealing with 
demanding requests and complaints from peers, and still turn up for the job...Thank you!

To the children who offer to help carry equipment, put them away 
and help set up and pack up after activities...Thank you!

To the children who find equipment 'over the fence', 'down the road', 'in my classroom', 
'at the park'...and return it back to the right place...Thank you!

To the administration staff who created, printed 
and sorted 118 certificates for our netball prizegiving...Thank you!

To our super associate principal who allows us to use his van for all 
sports activities & supports me in every aspect of my job...Thank you!

To the Board of Trustees, our principal and senior management staff who value 
and support physical education & our sports programme (plus for hiring me!)...Thank you!

I'm bound to add more to this list...but in the meantime, if you're reading this post and have made a contribution to our school, I just want to say a massive 'thank you to you' in Maori and Pacific Island languages.

Kia Ora! (Maori)
Fa'afetai lava! (Samoa)
Malo aupito! (Tonga)
Metaki! (Cook Island)
Fakaaue lahi! (Niue)
Fakafetai! (Tokelau)
Fakefetai lasi! (Tuvalu)
Vinaka! (Fiji)
Tenkyu! (Papua New Guinea)
Mahalo! (Hawai'i)



Monday, 3 August 2015

Not a lot of this but lots & lots of that...

I haven't posted on this blog for a while, well, pretty much, none last term - oh goodness, what have I been up to??  I started with a hiss, bang and a roar in Term 1, because I wanted to prove and share with the entire universe, about how sport makes a difference to our students in all aspects of their life...

...IT STILL DOES...heaappps...

...but lots of sport has been going on in Term 2 - it was a busy term of winter sport - coordinating volunteers and students who were practising and playing football, netball, rugby, rippa rugby, league, basketball and ki-o-rahi - a lot of learning and fun going on.

But not a lot has been happening with my 'A' team - the intermediate literacy group I intended to work with, on a weekly basis or the other focus groups I wanted to develop as well.  It basically came down to the four letter word of t.i.m.e and I wasn't able to work with them c.o.n.s.i.s.t.e.n.t.l.y.  Then I found that the less time I had for them, the more awful and guilty I felt.  It had to be a clever juggling act.  The organisation, communication, coaching and managing people received a lot of my attention.

A flower I made using harakeke (flax) at the PENZ
Maori Games workshop in Hamilton
It was until recently, I attended the annual national PENZ (Physical Education NZ) conference a few weeks ago in Hamilton that it inspired me again.  It was my first conference where educators ran workshops on physical education, health and education outdoors.  It inspired me to pick up the baton and try again.  To find the essence of how sport in our school setting can enhance their learning outcomes.

I particularly was encouraged by the work of high schools who use sport as the context of curriculum learning and showed positive, dramatic results.

So what does that mean for me and where I'm at now? Start again.  Plan again.  Seek help - find someone to put a literacy plan together.  Visit the 2 Auckland high schools who have a 'Sport in Education' programme.  Plan again.  Then make t.i.m.e for the 'A' team even if it's not on the same day or time each week, but they are the highest p.r.i.o.r.i.t.y group to focus on.