Virtual School Meanderings

February 12, 2016

Get Your Virtual Registrations In Now!

One for my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School

Get your virtual registrations in now! by Ginette Van Praag

Prince Harry takes an Online Class
Prince Harry takes an Online Class— Rachel Whalley

Virtual is pretty real for us at the Virtual Learning Network Primary School, so we need you to get your skates on, talk to your students and get their registrations into Ginette  right now. A reminder that as we are part of the ALLiS Project – there is no cost attached to some of our programmes this year.  Read more
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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2016

Please note that I am a member of the Governance Group for this e-learning cluster.

February 2, 2016

Welcome back to ‘Virtual’ School!

One for my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School logo

VLN Primary School

Welcome back to ‘Virtual’ School!

Minister Nikki Kaye joins in a Japanese class with students from Mangere Central School at the launch of N4L.
Minister Nikki Kaye joins in a Japanese class with students from Mangere Central School at the launch of N4L., by Rachel Whalley

Having a Say – Consultation on the NZ Education Act by Rachel Whalley

Here is the VLN Primary School’s submission on the review of the NZ Education Act.  We are looking forward to contributing to positive change in NZ schooling. An interesting road ahead … Read more

Kia ora koutou katoa

Naumai, haere mai ki te Kura Tuatahi – Akonga Aka Mariko. Welcome to the VLN Primary School for 2016! 

It is going to be a full on year for us all – in our own schools and in our collaborative, virtual school, the VLN Primary.

Our goal is to:

Connect Schools for Enhanced Learning Outcomes.

In this newsletter: 

We share our submission to the Education Act that advocates for changes to the Act that enables learning that is flexible, open and accessible for all our learners across a networked schools system. We welcome any feedback from our schools on this submission.

We start the year off with something that is an integral part of how we learn together online – internet safety. We are proud to support Safer Internet Day on February 9th. Find out more on how to participate and keep following us to share our digital citizenship resources #sid2016

Don’t forget to get in early with your registrations to participate. This enables Ginette to work out the incredibly complex job of developing a timetable that works the best it can for all of us; and gives us time to prepare you and your students to be successful online learners.    Geoff from Rosmini College, is still welcoming participation in Over the Back Fence, Environment Health Project – this closes soon so get in quick.

Our Asian Language (ALLiS) Project is well underway. We are looking forward to the arrival of our new Mandarin Language Assistant & have a range of programmes ready to run – Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Asia Inquiry; short tasters, small groups, whole classes. There is no cost to schools to join these programmes, but these are limited to our Project schools in the first instance, then first come after that (note there is still a modest VLN Primary administration fee). We are very interested to hear from anyone who can teach our Bahasan Indonesian class; and we would love to hear from children who want to learn Tagalog. Please offer this to your Filipino community.

The VLN Primary School doesn’t have a monopoly on learning online,  there are some very exciting & effective projects being developed by teachers around NZ. We plan to profile these over the coming weeks with our first two articles in this newsletter. Check out NZ Read Aloud led by Kerri Thompson from Tamatea Intermediate, and Re-imaging Sports Education by Tim Morgan from Bishopdale Primary. Get in touch with them to participate in their projects. If you have a project you want profiled here contact Rachel. If you have ideas from projects or programmes you want to run, contact us for support.

Finally a heads up for 14th Annual Sole Charge and Rural Teaching Principals′ Conference. A favourite conference for the VLN Primary – some great speakers & workshops; and a time to connect and have fun!

Coming up:

  • Safer Internet Day – 9th February
  • Governance Group Meet – 16th February
  • ALLiS Teachers PLD – 18th February
  • Online classes scheduled to start – 7th March
  • AGM – April – date TBC
Safer Internet Day 'Play your part for a better internet!' https://goo.gl/aXlyI1

#SIDKIDS16 Play your part for a better internet!

Join us on Tuesday 9th February for a Special Internet Safety Event  Read more

Get your registrations in for 2016!

Check out what’s on offer for our students & teachers for 2016. Keep an eye out for updates as new programmes are starting up all the time. Get your registrations in now to ensure your students a place. Read more

Students from Indian talking with Rosmini College students.

Over the Back Fence Project 2016

Check out the Over the Back Fence Project – Global Connections, Collaborative Inquiry, Reciprocal Teaching. Plan to participate for 2016!Read more

#NZreadalound

##NZreadaloud One Book to Connect Kiwi Kids

Participating in #NZreadaloud is bringing the future of literacy into our classrooms. Find out more and how you can participate Read more

Rural & Remote Schools Principals Conference 2015

Lead, Innovate, Educate: Creating Communities

Register Early for: 14th Annual Sole Charge and Rural Teaching Principals′ Conference: Lead, Innovate, Educate: Creating Communities Havelock North, 18-20 May 2015  Read more

A re-imagined approach to Sports Education

As school programmes shape themselves to be future focussed and reflect modern learning practises, physical education programmes continue to deliver game based learning aligned to an often narrow sporting endpoint. What if physical education programmes reflected a broader future focus? Read more

Minister Nikki Kaye joins in a Japanese class with students from Mangere Central School at the launch of N4L.

Having a Say – Consultation on the NZ Education Act

Here is the VLN Primary School’s submission on the review of the NZ Education Act.  We are looking forward to contributing to positive change in NZ schooling. An interesting road ahead … Read more

Japanese Lanterns

Asian Language Learning in Schools

Our students will soon be benefiting from the government’s investment in Asian Language Learning in Schools (ALLiS) funding initiative. Read more

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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2016

Please note that I am a member of the Governance Group for this e-learning cluster.

December 15, 2015

Meri Kirihimete from the VLN Primary School

For my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School logo

VLN Primary School

Meri Kirihimete from the VLN Primary School

Prince Harry takes an Online Class
Prince Harry takes an Online Class, by Rachel Whalley

2015 – Another Awesome Year! by Rachel Whalley

This is the story of our year in the Virtual Learning Network Primary School, told through the gathering of our ‘internet breadcrumbs’ – our trail marked through social media, news media & our collaborative digital footprint. We hope that you get excited an inspired by our stories!  Read more

This newsletter rounds off another busy and eventful year for our network of schools. Today we farewell some of our teachers, share some of our highlights and update you on opportunities to participate in 2016. Before you all slip away for a well deserved summer break and family time, we want to thank you for your support and participation. Whether you are a Principal, teacher, or eteacher, from a school, the MoE, or other organisations – working together we make a difference for each of our students. ‘Nāku te rourou, nāu to rourou, ka ora, te tamaiti’. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays from all of us at the VLN Primary School.

Japanese eTeacher Shona Salomen skypes from Tokyo to students at Mangere Central

Surprising our Japanese students

It started off as a regular online Japanese lesson and then became a Mystery Skype… Read more

Prince Harry takes an Online Class

2015 – Another Awesome Year!

This is the story of our year in the Virtual Learning Network Primary School, told through the gathering of our ‘internet breadcrumbs’ – our trail marked through social media, news media & our collaborative digital footprint. We hope that you get excited an inspired by our stories!  Read more

Yanjie Li

Zaijian Yanjie

Farewell to our lovely Yanjie (Jessie) from the Confucius Institute, Auckland. Read more

A bientôt, e noho rā M@rie

Bonjour tout le monde

This is the end of the VLN Primary and New Zealand journey for me. I had such a good time here, over the last three years, meet so many people, saw so many beautiful places, and experience the kiwi culture. Read more

Get your registrations in for 2016!

Check out what’s on offer for our students next year, keep checking in as new programmes come up all the time. Read more

Students from Indian talking with Rosmini College students.

Over the Back Fence Project 2016

Check out the Over the Back Fence Project – Global Connections, Collaborative Inquiry, Reciprocal Teaching. Plan to participate for 2016!Read more

At the Ngā Tohu Reo Māori awards dinner Ahuriri / Napier

Ngā Tohu Reo Māori

We had the privilege to be nominated as finalists and attend the Ngā Tohu Reo Māori awards in Ahuriri/Napier recently. Read more

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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2015

Please note that I am a member of the Governance Group for this e-learning cluster.

September 3, 2015

VLN Primary School – Term 3 Update

From the inbox earlier today…

VLN Primary School 
Term Three Update 2015
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Kia ora koutou

Thanks for reading our VLN Primary School newsletters. Our goal is to:
 Connect Schools for Enhanced Learning Outcomes.
In this newsletter we update you on the activities of our connected learners and teachers, share some of their feedback, welcome our new schools and teachers, and keep you informed on whats coming up for the VLN Primary.

It would be great to see that Spring has Sprung! but unfortunately we are still not quite there yet. It has been an extremely busy winter term in schools around the country and also for the VLN Primary School. Although we have some interruptions with winter sports and illnesses, students are now well settled into their second semester classes and making the most of their learning opportunities.
Image attribution: https://www.facebook.com/heireowhanau 

How’s it Going?

Recently we asked our students for some feedback. The responses overall were very positive about the challenge of their new learning and the support of their eteachers. Some of the drawbacks mentioned involved timetabling, when classes cut across break times or sports times; and occasions when technology wasn’t running smoothly. Here are a few of their quotes:
Thumbs up Students

‘I love Maori because i am learning more of my culture that i didn’t know about.’

‘I think French is going quite well and I’m having a blast.’

‘In vln te reo Māori its really good for me to learn my culture and its also good to learn the basic’s. I think vln is good and its fun to skype people almost around the world,  i’ve learned  a few things that i did not know so yeah vln te reo Māori is my kind of thing.’

‘Very fun and challenging new experience because things in the classroom just come so easily to me and it’s nice to have a challenge.’

A big thank you to all our wonderful eTeachers who have stepped up to the challenge of learning to teach online to provide these classes for our students. Kino ke koutou!

Welcome to

New schools joining us this Semester are Wairaki Primary School, Maraetai Beach School, and East Tamaki School. Also great to have Te Miro School return with students participating in many different classes.

Welcome also to new eTeachers Shine Kelly and David Pirie.
Shine is an experienced classroom teacher living in sunny Nelson and is teaching Astronomy. She is passionate about the environment, loves hiking and geocaching; also playing Minecraft and Lego. Shine places a high value on equality in education, promotion of student directed learning and collaborative learning. Shine has been an environmental educator, with strengths in Science and eLearning.

David is based in Dunedin and is taking over from Rick in teaching one of our Extension Maths classes. David comes from a diverse and innovative background as a teacher, Principal, Educational Technology Consultant and Educational Tutor. He is interested in the application of technology in teaching and learning; particularly in Instructional Design – the leveraging of new technologies to enhance systems and learning, involving creating learning content that is effective, engaging and vibrant, and that promotes understanding. David is keen to develop his skills as an eteacher.

We are very excited to have both Shine and David join our eteaching team, we will have lots to learn from them.


Congratulations to

Stephanie Michel who not only attended her first German teachers conference in Wellington in the recent school holidays, but was also invited by GANZ (German in Aotearoa NZ) to present a workshop on her experience teaching German online. GANZ has offered free German posters and resources to schools learning German with the VLN Primary School.

Stephanie has been teaching with us since we first started up and is passionate about the German language and sharing her knowledge with students. She has maintained her commitment to teaching online even through the recent devastating floods which have caused chaos on her and husband Hans,Tarata farm. Stephanie & Hans recently featured on Country Calendar.

AFS Teacher Exchange

Over the month of August we hosted Yaju Cheng from China through the AFS teacher exchange. Yaju travelled the length of NZ to spend a week each with four of our schools who are participating in the Asian Languages Project – Moanataiari, Oakura, Apiti and Halfmoon Bay. Yaju and the hosting schools kept a blog of her visit at http://chinakiwinz.blogspot.co.nz/

Kath from Halfmoon Bay School writes ‘It was so interesting to live and work with someone from a completely different culture for a week…Yaju teaches in a school of over 3000 students in Beijing, China and her life is so completely different from mine that it was mind-blowing.’ Read more on Yaju’s visit to Stewart Island here.
It was a fantastic learning experience for our schools to host Yaju and we will definitely be partnering with AFS again next year.
Look out for the VLN Primary School at ULearn in October. We will be running workshops on our Asian Languages Project and our Rural & Remote Schools Project.
If you are coming to conference please make contact & introduce yourself to Rachel.

Coming Up

The VLN Primary Governance Group meets soon to develop our strategic thinking and plan the way forward in supporting schools to extend learning opportunities for our students. The Asian Languages Project team will also be meeting to plan out the details of how our project will operate over the next two years.
Keep an eye out for our next newsletter which will update you on these developments, and have information for schools preparing to participate in 2016. We will also follow the Rural & Remote Project students as they prepare for their camp to Wellington.

The VLN Primary School is available to all NZ primary schools providing:

  • support and leadership for virtual learning,
  • effective coordination of virtual learning programmes,
  • professional learning to enable quality online teaching and learning programmes,
  • personnel to advocate for virtual learning initiatives.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and school communities.

Ngā mihi nui

Thanks to our supporters:

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2015 VLN Primary School.

You are receiving this email through your association with the VLN Primary School.

Our mailing address is:

VLN Primary School

10 Clem Elliott Drive
R D 4

Matata, Bay of Plenty 3194

New Zealand

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Please note that I am a member of the Governance Group for this e-learning cluster.

July 16, 2015

VLN Primary School – New Learning Opportunities Semester 2

One for my Kiwi readers…

VLN Primary School 
New Online Learning Opportunities Semester 2
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New Learning Opportunities for #connectedlearners

We have a few new classes and projects starting up for the second half of this year and welcome students’ participation. We would love for you to give your children access to these opportunities to participate in learning that may be of special interest or importance to them and their whanau, and that will also help them grow as digitally literate, independent self-managing learners.

This newsletter showcases Te Reo Māori Kuki Airani, Kiwi-skool bied nou Afrikaanse and Korean Inquiry.

Mandarin Class

Classes will be scheduled weekly in our Adobe Connect Virtual Classroom (times to be advised). Afrikaans will be running after school at 3.30 (day to be confirmed). The Korean Inquiry will not have scheduled weekly times but will be facilitated mainly through our online environment, with occasional real time skype connections.
Students will be expected to spend some time in self-study & practice, schools & whanau will need to help them out with developing these self management skills. Here is more information about Connecting to your Virtual Class. Check out our Protocols for Participation that outline costs of participation.

Te Reo Māori Kuki Airani
Cook Islands Te Reo.

Big thanks to Junior Pauka from Mangere Central School who will be teaching our children this term. This class is suitable for students with little or no te reo, and for students who are NZ or Cook Island students. Our main student group is between Years 6 – 8, but older students are welcome, as are younger, although younger students will need more learning support in their home schools.


Korean Inquiry – Asia Our Closest Neighbour

Have you ever thought about who New Zealand’s closest neighbour is?
Do you want to learn about Asia today and possibilities for our futures?
This is an inquiry unit designed for students in Years 4-8. We will be inquiring into Asia, using a Korean Context. Students can join as a whole class with the support of their classroom teacher or individually and in small groups. This programme is developed and facilitated by Nicki Fielder from Apiti School. Nicki visited Korea last year with an Asia New Zealand study trip.
More information here.


Afrikaans After School

This class is being provided by Mevrou Annatjie Fourie, Principal of Ohura Valley Primary School as her contribution to the VLN Primary School. Not only does this provide our students with new learning opportunities but enables Annatjie to teach in an area she is passionate about. Classes will be aimed at the beginning language learner and can then be tailored to suit the varying needs of the children. This class is suitable for NZ students with an interest in Afrikaans, and who want to be able to speak with their friends and neighbours. As well as language learning support for SANs children in NZ.


Other Learning Opportunities

We still have some room to include children in these classes:

  • Te Reo Māori
  • Mandarin
  • French
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Extension Maths
  • Programming & Computer Science.
Most classes are available for small groups of children or individuals, some are suitable also for whole class participation with the support of the classroom teacher. We aim to be as flexible as we can to the needs of our schools and students so please discuss with us what will work best for you.
Think about the students in your schools that would benefit from joining in with this class and help them participate!
Home schooled children welcome also.Make enrolments here,
or further queries to Ginette. ginette.vp@vln.school.nz 

Thanks to our supporters:

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http://primary.vln.school.nzCreative Commons License
2015 VLN Primary School.

You are receiving this email through your association with the VLN Primary School.

Our mailing address is:

VLN Primary School

10 Clem Elliott Drive
R D 4

Matata,Bay of Plenty3194

New Zealand

Add us to your address book

Please note that I am a member of the Governance Group for this e-learning cluster.

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