Showcase: Akoranga O Naenae

We’ve had a short break from our showcase blogposts, but we’re back with a bang this week! We’re stoked to showcase the amazing educators from the innovative ‘one day’ school, Akoranga O Naenae. Thank you to all four wonderful women for giving up their time to collectively answer our five questions.


1. What brought you to #WellyED?

Kelly: Heard about the idea at ULearn14 through Rebecca Sweeney and it seemed great to be able to connect with other local educators. Have been to educampwelly and Edugnite and really enjoy crossing paths with such enthusiastic colleagues and hearing about the great things they are doing.

Clare:  Kelly!

Kerry: I’ve just joined  The Akoranga O Naenae team and so I’ve been connected to WellyED through them.

Natasha: I heard about WellyED when I first joined Twitter after ULearn14.

2. What’s something exciting that’s happening in your sector or in your classroom?

Kelly: I reckon education seems really exciting. It’s shifting and it’s so cool to be growing with the changes here in NZ and around the world. Seeing learning as a partnerships with our kids, their whanau, local and international communities is an exciting challenge to make happen in a real way.

Clare:  Akoranga o Naenae is a pretty exciting adventure for our network.  Kids from our six network schools come together each Friday to focus on active learning.  Great PD for teachers, and amazing learning for all!

Kerry: Akoranga O Naenae – I’ve learnt about it from our children, their whānau and listening to the talk of colleagues. I love that it is built around active learning traits, is innovative, and encourages student led learning around their passions.

Natasha: I feel like it’s such an exciting time to work in education! Having had the opportunity to explore how a focus on active learning in a context of student passions can impact on student engagement, I am excited to take this learning back into my classroom. Whilst I won’t be onsite with the other AoN teachers this term, I will be exploring a similar model back in school, together with another Year 4 teacher.

3. Who or what inspires you?

Kelly: I have been very lucky this year to work particularly closely with a couple of teachers from our network doing something new for us in education. I am inspired by their critical thinking, passion, humour and knowledge. We have had a new member join the team and look forward to developing my learning in the many areas she is passionate about.

Clare:  The kids in our network inspire me.  They are incredible learners, even sometimes in quite tricky situations.

Kerry:  I’ve met some pretty inspiring educators, both in my profession and in the community.When  students discover  they can do something or feel good about what they’ve done – that  inspires me.

My greatest source of inspiration this year has been working with 5 year olds who are curious, spontaneous, enthusiastic, creative and unfiltered – they remind me of all the reasons I love teaching.

Natasha: Can I steal Kelly’s answer? 🙂 People who think what’s possible instead of what’s not, students who find learning difficult yet they still come to school with an eagerness and enthusiasm to learn, people from the community who willingly share their expertise with passion and generosity! In summary…positivity, passion and openness to learning!

4. What’s your next professional learning goal?

Kelly:  Having been lucky enough to listen to Valerie Hannon speak recently, I am currently thinking about the global themes of education she talked about and how to use these to make learning relevant and meaningful to all the learners I work with.

Clare:  I am looking forward to reading more of the amazing research out there, and incorporating that into my teaching.

Kerry:  Yes lots of  professional reading!  I’ve been watching various clips on TED Talks and reading about creativity in future-focused education. I’ve been reading about ‘growth mindset’ and ‘traits of successful schools/ teachers as well as the big shift from ‘knowledge learning’ to ‘learning transferable 21st century skills’ – currently processing lots of information and that’s just the beginning.

Natasha: Continuing to think about the information current assessment practices perhaps doesn’t give us; having conversations around how we assess deep learning; thinking about something Kath Murdoch shared at a recent Professional Learning Day… we need to know the curriculum so we can let go of it. I want to develop a deeper understanding of the curriculum so I can design learning opportunities where my students grapple with real and meaningful issues.

5. When I’m not teaching I’m…

Kelly: I have just found Lego and am currently doing a 1300+ piece Kombi van. Also, I have rediscovered knitting. I love reading, photography, napping in front of the fire, cooking and eating. All these things are enhanced by a glass of wine.

Clare:  I love to curl up on the couch with a great novel and my cat.  I also enjoy spending time with my family.

Kerry: In the bush, outdoors, on the water. Singing – as a member of Wellington  Community Choir or with Whakaahuru – a smaller one  I joined last year. I belong to the gym and  have just started yoga. I  also learn  Te Reo 1 night a week – my goal is to be fluent so it will take as long as it takes!

Natasha: I love anything adventurous that allows me to enjoy the beautiful NZ outdoors; running, cycling, tramping! I like to dabble with sewing and knitting. Anything involving travelling – hearing about it, doing it, thinking about it!

We strongly encourage you to keep an eye on the amazing things evolving from AoN – connect with them here: Blog:, Twitter: @akoonaenae, Email:

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