When assessing against the matrix, we have noticed that being motivated to achieve by risks and challenges is an area that we need to work on.

Why? We are wanting to focus more on the “agentic” end to show an appreciative view.  

Background Reading:

Preamble: The goal is to be motivated by challenges and taking risks.

Purpose:  To understand what it is to take a risk in your learning.  The higher the risk, the higher the gain. Motivation is deeply embedded in this.


WALA: taking risks in our learning and how to develop strategies to manage these risks.

S.C.: How will we know we are successful?

Target Group:

Ashhurst School Year 6 Research Students

Room 7

Room 8

Room 9















Russell Street School Year 6 Research Students

Room 12

Room 13

Room 14




Hannah P



















Potential Activities:


Pole descend

Sing to an audience

Build a domino tower end on end???

Balance on a high point?

Eating foreign food (blue cheese, crazy jelly beans)

Stick your hand in a box.

Dropkick a rugby ball over a goal

Dancing with a partner of the opposite gender

What is it take a risk in your learning?

Working with different people

Working by yourself

Trying something new

Try something that you are not good at

Performing in front of an audience

What motivates you to take a risk?



Hands on


Result? Or a reward.

You feel good

You get a good mark / a good number

Risk has a loss (double or nothing/money or the bag) - the exposure to danger, harm or loss.

Challenge doesn’t.


What is the teacher doing/saying?

What are the students doing/saying?

I’ve got a range of activities on these cards and I want you to go away by yourself and rank them according to the risk they are for you.  

So, for example, you might think that sliding down the pole in the playground is not a risk - so this will be at the top of your pile.  You might though, think that sliding down the pole is a big risk - it is not something that you want to do or are prepared to do, so it would be at the bottom of your pile.

Why is that the hardest for you?

Let’s just say you were to do the task that was on the bottom of the pile (the thing that is the riskiest for you), what things would help you to make that happen (to do that riskiest task)?

Teacher to write the responses on the computer

Image result for boy cartoon freeJonny

Ok, so let’s just leave that there for a minute.  I want to share a scenario with you.  Jonny wants to be a house leader in 2017.  As part of this process he needs to speak at a staff meeting for 2 minutes explaining what would make him an excellent house leader.  Jonny is petrified of speaking in front of adults, but really wants to be a house leader.  What could Jonny do?

Johnny's Action Plan

Fill in brainstorm together.  What resources and strategies does Jonny need?

Now we need to think about an action plan for Jonny.  We have lots of ideas to help Jonny with his fears, but we need to put them in an order to help him out.

How do you think Jonny is feeling now?

So we want you to understand what it is to take a risk in your learning.  WALA: taking risks in our learning and how to develop strategies to manage these risks.

Task:  Choose your highest risk and create an ACTION PLAN to break down the steps and strategies needed to achieve it. You have one week to execute your plan.

Sitting quietly on the mat, listening.

Rank cards

Come back into a circle and lay cards out in front of themselves (One closest to them is the riskiest)

Student responses. (strategies)

Time to practice

Time to prepare and master

Support from working with different people

Working by yourself

Trying something new

Try something that you are not good at

Performing in front of an audience with others

Think, Pair, Share

Report Back

Happy, organised, better about conquering his fear, prepared, still nervous but more confident that before.

Time to create action plan

Why is that the hardest for you?

Zara: sing to an audience because it would be embarrassing and i would be nervous

Methat: Eating foreign food because it might make my stomach sore

Kiana: Dancing, Because we might not get along with the dancing that the other want

Kyan: Mystery box. Because I don’t know what it is it might be a crocodile I’m not gonna risk getting my hand bitten by a crocodile.

Hunter: Sing: I don’t like singing probably too embarrassing

Finis: Mystery box: same as Kyan.

Gaby: Singing: Because you never what is going to happen and people might not like your singing.

Record notes around .... Writing notes in more detail will give us more information to reflect on later.


Group: Methat and Zara


Go home and write his speech. Learn it off by heart, Practise with his mum and dad or his cat or other animals, Record his speech and see how well he does and reflect on it. Don’t give up because he really wants this. Dont build a wall, Be brave, Ask mum and dad to give you a reward. Eg a new pair of shoes or hairstyle, bring mum and dad in the room with you or a friend. Just think it will be over with soon. Have a growth mindset.

Max Hannan:

Chose singing to an audience, I think Im bad at singing and I dont like singing out loud to an audience and I can’t remember all the words.,


Parts of the song written on paper stuck up around the house, next to my bed etc

Get lessons from someone


Practise at home in the mirror

Constantly playing the song, have it on repeat.

Sing to a junior class because I’m not as scared of that. Poutama kids would be scary.


Group: Kyan and Tane


Practice talking to his parents

Ask ex House leaders for advice

Practising what you are going to say

So seeking feedback and feedforward

Start with small audience, perhaps with younger children, then build up to bigger and older audiences.

Start with practising things that you are good at.

Ask your friends for help.


Group: Hunter & Max / Kayla & Harriet action plan


Hunter & Max:

Envision that there was no one there

Practice in front of his family

Write down his speech

Record a video of him instead of speaking

Play the video when he gets more nervous

Blindfold himself so he couldn’t see the audience

Be in a room where the teachers can see him but he can’t see them

Have a group of kids in front and the adults at the back

Practise to a group of adults in his family that he would be less nervous around


Mum checks food I’m unsure of to make sure it’s ok

Usually orders the same food

Chosen because the other ones were a bit hard but i’ve tried them before. This one had more risk because I’d never done it before. I could just eat a little bit or do it with someone else like my mum. Take something to wash it down with like water or juice. Have a piece of cake that I could quickly eat afterwards if it’s yucky.


Help me I’m stuck! Chose dancing with a partner (boy). Worst part would be holding hands so I could wear rubber gloves. Imagine I’m dancing with a girl or dress them up like a girl. Maybe do a hip hop dance because you probably won’t have to touch.


Group: Finis, Luke


If you can talk to your parents you can talk to other adults

Talk to your friends about what to say - that doesn’t show the courage to be a house leader

You could get encouragement

Practice talking to your family

Blindfold yourself so you can’t see the adults

Sign language

Write down what you are going to say

Create a survey, talk to other students about what they want

Be confident about yourself


Group: Bella & Tom


TOM: Do with it a friend or relative

Rehearse it with your parents and get feedback

Focus on someone in the audience that nods

Pretend the audience are people you know

Do the speech yourself so you know it

Know your audience before the

Act confident

Get it over and done with

Deep breaths

Drink of water

Talk to yourself, “this won’t kill me” “I can do this”

BELLA: Close your eyes or wear sunglasses

Wearing comfortable clothes

Brainstorm your speech so you are prepared.

Be yourself they are voting for you not someone else.

Kyan & Tane: Sticking my hand in a mystery box. Risk is too high. It would depend who made the mystery box, I would need to trust the person. I’d get rid of the risk by emptying the box, then putting my hand in an empty box.

I can’t do it, and I won’t. I’d get my parents to do it and then build up the worse things, even if it was poo at the end I’d still trust my parents, they have been raising me for the 10 years.

I might just test it out with a finger first. A lot at stake: my writing hand, my watch. What if I thought it was water but then actually it was wee and I had letting my hand soak in wee.

Links to Risk Action Plans from Lesson 1

Where to from here?

As teachers, we are good at minimising risks for kids.  Kids need to be able to manage these risks for themselves.

We want kids to feel empowered and take this feeling of achievement into the next risky/challenging situation.

Nic- Singing at Senior Team Assembly: The girls dressed up as boys and took on a role of another character. It was hugely hilarious but when they sang, it was not singing. The singing was horrible. Monotone. This made me wonder if this is the type of behaviour we see when children don't want to take a risk in their learning. They act up.

I couldn't be more proud of the boys. They actually tried to sing and they used the steps in their action plan. They did not get the same audience reaction as the girls however, as they roared with laughter at the girls. And this must have been rewarding for the girls. I look forward to unpacking this with the group at the next session.

Gaby got upset and cried - she didn’t take her risk of singing!

Elly- Balance on a high point in the playground at iTime on Monday: This wasn’t a risk for Bridget, so she did it very quickly and it was over and done with!  

Elly- Dancing with Camden, Alex and Lachie Dale at iTime on Monday: The girls danced with Camden and Alex outside.  They were nervous, but because it wasn’t in front of an audience, they did it and didn’t put any of their ‘actions’ in place - they didn’t need them.  

Troy- Eating a foreign food (blue cheese, lemons and capers) at iTime on Monday:

I found that the kids found this very hard. The lemon was quite easy and all of them started with it, even though one student said she wanted to finish with it. It seemed she followed the others lead. The capers were a bit of a hit and the kids all found them rather nice (I think they expected them to be yuckier than they were) The blue cheese was really tough for all kids to swallow but they all attempted it and I was proud of that.

Troy- Mystery Box (Pinecone, Wet Teabags, Icepack Fluid, Steel Wool and Rubber Glove filled with Water) at iTime on Monday:

This was quite a challenge for many of the participants. Some found it more stressful than others. All were up to the challenge and seemed to feel really excited to be part of this task.

Lesson 2

What is the teacher doing/saying?

What are the students doing/saying?

Since we met last week, you have had the opportunity to follow through with your action plan.  There are some reflective questions on the bottom of your action plan that we want you to have some time to answer now.

Ask a buddy to share back.

  • How did your buddies’ action plan help them achieve their goal?
  • Which strategies or resources did your buddy find most useful and why?
  • What motivated your buddy the most to achieve their goal?

On the bottom of your action plans, I want you to draw four faces to identify how you felt at these different stages....

  • When Elly told you that you had a week to complete the risk - your first reaction.
  • After you had completed your action plan.
  • During the time you took the risk.
  • When you had completed the risk.

Bomb Dropped

After Plan

During Risk

After complete

We heard some of you wondering last week about what the point of this was.  The purpose of this activity was so you would understand and respond to a variety of risks.

Thinking about the risk you took and the steps you came up with to achieve your risk, take a moment to think about how you might take a risk in maths, reading, writing, PE, music etc.

We are going to repeat the same activity as last week, but this time there are a range of learning risks.  You will not be required to carry out your highest risk in the same way as last time.

I’ve got a range of activities on these cards and you will notice that there are 2 blank ones for you to fill out your own high risk action if it is not already there.

I want you to go away by yourself and rank them according to the risk they are for you.  

So, just like last week, we want you to put the lowest risk for you on the top of your pile and the highest risk for you on the bottom.

Why is that the hardest for you?

Let’s look back at the strategies that we thought would help last week.  Which of these won’t help in a learning situation?  

Does anyone have any other ideas that might help?

Now we need you to think about an action plan for your highest learning risk.  This is not a one off task like last week, but an on-going action plan that you will be able to use throughout your learning when you come up against a learning risk.

Remember, we want you to understand what it is to take a risk in your learning and how to develop strategies to manage these risks.

Choose your highest learning risk and create an ACTION PLAN to break down the steps and strategies needed to achieve it.

We are really excited to see you all taking risks in your learning.  Talk to us about it when you take these risks and what strategies you have tried.

Sitting quietly on the mat, listening.

Answering reflective questions

Think, pair, share about their reflective questions.

Think, pair, share

Rank cards

Come back into a circle and lay cards out in front of themselves (One closest to them is the riskiest)

Whole group discussion

Time to practice

Time to prepare and master

Support from working with different people

Working by yourself

Trying something new

Try something that you are not good at

Performing in front of an audience with others

Think, Pair, Share

Report Back

Time to create action plans

OBSERVER: Lizzie & Sara

Group: Whole group discussion: Why is that hardest for you?


Jayden: Taking on something new without any guidance. It’s like being thrown in the pool to learn to swim.

Luke: using vocab I don’t know how to spell:

Naomi: taking the lead because you don’t if they will like my ideas

Harriet: Writing a long story because I hate writing

Kyan- We both don’t know how each other works. We won’t know what we should and shouldn’t do together. I can do a lot of things but being paired up with someone who can’t do as many things is quite risky.

Max: Working with someone who isn’t my friend.

Bridget: Singing in Japanese because I don’t know any Japanese.

Metat: I don’t know what other people are thinking

Fletcher: Music: I haven’t done it not many times, and it’s not that fun

Hannah: Working with someone who isn't my friend you might not think the same as them,

Any strategies that wouldn’t help:

  • Getting it over and done with quickly doesn’t apply to everything (singing)- boys debating that it does. Jayden says it should be there and if it doesn’t apply just don’t use it. Vote-keep.
  • Testing the waters- doesn’t apply to most. Debating working with someone who isn’t your friend. Vote- get rid of.

OBSERVER: Charlotte

Group: whole group discussion: why is that hardest for you?

Notes: Harriet reading Abigail's notes and writing the same down.

Think pair, share: Luke for Finis: first in the mystery box was the hardest.

Bella: knowing the words of the song made it easy to focus on making it funny.

Fletcher: when you think about it it's scarier than you think. I didn't want to walk through the door but everyone else did so I did.

Harriet: doing it fast to get it over with.

Being in the pit, sharing your learning in front of the class...it might be wrong, could be nervous, make a mistake, when you do something and you forgot. hAnnah...ELLY said good at taking risks in maths...what does that look like. mEthat: she's good at maths. The risk is that you might say or sing it wrong in front of the class. lIke my year 5 speech, BElla, people were telling me to slow down as I talk too fast.

The risk is saying yes to doing it. I do want to do it but it's risky and its in front of year 6’s. Hannah: you don't want to get it wrong and look silly.

Risks in order: Fletcher: none of these are challenging. Nic : write your own one then. Fletcher’s own one...

Solo in music: risky because I haven't done it many times and it's not that fun. Is it taking you out of your comfort zone? (ELLY) no not really

Jayden: why would you work with someone you didn't know unless you were told to do it?

Louis: We've done that with book buddies and it wasn't that bad…

Kyan: I'm good at a lot of things but not some thins but say I was doing maths with someone who wasn't as good as me. That might be annoying eh if they didn't know some of the stuff that I do.


Group: Think, Pair, Share    

Notes: Kyan/Tom his first strategy was to trust in the teachers because they wouldn’t choose something too horrible. Secondly he could go slowly touching. Having people before him.

Bella/Hannah: Bella found knowing the song easy, she didn't have to focus on the song just on entertaining. Taking her mind of the singing part.

Bridget./Harriet: Having her friends with her and doing it fast to get it over with.

Bridget & Harriet:

Harriet: Nothing is a risk in reading, I read anything. Maybe writing might be a risk, but I don’t like it so I would only force myself to write longer stories.

Bridget: If I went to Japan I would take a risk with my writing because the Japanese people would laugh at me if I got it wrong.







Finis: Being number 4 gave him confidence because everyone else came out safe

Keyana: Other people motivated Fletcher.

Fletcher: When you think about it it’s scarier than it really is. Everyone else was doing it so I did.

Zara: Having a partner with her and having friends to help

Taking risks in your learning:

Could take risks by trying something new.

In reading you might not be as good as others- so if you’re trying to get up to their level you might be afraid.

If you are trying new things in maths but you are really good at maths it will be challenging but not as risky as reading. (understanding that you can be harmed in risk taking but not necessarily challenges)

Discussing challenges in different contexts.


Group risk in your learning:

Notes: fletcher - if someone asks a question and you are not sure of the answer you still

Have a go.

Gaby - doing something you never thought you are going to do.

Kiama - trying something new.

Kayla - try hard at something new like working on something by yourself.

Louis - afraid of mucking up :( I wouldn't want to do a solo in music


Group risk in your learning: Naomi


I find maths the toughest area in my learning, but I enjoy it. It is hard but I like doing it. I find Music the most riskiest because I get bored sometimes. I like to perform, but I don’t like sitting around for a long time.

(Not sure if she really understood the question..)

-Learning to swim by being thrown in the pool.. Jayden chose that, linked it to prep group
Luke chose using different words because he is worried he will get it wrong.

Naomi chose taking a lead role in group because you are unsure of others liking your ideas.

Harriet chose writing a long story, get tired.

Zara, Hannah, Max, Methat and Kyan chose working with someone that isnt my friend, you don’t know much about them, might not think the same, work differently to you, you think differently, you don’t know what you can do together etc. It can be annoying and risky, are they better than me? Or not as good as me.

Fletch chose doing a solo in music, havent done it before, its not that fun!

Bridget wrote her own one and it was singing in Japanese

Why do we take risks in our learning? To help us get over things that may be hard to us. We dont want to take the bridge over the learning pit.


Group risk in your learning:

Hunter and Luke

Luke - painting would be a risk in learning.  He would practice, trace use easy pictures.

Hunter - Spelling is a risk.  He would practice, use technology eg spell check or Spelling City to help.

Maths isn’t a risk but to take a risk they would both do harder problems.  We discussed that maths is a set of rules, just like spelling.  Could they apply the rules in the same way.

Follow up: