Cluster meetings are are informal gatherings, usually over afternoon tea, where teachers with an interest in Dramatic Inquiry share stories of success and challenge, develop plans and resources, and take away practical ideas to try in their classroom. From humble beginnings in 2009, these meetings have now expanded and are hosted by experienced kaiako face to face or over zoom. Meetings usually happen once a term and there are groups all around the country,

If you’re someone who already uses Dramatic Inquiry (Dramatic play, process drama, drama for learning, Mantle of the Expert) or you want to learn more – cluster meetings are for you! All welcome … you just need to email the host to notify them if you wish to attend.

From Term 2, 2022, all information about cluster meetings including host emails, dates, times and topics can be found on the DI Trust website. Follow this link to find out more!

I’m delighted to share the link to the new site for The Dramatic Inquiry Aotearoa Network Trust (DI Trust). It’s great for the DI community in Aotearoa to have this new ‘landing space’ and expression of our identity as a Network of Expertise (NEX)

Right now the site has information about DI as well as who’s involved in the Trust, and the various rito / projects the Trust is running supported with NEX funding. In time, you’ll see lots of free planning and resources related to Dramatic play, Process drama and Mantle of the Expert.

If you are a New Zealand kaiako with an interest in DI please visit the site and subscribe.

The new website will be your central hub for information, announcements and updates related to Trust matters, including Cluster Meetings, and NEX-funded projects.

Meantime, this Mantle of the Expert Aotearoa website will continue as a space for sharing professional reflections, planning, research etc that fall outside the umbrella of the Trust.

Thanks to those who have contributed to the development of the new site – look forward to seeing it grow and evolve.

Illustration by Carly Schulman from a story in The Daily Northwester called “Okay Zoomer: How to use Zoom”

Cluster hui are friendly, low key gatherings for teachers interested in Mantle of the Expert and other Dramatic Inquiry approaches. They are hosted by fellow teachers with experience and passion for DI. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced practitioner, clusters are a great opportunity to meet like-minded folk and gain some informal PLD. All welcome…

Usually cluster hui are held face to face but with Covid restrictions this term’s hui are being held over zoom (zui). Cluster leaders have put lots of thought into how to get the most out of this form of connection, and we think you’ll really enjoy the sessions.

For information about cluster zui for term 1 in your region, click here.

Apologies to Waikato colleagues as this post comes a little late – your term one gathering was held today! Please let us know if you’d like to attend the next one and we will make sure you get the information.

Last year saw new clusters opening up in Taranaki, Gisborne and Manawatu, while established groups continue in Northland, Auckland, Waikato. We’d love to start groups in other regions, including the South island colleagues. We are also holding space for a dedicated cluster hui for Māori colleagues. The DI Network Aotearoa Trust has Ministry funding to support these initiatives, so please get in touch if you’d be interested in joining – or running a new group!

Our awesome cluster leaders around Aotearoa are continuing to plan for cluster meetings during Term four. Where face to face meetings can’t take place, most will continue over zoom. With all the uncertainty of Covid and extended lockdowns in some areas, networks like this can be a great way to reconnect with others in your region AND reconnect with what really matters in teaching.

Dates for cluster meetings are confirmed for Hamilton (Wednesday 27th October) and Auckland (Thursday November 4th), and others will be added soon.

Check the notice at the link below. This will continue to be updated as meetings are confirmed. And email your local cluster leader if you’d like to attend. All welcome.

One of the most exciting aspects of our Networks of Expertise funding is the opportunity to expand our informal teacher-teacher Cluster meetings. We now even more of these gatherings held regularly in different regions around Aotearoa – and teachers tell us they are getting LOTS of fresh ideas for their teaching AND enjoyment from meeting like-minded colleagues with a shared passion for Dramatic Inquiry.

Full details of the cluster meetings coming up in term three can be found at THIS LINK (I’m not posting it directly into the message in case details change). The very best way to stay informed about cluster meetings in your region is to get yourself added to the mailing list. So please email YOUR local cluster leaders (addresses are included at the link above) and they’ll be happy to welcome you into the group. If you are keen but can’t see a cluster meeting in your region, please email and we will get one started!

Cluster meetings are always free of charge and everyone is welcome. They are usually held at a local school – or sometimes over zoom. They last about an hour, and include afternoon tea and copies of resources.

Cluster meetings are an awesome opportunity to share stories from the classroom and to pick up some low key PLD in a safe and supportive environment. Topics vary, but to give you an idea – some of the tools to be explored in term 3 include: use of drama elements to give clear instructions, innovative assessment using teacher-in-role, the six dimensions of dramatic imagination, the teacher compass, and using frame distance to ensure safety with sensitive material.

Term one’s Dramatic Inquiry cluster meetings were a great success, with face-to-face gatherings in Hamilton, Auckland, and Wellington – and a rich discussion over zoom between colleagues from secondary settings. As always, the low-key PLD and sharing of practice within these meetings was so valuable. Topics included: Planning in Mantle of the Expert, process dramas and drama conventions, creating drama for learning moments, Dramatic Inquiry and assessment – and a lot more besides. Special thanks to the various hosts. We couldn’t do it without you!

Meetings will be held again in term two, with folk gathering again in Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington PLUS another secondary zoom call AND two more meetings in Whangarei and New Plymouth. It’s great to see how, with teacher support, we can manage get togethers in so many different settings.

All the details for Term 2 cluster meetings can be found here. Please note this google doc will be updated as information is finalised and details are subject to change. You can also check the events calendar on the website for information.

As always, cluster meetings are free of charge and all are welcome.

After months of being unable to meet face to face due to Covid restrictions, it’s exciting to be able to invite teachers in the Waikato region to this face to face gathering in Hamilton. The word ‘cluster’ has a whole new meaning these days, but in this context it’s a positive thing to be part of! Come and meet with like minded colleagues, share some afternoon tea, hear stories from the classroom, share resources, and receive some low-key PLD at the same time.

What? Cluster meeting

Where? Knighton Normal School, Knighton Road, Hamilton. Please sign in at front desk.

When? Wednesday 4th November 2020, after school (4pm – or whenever you can get there). We will finish no later than 6pm

Who? Anyone interested in dramatic inquiry, including dramatic play, process drama and Mantle of the Expert. Beginner to experienced practitioners – all welcome!

What to bring? Yourself, a friend, stories from your classroom, questions, problems of practice.

Please send your RSVPs to Whakarongo Tauranga so we know how many to expect for afternoon tea.

Our next cluster meeting will be held over zoom to allow anyone from around NZ to participate. All welcome – very informal – BYO cuppa and afternoon tea! The focus will be on preplanning in Mantle of the Expert with teachers from Kawaha Point school sharing a recent example.

If you’d like to attend, please email and ask for the zoom link.

If attending in a group, please use a separate device per 2-3 people so we can see individual faces – THANKS!

We were due to have a cluster meeting for teachers in Wellington this week, but this has been rainchecked what with one thing and another. We will definitely get back into face-to-face cluster meetings in due course.

Meanwhile, how about a zoom hui / zui cluster? The advantage of this is that colleagues can join from anywhere within Aotearoa (or indeed beyond!) What a great opportunity to reconnect with like minded colleagues and to share what we have tried – and learned – from the experience of teaching over the last few months… both during lockdown and in the transition back to school. There have been some terrific initiatives, so plenty of great stories to share in an informal setting. BYO cuppa!

We have scheduled a zoom meeting for Thursday 4th June at 3.30pm. ALL WELCOME.

Just email by 4pm on Tuesday 2nd for the link.

Thanks to Pauline and staff at St Theresa’s for hosting our February cluster meeting. We had a good turnout of teachers who explored ideas for introducing drama for learning to Maths, History and Health activities. Some fascinating conversations, including which role conventions we might use when depicting significant figures from history. As promised, I’ll do a separate post on role conventions shortly.

Next Wellington cluster meeting will be at Island Bay School on Wednesday 27th May. Save the date and I’ll send a reminder and more information nearer the time.