Used with acknowledgement and cited below:
Introduction/ Executive Summary
The future that we face today is unknown. Often we are surprised! Mistakes and failures will happen and it is important that we fully understand these to create a context for learning and growth.
The world no longer rewards people for what they know. Being able to extrapolate from what we know and apply learning to new and novel situations is key. Creativity and Innovation are required.
Education is now more about ways of thinking,communicating and collaborating, using technology well and the development of social and emotional skills.
It will be more important to be a VERSATILIST - able to apply a depth of skill to a wide range of situations, capable of changing and adapting at a rapid pace and being able to reposition oneself in fast paced environments.
The focus is shifting from individual achievements, to acknowledging the power of collaboration to support innovation and development.
The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey found that 2/3 of teachers said their schools were "hostile to innovation." Innovative Learning Environments still remain the exception, not the rule.
Drivers for change include the penetration of technology, employer's interest in education, global connections and new learning providers.
Page 12, 13 of Executive Summary - A Learning System that that has a thoroughly integrated ILE framework will have:
Education has become more and more important world wide. Driver of this is economic and based around education's role in maintaining competitiveness in the world. Global interdependence has fuelled comparative measures. These have led to pressures to reform education.
Key issues - engagement of students, especially teenagers, perceived role of teachers in society and the value placed on the profession, slow pace of change in education, systemic change needed rather than isolated innovation.
Learning systems extend well beyond schools and to enact change, we must look beyond the traditional partners and structures.
Page 18/19 - Framework for ILE: The 7+3 model.
Page 20 - The C's! Common features of ILE strategies and Initiatives
Time - system change takes TIME. Time for relationship building, connections and interaction.
A system transformation - there will have been a matching shift in educator's views, knowledge and practice. Widespread use of social media and technology. Culture of evaluative thinking and self-review. Distributed leadership. Evidence based decisions.
What kinds of broader changes and conditions are needed in order for the "7+3" to become commonplace features of learning systems?
What will the indicators be?
1)Reduce Standardisation, Foster Innovation, Broaden Institutions.
Standard rules and procedures should not be barriers to innovation.
Allow for non-formal learning opportunities, both face to face and in online communities.
2) Accountability and Metrics for 21st century learning.
Page 25/26 - ALL these messages are key!
3)Promoting leadership, trust and learner agency.
Effective, distributed leadership is critical.
Learners must be active partners in their learning establishment's design, curriculum and decision making.
High trust environments and connectedness with all stake holders.
4)Widespread collaborative expert professionalism.
5) Ubiquitous Professional Learning.
Professional development opportunities in evaluation and evaluative thinking.
The real and virtual environments inhabited by teachers should be conducive to professional exchange and dialogue.
6) Connectivity and extensive digital infrastructure.
7) Flourishing cultures of networks and partnerships.
Horizontal connection and collaboration.
8) Powerful knowledge systems and cultures of evaluation.
There needs to be a culture of diagnostic expertise and evaluation.
Indicators of the widespread adoption of the ILE framework:
Chapter 3: Promising Strategies for spreading ILE's
From studies of 26 countries:
Culture change: more important than surface change, but much more difficult to realise.
Clarifying Focus: Don't have too many things going on at once. Innovate, but remain focused. Doing the "same old" has not improved student achievement and quality.
Capacity Creation: Knowledge and Professional Learning. Generate knowledge about student learning and how that knowledge will be acted upon.
Collaboration and Co-operation: Collaborative professionalism is necessary for innovation.Professional Learning Networks are key.
Communication and Technology Platforms - supporting the development of an ILE.
Change Agents: people who are able to provide influence on the ground and provide the expertise and drive to maintain innovation.
Chapter 4: Growing Innovative Learning through Meso - Level networking.
Chapter 5: Transformation and Leadership in Complex Learning Systems.
4 weeks has just flown by! Here we are in the final part of this series - Assessment and Monitoring. Remembering back to Week 1, the big question from a reader was: What are the teachers doing? What are the kids doing? How do you monitor and assess?
As I always say, there isn't any one size fits all solution for any school and the conversations that you have as a collaborative staff are key in making these important decisions. Once again, WHY you are assessing and monitoring comes first, followed by what you will do and how you will do it.
When people first start teaching collaboratively, it does feel different than a single cell class. I found it hard to keep track of all the children in my head. Sometimes I would forget who was in my reading groups and who was in my writing groups. Systems, timetables and lists became more important. After teaching 24 kids for EVERYTHING and knowing them really well, of course it's not going to be the same with 75 kids that you teach for SOME THINGS. To start with I worried that I was losing my connections and relationships with the kids and their families. But you know what? I adjusted to a "new normal". So maybe I needed to check a piece of data for a kid because it wasn't right there in my head - when I saw the huge increase in student learning, engagement and progress I could cope with that. I still had great relationships with my kids and their families - just now there was more of them and also another adult in the room who also knew them and who could share their insights with me.
Danger zone - Do be careful not to create unmanageable systems that means you're recording all sorts of information that no-one will ever go back and use! How you do set up your assessment and monitoring systems will also be influenced by the numbers of students and teachers in your team. For example, 2 teachers working together might have more informal systems than 4 teachers working together.
Of course, any country is governed by some formal regulations about assessment/ reporting to parents and in New Zealand we are no different. Whether you agree or not there are some things that just have to be done - so what is the best way to do them? ( This is my favourite blog post ever about reporting - worth a read!)
So here's some ideas featuring systems that I have seen work well in innovative learning environments. I hope there's something here that can work for you or that you can adapt.
Below are some examples of different formats for recording information. Identifying information such as name columns and personal notes have been removed, but hopefully you get the idea!
Tony Grey's (Kowhai School) sabbatical work this year has been fantastic! Start off Week 3 of #CENZ15 with a look at this great video about the benefits of collaborative teaching.
I really like this blog post by Greg Carroll from Core Education, which explains the difference between collaboration, co-operation and connections.
Collaboration - This is where people are so inextricably linked that they couldn’t function without the others. The effect is much bigger than the sum of the two parts. In MLP this is the thing that makes the difference. Teachers share and organise the programme in ways that mean you couldn’t split the ways of working back into its parts again.
As Greg goes on to say, true collaboration is still quite rare in our schools. Often there are aspects of it, but it is important to recognise real collaboration as opposed to co-operation. Of course, co-operation is required in the classroom all the time - "I'll get the PE gear - you get the kids organised into their teams." "I'll plan the inquiry unit header, you plan the maths unit header." The key difference here is that even though the co-operation makes things better, those teachers could do this on their own if they needed to.
Wondering: As you reflect on your past practices or current practice, how much is co-operative and how much is truly collaborative?
This week I'm looking at Collaborative Planning and ideas for getting started with this. As I mentioned last week, often when people begin co-teaching, they might begin just in one curriculum area and gradually expand on this. The same is often true for planning together. You might find when you first start that you just adapt one area of your planning, assessment and evaluating. It may make sense to both have copies of what you are doing, in place with your other planning documents.Then, as you progress, you may end up with everything being shared and worked on in one place. Some teachers still need to print out plans and write all over them. Others are happy to be in a totally digital world. It's important to cater for the teaching styles of everyone and see what suits different people.
Without a doubt though, collaborative digital tools such as Google Docs making working with others to plan, assess and reflect so much easier. Most schools who are doing well with this are using GAFE, Office 365, Evernote or similar to create living documents that are owned by everyone and accessible anywhere, anytime. Some are taking it next level and sharing planning with students and parents.
This diagram from the VLN shows ways in which collaborative planning might happen. What I would add to the diagram, is the powerful conversations that take place while collective planning is going on. It's not just about timetabling, but this is when those incidental teaching as inquiry type conversations happen! "What was that awesome activity your learners were doing in reading last week?" " Does anyone have any good ideas on the best ways to introduce fractions?" " Did you notice that studentx was really struggling with getting going with writing reports?" This is where the power of collaboration comes in.
I found that once in a co-teaching situation, the quality of teaching and learning activities increased hugely. For example, I went from teaching Maths in a single cell class to Stages 3, 4, 5 and 6 groups, to working in a power of 3 teaching 3 groups at Stage 5. Even though there were variances within those groups, my understanding of the concepts at that stage improved. As I taught concepts, I had the chance to reflect and analyse what had worked well, prior to teaching the same concept to my next group. When I compared the amount of work that my Stage 5 groups got through, compared to my single Stage 5 group the year before, I couldn't believe how much more I had taught in the co-teaching situation.
Take a look at these crowd sourced examples of collaborative planning templates and check out this thread of ideas on the Virtual Learning Network.
Recently I was at a workshop discussing a school's journey working collaboratively. One of the key misunderstandings from the participants was they thought collaborative planning meant planning every single thing together. They were thinking that all three teachers would sit and plan for 12 reading groups all together, same for maths etc. While that might work for some, most of us simply wouldn't have enough hours in the day! More often, what would happen is that teachers would discuss their reading programme, identify any barriers to learning, share good ideas and finalise their timetable for the following week. They might organise workshop opportunities, hot spot activities, motivating lesson starters and target group instruction.Then each teacher would plan their own lessons for the students they are teaching. They would link their planning to the collaborative document so that anyone could access. (Hot Tip - link a folder that you have filed weekly plans into, rather than linking to the weekly plan. This means that you can just duplicate the last plan and the link will remain.) There is definitely still room for individual teacher creativity and teaching to strengths.
Wonderings to Consider:
How will you start planning collaboratively? With one curriculum area or multiple areas?
How will you adjust your timetable to allow for multiple teaching and learning sessions?
Do you have a MATES agreement in place? ( See #CEM 1 blog post )
What are the best systems for your teaching team to use to plan, assess and evaluate?
How can you share your planning with students and whanau? What is appropriate to share?
How can you include student voice in your own planning? Can students be taking on teaching roles?
Are you working collaboratively or co-operatively?
I hope this post helps you with your journey. Stay tuned next week for Assessment and Monitoring and my final installment for #CENZ15. Feel free to tweet/ facebook/ email with any questions or comments or requests for future posts!
What is collaborative teaching? Blog post by Chris Bradbeer.
A typical day in a collaborative environment. Kathleen Morris
Part Two of Collaborative Teaching Advantages Tony Grey
Getting started with collaborative teaching will provide challenges, "aha" moments, frustrations, celebrations and rejuvenation. After three years of working with co-teachers, I couldn't imagine going back to my own single cell classroom. It would seem lonely and boring after working in a collaborative environment. My best piece of advice - "Start Small, but Dream Big". Every journey begins with a single step and to begin with they will be small. But don't underestimate your students and what they are capable of. Before you know it, your practice, learners and relationships will change and grow.
Start by checking out this video of real teachers beginning their journey.
Most teachers will need to make adaptations to their environment for successful co-teaching. Even if you are moving into a purpose built ILE, students need support to work in an environment where they can make choices about where they work and with whom they work. There are lots of ideas around about setting up your environment and curriculum for different types of learning, (click here for a great example) but how do you get the students started?
In the first few weeks, one technique that I have found works really well is what I call "Freeze Frame." This is when the roving teaching will just call out " Freeze", while all the students are working. They will then call on students or groups of students, asking what they are doing and why where they are working is the best place to be. Often we will take photos of students making great learning choices and choosing a great spot in the environment. We then turn these into photo stories, wall posters, blog posts etc. These visual reminders are really effective - parents enjoy looking at them too. Depending on the age of the students this might be a teacher directed activity or teams of students might be working on creating these visuals. There are lots of classroom discussions with the students, looking back at the photos and really engaging the students with the process of developing self-direction, independence and agency.,
You do need to watch for students trying to claim their "favourite working place" each day. I usually minimise this by having different systems for sending students off to get started on activities, but am always looking to see if there are those who are always on the bean bags or always on the couch! Often just reminding the students about making learning choices based on their activity will prompt them to move somewhere else.
There will sometimes be students who really struggle to find a good place to work. For some, the distractions of being able to work with others is overwhelming.You may even find some of your diverse learners still need a specific place in the learning zone that is theirs, for a while anyway. In any environment I have worked in, we always try to have a space that is quiet. This means that any student who needs to just work quietly, away from distractions, is able to do so. At times I have been surprised how many students have wanted to do this. This might be a break out space, or an area created by furniture.
Students as interior designers is a great way of engaging students in being actively involved in the ownership of the environment. One way I have seen this used, is each Friday lunchtime a team of designers could stay in and rearrange the class. After lunch, they would briefly explain their thinking and the spaces they had created. The classes would then work in that space for the week. Sometimes the kids had some awesome ideas - things that an adult might not have thought of. There were also a few disasters, but powerful conversations from reflecting on why aspects of the design hadn't worked to support their learning.
New Entrants Furniture Design
Year 5/6 Furniture Design
Setting up at the Beginning of the School Year.
Why Schools Need Collaborative Spaces
Does an MLE suit all learners?
Curriculum - What might teaching and learning look like?
As I talked about in CEM#1 post, do you have your value, vision and curriculum in order? There are so many ways that schools are using the NZC to create learning experiences for students that meet their unique needs and the needs of their communities. If your school doesn't have a graduate profile, I would encourage you to look here. It is vital that everyone knows what they are aspiring to achieve.
Below are some ways I have seen the curriculum being delivered in collaborative teaching environments. Definitely not "one size fits all". Remember that for schools this is an ever evolving journey and is likely changing every term, as systems, teacher confidence and student self direction develops. Teachers will often trial different ideas, reflect and change. I have found beginning quite traditionally is common, usually in one subject area at a time. After a time in this experimentation phase, more integration and agency becomes possible.
Examples of Curriculum Delivery
One of the key changes I have noticed when moving into collaborative teaching, is group size doesn't tend to matter. When I first began teaching, the focus was on having the smallest groups possible. When you are grouping 75 students as opposed to 25, you will often find that groups of 10 - 15 work just fine, depending on resources, ages and activity. Because the roving teacher is keeping everyone else on track, no interruptions means focused learning time for the group and they have more people to work with and learn from. Teachers have often commented to me that they began with two groups working at similar levels, but ended up joining them together with more success than working with the smaller groups.
There are different schools of thought about having a roving teacher. I personally think it is the hardest job in an ILE. You are busy the whole time! It is not just about behaviour management - it is about supporting learning. When I've been roving, I've been known to take an impromptu workshop if I've spotted a common learning need. Or I might call down a group of students to go over instructions again. I have heard it said that if you were in a Single Cell, all the teachers would be "teaching" the whole time, while when there is a roving teacher, there is one less person actively teaching, so the students are being shortchanged. I would have to argue that if you are roving well, the quality learning that is going on in groups is maximised as there are minimal interruptions. Also, think back to the single cell class where you sent off groups to very quietly finish an activity. They were stuck? Well too bad for them - don't interrupt the group I'm teaching! You want to collaborate with others? No way, it's too noisy and my group is getting distracted! Now, with a roving teacher available, a student who is stuck actually has someone to ask for help, instead of sitting there or getting off task.
Examples of Student Activities.
To get an even better picture in your head of what teaching and learning in an ILE is really like - check out a "Day in the Life of Clearview School".
Kia ora koutou and welcome to Connected Educator Month! I hope you have been making the most of the amazing opportunities on offer! This month I decided to add some posts to my blog, hoping to address the question that I am most often asked when discussing collaborative teaching with educators. Here is an excerpt from a recent email that I received from a blog reader:
I feel like I have more of an understanding of how the environment and thinking should be/look/feel but what I am struggling to understand is how a typical maths session would look? or reading? or writing? What are the kids doing, what are the teachers doing? How do we monitor and assess?!
The number one question that I was asked by tour groups coming through my school and now when I am working with teachers as a facilitator is: "But what does it "look like?" What is actually happening with the teaching and learning?" I don't know if I am going to be able to answer this question with words rather than visuals, but over the next few weeks, I will have a go!
So here's the set up:
Week 1 - Getting your house in order, Forming Collaborative Teaching relationships.
Week 2 - Ideas for getting started, What could teaching and learning look like?.
Week 3 - Collaborative Planning
Week 4 - Assessment and Monitoring.
Getting your house in order.
So, your school wants to begin collaborative teaching! Before you embark on this courageous journey, there are many things you need to be sure you do. It would take more than a single blog post to cover this, but I want you to be sure that you know WHY your school wants to teach collaboratively. This is a journey that you will have been on with your whole school, principal, board and community. It will probably have been part of your first steps, as you align your school vision, values and curriculum and re-think how learning and teaching is changing and evolving at your school.
The CORE Ed MLE Matrix is a great resource to see how your school is tracking with being clear about their purpose. Definitely worth checking in and seeing if you are able to answer the questions on the matrix. If you feel confident that you understand the "why", then read on!
So, how might you go about forming a co-teacher(s) relationship? Often these relationships evolve based on friendships, location or year level, but planning strategically for effective co-teaching models is becoming more prevalent. Many schools include discussion about co-teaching as part of appraisal meetings, end of year principal meetings or send out surveys to gather teacher or student voice.
I'm always interested how schools are forming their collaborative teaching partnerships. Neill O'Reilly (Waitikiri School) is currently conducting some research as part of his CPPA study award. His emerging findings show:
(Retrieved from VLN MLE group discussion thread, Tue 29 Sept, 2015)
One cannot underestimate the power of effective communication. Many co-teachers develop "MATES" agreements - Mutually Agreed Team Essentials. This will cover aspects such as vision and values, common goals, methods of communication, meeting times and expectations, admin roles, parent involvement, process for giving feedback to each other and any other areas the team decides to include. It is a great idea to regularly refer to this document, to check that it is still relevant. Does anything need adding or changing? It can also provide support for courageous conversations that might need to take place.
Another question I am often asked is what is the optimal number of teachers working together? I too have wondered about this. I have mostly taught in a "power of 2" co-teaching partnership which I loved. As I was in a large school, we often taught collaboratively in other ways - sometimes in groups of 3, even up to groups of 6. I have asked many other teachers about this and these are some of the answers:
"2, definitely a 2 - so much easier to organise meetings and to talk together."
"3, definitely a 3 - way more ideas contributed than just in a 2 and more options for different ways of teaching and learning."
"Any number would be fine - you would just develop systems to make it work"
"It depends on your environment - some environments are more conducive to certain co-teaching arrangements."
Not really helpful if you are looking to be told an answer! I definitely agree though, that your environment needs to be carefully taken into consideration when making this decision. For example, when I was teaching at Clearview Primary, we had some spaces that worked really well for 2 teachers and some that worked well for 3 teachers. Each school needs to make this decision based on their student's needs, the spaces they have available and their staff.
Have a look at these suggestions for developing as a collaborative teacher:
Five Tips to Becoming a Strong Co-Teacher
Cheryl Doig's work on mindsets for collaboration and nested layers of collaboration is inspiring and definitely worth looking at.
Retrieved from www.thinkbeyond.co.nz, September 30, 2015
To conclude, the video below is just lovely and reminds us of how we all bring our own unique skills, talents, abilities and ideas to the collaborative classroom. Share it at your next staff meeting!
I'd love to hear any ideas,comments or questions that you have about establishing your teaching partnerships. Feel free to comment/ tweet/ facebook or email! Next time: Getting Going - Where do I start?
Collaborative Teaching Advantages, Collective Teacher Efficacy - videos from Tony Grey._
A Year Of Collaborative Teaching - Blog post. December 2014
Podcasts - collaborative environments.
Yesterday I had the absolute privilege of seeing "Story Hui" in action. Story Hui is a tool developed by Liz Stevenson of Core Education for her PhD work. I have always loved story telling. I think it is an amazing way for all of us to make sense of the world, reflect, ponder and discover. In story hui, I heard two educators tell completely different stories about successful happenings in their classrooms. The story telling, discussion and questioning was extremely powerful.
This is the description of Story Hui:
Story Hui - a group process to envision success through storytelling and visual images.
More than just talking together, Story Hui involves working through a creative brief.
You take part in discovering and collectively building new ideas.
As a group, you uncover themes and patterns of success.
Story Hui is a unique way to evaluate learning. It builds on interpersonal relationships, collaboration and celebrates learning in many different forms.
Everyone has a story.
Questions led to a deeper understanding of the story and reflections from the storyteller.
Thinking aloud can lead you to an "a ha" moment.
What is next for the story teller?
How could this tool be used by students in the classroom?
What ways could this tool be used to promote reflective practice?
How can story hui be shared with others?
In the next few weeks, I'll be learning more about the story hui process. I can't wait to learn more and see it in action. Meanwhile, you can download the free story hui pdf book from the website.
When beginning to think about teaching collaboratively, many people are often concerned about maintaining contact with their students and still "knowing" their students really well. I would agree that this is a challenge. It is different than when you are in a single cell classroom. There's no way that you can know 50 students that you teach at different times as well as you would know 25 who you teach all the time. That's when the conversations that you have with your co-teacher(s) become so important. Together, my co-teachers and I find we have a really good knowledge of our students. We work on learning reports together and feel confident that what we are reporting is a true and accurate reflection of a particular student. I just wish that we had more time allocated to for 3 way learning conferences. It would be amazing to both be able to be at the conferences for all our students, not just the ones on our homebase list. Extra teacher only day??
I know lots of school are thinking about assessment/ learning conferences and pastoral care with multiple classes and teachers and I would love to hear what's working well in your school.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share a student survey that we conducted at the end of Term 2. I find Google Forms a great way to gather information from students and to gather student voice. We have been introducing our Year 4 students to using their Google Drive, so sending out a survey let them have some practice. We were amazed at their responses and gained some valuable information. Let's face it, you would never have time to go around and ask each child a whole bunch of questions, let alone remember the answers and collate! Let Google do the work for you!
So here is a sample of a few questions we asked and some responses. We did ask the students to put their names, which they happily did. We asked quite a few pastoral care questions - how students were finding the playground etc. This gave us some good information and we were able to identify a few key children that need some extra support. There were 48 children who took the survey, give or take a few user errors who had so start again!
We were interested to see which subjects were appealing to the students the most. We found it interesting that Reading was so far ahead in the survey. We think this is because this is the area that is most student directed, with a lot of choice, elearning opportunities and independence. This gave us the idea to try and include some of the same elements into other areas of the programme. (Stay tuned for a blog post about how this goes.)
This question was in response to us getting rid of "Read and Feed" time. Students now just get their snacks when they want to eat them, between 9:15 and 10:00am. We wanted to check that they were still happy with this.
This is an especially interesting question as we now have almost 2/3 of our students bringing their own device. These are mostly ipads. However, the laptop still remains incredibly popular which is a good reminder about using the best tool for the best purpose. The laptops have been in hot demand with the use of GAFE, especially as our students love using Google Draw, which is not supported on the ipad at this stage.
Can't believe that PAGES is still so popular - though I think it is because our kids love making poster type creations on it.
As you can see, a huge amount of the class is bringing a device. Below are a few likes/ dislikes. One common thread that came through was that the way we are storing the devices is making the kids crazy! So, Day 1, Term 3 we will pose this as a problem for the kids to come up with a solution for.
We wanted to check in with the kids who don't bring their own device how they were feeling about this. The more BYOD kids we have, the harder we are working to make sure that everything is equitable. We have PLENTY of school devices for kids to use. The biggest issue for school users seems to be saving work in progress. Hopefully as they become better using Google Drive and their email, this will be easier for them to manage.
We are big on collaboration, so learning partners are used all the time in our class. This was interesting feedback. Something we have taken on board, is to give more opportunities to work in a 3 or alone - mix it up a bit! The kids often get to pick their own partners and I bet they don't like it when we assign - but I guess that's too bad for them!! But it would be interesting to discuss with them why we do this.
So, our next step is to discuss parts of this survey with our kids once Term 3 starts. Maybe ask them for more input. We want to show them their voice matters and that we have taken many of their ideas on board. It'll be interesting to see what they can come up with for ipad storage and security. I also can't wait to unveil our new and improved Maths programme - I think the kids will love it!
I came across these two articles recently, which I've really enjoyed. Nothing like a bit of light reading for the holidays.....
This article featuring Jane Gilbert in Idealog is excellent:
"Equipping kids with iPads in the classroom is nice, but Gilbert advocates a fundamental shift. She urges us to think beyond surface features such as technology in schools and to consider how our learning environments are structured to create inquiring minds. Without these skills, future generations can never hope to solve significant issues such as climate change, social inequality and the impact of globalisation.
I love that phrase - " how our learning environments are structured to create inquiring minds."
It made me wonder:
How do we ensure that the environment is the third teacher?
How do we as teachers who have been educated in a traditional way make a REAL shift to be future focused?
How can we fight against the crowded curriculum, the traditional curriculum and let the kids drive the learning?
Not just as Jane says: "We’re still working within the same twentieth-century framework. The thinking hasn’t changed. "It’s just couching what we’ve already done in much fancier production values. It looks cooler and more digitised, but the underlying educational objectives have not changed."
If you don't follow idealog on facebook, make sure you do! Excellent articles on a range of cutting edge topics!
Also, loving this blog post from Karen Boyes:
Sensible, practical and on the money! Could be a great starting point for those beginning their MLP journey. Also, a great way for those of use implementing and developing MLP to check point how we're doing - successes, failures, things that have fallen by the wayside.
Enjoy while you munch on those chocolate bunnies!
There are some great videos on the TEDX Denver Teachers site. Really enjoyed this one from Co Barry, examining how exposure to complex problems develops students into creative innovators. Barry describes a process called "Design Thinking", where students work through stages to solve difficult problems. There are many elements similar to various inquiry learning models, and ideas such as risk taking and experiencing failure to develop resilience are also commonalities.
Barry has a great website where she explains the process and has some great success stories. The premise is that "Teachers cultivate a creative mindset to develop rigorous and relevant programs for their students. Design thinking allows students to fail fast and learn by doing rather than avoiding failure by striving for initial perfection. It fosters the need to ask relevant questions versus giving correct answers. It requires teachers to guide and show pupils instead of telling and lecturing. It encourages students to become process experts as opposed to subject experts. "
So the model fits really well with the intent of the NZC, with the focus being on the skills required to solve the problem and ways to find the knowledge required. I taught in the US for 6 years and content knowledge was still very driving the curriculum in the state that I taught in. I can believe that schools adopting this model are seeing significant gains in engagement and achievement as outlined by Barry and fellow educators.
I quite like the early stages of this model -really focusing on the audience that you are designing for. Getting that clear purpose is probably something I should spend more time on as part of my school's inquiry model. We are about to start a design process for a Gorilla Enclosure as part of our current inquiry unit and I think I'll give this Design Thinking model a try and see how it supports our current inquiry model and the technology process that we use in the classroom here.
So the term has whizzed by - not quite sure where the weeks went! Of course, it feels like I have never been away! The kids are loving the new classroom set up, and it has been great to see them start to "own" the space. They make great use of the bean bags, floor pillows and cushions. The old bar stools that were destined for the dump, and the number 1 favourite. There is often competition to see who will get to sit in those!
We were also fortunate to get a low white board table to sit in the learning studio. This is really popular with the kids too. I'm planning to develop a resource box, with activity cards for the students to choose independent activities that they can complete on the table. Eg. word families, ways of making different numbers, sentence starters.
We are team teaching Maths among three teachers. What we are trialling is this:
We have 3 homebases and a long learning studio area. 1 teacher has groups in HB10. This is also the SILENT ZONE. Any student can choose to work in here, but they must be on their own and silent. It has been really interesting to see who chooses to work here - one day there were 20 students making this choice.
The second teacher has groups in the learning studio outside HB10. We have a whiteboard station set up here.
HB 11 is a space for practice activities and computer tasks. Students working on these can also choose to work in the learning studio. HB12 is Maths Games Zone. The interactive white board is loaded with games, there is chalk outside and there are maths games to play and reinforce learning. This room is buzzing and often quite noisy - but that's the purpose. The teacher who is not working with groups that day is the roving teacher. They are available to help students, check practice activities, monitor students and supervise the general area. Guess which is the hardest job?
We have just introduced a teacher aide two days a week, to release the roving teacher to work with a targeted group of students. This is also working well. Parent help is available several days a week also.
When you are teaching, you are focused on your group and there are hardly ever outside distractions.
When you are planning, because you are only planning for one or two maths stages, the quality really improves. We have all agreed that we have got to know a math stage in depth and that the quality of our lessons, ict integration and follow up activities has improved.
Students who are not with a teacher have someone to go to when they are stuck. Games are purposeful because there is someone to monitor those children who are using those activities.
Students are working through maths progressions for their numeracy stage.
The space that we have can be a little tricky to use, but I feel like this "power of 3" math is going really well. There are still a few kids whose self management needs work, but as I keep reminding myself, that's also the case in your own classroom.
During a class circle time with my kids, we came across a couple of potential problems that needed solving. Firstly, lots of children reported others taking computers and saving them for friends who were still in their maths group. Many also said that when choosing a space, someone else would tell them that they couldn't have that space as they were "saving" it. We had a hui to discuss these issues and reiterate that no-one owns a space in the block. During the circle time, the kids noted several positives such as meeting students from other homebases, developing key people that they worked well with and not being distracted or interrupted in group time.
I personally cannot believe how much learning has happened in the term. I would estimate that I got through almost twice the Math Key Ideas that I would usually get through. The progress has been amazing and I have been super impressed with the students. We're still working through new ideas, finding solutions and refining, but I'm really enjoying this way of teaching!
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.