Thursday, November 3, 2016

Individualised Learner Profiles

I can't help but think about next year... I love this time of year when you celebrate all of the amazing things you have achieved with your students.  But then you think of all the incredible possibilities that you could do better next year...

So one of the things I'm thinking about is asking my students to create a profile about how they best like to receive feedback.  And when I say feedback, I mean feedback and feedforward in their learning, attitude and behaviour.  How might this look?  An email?  A wink of the eye?  A private conversation?  A public praising?  Written feedback from a peer? 

As a teacher, you learn about these as you go...  but I do wonder how this might influence the culture of your class if we knew it at the get-go?

Happy report writing :)

Term 4 Reflections from Nic

We had an exciting conversation about timetabling during our last JK session.  Specifically, what impact did timetabling have on our learners?  Was the output (progress) equivalent to the input (time invested to do it)?  Did it make a difference? Was is worth the stress? I don’t know.  Those who it worked for it worked!  These are the highly organised learners who are able to orchestrate the poly-faceted life of Poutama. Those that it didn’t work for...? Well, you can guess, right? The learners who need high levels of structure and routine.  For these learners, the mere act of planning for their own learning was too big. Yes, with time they could have got there, but at what cost? What other learning programs do they miss out on as a result of completing their timetable.  I am kind of seeing these learners as impulsive: however, not in a bad way.  This is how I also “tick” - we have the “jump in head first” and “learn as you go” mentality. So I believe that time for reflection for these types of learners is crucial. “You don’t learn from experience, you learn from reflecting on experience” ― Ken Bain. 

Experience.  Creating a matrix for innovation fund is kind of like this. We have set out to create a matrix but we have come to the realisation that a matrix for Learner Agency doesn’t work.  What we have come away with, is a deep understanding of Agentic mindsets.  We have identified that we have a high number of students operating at self-directed.  It is up to us to create the conditions for which learner agency, creativity and excellence can flourish.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My first teacher inquiry from 2011: Our focus on creativity year

I found this wee gem when tidying up my google drive folders recently... We wrote parodies, recorded them, created music videos for them and entered them into the Digi Awards where we won 1st place!  It was awesome!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Palmerston North East Community of Learning

Kia ora! New hastag: #PNECoL 

If you are up for any banter around Communities of Learning please get me at @fuse711 using the hashtag #PNECoL I would be really interested in hearing your opinions...

Am I the only one who feels excited at this opportunity? Imagine being a part of a conversation where, for the first time ever!, ECE, primary, intermediate, secondary and tertiary educators are "working together" to achieve a common goal?  I am hugely excited about this.  So why the scowly faces around my table? Am I missing something?

Here I am.  Nic Mason.  I grew up living in state houses with a solo mother on a benefit... Spending nights and weekends in tiny backrooms of restaurants and hairdresser's salons so that we could have a little bit extra for the week. We struggled.  Mum's experience of her own schooling terrified her to the extent that she could barely set foot within a school, let alone ask any questions about my learning. She did what she could...

"How was your day at school Nic?" 

"Good" I would reply. 

I do need to acknowledge here how Terrace End School engaged my mum and awhi'd her through this phobia. As a result, I flourished.  What was it they did, to engage her?  Anyways, after a wonderful experience at Terrace End School, I began to disengage at intermediate and even more so at high school. I became rebellious and obnoxious (probably not too dissimilar from any teenaged boy). But my desire to carve my own way into adulthood by far outweighed complying at school.  Why is this important? Why is this pointless anecdote important to Communities of Learning you say!  Because I believe that far too many students are disengaged by the current system.  The right-brained, academic, formal way of measuring learning.  Testing.  Writing essays.  More testing...

Eventually, I turned out fine, yes.  The influential people in my life steered me to take the leap into "Teacher's College" (College of Education) and the rest is history. But my experience at high school could have been quite different.

So here are the Top 10 Skills identified in order to thrive in today and the future.  Do you notice the word exam here?  I just googled "the purpose of education"  and was flooded with inspiring quotes that had nothing to do with the teaching of tests but the preparation of life.

Recently this year I watched "Straight Outta Kawerau" - a story about one principal's inspirational journey to turn a community around.  Their story was so powerful, I cried.  I sobbed!  Tears of joy bubbled down my smiling cheeks.

I couldn't help but wonder what my learning experience would have been like under these conditions?  How could I have focused on my curiosities about the world and create something using my passions?  Music, art, media studies, photography?

So this is why I feel incredibly excited about Communities of Learning.  Being involved in something that could truly change the course for all learners (not just learners like me) all around New Zealand.

Ngā mihi

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Boys Club Ebook challenge.

Boys club are going to be focused on creating an ebook. We looked at one of the apps and this website for inspiration.

Above is what we need to learn and do.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

2016 Mid-year Appraisal Chat/Focus

 Criteria 5 Reflective Question: 
How do I help support my colleagues to strengthen teaching and learning in my setting?

Being a part of our collaborative, 'Innovative Learning Environment' I am working closely with up to 5 other educators at a time (golly, sometimes more than that!). We are constantly working collaboratively to support and strengthen teaching and learning across the curriculum in our space.

It's what we do at Russell Street School, we are all about the Tātau tātau - we are extremely good at this.  But what do I explicitly do?  I ask, or question.  I observe, I listen.  I lead, I follow. I listen. I invite my colleagues out for breakfast, for beers. I support.  I act. I listen.

It is exciting to have the challenge of re-writing the school charter for the next 3-5 years.  Within it, is all the innovative Learner Agency stuff I have been immersing myself in during the last 3 years.  I have a feeling that my vision for learning is about to get critiqued and scrutinized as I make sense of it, as we make sense of it, as I make sense of us making sense of it.

Criteria 12 Reflective Question: 
How do I advance the learning of my ākonga through critical inquiry within my professional learning? 

Outline progress in your inquiry to date. What has been your impact? What has been required to accelerate the learning of priority learners? What further learning is required (for you)? 

I've said it before but I'll say it again: building positive relationships is the absolute key to a successful career in teaching.  Without the ability to form and sustain positive relationships with students, classes, colleagues and whānau everything would fall over.

With this being said, this is one of the hardest things to do.  3 of my 4 target kids are new to me and my class and teaching in an innovative learning environment has meant that our relationships my not have had as much time to develop as they would have being in a single cell class.  But!  We are half way through through the year and we have all earned each others' mutual respect.  

So, these things have worked:

  1. Call home, let your student know that you and their parents are on the same side.  Parents will appreciate the heads-up about their child.  Ask parents what works for them at home.  Parents will know their own child better than you will, they will also appreciate the fact that you are willing to listen and learn off them.
  2. Spend time talking and listening to your students.  Who are they?  What do they like to do?  Where do they completely shine? What are their habits? Earn their respect.
  3. Coach: sit and observe, give feedback and feedforward, praise. They will respect that you spend the time coaching them to be the best that they can be: to reach their potential.
3 out of my 4 target children have had some sort of trauma at home this year, making it hard for them to make connections at school with others, let alone feel good about themselves to learn. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Maths: using rich tasks

cm2 paper
Check for understanding about the maths first.

The letter O has an area of 6 squares.  Talk to your partner about where are they?  Where are the 6 squares? Can someone point out what this is on the paper.

Area: what do we know about area?
- plans of a house
- layout
-Manawatü is an area
- space in the floor
- the "footprint" of a shape

Make sure the conversation in the task is about the maths and not the task.  If you have a question, ask.

Area and perimeter of things.
- defining what is a 2D and 3D object? 

My brother is double glazing the windows in his house. He has got some odd shaped windows in his house. And I was wondering how the window man figures out how much the glass is.

What is the word on here that means perimeter but doesn't say it?
$150, $140, $380, $310, $350, $340.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

JK Lesson 1, Term 2 2016: Discovering

Preamble: People learn more when you work in groups with people who have different beliefs, personalities and strengths
Purpose:  To discover and test a theory that challenges the above statement.  

I thought the 1st group worked really well together, independently.  They all had a turn at speaking and listening.  I predicted that the second, mixed ability group, would be worse because the first group were so good.  However, my prediction was not correct: the mixed-personality group was extremely efficient and they supported and complemented each other’s thinking during the task.

Reflection questions:
Were the tasks too easy? Will the squirrel come into their own when the going gets tough? Do we change the reflective question from makes us more creative to enables the group “collective” to be more creative.
Was the task not creative enough? Did the task lend itself to giraffes?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What to do with early finishers?

I read a Question on the Primary Teacher's Facebook page the other day and it asked "what do you do with early finishers?" This got me thinking why do we have early finishers? What is it that we do in the classroom that creates a culture of early and late finishers?

So I've been reflecting...

Teachers, we need to change our mindsets here because children learn at their own rate. Sometimes we need to mould to the learner and not the reverse. 

At the same time I am checking through my students ePortfolios to provide feedback and feedforward about our current science understandings about the earth, moon and sun systems.  Because of how we are set up in Poutama (our collaborative and innovative learning space) we have limited time to model all of the different tasks and activities to complete. I'm flicking through, in awe of the amazing videos and creations being made.  And I think the point I am trying to make is this, if we always model exactly what we want the students to do, then we are taking away their ability to interpret the task, and create something that is unique to where they are at.

If we painstakingly model what the students should do, and they don't do it then we get 'angsty' that they didn't do it. 

So like Simon Cowell says on Idol or Britain's Got Talent, choose a song and make it your own. Let's allow our learners to choose a task and make it their own.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Carol Leadership Coaching Session

11:15 - 12:00pm

As I am continuing my journey into leadership, I feel my confidence building.  I feel so supported in this endeavour; David, Elly and James (leadership team) are amazing!  I learn so much from them and work so well under their guidance.  Along with this, Carol Lynch's leadership coaching is "just in time" scaffolding that gives me direction in my work streams.  The book Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker is awesome and it helped me to adopt the mindset of leading our team CRT planing days.

So in my session today I shared with Carol how I am still on cloud9 after an excellent CRT day from last term.  "What was it exactly, that made it so excellent?"  Great, she's coaching me already...

After trying my best to articulate why I thought our team planning day was such a success, Carol shared with me the concept of Servant Leadership.

What is Servant Leadership?“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” -Robert K. Greenleaf

"A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible"-Robert K. Greenleaf

This read so true to me.  Why does this match my theory in action of leadership?  I often wonder where the things I do naturally come from... I'm a high school drop out... I didn't even pass School C... 

Another story I shared with Carol is how once I had had a bad day.  From the moment I stepped foot into school, things went pear shaped.  You know those days?  Interruptions, nothing goes to plan, chopping and changing... Man, what a day!  

We had a team meeting after school and we shared something that was "on top" (sharing something that was a success from your day / week etc.)  Troy helped me out by sharing something in writing that I had done the day before: using 2 minute noodles in a bowl as inspiration to write using the senses.  I was starting to feel better.  Then a colleague reminded about how using food in this way was "a bit culturally insensitive".  At this stage my moral had hit the floor.  I felt like crying.  Tipping up the tables and storming out.  I was tapping out...

I went through some pretty major "self-talk" at that stage.  I had to compose myself.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and just decided to make this meeting about everyone else.  I started asking questions and celebrating the successes of the people in the group; their ideas, their initiatives, their efforts.  

I walked out of that meeting with a clear head.  I had just climbed a mountain.  And I survived.

Carol then introduced me to the concept of dialogue vs discussion.

I loved the finishing comment Carol said to me as I was leaving... It went something like this:
"It was refreshing to talk about the successes in your leadership coaching... sometimes this job is about analysing when things go wrong.  I believe, we can learn just as much, if not more, when we analyse the things that go right."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Staff meeting: Dinah Harvey

Engaging starter time! 

Use 4 pieces of paper with the numbers 1, 2, 4 & 8.  Four people, one foot, make me the numbers from one to fifteen, go. 

What's the highest number you can make using addition?
What's the highest using multiplication?
What numbers can't you make?
Can you make 27 using a subtraction?
Only using 5 feet, make 18 using mult/div/add/sub/all.
Doesn't need to be complicated. Keep it simple, sweetheart.

Convince us which is the best.

Maths session with Dinah: Fractions

Where do we start? What do we know about fractions? Here is a rich task to get us started and find out what you know. 

Leave 5 minutes for students to struggle and make a start. Come back together. Start with the group who has a blank page. Ask them to share what they were thinking? What were you discussing?

Students responded with the questions they were asking each other. E.g. What is 1/5 of 200?  

Teacher responds with a comment about that this is exactly the type of question you need to be writing down.  Teacher now asks: do you know what you need to do next.

Teacher moves to the next group with the least on the page. She uses the first group and asks them to explain to the new group what their next step is.

As the teacher moves around she uses the k owl edge and next steps of the group to build on and connect to new learning.

Don't be afraid to move to the side to fill a gap. How do we make sure our fractions are equal sizes?  What happens when the denominator is an even number? What happens when the denominator is odd? 

Comes to the last group who has the answers written down. The thing that is missing here is I don't know how you got these numbers and I don't know if they are the right numbers. Explain to us, where did you start?  

1/10 of 200 = 20 because 1/10 of 100  = 10. 10 x 2 = 20. 

Now pull out the equipment and demonstrate how to work out the rest of the numbers.  Make sure you use correct language.

Reorganise these so that they are eAsier to work with:

What fraction does the peanuts and the raisins make? 2/4 or 1/2.  How many half weigh? 100!  

These 5 things = 100g. How many tenths fit into fifths? 2. So how many grams is 1/5 of 200? 40.

Demonstrate how to solve part of the problem using the linear model. 

Now I want you to use the model to work out how many grams of peanuts.  Use the model and use the division. 

E = experience
l = language 
P = picture
S = symbol 

Now try this! Independent activity idea:
Once again, teacher uses each group to explain just on step or phase of how you solve the problem using the model.

Now try this! 

Draw half a dozen Tri-squares...
Split into 3. If the whole is 12, how many is each part worth?

Split into 6 equal parts. Now how many is each part? 

Split into 3 equal parts. How much is each worth if the whole is 1/2?

Now split into 3 unequal parts. If the whole is 12, what is the value of each part? 

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Elevator

Have you ever nearly died?  Or felt like you were going to die?  Have you ever felt your heart pounding so hard and fast that it sounded like subwoofer speakers exploding in your ears?  Has panic ever cascaded throughout your body and over your skin like piercing poisonous pins?  I have.  Once.  Well twice but that is another story...

Yipping and yahooing echoed the halls of the hotel.   This was the best part of the conference: the conference dinner.  All of my colleagues were attending the annual 'uLearn' conference, this year held in the gorgeous city of Christchurch, pre-earthquake.  We were dressed up in glitz and glamour, glitter and sparkles.  The scene was set for an EPIC night.

Out the door and into the hall we spill and swoosh towards the elevator.  Our rowdy company of nine met an unfamiliar team of four at the elevator door.  Glistening glitter in their hair proved that we were all going to the same destination.  The excitement was contagious.  We laughed and joked like old friends.  The elevator door opened and we squeezed into the small stainless steel cube.   Slowly, the silver door slid closed.  At the last few moments a familiar face appeared.  It was Martin, the Koputoroa School principal.  A split second decision saw Martin angle his body through the narrowing gap.  The door sealed shut. Twenty-eight shoulders adjusted to make way for a new body.  Suddenly, the sickening sound of metal groaning vibrates in the shaft.  The elevator drops with us inside.

Around me I could see everybody's excited expression evaporate from their faces.  Their eyes widened with fear.  Panic surges through my blood.  I freeze.  Seconds pass.  My heart feels as though it had enlarged into my throat, making it impossible to breathe.  The noise was unbearable.  A thousand images of elevator movies gone bad flood through my mind.  Elevators full of people... mothers, husbands, daughters, nephews... shrieking people plummeting to the ground.  Lights flashing like strobes in a grey shaft.  Zoom!  The lift screams past.  KaBOOM!  Lights out.  Dust.  Darkness.

I snap myself out of my daze.  I tell myself to focus.  If I focus, I can survive.  My eyes dart all around me.  Adrenaline is pumping through my veins as my body is preparing for "fight or flight".  Where the hell am I going to run to?  I ask myself.  I look at the faces of my companions.  Does my face look as petrified as theirs?  I make eye-contact with some, others are just staring at the ground.  Another morbid thought stabs my mind; this tiny tin box is a can of baked-beans and we are the squirming beans inside, waiting for the inevitable.  Snap out of it, Nic... We feel scared but we are alive.  Suddenly, an idea pops into my brain.  The door!  I am standing next to the door!  I place my quaking hands up to the crack and squeeze my fingers inside.  Martin, who is standing next to me, sees what I was doing and joins in.  I stand on one side of the lift and he is on the other, arms extended using our legs as leverage.  We heave.  The elevator doors remain sealed. We heave again.  Beads of sweat build up on my forehead.  I clench my jaw and give one final blast.  Ever-so-slightly the doors open just enough for me to slip off one shoe and shove it into the crack.  I stare at the gap.  It's no wider than a crack of mortar between two bricks.  But it's something; a blast of fresh air whistles through giving us a sign of hope.

What about the phone? Shall we use the elevator phone to call for help!  We press the button that dials the operator.  A lady greets us and we explain that we are trapped in an elevator in the hotel Novotel in Christchurch... She pauses.  We all seem to lean in, waiting with baited breath to hear that help was on the way...
"Um, we don't have a Hotel Novotel in Christchurch..."
"You're kidding!"
"Oh my God..."
"You're joking, right?"

Words and thoughts of disbelief scattered throughout our silver tomb. How could this actually be happening? What are we going to do? 

"RIGHT! THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I'M CALLING 111!" Announced Mark from somewhere at the back. Words and thoughts of hope returned. Some even burst out laughing at the mere simplicity of the answer. "Why didn't we think of that earlier?" somebody joked nearby.
"Hello, yes. Fire brigade please.  Yes there are 16 people trapped in the elevator at the hotel Novotel, Christchurch and we need help right away." 
There was a slight pause then Mark said thank you as he slid his phone back into his pocket. "They're on their way" he said.

Now it was just a waiting game. The previous 10 minutes had turned our can of baked beans into a sauna. It was hot. I looked at people's red and wet faces. Balls of sweat rolled down my back. It was sweltering.  One by one, we each tilted back and forward, left and right as we tried to take off our coats in an attempt to cool down. We must have looked funny. Bumping and bobbing about like bits coral waving in the ocean.  Seconds turned into minutes, minutes turned into hours and my thoughts slipped in and out of consciousness.  I thought about my wife.  I thought about our 14 month old daughter.  I wondered how their life would be different without a father; a husband... Who would go to my funeral?  What would they say? How would my daughter ever really know what I was like?  I would never get to experience watching her learn to ride a bike, read books, play sports, drive a car... I thought of all the family holidays I would miss, graduating high school, university, marriage, kids, grandchildren.

It was now melting in our little hot-box so that condensation was dripping down the walls.  My clothes stuck to my skin.  The air was thick and fuzzy.  It was hard to breathe.  Erupting from the back a young woman burst out: "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!" Startling everyone back to life, we made way for her to come up to the front.  We positioned her next to the small gap with fresh air whistling through.  She rested her forehead on the drenched silver door with the tip of her nose sitting in the crack.  With her eyes closed, she breathed in a few deep breaths through her nose and seemed to calm.  That was tense.

Off into unconsciousness my mind drifted once more.  What if more people turn crazy and psyche out?  What if we all start fighting over the small gap at the front?  I start to get paranoid.  One by one, I check out my opposition.  I don't know them.  Any of them! I feel my eyes narrow.  Slowly, my sinister thoughts slip closer and closer to the edge.  My imagination took over and ran away laughing with my common sense, skipping away and dancing; taunting me and teasing me.  Everybody's calm faces suddenly twist and contort.  In an instant the weight of 16 adults squash against me as everyone wrestles for the top spot.  Screams of pain and panic fill the air.  I am thrown to the ground and trampled on.  The wind is knocked out of me.  My face and neck crack and crunch under the pressure.  My jaw crumbles.  My internal organs are squeezed flat inside me.  Desperately, I use every ounce of my strength to clamber to my feet; to space; to air; to safety... but it's too late.  I lay motionless in the final moments of my life, twitching.  There is nothing left...

Sounds of footsteps snap me out of my "daymare".  They approach the doors from the outside.
"Hey guys" a muffled voice calls from below us.
"Listen carefully.  We are going to open the doors but no one is to make a move to get out until the elevator caretaker arrives, do you understand?"
We all agree that we wouldn't move.  But the hidden voice added one more disclaimer.
"If someone was to jump out, it could trigger the lift to slip again and that might crush someone in half.  Are we clear on this?"
"Yes" we chorus.

As we are all beginning to smile and sigh with signs of relief I could hear the distinct tinkering sound of a large metal object resting against another metal object.  The end of a crowbar popped through our gap!   SCREETCH... GROAN... REERRR... The doors jutted open.  A haze of water droplets building up inside out tin sauna zip up and out in a flash like the Millennium Falcon entering hyperspace.  With both hands stretched out in front of his face, the fire fighter his taken aback as the steam whooshes past.  Then a friendly face appears just above ours on the above floor.  We had dropped about four-fifths of the way down towards the next floor.  Only four-fifths.  It had felt like 2 floors!  Another smiling face joins him.  The two fire fighters lie down on the floor, folding their arms and resting their heads on their hands. "Seems you lot are in a bit of a pickle then?" he joked.

Having the door wide open gave a new meaning to life.  I took a breath, long and deep. I closed my eyes and smiled.  Whew!  I thought.  And I joined in on the conversation happening around the place.
"You look a bit squashed there!"
"Pretty intimate."
"You look like a can of sardines!"
"Smells like it too after all of that sweat!"

Before long the repair man arrived.  He darted here and there.  Explained to us that he was going to shut the door again and manually wind us down.  It was slightly nerve-racking getting sealed up again.  Then we got jostled about bouncing down.  The doors slid open and we were free.

It took me a year before I could go back into an elevator again.  But that's ok.  I'll never forget that trip nor that beautiful city of Christchurch pre-earthquake nor that emotional roller-coaster night.  We made it to the conference ball but it was different.  We were different.  Our thoughts were suspended somewhere far away, four-fifths between floors 5 and 6.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Multiplication and division using Bar Models

Today really stretched me.  Like really stretched me.  But by golly, at the end of the session I felt I had a complete aha moment.

This 'light bulb' moment helped me connect the dots between sharing back learning of how students worked out their problems and how to actually do this so that each student has the opportunity to see their next step within the task. Ok, Ive just re-read this and realised it sounds like gobbly-goop.  Put simply, a teacher must carefully select the students to share back so that this discussion is a cue for another learner to go back to their problem to do the next step. Like using the knowledge of the group to inspire each other.

The "first try" / second attempt idea is an amazing idea to show our impact as teachers.  Also, to show a growth mindset.  You can actually see what you have learnt.

It's been a couple of weeks now since Dinah has been in. I am trying to transfer what I've learned about orchestrating the learning to my own practice.  Man.  What a mission!  She makes it look so easy!  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Leadership with Carol Session 1 2016

Shifting the Monkey: It is so hard to separate personal and professional connections I make when in a session with Carol.  I suppose they are interconnected as my work in education is very much people and relationship based.

I guess we all are guilty of shifting bad monkeys when we vent to our friends or loved ones about goings on in our lives... It's a human trait. But being aware of when and how these bad monkeys are shifted is so important to the work of leaders.

James talked about the Beach ball perspective here.    
What part of the beachball are you looking from?


The Politics of COLLABORATIVE expertise.

Reading Summary: #1Change the narrative.  Focus on learning.  Focus on progress.  Everyone working collectively to improve student achievement.

"We need to get collaboration in schools before it goes between schools"

I disagreed because I made a connection to the pencil metaphor. 

Judging by the thousands of teachers who are connected through the NZ Primary Teachers Facebook page, we are still a long way off from collaborating in schools.  The sector needs leaders, early adopters, movers! Shakers! to carve the way to what collaboration looks like between schools. I believe there are pockets of people in schools who successfully collaborate who are ready to move forward and collaborate between schools.

I have a hunch that this may help the schools who haven't got the "in schools" part yet, get amongst it.  Why is it important?  Because we, collectively, have the responsibility to raise student achievement.

Walk off the earth video - what is collaboration?  Working together, in your own unique way, towards a collective goal.

"Who" is getting in the way of improving student achievement?  Can you think of a name on your staff who might be? What is it?  Why?  Is it the same for all learners?

Esteeming success - valuing and uplifting success - ACET teachers. Sharing knowledge in and across schools.  Examining good practice.  Random wondering... So what?  ACET become ACET teachers and then what? Does their practice change?  What more do they have to do?  Do they get to juggle any more monkeys?

We need to examine what it is that our best teachers are doing... If we are thinking about expertise then we have to evaluate what effective teaching is.  If people are getting in the way of improving student achievement, then perhaps as educators we might not be that great at evaluation... Food for thought. 

One action: Grow our writing stamina sustainability.

Read to the end of #task 6 for coaching session.  Chapters 1 & 2 of Shifting Monkeys. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How do you do learner agency?

I've been asked a few times how do you do learner agency. I thought I'd share my response: 

Yeah so "Learner agency." It is a mindset as much as it is a practical idea. Learner agency is embedded in self-determination theory. And inside this, is self-regulation and motivation. So how teachers set up student workflows (learning tasks) for this is happen is: 
- student voice comes first - what drives them? What fires them up? What are they passionate about?

- choice. You negotiate learning tasks: must do can do lists, tic tac toe (students choose three tasks out of nine to complete) etc. Learners should take more responsibility over the design of "must do / can dos" the older they get.

You need to spend time scaffolding how to learn, choosing challenging tasks, and what to do when you don't know what to do.

Create a rubric together. Unpack the dispositions on all levels.

Recommended viewing / reading:

The how: 

I hope this will get you started anyways...