Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Getting Our Write On!

I have written earlier about how my dissertation focus will be around building both confidence and engagement in writing and seeing if this has a link with achievement so I thought it may be timely to discuss the approach that I am using with this.  As mentioned earlier, our hub has already undergone our Term One inquiry into writing so my individual inquiry focus is a continuation on that.

I am currently working with a group of learners which are working towards the Year Two or Year Three writing standards.  The standards for each are as follows:



With these in mind, I am exploring the links between students' non-cognitive skills and both engagement and achievement with their writing.  Each week learners will be reflecting on the following:
  • Which of our seven learner qualities did they use in their writing this week?
  • How did they feel about their writing learning this week?
  • What help do they require in their writing learning from myself for the following week?
I am using Explain Everything to help learners both articulate and record their thoughts.  Learners are able to highlight and record their thoughts on each of the above questions which I am transcribing and using to help to inform the following week's planning for their writing sessions.

Already two weeks in and I can already see how this is impacting my practice as I listen to the reflections - learners are taking the time to really be honest in how they are going with their writing and what parts of their learning that they require further assistance from me.  This has helped me already craft some workshops where I can spend time with learners on particular skills that they feel they need a boost in.  I will be examining these feedback loops in more detail in Term 3.

I am very lucky to be working with such a great bunch of kids - check out some of their description publishing below and if you can, please feel free to leave a comment on the blog post!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Meet My Guardian Group - Agents Of Their Own Learning!

I wrote an earlier post about getting to know myself before knowing my learners so I thought I would introduce you to my Guardian Group.

While not your standard photo, this does sum up some of the personalities of these kids.  In the hub with 70 learners, I am responsible for the roll and pastoral care of this group of learners.  When I came into this year, I reflected on my interaction with my last year's Guardian Group (that I shared with my mentor teacher) and felt that our time together was quite transactional and dedicated solely to the taking of the roll and the dissemination of information.

So coming into 2017, I really wanted to dial up the relationships with my Guardian Group.  A noticing that the hub team had with all our learners early in the year was that they needed some time after lunch to come down from the excitement of break time so we came up with "Relax and Refresh" - a 15 minute period after the roll where they could prepare for the afternoon block of learning.

Wanting their voice into how to best utilise this time, we discussed different ways that we could continue our learning and after a couple of days, this is what they came up with!

Looking at the activities they came up with, there is a great balance of the initial intention of providing them a chance to relax and recharge, but what I enjoyed seeing more was that some of the activities gives us opportunities to develop our skills of collaboration and finding out more about one another.

I got a great insight into the nature of these kids last week when I shared with them this article.  We discussed the article and how this idea linked in with our Break Through learning (learning spawned from an insight or our passions) and then we spoke about the money.  I innocently asked the question about what they would do if they were offered the $44 million.  The majority of the group spoke about how money does not equal happiness and how aspects such as family and health were important.  I was blown away by the humble nature of their responses and know that by doing future activities like the ones we have planned out, that I will get further insights into how to engage with these learners.

I tell the kids that these 15 minutes are one of my favourite times of the school day and I am looking forward to building further agency with these learners for the remainder of the year.