While playing with family over the first week of these holidays I have been reflecting back over last term. This reflection has led to me finding 5 key takeaways to remember in future.
1. Name the Elephant in the room
If you can name the issue/concern that is bugging you at the time it arises it allows your team to move forward together much quicker. An effective team has healthy working relationships and can deal with these situations, not get stuck on taking things personally.
2. Take the time to get students defining the problem
An extremely important step in problem solving is actually defining the right problem at the start. So often students are given the problem by the teacher. This term Pete McGhie and I really found out how powerful it is to get students defining the problem themselves. More time consuming but incredible learning ensued!
3. Teach less and teach it better
This term was the first time I taught one of our “Spin Modules”. These modules happen once a week for 90 minutes. What it really taught me was that incredible learning can take place within this short time structure if you pick the important parts to focus on. My Misplace students gained an incredibly deep understanding of the concept of Place, constructed strong definitions and created examples that challenged what belongs in a Place, all within this short timeframe.
4. My PLN are awesome
Last term was hectic. On top of normal teaching, some winter bugs and redesigning how a secondary school can operate, we had a new baby. Cue disrupted times for some of my classes. But, not really. See I work with awesome people – Martin, Danielle and Sarah all looked after classes/project groups at times plus Bryce, Megan, Lea and Danielle all looked after my Hub as well – but I also had the amazing Tim Carr from Mind Kits come in and take my Big Project group one afternoon as well. Thanks folks!
5. When given the chance, students really get how to engage with the curriculum
I had my Hub work through the Maths and Science sections of the New Zealand Curriculum to make sense of what they had learned last term. Starting from the concepts and skills stated in their module guide they had to identify where they were in the curriculum and highlight them. Then they reflected on their modules and wrote next to the highlighted passages how they had learned these aspects of the curriculum. Unfortunately we ran out of time to look at other areas of the NZC but this activity will be a regular for us. My aim next term is to help other teachers do the same in Hubs but also in modules to help make the learning explicit – why this activity? What is it aiming to achieve etc. This is key for students to understand so they can develop to the point where in the senior school students will be able to say “Here’s an idea I have for a project and here’s the curriculum and achievement standards I will cover by learning this” – my dream/vision for the future!
Now I’m looking forward to seeing what Term 3 has in store for me!