Three Thought Sparks

A bit of a different post to my usual ones where I unpack things going on. In this post I simply want to share 3 things that have sparked thoughts for me this week.

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These sparks are on very different topics but have all kicked my brain into overdrive at different times this week. Enjoy: Continue reading

Sir Gateway?

Many people may get annoyed with this post, in fact it may even be considered sacrilegious by some. Sir Ken Robinson is extremely well known, liked by many and revered by some. His TED talk from 2006 has been watched almost 35 million times. Yet on finishing his most recent book I was left with an overwhelming sense of “meh.”

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The Day We Colonised Another Planet in Class

Mountain on Planet Epic: resource to utilise or sacred ground?

Mountain on Planet Epic: resource to utilise or sacred ground?

This post is being jointly written by Danielle and Steve and cross-posted on both of our blogs (you really should check out Danielle’s blog http://missdtheteacher.blogspot.co.nz/ it is awesome). We are co-teaching a Science and Social Studies module called Post-Mortem for the first half of this year. This post is to share a learning experience that we designed to kick off the second term of our course: colonising another planet.
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Working in an MLE

This post was originally written for The Network – a newsletter for the New Zealand Board of Geography Teachers:

Modern Learning Environments (MLE) seem to be springing up all over the country and all new builds or developments in schools now are supposed to be under this model. I have been teaching in a brand new MLE this year at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. So what is it actually like to work in an MLE? Continue reading

How Might We purposefully develop students’ learning dispositions?

At Hobsonville Point Secondary School we focus on developing both academic and personal excellence. This mirrors recent changes globally in education where learning dispositions are becoming a more important focus for many schools.

So far we have been focusing on doing this in our Learning Hubs (our version of an advisory system). But there are also moves amongst some staff to have these being developed within the learning modules as well. This makes sense. I can think of last term where I focused on developing students curiosity as well as increasing their skill level within my robotics class.

We have 10 learning dispositions we focus on called the Hobsonville Habits:

Hobsonville Habits courtesy of Sally Hart

Hobsonville Habits courtesy of Sally Hart

This term we are focusing on making the learning more explicit for students. They have eportfolios set up to track their own progress and need teachers to help advise them to tag their progress accordingly – learning areas, Habits, phase of our Learning Design Model etc.

As an attempt to make the Habits explicit, our Learning Community (Taheretikitiki with the other coaches being Megan, Lea, Bryce and Danielle) are taking on a Hobsonville Habit Challenge. Each week this term we are challenging each other to share how they are using 1 of the Habits.

  • Week 1: Purposeful
  • Week 2: Refective
  • Week 3: Curious
  • Week 4: Resourceful
  • Week 5: Contributive
  • Week 6: Adventurous
  • Week 7: Creative
  • Week 8: Resilient
  • Week 9: Compassionate
  • Week 10: Responsive

Students and teachers are going to share on a wall in our area plus on social media using #hobbyhabitschallenge how they (or someone else they notice) are using that habit.

My modules really kick into gear this week so I have been purposeful in planning to develop dispositions amongst the lesson plans (helped in massive amounts by the Key Competencies for the Future book I finished reading last week!). Will let you know how this develops over the term to see if I get better at doing this (already seems better in my head at least than just doing a tick box “of course I taught that Key Competency” type approach I have done in the past!). For a great example of how this can work see the section in Sally’s post on how her and Lisa purposefully focused on 4 habits for their Thought in Sport module.

How do you develop learning dispositions with your students?

 

This post is Day 27 of My Questioning Quest

Lessons from Term 2

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

Page 34 New Zealand Curriculum

Page 34 New Zealand Curriculum

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How Might We Best Manage the Tension Between Personalisation And Curriculum Coverage?

Day 1 of my Questioning Quest, is a question constantly in my mind this year.

I truly believe the tension between personalisation and curriculum coverage can cause amazing creativity to occur in learning. Our vision of Personalised Learning must also ensure students have the required skills and understandings to succeed as seniors. To do so we are currently developing tools and checks to evaluate student coverage and progress amongst the high level of choice students have in their modules.

Many schools are investigating personalisation as a future focused curriculum or modern learning practice. How do you negotiate this tension?

NZ US Design Thinking Chat

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to Google Hangout into the awesome Fuse14 conference happening in Atlanta. After many twitter discussions with Grant Lichtman (author of The Falconer) and Meghan Cureton (Director of the Innovation Diploma at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Upper School, Atlanta) we decided it was time to chat ‘face to face’. The discussion also included Claire Amos and Karen Melhuish-Spencer here in NZ and ranged from the state of Design Thinking in our respective countries, how to grow student centred approaches through to the intersection of student passions and community needs. Watch the full video below:

Developing the Characteristics of our Heroes

Entering this term I had set myself the goal of improving in my role as a Learning Coach as I felt this was the area of of teaching I was least proud of in Term 1. Our Learning Hubs at Hobsonville Point Secondary School are a version of Learning Advisories as seen at Big Picture Schools and we see our students every day ranging in time from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

In these hubs we are developing students’ Hobsonville Habits (our learning dispositions) their metacognition (which we are using Hermann’s Brain as a focus on this) their hauora (wellbeing) and also being an active advocate for students in their learning. I had done all of these things well in Term 1 but thought that I could make this more powerful for them by personalising our activities to be more meaningful for these specific students.

The activity I describe here took place on Tuesday morning when we spent 2 hours together and is based heavily on an idea from The Falconer by Grant Lichtman (see my full reflection on this book here). Continue reading

Searching for Elegant Solutions

I recently read The Falconer by Grant Lichtman and thoroughly encourage each of you to do the same!

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It really pulled some thought threads together for me and I found myself nodding away and tweeting quotes the whole way through the book. I had read the book to try and find ways to take Design Thinking from a process to a mindset and it has absolutely helped me to do this.

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