From Knowing to Empathising

The start of a new school year brings with it a whole bunch of new students to get to know. Principals around the country will be urging their staff to get to know their learners and reminding them of the importance of relationships to enable learning to occur. So what does this actually mean? How do we get to really know our learners?

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Developing Student Questioning

I have a strong belief that developing student’s questioning abilities empowers them to take ownership of their learning. Strong questioning can open up learning paths and is also an important skill for being an active citizen.

Last week, our SLL team offered 3 different workshops for the Friday Staff PD session. This post is sharing the Questioning strategies I covered in my session.

QuestionStorming

QuestionStorming is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of a brainstorm where people put down as many ideas as they can, questionstorming is writing down as many questions as you can. It is a great strategy for developing students abilities to generate questions. Continue reading

Developing Coteaching HPSS Style

We are continuing to develop the effectiveness of our coteaching at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. Over the past 2 weeks we have continued reading into effective coteaching practices from overseas and comparing these to our practices here at HPSS. Much of this overseas literature is based in Primary and/or for including special educational needs into mainstream classrooms.

With this gap in literature, we have identified that some of our practices are already exceeding that shared online. There is, however, plenty left for us to learn and improve. Since our last session on coteaching models we have focused on the role a teacher can play in supporting their coteacher.

Last week, our reading was this table from a research article by Wendy Murawski:

 

This table was helpful for us, but many staff felt that we already did these activities and in some cases could provide examples of partner roles that exceeded those in the table. Continue reading

Co-Teaching in Action

Secondary teachers primarily spend their time teaching their class, in their room, in their own personal way. One of our biggest concerns when starting to teach at Hobsonville Point Secondary School was around how the co-teaching (team teaching, whatever you want to call it) was going to operate. The major positive working in our favour was that while holding concerns, we were all keen to try it out.

This mindset held us well over the first year. We tried things out, worked on our teaching relationships, gave feedback and planned for how to improve our co-teaching. Continue reading

Growth Mindset Activities for Students

There has been a lot of talk about Growth Mindset around the education scene in New Zealand over the past few weeks. Stemmed by the visit of Carol Dweck for a series of conferences in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. This can obviously apply to both staff and students in schools, and some people have been asking how to introduce Growth Mindset to their students.

An obvious place to start is the TEDx talk by Carol Dweck on the Power of Yet followed by a discussion with the class.:

Here are a couple of activities that I have done with my Learning Hub during Term 1 on Growth Mindset: Continue reading

Getting Strategic With Goals

“That was great. I have never thought that deeply about my goals before.”

Hearing this from a normally quite cynical Year 10 boy was a great end to a session I ran yesterday. Our Taheretikitiki community is focusing on the Hobsonville Habit of Purposeful this week and it was my turn to run the community activity. Being early in the year, many of the Hubs have been developing goals for the year so the focus of the session was to develop strategies that would help them reach their goals.

Whiteboard notes that will make sense if you keep reading!

Whiteboard notes that will make sense if you keep reading!

The image above is the whiteboard notes from our Goal session and show the steps that we went through. The steps above the green line happened as a whole community (~79 students) and the last 3 steps were back in their hubs (groups of 11-12). Continue reading

A Buzzword Ban

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A couple of weeks ago I spent the 1st 2 days of my eFellowship at a retreat in West Auckland. To ensure we properly explained ourselves as we discussed inquiry ideas for the year we had a ban put on the use of edu-buzzwords.

We collated a list of commonly used buzzwords in education and were given 8 poker tokens. Each time we said one of the terms we had to pay a token into the “Swear Jar”.

It was an entertaining addition to the 2 days but also played a big part in ensuring we explained what we really meant and didn’t rely on jargon. Continue reading

What If?

One of my favourite lesson starters is to give students a What If question and give them a few minutes to generate multiple answers. This serves a couple of purposes. 1) they immediately have something to do when they enter class rather than waiting for everyone else to arrive. 2) it gets the brain working in a creative, divergent fashion to start the lesson.

I have spoken about this a few times online and people seem to like the idea. Natasha Low asked if I had blogged about these but I hadn’t so here are some examples of what I mean.

I try to give between 3-5 minutes and set a target of at least 7 ideas written down in that time. Some prompts work better than others of course and students do range in their generative capabilities. Continue reading

How Might We Reduce Scarcity?

This term I am teaching a module on Economic concepts called The Apprentice. Each week is a different challenge based upon a different concept or skill. So far we have investigated resource types, consumer rights and made an advertisement. Today our focus was on the concept of Scarcity and I decided to approach it as a 90 minute Design Thinking challenge.

As usual, we started the class with a What If question – today’s being: What if there were no chickens left in the world? With 5 minutes to write down as many ideas as possible and then sharing a few answers, 10 minutes of our precious 90 minutes a week was gone. We had, however, opened up into a divergent mindset ready to think creatively in our task at hand today (as well bemoan the loss of KFC and pancakes from our lives).

The only form of direct instruction in the lesson happened next as I led a whole class discussion on Scarcity. What does it mean, what are some examples etc. Students then chose a specific scarce resource and worked in groups for 10 minutes to generate a list of all the different things it is used for and what the issues are with it as a resource. After this the group had to come to a consensus as to what the key problem is for that resource.

We then discussed the challenge for today:

20141106_102835 Continue reading

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