Monday, 6 August 2018

Silos Being Smashed, Shortly

This afternoon during our PLG, we started to discuss with greater depth where OC is heading in the next couple of years, as we are currently having a curriculum review. We began watching the below video created by our DP Richard Wells, which has been sent to the students' whānau for community feedback.

I am very excited by the opportunity to learn from, and with other teachers. Although I adore Health and PE, the reality is these silos aren't present outside of the school walls, so integrating with other teachers/subjects will be amazing. There are definitely many challenges we will face, and the change is not going to come easy, but I feel the end result will be great for our students.

With learner agency and critical thinking at the forefront of the change, this suggests a massive shift from focusing on the back end of the curriculum to the front. We will have greater focus on values, principles and key competencies, rather than content understanding. I love that (hopefully) students will have more choice in what they learn, how they learn and what they take away from school, rather than a regimented timetable with a tonne of assessment. I hate how much we assess kids, and I hate that I have to actively think about how NOT to teach to the assessment but also ensure students have the skills and knowledge to achieve their assessments to the best of their ability. I wish we could be more creative and open with our learning opportunities, but the current silos and factorised structure, with extremely limited time, makes this difficult. 

As previously blogged about before, my PLG's focus is around the Ako Orewa tools for learning. Today we concluded our major roles in this review would be to attempt to create some common language and consistency across staff, and promoting/encouraging the use of the tools. This would help to ensure similar pictures across the board, and possibly reduce the current silos. Additionally, we need to keep creating the alongside model we have been developing this year, to break down an Ako Classroom. Watch this space...

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Quick Paced Whānau Meetings

Last Tuesday and Wednesday evenings we had our second round of parent-teacher meetings. I felt much more comfortable this time than I did during the first round in Term 1 as I knew the students and the school more. Although they were pretty intense and exhausting, I really enjoyed them!

I think it is a great opportunity to connect with students and their whānau outside of the classroom environment. I really enjoy having one on one conversations with students, but unfortunately within only 3 hours per week I don't manage to have deep conversations with each student. I have noticed this over the last couple of months, and after reflecting on my day observing my students. So this is a goal I have in the back of my mind - spend more time with students individually.

However, the meetings last week did give me the chance to connect with some students who I hadn't spent much time with, particularly the quieter students. Being able to describe where they are at in their learning and the next steps for the student came easily, which really showed me I have made good relationships with the kids. But I did find myself stuck a few times with some feedforward for the caregivers, especially the Excellence level students.

Therefore, in future I need to dedicate a period or two prior to the interviews to make brief notes about each student. Something they're doing well, something about them as a person and something to take away to continue to grow. This would then give me a structure to follow for the interviews, give an overall picture of them in my class and ensure I maximise the time - they are only 5 minutes! Looking forward to developing my relationships with the students' whānau further.