Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A "Fun" Beginning

So it has been a dynamic start to 2014 in Class 12.

After having taught senior students for the last 5years, I knew that scaling back on my expectations for the smaller children would be essential.
I am pleasantly surprised.

Bar one or two failed lessons, the students are picking up Learn, Create, Share very quickly.
Just check out the sheer number of individual blogposts!

There is a real love for learning and achievement in the class, but very few of the learners possess the capacity to know where to begin independently. I find myself giving instructions 5 times, repeating them 5 times and working individually with students as they struggle through tasks.

A life skill that I am trying to entrench is the idea shared at Educamps - "The answer is in the room." That the people around you have the answers to help you out.

Many students are reluctant to ask for help, yet when they do, their classmates seem reluctant to share. Many perceive sharing with others as "cheating". Also the belief is strongly held that the teacher has all the answers so I will wait until she tells me what to do.

Our challenge for the next few weeks is to develop more of a collaborative approach to learning and the desire to share the learning with others in the room. This is a new head space for my wee crew and one that will take some tackling.

The Key Competencies of Participation, Relating to Others and Thinking will take centre stage in this approach.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Plan for 2014

The NZ Curriculum has within it a beautiful gem - the Key Competencies.  My plan for 2014 is to teach children explicitly through the understandings of the 5 Key Competencies. Once students fully grasp the point and understanding of the Key Competencies then true independent learning can thrive.

So my plan for 2014 is to explicitly discuss, share and talk about why, how and when we are learning with the Key Competencies. Despite the children being young, I know that being able to discuss the ins and outs of learning can only benefit the learner.
Around the classroom walls and on the classroom Google site the Key Competencies are prominently displayed.

As a class we spent 4 x 10 minute pockets of the first day of school talking through what the KCs are and helping to define them. We discussed how an activity, which on the surface appeared to contain no learning, had all 5 Key Competencies embedded within and what we had learnt because of that experience. As we chatted it seemed as if the odd light bulb was turning on and cogs were grinding.  On only the second day of school, without prompting, different students referred to the KCs independently when we began to talk about our learning for the day and what we would be thinking about.  These kids are only 7 or 8 years of age and are so receptive to hearing about the whys and whats of learning.

We will be documenting the students' thinking and learning with a 1:1 iPad program. By doing this we are creating not just a reflective act but also a prospective one as it shapes the design of future learning needs. Students are metacognitively processing their achievements and failures, leading to an increased understanding of their own learning journey.

Some students this year are highly impulsive and prone to over-sharing. These students will thrive in this environment as they are already responding to subtle cues for self management and are enjoying the discussion and sharing around their learning.

I am really looking forward to 2014 and the possibilities that this approach could bring. We will be documenting, sharing and reflecting on our learning via our student blogs.

Bring on the choice learning!