As we are halfway through Term 1, I thought it must be time to reflect on (and share) how the term is going. In line with my current thoughts on assessment, it will be descriptive and diagnostic rather than a pointless grade giving exercise!
This term I am teaching 2 collaborative modules: Museum of Mihi with Sally Hart and Megan Peterson; and Mapping Me with Cindy Wynn. I have also been involved with 1 Big Project and am Learning Coach for Reweti Hub.
Museum of Mihi
Our course description was: “In this module we will explore your identity through the artefacts and interests that represent you. We will look at how different people choose to represent themselves with different objects. You will then decide how to share your museum of yourself.”
Megan, Sally and I have collaborated really well in both the planning and teaching of this module. We have tried out a range of team teaching strategies including stations, workshops and lead teacher supported by floaters. The initial feedback from students after Week 1 was about sharing more clearly our goals for the term and raising our work level expectations slightly. We adjusted to meet that feedback and also provided opportunities for both independent and collaborative work to occur.
We have been able to integrate our concepts and skills from PE/Health, Social Sciences and Drama really effectively in this module. I truly feel that we have met the vision of integrating the disciplines to amplify the learning of students.
After a few weeks of exploring and making sense of personal and shared identities we went on a field trip this week to Auckland Maritime Museum, Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland Museum to focus on how artefacts are curated into an effective exhibition:
Next week the students start creating their own museum exhibitions to represent themselves. The exhibition will be in the last week of term but initial prototypes will be displayed in Week 9 so that teachers, peers and museum staff can feedback on what could be refined.
The description of this course was: “In this module you will investigate the significance of the historical, biological and contemporary influences on us. This will include situations such as geneaology, genetics and social media. We will then consider which is the most important influence.”
In contrast to Museum of Mihi above, Cindy and I have worked slightly more separated/side by side in this module in a more multidisciplinary approach rather than completely integrated. With a smaller amount of collaborative teaching and more of a workshop approach the students have switched between learning about genetic or social inheritance and physical or social influences on their identities.
The integration in this module is coming more when the students start their inquiry later this week. Students will have to investigate the historical, biological and social influences on their lives and make a justified decision on which has had a more significant impact on who they are. As a justification which must be able to be shared they will be able to choose from a few different options as to how they present this: TED style talk, video, display board etc.
As the students undertake this inquiry, Cindy and I will work together on guiding, supporting or directing the students as necessary. I have really enjoyed working with Cindy and benefitted from her ability to focus in on what the important learning intentions are from each idea we discuss.
The first Big project was in our Hub groups to celebrate Moving In to our new school building. Reweti Hub decided to try and make a movie of celebrities saying good luck to the students and school – a big ask in only a 2 week turn around! Here’s the result:
This was a massive learning experience for these students (and for me as a Project leader) as they struggled within the timeframe, some of them struggled with the idea of failing but then ultimately as a group owned up to their failure and played the video above at the Show Time event in our school auditorium. This was an incredibly proud moment for me.
The next big project is ‘Build Our Culture’ click here to see the website explaining more about how we will develop our school culture. There is an incredible selection of things for the students to focus on:
I am running the ‘Future Learning Happening Now’ project which will be very exciting as we tinker with Makey Makey, Arduino and robotics; pull apart old electronics and then start creating our own inventions. I have been working with Mind Kits on ordering the technology to use in this project and they have been extremely helpful!
I am really enjoying being a Hub Coach but also feel this is possibly where I could improve the most over the rest of this term. Our hub have created a strong working relationship very quickly and have had a great time together. We help each other with MyTime and Project choices, help clear up any issues school wise and support each other through tough times (only 1 or 2 of these so far).
I need to improve on helping students reflect further. After initial work at the start of the year, I feel I could do more to help students understand their cognitive preferences and hauora/wellbeing in further depth. An aim for me to prioritise over the next few weeks!
We have also had 1 on 1 conferences a couple of times already and will be preparing for IEMs in the last 2 weeks of this term.
So far I have mainly run Robotics and Module Support workshops during our flexitime.
The Robotics workshops have seen a good group of students start on the ZombieBot challenges, join Code Avengers and start to play with a Robotics Kit we got from The Mind Lab. The students have said that they are keen to enter robotics competitions so I am currently investigating whether we will set up both VEX and LEGO robotics teams with students choosing which one they want to enter or whether we will just focus on one.
Next week I will be starting a Guerrilla Geography group in My Time where we will mainly do some Mission Explore activities but also look to join in with the 2014 Guerrilla Geography Project on the Misplaced.
I took the Swimming team to their Central/West Zone competition and that is it so far. The Robotics competitions will eventually be quite a large extra curricular activity.
No wonder it feels so full on – look at everything going on!
I’m looking forward to planning the next lot of modules over the next few weeks, especially as we go into it this time with student voice added in and the experiences of Term 1 under our belt.
Thanks for sharing that, Steve. It does sound full on but I imagine all the planning you guys did last year is coming into its own now. Such a cool way of learning.
It is great to read what you are doing at HPSS, and your honest reflections. Thank you for sharing. When do you find time to sleep…?!
We have been feeling a bit under stress thelast week but it was important to remember that EVERY school is hectic in Term 1.
We just have a different spin on things as we are trying new things and teaching in ways that we haven’t really done before.
And on the sleep – last night was the first time I had been in bed before 10 in a couple of weeks, today feels like bliss!
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