I have just had my largest break from blogging since I started 2 and a half years ago. Blogging is a big part of how I reflect and progress but priorities have shifted a bit lately with family circumstances. I have still reflected, tweeted, discussed with coteachers, critical friends and colleagues; but the blog has sat here much quieter than normal. That said, here is what has been happening in my classes lately:
The early part of this term was focused on students’ IEMs. This is a 3-way conversation between students, their parents and me as their advisory coach. The highlight of this day is being part of genuine learning conversations. Celebrations and challenges are shared, discussed and implications considered.
This flows naturally into setting some goals for the second half of the year based on the needs we collaboratively identify. My bonus highlight of the day was a comment from one parent: “This was the best parent teacher interview we have ever been part of. We focused on his learning as well as his behaviour and everything was pointing towards where to next for ‘X’.”
Earlier in the year we had focused on Growth Mindset and the Learning Pit. This term we have spent time reading, discussing and blogging about success and failure. These 2 words usually have a very traditional understanding attached to them in education, yet our Hub have been able to really think deeply about the role of failure in determining our future success.
This term our Social Sciences modules are developing students’ understanding of Sustainability including Environmental, Social and Economic aspects. Each of my 3 modules is doing this in different ways:
In Outlook, my coteacher is Tracey, and the focus this term is on students creating films for The Outlook for Someday Film Competition. After building initial understandings of the 3 aspects of Sustainability, the students have chosen a focus area and researched further. The last 2 weeks have been all about research, storyboarding and starting to film. My highlights so far are how many are focusing on Social Sustainability and the great (often hidden) skills from students as they start filming their movies.
Back to the Bromance, in this module I am coteaching with Pete, who I taught with last year which resulted in some amazing student learning. This semester we are focusing on sustainable food practices. We started the term with documentaries Food Inc and That Sugar Film. This provoked some student reflections around practices they think should be sustained into the future and practices that need to change.
Our Monday (3 hour) sessions are primarily focused on these issues as students develop campaigns for their chosen food practices. Fridays are more focused on them teaching their peers food practices that they have in their families. This session has been relatively practical in the kitchen for most groups. All of these practices and recipes then need to be shared in blogs so that they keep track on all of their learning for the module and share it with a wider audience.
Age of Ultron is being cotaught with Danielle who I have taught with a couple of times previously (see posts on learning activities from classes with Danielle earlier this year and last year). This is great as we have already built up a capital of trust which allows us to push each other in our practice. This module came out of the student voice ideas on what they wanted to learn about under the concept of innovation – many students were interested in learning more about Artificial Intelligence. As Science are focusing on electricity, she saw the chance to link this into an authentic context that students were interested in. This sees us learning about emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality, Self Driving Cars and Artificial Intelligence, how they work and what the social, environmental and cultural implications of these are.
Lessons have included creating user profiles for emerging technologies, taking apart old electronics to see how they work and the differences between machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (for detail on this see Dr James Pau from ThoughtWired blogpost on his lesson with us).
I have really enjoyed coaching our 6th Grade Rugby team this year. By the end of season they were unrecognisable from the bunch who showed up at the start of the year with only a handful having played regular rugby before. They developed amazingly as a team and it is great to see a positive rugby culture started at Hobsonville Point.
I have also really enjoyed taking part in the first challenge on The Teachers Guild, expanding my knowledge and experience with Design Thinking. Join in, it is great fun!
So, that’s a brief overview of what I have been up to at school lately. Blogging drought over, look forward to sharing more actions and thoughts again.
Interesting summary of your recent activities, especially the extracurricular. We had a chat in our most recent staff meeting about work life balance, it’s an idea I find vexing given the collaboration within our learning environments. I often feel I move from too much work to too much home – no inbetween. How do you manage to remain an innovative educator but retain work life balance? Especially given you & I both have young families.