Making Learning Visible at Stonefields

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Yesterday Di, Kylee and I had the privilege of visiting Stonefields School for a couple of hours. Stonefields have a great reputation for making learning visible and as I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, our team have a focus on developing the usage of our common learning language at HPSS. This post will cover the major takeaways for me from this visit – Sharing progression, seamless use of learning process and learner qualities, vision/leadership, familiar tensions and a collaborative future. Hopefully it will also encapsulate how inspiring Sarah Martin and her team are.

Sharing Progression

Students have Learning Progression documents for Mathematics, Reading, Writing and the Stonefields Learner Qualities. These documents break the curriculum own into student-friendly language and demonstrate what all students need to understand as they progress through the school. One awesome student sharing his progressions with us described them as a learning bucket list. Continue reading

Aligning the Scenius

image via @therealbanksy

image via @therealbanksy

This last week at Hobsonville Point Secondary School has felt to me like we are shooting out the end of that image on the right. Suddenly all kinds of things are aligning and we are shooting forward in our latest iteration.

Our Specialised Learning Leader team has a focus on visible thinking and learning. For us that means seeing explicit use of the learning design language in what teachers are using and saying day to day in class. To help this along, a couple of us (Kylee and I) have it as our focus for our 30 Day Sprint. This awesome on 2 levels for me. 1) I see the use of this language as incredibly empowering for our learners. 2) Utilising 30 day sprints alongside 90 day team goals is giving our team a renewed focus this year and has helped us get into that Start-Up frame of mind that served us so well when creating the original structures for our school in 2013.

Friday morning’s PD session saw a focus on 2 things: Setting our goals for the year and planning our Teaching as Inquiry. Our 3 personal professional goals had to align with the school principles: Continue reading

What is the Essence of Your School?

Thanks Jo for this image from #EdJourney by Grant Lichtman

Thanks Jo for this image from #EdJourney by Grant Lichtman

In #EdJourney, Grant Lichtman discusses schools’ value proposition. That is, what your school offers compared to other schools. Each school sets out their vision – implemented to different levels by different schools, some completely through all staff members, some just believed by Senior Leadership. The Value Proposition, as I understand it, is about what you actually do compared to what you say you will do (much like Espoused Theory vs Theory in Use by Chris Argyris). It essentially says that the practices of a school tells their community they really value. If we asked parents what their son or daughter gains by going to your school rather than the one down the road, this is the Value Proposition.

This reminded me of a challenge from Ewan McIntosh at the end of last year to capture the essence of what our school was all about in just 1 sentence. Continue reading

Prototypes, Errors and Focus

Interesting day yesterday: figured out a way to make a prototype work, developed a 2nd prototype, discarded both prototypes for a list of questions.

We are currently evaluating and reviewing our module structures to check how they are working for student learning. Staff have completed an evaluation of these structures, the student evaluation survey closes today and as Specialised Learning Leaders we have added our thoughts and concerns. Continue reading

Walking the Talk

We have been spending the last couple of weeks talking about our vision for what dispositions (or Hobsonville Habits) we would like our students to develop. These have included things like Integrity, Contributive and Purposeful. Discussions have also included our core principles such as ‘Inspire through deep challenge and inquiry.

Then I heard about the event “Live Below the Line” and decided it was about time I started to ‘Walk the Talk’.

I saw a news article about the event and got interested so looked up the website and found:

The challenge?
Spend 5 days feeding yourself with $2.25 a day – the New Zealand equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

The reason?
To give a glimpse into the lives of 1.2 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day – and who have to make $2.25 cover a lot more than food…

Live Below the Line is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, an education and campaigning organisation whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty.

Now this to me was all about deep challenge and being contributive. If we can sit around talking about these dispositions, we certainly should be role modelling them as well! So, I have now signed up and have also convinced some of the others here at Hobsonville Point to sign up as well.

$2.25 a day will not be easy, but I really look forward to working out how to meet the challenge! It would be awesome if you joined in as well but also great if you would sponsor me and my efforts here: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/stevemouldey

Moving from the Big Picture to Teaching and Learning Practices

This week has seen us continuing our big picture thinking but also now starting to focus in on what that will look like in the classroom.

On Monday we had a team trip into town for a mystery day out. The ferry ride through the rising fog was a good metaphor for what we would be going through over the rest of the day.

After breakfast together we were split into 2 teams and given a map of checkpoints and clues to decipher. Basically it was a 2 hour adventure race around town finding the checkpoints and taking interpretive photos to represent what we found. The checkpoints all turned out to be pieces of art around town and afterwards we found out that it was actually the Auckland Waterfront Sculpture Tour. Our team then made this video to represent our interpretations of the sculptures:

After a quick bite to eat we then headed to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise for a Design Thinking workshop with Peter Harrison from the Better by Design team. Walking onto their floor we got a hint at what was coming by the large poster on the wall giving tips for creative conversations:

Tips for Creative Conversations

Tips for Creative Conversations

This was an awesome 2 hour workshop introducing us to the ideas of Design Thinking. Continue reading