26 May 2015

Narrowing Down Inquiry Goals

I saw this hexagon planning frame being used as part of setting up an ALIM Inquiry and thought it was a great way of pin pointing what you are wanting to focus on as a teacher, and the steps to reach this goal.

In this first hexagon flower one of my PRTs I'm coaching put her Inquiry focus.
Around these we put what kinds of teaching acts and activities could possibly achieve this.

We decided on one of these to focus on first and put it in the middle of the next hexagon flower.

Around this we narrowed down even further what she could do to to reach this goal.

The activities and instruction were precise enough that some of them were put into action that week.

Here is an example of some of the statements that compared two well known characters.
The activity has been scaffolded by coming up with the statements together, and discussing as a class where they should go. Then students go away and place statements where they think they should go.

In SOLO terms this is multistructural - students can identify many relevant similarities and differences between the wolf and Little Red.

To get to Relational they will have to be able to give reasons why some of these elements are in the categories they have been placed in.

Shared with Author's permission

One of the teacher's next ideas in the hexagon planning frame was to colour code several of the statements so that students could orally record, then later write explanations. I am looking forward to following this development.

18 May 2015

What does all this PD have to do with my inquiry?

Presented this to staff to show how training and professional development contribute to their teaching inquiry.

11 May 2015

No, Not another Lecture!

Here we are in term 2 and our collaborative inquiry groups have had a re-shuffle.
We have 4 wonderful  PD providers whom I was able to book in for our meeting afternoons, so teachers have been regrouped to make the most of the professional development that suits them.

This is has become a very high PD input term, and not what teaching inquiry is supposed to be so heavily based on. I will have to make sure this is redressed next term. What is also a concern with top down PD, is the impact is has (or doesn't have) on learning for teachers.

This Learning pyramid (from the National Training Laboratory, Bethel Maine), shows different retention rates for training.

What we need to do is make sure that we don't waste teachers' time, and lose opportunities for learning by providing the wrong type of PD. This also applies to  the clever experts we bring in to support out teachers.

The different content areas for the collaborative group meetings include
  • Jannie Van Hees and her research into dialogic classrooms and explicit teaching or writing for year 5-8 students.
  • GaTE definitions and provisions from Core Education aimed at specialist teachers and middle-senior students
  • Junior Literacy acquisition for low decile schools
  • Rubrics for success with Dorothy Burt
This is also supported by PD provided to the staff as a whole in staff meetings on blogging, the SAMR model, and SOLO.

Our PD training is aimed at the top 5 levels, and we are lucky to be able to draw on wonderful trainers and experts from within the school as well as externally to deliver this. My challenge now is to ensure there is practise by doing and teachers sharing this learning.

Soooooo Proud

We finished Term 1 with everyone presenting their learning from their Inquiry into practice so far. There were some sighs, grimaces and jitters leading up to this. But there were also some proud teachers keen to share with the whole staff rather than just a small group.

Staff members were divided into mixed groups of 7-8. I tried to put teachers from different inquiry areas together so that we could all hear about lots of different stories from around the school.

While there were teachers who were used to presenting with edited wonderful movies, slides and tales, this was the first time standing up in front of peers for some of us. Hopefully this will get easier as time goes on.

Each group went off to a room and many shared on screens as they talked about their learning so far.

I had approached several teachers with inquiries I though would be interesting for the whole staff (and of course a couple of very keen presenters who offered) to share in the staffroom to all of us after the groups returned.