Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Term 1 2018

The context for the majority of our learning in Term One has been our big idea of ‘Community’. As well as the posts below, this learning has also involved:
  • Exploring the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Children identifying the communities they are part off.
  • Children exploring and defining what makes a community successful.
  • Children completing an inquiry about a community of their choice by following through the research cycle.
  • Children completing a project about making a community a better place.
Throughout this time, the children have also completed a wide range of other literacy and numeracy learning tasks.

Throughout the term, our children have also all actively participated in…

  • Weekly Sports Rotations.
  • Weekly Syndicate Singing.
  • Senior Syndicate Triathlon.
  • Overnight Camp at Rangi Woods.
  • Water Safety Programme at the Lido.
  • School Powhiri and School Assemblies.
  • Life Education Sessions.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Building Routines and Expectations

We believe in empowering children to manage and lead their own learning.  In order for children to do this successfully, we have to build routines and set high expectations for learning and behaviour right from the start of the year.

This learning has involved:

  • Supporting children to make the best choice for their learning. For example: Where is the best place for me to learn? What learning should I complete first? How can I ask for help with my learning? What do I do when I think I have finished?
  • Exploring Digital Citizenship and developing a ‘Digital Citizenship Treaty’. Given that our spaces are 1-1 digital, this is crucial for ensuring the children understand they are trusted to make good choices when they are using a device for their learning until we have a reason to believe otherwise.
  • Developing children’s knowledge and ability to use Google Apps for Education. Our spaces do not function effectively without this software. This is how our children access and complete a range of their learning tasks.
  • As the year has progressed, children have learnt how to plan their day on their own weekly timetable. This allows children to have the choice about when and what learning tasks they complete. (This was not new learning for all children.)
  • Children are developing an understanding of the workshop model for new learning. This approach gives children the opportunity to be self-directed learners, by choosing to attend the workshops that are best for their learning. (This was not new learning for all children.)
  • Co-constructing the Writing Process and the Research Cycle as children completed their first inquiry for the year. These processes are explicitly taught in Term One so children can apply this learning throughout the year.
  • Getting ready for learning and systems for cleaning up at the end of the day.
  • High expectations have been clearly communicated to learners. Our goal is for all learners to make one year’s progress in one year. This goal is personalised to every child’s current achievement levels. For learners to achieve this they need to be giving their best every day.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Building a Learning Culture

We strive to create a culture in our spaces that has a focus on learning. We explore the concept of learning, what it means to learn and how we learn best. The children have been actively involved in establishing the learning culture in our spaces. By ensuring the children are part of the decision making process, we create a learning community where our children feel a sense of belonging and ownership. As part of this focus, we have explored our new vision, learner competencies and values.

This learning has involved:

  • Children completing learning surveys to develop an understanding of themselves as a learner and to allow teachers to understand children's’ learning preferences.
  • Exploring our new vision, learner competencies and values.
  • Co-constructing a class treaty that reflects the learning culture.
  • Creating a class name and logo that reflects the learning culture.
  • Beginning to explore the concept of a growth mindset and the learning pit to allow children to understand the expectation that they need to be challenged and willing to take risks if they are going to grow as learners.
  • Completing regular reflections on learning.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Building an Environment for Learning

For the last five years, we have been co-constructing the physical environment for learning with the children in our spaces. The year, one of our classes used the theme 'House Rules', one class used a construction zone theme and one class used a movie theme, encouraging the children to be 'Directors of Learning'. The children were actively involved in setting up their physical environment. By ensuring the children are part of the decision making process, we create a learning community where our children feel a sense of belonging and ownership.

This learning has involved:

  • Children completing learning surveys to identify their own preferences and the different preferences of the learners in the space.
  • Children designing floor plans based on the information from the surveys and reflecting on their effectiveness.
  • Children collaborating to set-up the furniture in the different areas in the classroom.
  • Reflecting on the effectiveness of the spaces and making changes.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Building Positive Relationships

Our big idea for Term One is ‘Community’. We have been taking the time to get to know each other at the beginning of the year! We believe in building positive relationships so learners feel valued and happy at school. 

This learning has involved:
  • Daily informal conversations between children, teachers and parents. 
  • Children getting to know each other by collaborating to complete a range of team challenges, often with a group of children who are not their friends. 
  • Children and teachers completing profiles and creating artworks which tell a story about their strengths and passions. 
  • Children crafting a piece of writing e.g. Our class is lucky to have me because...
  • Children and teachers sharing personal news through ‘What’s On Top’. 
  • Children attending our overnight camp at Rangi Woods and participating in a range of individual and team challenges. 
  • A range of other learning e.g. Fragments of Evidence Home Learning Task. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Our New Vision: Engage. Explore. Empower.

We are very excited about our new vision statement, learner competencies and values! Throughout the year, we will share our journey with you as we strive to bring our new vision alive in our classrooms and develop our competencies and values as part of daily learning and teaching.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Eva's Email to Seven Sharp

Eva is a Year 6 student in Colab at CSNS. "For my impact project, I decided to investigate MLE’s (modern learning environments) and traditional classrooms. I wanted to do my impact project because it affects me and all children who go to school." As part of her project, Eva wrote this email to Seven Sharp regarding an episode that featured Modern Learning Environments (MLEs). Last week we shared it with the parents who attended our Parent Information Evening with Mark Osborne and this week we published it in our school newsletter.

Dear Seven Sharp, 

I have just watched your piece on MLEs from Monday night. “One size fits all” is how Ponsonby Principal, Anne Malcolm, described a MLE. I disagree with her statement because I come to school every day and learn in a MLE and my opinion is totally different. Anne basically said that students in a MLE all get treated the same and that the teachers don’t care about students that need help. Everyone has different learning needs; some students need more support than others and some students aren’t challenged enough. In our class our learning is personalised. We decide what workshops we need to attend based on our learning needs. We have four teachers who have different strengths. They challenge us as learners and grow our understanding of different areas of the curriculum. 

In my opinion, I like learning in an MLE. I like traditional classrooms as well but I am not challenged enough. In a MLE I am challenged because we have interesting tasks and I have the choice to attend the right workshops for my learning. I have to try really hard because I am involved in a lot of other sporting and academic activities outside of the class. In a MLE I have the flexibility in my timetable to prioritise my learning. 

My confidence and ability to collaborate has grown in a MLE. As stated by the OECD, MLEs are designed to develop skills such as collaboration, creativity and problem-solving. We need to be able to manage ourselves and be able to ask people for help and work with others. A misconception often associated with MLE’s is that children’s learning isn’t as effective and that teachers are taking a step back. I would argue that this is wrong because we are more involved in the learning process, rather than finding out our next learning steps in a report. I think we are benefiting from this. 

Most years at College Street we have been given a different topic each term to form an inquiry around. However, this year we have been doing something different called an Impact Project. We got to choose whatever we would like to learn about as long as we were passionate about it and the topic of our choice has to have an impact on something or someone. 

For my Impact Project, I thought it was a good idea to investigate MLEs and traditional classrooms because it affects me and it is a huge talking point right now. I wanted to get lots of different opinions and information from a variety of ages and levels of ability. I’ve read a lot of different articles throughout my impact project, some were against our modern way of learning and some were supporting MLE’s. 

The Ministry of Education states that MLEs are about creating an environment that involves educators, learners, and families. MLE’s support teachers to prepare children to be confident and get in the ‘Learning Pit’ and to achieve the national curriculum. 

This year my class (Colab) is made up of 90 children and we learn in 4 different spaces. In Colab we learn with technology, so I decided to send out a Google form, which is a digital form that surveys people on a topic or something they may need to find out. Based on my Google form results, 94% of our class like leading their own learning and 79% of our class prefer learning in a MLE. 

Learning in 2017 is rapidly changing and I think soon every child will be learning in a MLE. If you would like to see an effective MLE in action, I suggest you visit our class because I disagree with the things you have put into the media. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you, 
Eva Mckenzie