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

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Our New Building!

Our plans for the refurbishment of Karaka Block are nearly finalised.  We are very excited about this building work being completed in 2018!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Leading Learning

All children will not learn about same big idea in the Senior Syndicate this term. We have asked for permission to trial a change to our curriculum integration model for one term. Instead all children will complete an individual impact project. This is an idea we have wanted to explore for some time and was what we saw at three of the schools we visited in Auckland. At planning day we split into two groups. One group developed a template for the children to use for their impact project. The other group developed an overview of the curriculum so that we could align each child’s inquiry to the NZ Curriculum. For most of our Year 5 learners the focus will be on completing a research inquiry. For most of our Year 6 learners we have highlighted the need for their project to have ‘impact’. The reason why we want to trial this idea is so we can allow children to lead their own learning. Learner agency requires children to be given the ‘power to act’. Many of our children are currently managing their learning but they have not really been involved in designing their own learning.

The children are currently engaged in the first part of this process and it so exciting! Each class introduced this new idea in different ways, for example some classes shared a range of different examples of impact projects with the children. The first part of this process requires the children to identify their personal strengths and passions. Our goal for the children to be intrinsically motivated and empowered to learn. To help achieve this their projects are aligned in most cases to their personal passions. Once the children had a idea for their project they were required to pitch their idea to their teachers. The children are now starting the research phase of this process. We will be supporting the children look for experts to help them with their projects. Our reading and writing learning will be strongly linked to these projects with workshops on a range of reading skills such as skimming, scanning, identifying key words, summarising information in our own words, writing a letter/email, writing an argument, writing a report etc.

Each child has been assigned a ‘learning coach’. Their learning coach (teacher) will facilitate this process with them and act as their guide. For some children this process will be more heavily scaffolded than others. Where possible we have aligned the children and projects with teacher’s strengths and passions.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Term One Big Idea - Citizenship

Our big idea for Term One is Citizenship. The children in our three spaces have been involved in building a successful learning community. As in previous years, the furniture was stacked in the corners and the walls were empty when the children arrived at school on the first day. The children and teachers have been getting to know each other, setting up their environment for learning, exploring roles, rights and responsibilities, creating a class treaty and a digital citizenship treaty. By ensuring the children are part of the decision making process, we will create learning spaces where our children feel a sense of belonging and ownership.

During the term, classes have co-constructed the research process. The six stages of our research process are: Decide, Plan, Find, Analyse, Communicate and Evaluate. The children are now following their own lines of inquiry by researching a question related to the big idea of 'Citizenship'.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Grand Designs Learning Edition

Check out the documentary one group of children from COLAB created about our first week at school in 2017.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


This year all of the children in the Senior Syndicate are learning in a collaborative learning environment!  For the first time, we have 90 children learning in one space.  We are looking forward to sharing our journey with you throughout 2017!