It was so amazing to have my first working group of the year. The best way I have found to share a message is by working with others to bring our experiences and grow together. So a part of my inquiry this year is to create a working group that will hopefully grow organically as the time goes on. I have a general layout for each session which happens every two weeks but we will go with the needs and passions of the group as well! It was so amazing to start with CBT today and I have linked the slides and resources into my workshop section on my blog: Linked here
I believe the more the know about our brain and its processes the more we are equipped for dealing with all the hats teachers are required to put on throughout one day. By understanding that people come to a conversation with their thoughts based on their experiences we can help understand different perspectives. It was so great to spend the session talking about our own experiences and I feel the more we discuss our beliefs we may feel like we are consolidating our current thinking as teachers but also and possibly more importantly growing ourselves as well.
I have retweeted Kristin Wiens so many times!! She is the guru of visuals and I love how she creates for adults and children so we can be on the same page! Check her out on Twitter!
#Positive Posting!! Building learner voice through Social Media. How can you create our tweets? #SFSLearnervoice #SFSParentvoice #SFSTeachervoice
I have been thinking of ways to build whānau engagement as well as learner voice. As part of the DFI course I have been thinking about ways I can create a purposeful audience for my learners where they can create to share as well as create to learn. It has been so great to see our learners creating their own reflections of how they are using our Stonefield's values and agency capabilities to create their own tweets!!
As part of the MIT and CoL process I have been thinking about how I can gift vocabulary so I created prompts for them to build language around our values, agency capabilities and tweeting to begin with and this has been really helpful for their motivations to writing as well as reading.
Now I have started to bring visuals into the whole hub through our Achieving Agency wall. As a hub team we wanted to bring our 'Caught Being' wall to life and integrate the aspects of Agency to get the learners using the language of learning and link it to our learner qualities.
We have used our Agency Language of learning and linked them to each of our learner qualities then I created visuals to go along with this concept. My other hub member has created an online game to go hand in hand with the visuals, adhering to various cognitive functions across the whole hub.
This is an example of my modelling book that shows how I can link any area of the curriculum to the aspects of Agency using the visuals. The more I model and use the vocabulary the more this will build up the understanding in the learners to use independently.
Posts have been put on hold recently as I have been setting up my Preventative Planning Programme. However, while reflecting on my approach to teaching the support learners and speaking with other educators on my recent training programme, the need for us to empathise with our learners is becoming more and more evident.
So, this image is my way of putting everything I have been researching into a diagram to best show how I have been planning using visuals.
Empathising with our learner's cognitive functions by planning for abstract learning through concrete visuals to enable higher thinking and agency.
I have put this is into my diagram as I believe it sums up exactly what I have been trying to achieve in my planning. This is the key goal that I am trying to achieve as part of my Preventative Planning Programme because by planning for the visuals, resources and intentional questioning I have been enabling my learners to access higher level thinking and abstract concepts. They have been able to drive their own learning because I have looked at their cognitive needs and planned resources that will enable them to be agentic and take action independently instead of relying on support to achieve their goal for the lesson.
Assessment Capability is a big factor when building Agency as it allows the learner to see their goals, next steps and work on ways to achieve these. I have been using visuals to build this with my Literacy group. We have been using colour coded checklists to get the children assessing their work to see if they have included all the features and if not it clearly showed them how to improve their writing.
At the start of the year I noticed a lot of the children were waiting for me saying 'what's next' 'what do I do now.' However, since I have been using these checklists I have noticed the learner's building their ability to drive their own learning as they have these visuals to see what they need to include next. It is also improving peer and self assessment as they know they can work with a partner to clearly discuss next steps. We are still working on these qualities but I have seen great shifts since starting this visual approach.
I have noticed that my learners have been developing their ability to reflect and take ownership of their learning since we have been building their 'powers'. I have given them personalised missions that they have to work on and if they are finding it difficult to be determined when learning gets challenging we have a chat about building their powers and think of ways they can help themselves. These visuals have been very helpful with my Literacy group and I am starting to see a shift in their mindsets.
Since joining the Agency team I have been thinking of ways that I can build the learner's power over their own learning and I have started to read this book by John Spencer and A.J Juliani. It has great insights into how we can go from just engaging the learners to actually empowering them to be responsible of their own learning.
If you are a person who would rather look at images instead of reading research this book is great as it clearly and quickly gives ideas to empower learners. In our hub we have been trying to empower our learners by 'tapping into their interests.' We are allowing them to choose which trips they want to go on and justify why their trip would be the best - linking to their progressions as well as their passions. Since developing this project we have seen learners who we sometimes struggle to get involved start to take the lead in their group and make their own path.
Empowering opportunities have included:
- Planning their own trips
- Personalising the challenges I give each child
- Asking the learners what they want to learn eg reading books
- Once they learn something I get them to create their own lessons instead of just repeating questions to practise they are applying their understanding by teaching their peers.
As a team we have been building our knowledge around what we think agency is and pulling together all the different ideas of the hubs, looking at common phrases and coming up with a shared definition of Agency.
Agency is….the power and capacity to affect change in my world.
So we brought the teachers together and we decided to share this definition but we also wanted them to see that as a school we were already doing so many things to get the children to become agentic and our Graduate Profile had lots of ways that encouraged agentic learning.
So we gave the teachers time to reflect on what they had chosen to focus on as their Inquiry and make connections to build agency into this. We wanted to plant the seed of what agency is and allow them to see that it is not something new we are just looking for them to have a deeper understanding of agency and plan for it intentionally within their hubs.
During the meeting we realised there were some staff who had wonderings and thinkings about this. So, we arranged meetings to support and discuss this further and build teacher voice to reflect on when we meet as a team to discuss how we can support Agency across the school even more.
As part of the Agency Team we wanted to share our practises and get other teachers starting to think about how they can get their learners to be more agentic.
St Patrick's Day celebrations were in full flight this morning, hence the sprinkle of green on us!
We have had many teachers, especially in the Junior school, finding it difficult to see how their learners can be agentic as they thought it had to be children independently doing everything. However, during my session we talked about children becoming agentic as a journey, there are steps that the children will take throughout their education and we are continually creating stimulating environments for them to achieve.
My background has always been Early Years and this year I chose to go up to the big scary world of the Seniors. When making the choice to move up the thing I thought I was going to miss the most was all the 'fun' eg dressing up as a princess, putting on different voices and most of all using my resources to interact with the learners because I would have to pretend to be cool. To my surprise, and this is what I shared with the teachers, seniors still love all this. I remember when on a training day in the U.K. a successful Headteacher said to me 'teaching in the Early Years will prepare you for teaching in all the years.' And I didn't realise what she meant until now. In order to get 3-7 year olds engaged you need to make your teaching visible, interactive and stimulating or else they won't even look at you. But I think just because the older kids are more disciplined we can forget they need all of this as well but it just might look a bit different. It's safe to say, once I started to get the dress up box out and use Superheroes in their learning they were loving it, and it also meant I didn't have to pretend to be as cool as I thought because I think they were seeing right through that act.
'Visible learning is teachers seeing learning through the eyes of their students and students seeing themselves as their own teachers.' - John Hattie
I illustrated how I have been continually refining my visible resources and how it is crucial to build a language for learning through interactive teaching as part of the early stages in the journey of agency. Eventually we want the children independently noticing how their choices have impacts on their overall future. Therefore, building the children's self awareness and ability to reflect are the stepping stones to this. It was great to share this with colleagues and they have been requesting that I share these resources so they can use them in their teaching, juniors and seniors alike.
Although we do not know what the future holds I feel we have to attempt to understand what qualities and skills will be needed/desired to be successful adults: creative, risk takers who can self regulate and adapt to a changing environment (with confidence or resilience?). - That's my thoughts anyways. Helping children to accept and understand what ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable so you are prepared for anything’ means.