In my previous post I spoke about a culture of self-belief and optimism underlying success for all learners (our students and ourselves). I shared feedback from our school parents around learning for their students in relation to our schoolwide goal: Engage every student in deep learning for success. I emphasized the holistic nature of the education we provide at St Joseph's.
Our community want our students to connect with their learning, to be able to achieve success in their learning at a deep level. We use the SOLO taxonomy as one of the tools across the school to help students understand and articulate how they can go deeper with their learning. They learn to move beyond simply knowing knowledge, to learning how to use and apply their knowledge. You can see examples in the SOLO diagrams on our Teaching and Learning Site.
This week I spent time in our Year 4-8 hubs and asked our students to share something positive about their learning this year. Here are their responses according to year groups (the numbers represent repeated responses):
I have improved my reading (12) Maths (8) I can understand most of my learning (2) People supporting us helps us to learn (2) We get to learn at a higher level and have harder work. BYOD (devices) are helping me learn. I am learning more than in any other year. All the different strategies. Writing. Learning is fun.
Maths (9) Reading (8)Writing (7) The teachers help me to improve. Religious Education. Art. Devices are great for learning. Workshops.
Using devices for learning (10) Different inquiry topics and heaps of projects each term (5) The hubs (3) All the workshops (3) Working with older kids because I have to step up (3) Our teachers make learning fun (3) Working with three different teachers in different rooms (2) I am more engaged with my learning with more people to work with (2) Working in pairs. Spelling. Being able to work where we feel we work well. Confidence building. We have licenses so we can have more freedom to learn. Writing. Maths is fun and cool because you learn so much.
Improving in my maths (2) I am pretty positive with my maths progress. I am getting better at everything especially maths. I have learnt more in my maths and that is helping me in tests. The maths/reading /writing workshops really help (3) I have been reading more books and learning harder words. I have made it to Level 7 for maths (2) My fluency in reading (2) I have gone up a step in my writing. Weekly goals that we work towards - must do's and can do's (3) Licenses have helped to make more more responsible. The workshops have helped me understand more about the topic at hand. We have learnt more strategies. More teachers in the room give me more help with my learning. Everyone is encouraged. The hubs give you an opportunity to learn with more people at your level. I have improved my time management skills. Independence in working with a wide range of people. The devices make the learning easier for me. I have been finishing my work to a high standard. Opportunities for extended learning and self-management make us work harder and think about what we are doing. Going out into the environment for a trip to places in Oamaru for inquiry. I have learnt so much from having more teachers, science and history. We have more projects to do and it's more fun. We get to work wherever we want to and can discuss things with others better than if the teacher chose for us. I am not falling behind.
Learning on devices - we can share our work with our teachers and for group learning (3) Must do's and can do's (2) The learning hub has brought different people closer. I have really improved with maths and got really great with reading and writing. When I need help the person next to me always helps me to learn new things. I feel less stressed and rushed at this school. I like how we are prepared for high school. I am excited to be a leader and motivated to learn. I was extended in maths. You develop better relationships with other teachers so you can learn from them. Maths workshops and being able to go to two or three of them. I have learnt more about fractions and that has helped me in my maths. The steampunk trip and camp prep learning projects. Maths - it is fun and I love it. Religious Education and learning about the old testament - it is interesting we should do more of it. We do more interactive things which help me engage instead of just being told. The way we are getting challenging work which is improving our learning. Reading. The encouraging learning environment and atmosphere. Receiving the Pasifika award for outstanding leadership and academic learning. Working in groups and learning with friends.
It is worth noting that the feedback from our students reflects a combination of multistructural, relational learning and some extended abstract learning (SOLO taxonomy ). Our students are going deeper with their learning and moving beyond the simple acquisition of knowledge for knowledge's sake. Our students are beginning to articulate and understand the conditions that are supporting them to learn for success. This becomes more evident in the student responses as they progress from Year 4 to Year 8.
Workshops, hubs, several teachers, devices, opportunities to learn alongside friends and weekly goals are some of the key factors introduced in 2015 as part of our Engaging Learning Spaces that our students have shared with us.
As we move forward and prepare for 2016, we can reflect further on these positive responses and include them in our planning. We can feel motivated and inspired by all of these responses as we continue to Reach for the Stars as lifelong Learner in the Catholic Faith.