Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Flip the MLE building. Team teaching can work with single cell classrooms.

As a future focused principal of a traditional style school building in Oamaru, listening to Tim Lovelock and his DP's share learning at Myross Bush school in the far south was sheer bliss. At St Joseph's, we have an enthusiastic, pedagogically switched on staff keen to experience team teaching but only two of our junior classes have been able to make it happen. We thought that we would have to knock down walls between classrooms. At Myross Bush school, effective team teaching happens within single cell classrooms. Learn more from my notes here.
Team teaching model at Myross Bush school, Invercargill
  • Children experience one – three teachers a day and are moving around different spaces. School looks traditional on the outside but revolutionized inside.
  • Team teaching is  visible to each other and to the kids – totally transparent. No busy stuff!!
  • What is team teaching? We share it with the parents and show them what it looks like.
  • Team teaching helps. It started with the new entrants and moved through the school. Teachers have agency. No planning checks. Come and sit in the room and talk through your programme.
  • Team teaching makes it sustainable – each pair makes a philosophy on how they work together. Keep changing and mixing teams. Have different combinations and strengths.
  • Team teaching but still in single cells classrooms.
  • Go to the link here to learn more about team teaching at Myross Bush
  • Myross Bush's school vision is articulated around Simon Senek's golden circle of why, what,how.
  • Philosophy based on Dean Finks Sustainable Leadership
  • Attend U learn as a whole staff – immersed in future focused learning as a staff and all have a growth mindset. See expert practitioners in action.
  • Child is always at the centre and learning all around the child. What sustains and compliments it?
  • Always go back to the why and the pedagogy to check they are on track.
  • One teacher in the cave/workshop room teaches traditional groups. Opportunities for kids to opt in and out.
  • Workstation/ action station sheets, other teacher alongside/ flipped learning model
  • Agency really important – learning centredness to opt in and out of workshops
  • Action research alive, no place to hide when you team teach and plan together
  • Environment has changed to aide the why and thus a MLE. Cloak bays have change to become extra classroom spaces
  • Digital efficacy – bring it back to the why
  • High agency & low agency students paired up
  • Use SOLO thinking taxonomy for everything
  • Students Hyperlink evidence from goals on progression to their blogs to share with whanau
  • Prefer blogs as its totally open compared to ultranet (closed network). Parents RSS feed by using cellphone numbers when new blogposts come up.
  • BYOD More than the device-but why you want to use it and what you want to do with it?
  • What is it you want to do with it? – go with a tool that will give you the most connection over time, teacher dashboard,
  • Have a go together as a staff. Just jump in. Won’t role out an official BYOD policy unless we know the why, what and how.
  • Alvin Toffler quote ......... shared with parents: 'cannot learn and unlearn, and relearn'
  • It’s NOT about the thing that you want them to bring ie. The device. 
  • SOLO – Ask children, where you think your SOLO thinking is and why do  you think you are there?
  • You don’t always need a rubric for everything.
  • Don’t talk about reading , writing and maths but talk about ‘thinking and learning via SOLO'.
  • Kids aren't pigeonholed into the red reading group.
  • Numeracy is focussed on agency groups rather than ability groups in the senior school
  • Movement within workshops all the time.
  • Materials for maths at Solo 1 etc Solo stations – prestructural using materials
  • Keep SOLO simple.
  • One day a term is an inquiry time for a team as well as crt. Time out of your room as a team of 4.
  • Apply the key competencies to staff as adults – ask questions!!!! Powerful and hard conversations.
  • Growth mindset http://prezi.com/fqwtgh3cfnu_/growth-mindset/
  • Why? – We keep coming back to it as a staff.
  • Give staff time and space to experience everything together as a staff.
  • New staff: We look for potential and initiative. Can they think outside the square ?
  • Learner Licenses : Creates acaccountability for learners.Only level 3,4,5 can choose  independently Not reflective on learning ability based on solo taxonomy. How you work fits in with how you think.
Next steps for us: Visit Myross Bush as a staff and learn more

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Ch 7 Open Learning at Work: 5 key ingredients for creating dynamic learning environments for staff

Learning environments that offer opportunities to explore, trial, play and collaborate allow innovation and creativity to flourish for all learners (staff and students).

I have just reread and reflected on Chapter 7 Part 1 of the powerful book  OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price. This chapter refers to workplaces. I have  adapted the learning to suit a school setting. How can we develop a 'creative workplace' within our schools along the lines of the successful and inspiring Edison, Google & Facebook models? (page126)
Source reference - Google workplace image  
This fits with the changes we are seeing within classrooms as we move away from the traditional 'one size fits all' settings.
For example, this video explains the flipped approach to the way we have been conditioned to have classrooms and staffrooms set up in the 'same old' way for years.
It is called called Expanded Learning Opportunities 

Price refers to 5 key ingredients for creating dynamic learning environments:
1. Create a Machine-Shop Culture
Here is a challenge particularly for our high schools. Imagine all disciplines or subject teachers planning together and creating combined learning environments rather than separate disciplines. Thomas Edison believed that a group of people with varied backgrounds could be the most inventive.
A machine shop culture reflects the fact that 'heads and hands are equals' (p127) Everyone's skills and talents are important and they all need to be valued irrespective of rank or responsibility. Tinkering, playing and 'doing' are vital.

2. Keep it Social
Allowing chances to socialize informally in the workplace contribute to creativity as well. Are we 'wringing an ounce more of productivity' out of our teams, or are they truly loving being engaged at work? Rather than talking at people, we need to talk with people.

We have recently transformed our weekly senior leadership team meetings into Friday Forums. These are open and optional for everyone including support staff, board, parents... We have them from 8am to 8:30 with croissants. Learn more about this here:

3.Make learning horizontally relevant
Be open to new ideas and put them into practice quickly and easily (p131) 

Giving my staff a 'sabbatical' away from meetings, gave them the time to explore and put into practice some of our ideas. We often spend time talking, planning and proposing ideas. Yet we don't plan time to activate these ideas. We also need to allow downtime to provide the freedom to make this happen.

4. Give learners the 'right to roam' on the commons
Offer choice in the workplace and options to be involved in a range of projects, as well as time to pursue interests and passions. Don't limit opportunities to only one person but allow many to take on multiple responsibilities.Distributing responsibilities among staff helps to cover what needs to be done. How would this work if we opened our lists of responsibilities to the whole group?

5. From individual to collective, from formal to informal
Social media has transformed accessibility to knowledge through Personal Learning Networks. Informal, social learning is more powerful than formal training. Leaders need to create the right conditions for learning to flourish. Understanding the power of social 
networks can only happen if you experience it personally. I'm encouraging staff to explore Twitter and share this link to my experiences to help.
I also share my Twitter experiences on this video when I first starting following Price and learnt about the book Open. You can access it here.

We need to intentionally foster learning and build vibrant learning cultures not only for our students but for our staff, parents and ourselves. As leaders, we need to model the learning that we wish to see in others and ensure that our personal learning journey never ends.
What's the difference between creativity and innovation?
Creativity = new ideas
Innovation= the ability to produce something with your ideas

Engaging in your work for the challenge and enjoyment of it is a motivational driver for developing expertise and creativity. It must be intrinsically driven.

As part of a Learning and Change Network, we are participating of our own accord and driving the learning and change together with students, families and the community with very little financial support. You can lean more about this here. Or watch this video.