Sunday, 11 November 2018

Practice Fields Lead to Quick Wins for Learners

Staff are currently working in action research teams to help bring the St Pat's vision for our community of learners to life.  In the midst of a twelve month initial research period, self-motivated staff are trialling smaller projects to further engage and motivate learners.

Based on the work of theorist Edgar Schein as shared at the Schools That Deliver Innovation Masterclass, the trialling and testing of new ideas is vital for organisations to progress and succeed. Self-motivated action learning projects by staff are referred to as practice fields. The current St Pat's practice fields are resulting in quick wins for St Pat's learners.
Taken from the Schools That Deliver Innovation Masterclass June 2018
Seesaw Practice Field (Link to the St Pat's vision narrative.. We utilise technology to communicate learning and strengthen home school partnerships).
Year 1
Seesaw is a way to share children's learning in real time with parents and family members. This leads to opportunities for authentic learning conversations. Year 1 started with Seesaw to communicate the children's reading goals. There was immediate positive feedback from families and the children loved it. Now the app is used to share work problems and engage the parents in the children's learning. Other classes are very interested in exploring the use of the Seesaw app for 2019 and will talk further with Anne, Kim and Jacinta, the Year 1 teachers.
Acknowledgement @syliviaduckworth for this image
Flexible Furniture Practice Field Year 5 & Year 1 (Link to the St Pat's vision narrative Both students and teachers are excited about learning).
Year 5
The Year 5M class are the senior pilot classroom for flexible furniture. They have been trialling the furniture for three school terms since the start of the year. Feedback from students and challenges for the teacher were shared with staff. Together, our Year 5M teacher and the children made a recommendation going forward. The flexible furniture gets the big green tick with both the students and the teacher excited about learning in a classroom with flexible furniture. Thanks to Lisa Maraschiello for sharing the slideshow. As a result of the success of this practice field, the other Year 5 class and two Year 6 classes will start the 2019 year with flexible furniture.

Year 1 
The Year 1W class are our junior school pilot class for the flexible furniture. Like the seniors, the juniors don't sit on the same seat. They can choose which space to sit at. By allowing the children to choose, the teacher is relinquishing a form of control or management of the children. This is not easy for a teacher to do. However, as with the senior class, the junior children respond by making positive choices about where they choose to learn. This contributes to a genuine excitement for learning. Kim Wilson's recommendation is to give the children choice in your classrooms, with or without the flexible furniture.

Mental Toughness Practice Field (Link to the St Pat's vision narrative.. A healthy mindset, coupled with resilience and well-developed social skills ensures all learners are equipped to deal with life’s challenges, and have the skills to positively resolve conflict and communicate their ideas and emotions).
Year 3
The Year 3 classes have been participating in a Mental Toughness Pilot. They are about to complete a final assessment to understand the success of the programme. This practice field has taken place over two terms. Based on the initial benchmark assessment, our children scored high on the Mental Toughness scale at the start of the pilot programme. Staff believe that we already have programmes in place that contribute to a high level of "mental toughness" for our St Pat's learners. Once the post assessment is complete, a recommendation or otherwise of the programme will be made.

Collaborative Planning Practice Field (Link to our vision narrative...Ongoing data tracking leads to learning that is differentiated therefore optimising engagement).
Year 5
The Year 5 teachers are trialling a different form of planner. The new planner was in response to a staff meeting exploring ways to show evidence of adjustment in teaching for NCCD (Nationally Consistent Collection of Data). The goal was to show additional support and explicit teaching strategies thereby indicating differentiated teaching and to do so efficiently and effectively. The newly designed collaborative planning document is an adaptation of other models. Teachers can contribute to the document and use different colours to indicate special events and specialist programmes as well as include digital links to resources. The Year 5 teachers have found the new collaborative planning document invaluable.
An Emergency Teacher who came into one of the Year 5 classrooms was able to follow the planning document and felt confident and well informed with teaching the class.
Based on the outcomes of this practice field, the collaborative planner will be explored further with staff at the next planning day with a goal to use it across the school for 2019.
Acknowledgement to St Pat's teachers Lisa Maraschiello and Paul Jones
Spelling & Grammar Practice Field (Link to the St Pat's vision narrative.. Ongoing data tracking leads to learning that is differentiated therefore optimising engagement).
Spelling (Year 1, 3, 5) 
Analysis of student data led to research around a consistent, differentiated approach to spelling and grammar across the school.
Our Teaching and Learning Leaders and colleagues are using The SMART Spelling approach as part of a practice field in Years 1, 3 & 5. Teachers are finding that the children are successfully transferring their learning to reading. Language such as 'diagraphs' is being used by the juniors along with hand gestures for spelling rules. The new school timetable for Term 4 which includes two equal play breaks during the day, lends itself well to a two hour block for literacy including a 15 minute daily spelling slot. Children are responding positively to this explicit and personalised learning approach. A final review is planned for the end of Term 4 and a recommendation for 2019 across the school will be made.
  Grammar (Prep, Year 2, 4, 6)

Grammar matters and should be taught differently is a research article that clearly captures the need for a grammar revolution within all schools. Our DP Liz Hills worked with teachers to explore the Victorian Curriculum and develop a Scope and Sequence to trial and potentially replace the current reliance on text books. The new approach to grammar is driven by an emphasis on learners reading quality literature.

Being proficient with spelling and grammar will make our learners better writers and readers and will strengthen outcomes, ensuring the curriculum has a positive and meaningful impact ( linked to the St Pat's vision narrative).
The St Pat's Practice Fields lead to quick wins for our learners.

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