Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's coolsome walking up the stairs to excellence

What a stunning week to follow on from the previous stunning week. The previous week began with world-leading guru Julia Atkin working with our new staff as they unpicked their preferred ways of operating according to the Hermann's Brain analysis. It ended with 3 days of world-leading guru, Margaret Thorsborne, working with us on understanding the principles of restorative practice. This week ended with world-leading guru, Pam Hook, working with half of the staff on SOLO Thinking Taxonomy and then with individuals, Megan, Di and Cindy, on applying it to our thinking around assessment. Whew!

But wait there's more! We were treated to what I consider to be world-leading thinking around learning design and curriculum structure by our own colleague.

It began on Monday with Di kicking off a session outlining the work her team had done on identifying the future-focused fluencies that had been distilled from the NZC. They have proposed the following as the areas we wish to move our learners from being functional to fluent:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Communication
  • Technical
  • Problem-solving
And of course they presented their work totally integrated into our existing model that is driving our learning.

Di and her team are driven by the non-negotiable of making learning explicit to the kids. As well, she modeled the openness to questions and comments by declaring she didn't want to be in love with the idea and blind to other views. Awesome!

Lisa then ran an outstanding session linking our learning design model to the fluencies and using the SOLO model to assess against them. It was truly coolsome!

The rest of the day was a real buzz as staff then got into their module planning teams and, with their new learnings of our model, began producing the outlines for some great learning programmes. Liz's latest blog post outlines the modules she is currently working on.

In her presentation Lisa picked up that there were some gaps in some people's understandings with SOLO so she presented a great workshop on Tuesday morning for those who needed more. This is where she spoke of helping students to walk up the stairs to excellence and how her use of SOL gave her a new way of thinking about her own teaching practice. Coolsome!

"This plus this plus this = thinking". Simple!

And Kylee ran a session firmly linking SOLO to elements of our Learning Design Model.

Amongst all of these great sessions I took Arohanui staff who will be running a satellite special needs class at our school through the site.
Our stunning auditorium

James, Arohanui Principal, doing a dance of glee under the purple light in the sensory room
But the great hits kept coming! On Wednesday Sarah and her team ran a full day on Big Projects and their place in our curriculum. You must check out both Sarah's blog and Liz's blog where there is a fuller exploration of the work they presented.

Sarah's passion was evident throughout her presentation and was summed up with her introductory words, "We not me!"

Her team made a powerful link between the Big Project Framework and our Learning Design Model and to the wider HPSS curriculum.
It didn't stop there! On Thursday night I had the privilege of seeing 2 staff make great presentations at Eduignite at Mindlab.

The Pink D - Danielle linking retail to teaching

Sally laying down the HPSS model
I was pretty knackered and was contemplating not going as I had had a late night on Tuesday with the Henderson Lions talking about the Runway Challenge and on Wednesday another late night with a BOT/Parent Governance workshop, but I am so pleased I went to see the team in action.

And then Friday rolled around and Pam Hook entered the building.

The moment of awe when Pam revealed the power of SOLO

I hope some of my colleagues blog about the work with Pam as I'm running out of steam. If not, I'll post some thoughts in the coming week.

Talking about the coming week: we have our Orientation Day tomorrow for our enrolled students. We'll have about 120 Year 8s with us for the day which will give us the opportunity to start to know our learners and to share with them our exciting plans. It was mid September 2012 when I last was in a school with students and I am super excited.

Lea has pulled together an exciting day for our learners and I'm looking forward to reflecting on how the day goes. That will come in a later post.

Staff have been very busy and have participated in much professional learning. This week at Kitchen Table we are still to get reports from Steve and Yasmin and their time at a Thinking Conference, Di and Jill have to report on their Financial Literacy workshop and Claire and the newer staff will have heaps to share about the SCIL 2 day conference they went to at ASHS on Thursday and Friday.

It's a relief we have navigation lights to guide us through the busy air space we are operating in as we prepare for landing!

Landing lights set in totara posts to demarcate the end of the Hobsonville Runway which is on our site.

No comments: