Monday, February 17, 2014

Harmonising Certainty with Uncertainty

I've always talked excitedly about the concept of "building an aircraft while we fly it" - it describes that state when you are in when you think something is going to work enough to give it a try, but still you are not certain how it will pan out (though you can find plenty of reasons to be optimistic).

I came across the concept of "harmonising certainty with uncertainty" when meeting with Noeleen and Bronwyn from the University of Waikato who are tracking our journey as leaders. It seems a perfect description of the state that we have become increasingly confident - the space designers often find themselves.

Harmonising certainty with uncertainty!
We have just begun our 3rd week as Hobsonville Point Secondary School (and still 2 weeks away from  moving into our building). These first 2 weeks have surpassed my expectations. The months of work we have done on exploring and unpicking our BOT's vision, developing a mission and set of values that clearly puts the learner at the centre of everything we do and truly exploring and understanding the intent and aspirations of the NZC have come to fruition.

As I stood at the exit at the end of the day to farewell our students for the day I got them all to give me thumbs up, horizontal or down sign for how their first day of Big Modules went (a full day in a group of 40-50 students with 3 teachers exploring the concept of Identity (see Steve Mouldey's and Claire Amos' posts that summarise these elements well) 3 gave the horizontal thumb and all others thrust their thumb upwards with many raising them high into the air.

I end every day in this way and am overwhelmed by the sense of happiness, fun and engagement our students leave the day with.

Last week I faced the prospect of running 3 workshops with the whole school on the best ways to deal with the inevitable conflicts that will occur in our school. I approached it with some nervousness as it was September 2012 when I last had to work with groups of students in such a way. The students had only had 5 days in our school but I could already see their comfort operating in an environment which valued them as individuals and placed them at the centre.

Most look interested with some even laughing at my jokes!
All throughout the last 2 weeks staff have been delivering workshops on important foundation skills such as digital citizenship, establishing on-line presence, behaviours and collations, understanding SOLO thinking taxonomy, understanding and applying our design learning model, exploring inquiry learning and experiencing our Big Project learning process.

I have attended most of these and have not only been blown away by the quality of the content of the workshops but more so by the total integration, modelling and exploration of our values and Hobsonville Habits (learning dispositions) by the staff.

Danielle's workshop on MyPortfolio used the theme of Super Heroes and was firmly linked to our values
In between these workshops students return to their Learning Hub to process their learning and make sense of it for them. The sense of whanau is very evident.

Hubs in action
Staff also model this in our own 'hub'. Last Friday morning during Professional Learning time students arrived at school to find us in our 'learning hub' working on MyPortfolio in the same way they had been. We're trying to make all learning as visible as possible.

Danielle setting us up for our PL task for the morning
Last Friday I acted as the Pied Piper and led our students down to our building and spoke of our aspirations for them, for our school and for our community to help Sarah launch our first Big Project (see Sarah's blog). I challenged our students to make our school the beating heart of this new community.The activity back at the primary school when we returned as students began planning their project is a testament to the way in which Sarah and her team are motivating all of us in this important element of our curriculum.

Talking about 'Moving In'
Last Saturday morning a small service was held on site to unveil a plaque to honour the three men who passed away building our school when the tornado hit on December 6 2012. The families planted a tree in remembrance of their loved ones. The plaque and trees with seating are right at our main entrance and will be a daily reminder of their contribution.

And what about our building?


Student Social Space - 1 of 7
We're having an Open Day for people to view our building on Sunday 23 February from 10.00am-1.00pm so come along and check it out.

The rubber has hit the road this week with students (and teachers) beginning our normal timetable. The kids loved their first experience of Big Modules and I was able to confidently farewell them tonight with the promise of more excitement tomorrow with Learning Hubs and getting hands dirty with Big Projects. And then Wednesday will bring their first experience of Small and SPIN (special interest) Modules ....... oh and also they'll be choosing MyTime workshops!

The excitement just keeps on coming!

No comments: