Thursday, 16 November 2017

Reviewing our school goal number 4

At our annual middle leaders planning day, our first session was a review of our school goals for 2017.  Part of my inquiry this year has been focussed on implementing school goal number 4:

To work across departments in Year 9 on an integrated unit of work with a community focus or context.
At the end of 2016, we decided to implement links to the 4 To remind staff about the lead up to the unit, I discussed the staff PLD around what that would like and decided on our term 1 unit to focus on 'Sustainability'. As a staff we developed 6 areas of focus, each designed to give students a choice as to which issue they wanted to focus on.

From there, department were shared a document to show how they could support the teaching and learning of the topic as followed: English
From there, an initial plan for the Middle Leaders was designed whereby HOD's were assigned to support a class on their blogs. A draft Unit plan and a student site were developed and this was taught to the year 9's in term 1.

Below is a swat analysis review of the unit:
  • Process of integration during the unit (Teaching and Learning)
    • Strengths:  
      • Social Studies driven meant consistency in approach.  Weekly meetings with year 9 teachers.
      • All year 9 Students were talking sustainability
      • ‘Just in time teaching’ happened eg. The River Talks and 9RMz’s trip to Ruapotaka (contexts outside of school where Science and Sos teachers expected to come)
      • Student blogs
      • High engagement for staff involved (Gene, Karen etc)
    • Weaknesses:
      • Not all staff/departments on board.
      • HODs not able to check on classes.
      • Project Templates not used because of difficulty in applying them in social studies context.  Staff not comfortable using them.
      • Structure not totally clear
    • Opportunities
      • Fewer departments involved means more structure
      • More student agency
      • More learnings from this year
    • Threats
      • Loss of interest or enthusiasm from staff
      • Lack of time


  • End product from integration:  Te Taiao O Tamaki presentations.  
    • Strengths:
      • Positive feedback from the community
      • High student engagement for students who presented and students who visited
      • Developed better relationships with students
    • Weaknesses:
      • Wish we could’ve taken more presentations
      • Lots of Dot’s time taken on own
    • Opportunities
      • Have our own school presentations for all projects
    • Threats:
      • Limiting it to the best kids
Key Learnings:  Kids loved it.
MOVING FORWARD:
We want to develop and looking at a model that will work for us:
  • Howick College innovation stream - one class where students apply to be in it.  Involves 4 core subjects.
  • Fusion at Oxford Area school -all year 9’s and 10’s.  Involves Maths, Technology and Social Sciences.  Project based.
  • A partnership with the Liggins Institute from Auckland University is helping to lead a collaborative narrative/transformative learning approach developed  in the Cook Islands.  Ready made resources (Unit plan)




Reflecting on my Classroom inquiry into raising the achievement of boys' writing in my level 2 Social Studies class

In February this year, I shared a blog post about  my classroom inquiry and the fact that 8 of the 9 students who'd joined my class had ...