Friday, 26 May 2017

Leading Learning


All children will not learn about same big idea in the Senior Syndicate this term. We have asked for permission to trial a change to our curriculum integration model for one term. Instead all children will complete an individual impact project. This is an idea we have wanted to explore for some time and was what we saw at three of the schools we visited in Auckland. At planning day we split into two groups. One group developed a template for the children to use for their impact project. The other group developed an overview of the curriculum so that we could align each child’s inquiry to the NZ Curriculum. For most of our Year 5 learners the focus will be on completing a research inquiry. For most of our Year 6 learners we have highlighted the need for their project to have ‘impact’. The reason why we want to trial this idea is so we can allow children to lead their own learning. Learner agency requires children to be given the ‘power to act’. Many of our children are currently managing their learning but they have not really been involved in designing their own learning.

The children are currently engaged in the first part of this process and it so exciting! Each class introduced this new idea in different ways, for example some classes shared a range of different examples of impact projects with the children. The first part of this process requires the children to identify their personal strengths and passions. Our goal for the children to be intrinsically motivated and empowered to learn. To help achieve this their projects are aligned in most cases to their personal passions. Once the children had a idea for their project they were required to pitch their idea to their teachers. The children are now starting the research phase of this process. We will be supporting the children look for experts to help them with their projects. Our reading and writing learning will be strongly linked to these projects with workshops on a range of reading skills such as skimming, scanning, identifying key words, summarising information in our own words, writing a letter/email, writing an argument, writing a report etc.

Each child has been assigned a ‘learning coach’. Their learning coach (teacher) will facilitate this process with them and act as their guide. For some children this process will be more heavily scaffolded than others. Where possible we have aligned the children and projects with teacher’s strengths and passions.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Term One Big Idea - Citizenship

Our big idea for Term One is Citizenship. The children in our three spaces have been involved in building a successful learning community. As in previous years, the furniture was stacked in the corners and the walls were empty when the children arrived at school on the first day. The children and teachers have been getting to know each other, setting up their environment for learning, exploring roles, rights and responsibilities, creating a class treaty and a digital citizenship treaty. By ensuring the children are part of the decision making process, we hope to create learning spaces where our children feel a sense of belonging and ownership.

During the term, classes have co-constructed the research process. The six stages of our research process are: Decide, Plan, Find, Analyse, Communicate and Evaluate. The children are now following their own lines of inquiry by researching a question related to the big idea of 'Citizenship'.



Saturday, 25 February 2017

Grand Designs Learning Edition


Check out the documentary one group of children from COLAB created about our first week at school in 2017.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

2017

This year all of the children in the Senior Syndicate are learning in a collaborative learning environment!  For the first time, we have 90 children learning in one space.  We are looking forward to sharing our journey with you throughout 2017!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Term Four Big Idea: Cultural Diversity

This term our integrated unit is about Cultural Diversity. Last week the Senior Syndicate children hosted a cultural festival for their peers. The event started with a performance by the IPU Drum team in the hall. The children communicated their new learning in a wide range of different ways, including hosting a cultural food festival and performing a dance to represent culture. Many of the children worked in collaborative groups to share cultural traditions, artworks, dances, languages and games. Three classes also enjoyed a shared cultural lunch. Several parents from our community supported their children to share special aspects of their culture. One group of children planned and taught cultural Jump Jam routines to the Junior Syndicate children and on Tuesday this week, groups of children are facilitating our sports rotation. These children researched sports played by different cultures and are going to teach other children about the background of the sport and how to play them.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Taking Action!

Our children have been busy applying their new learning to take action and make a difference in our community!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Interpret Challenges

Each class completed the ‘Interpret’ stage of our integrated unit. This stage of our integration model requires children to use and apply their new learning through a range of challenges/scenarios/tasks. Some examples include:
  • The children have completed the thinking routine ‘I used to think... Now I think…’ The children were also asked to reflect on changes they have made in relation to their behaviours and our environment.
  • Writing a script and filming a news report to highlight the positive and negative impacts humans are having on our environment. 
  • Developing an action plan in response to the following scenario: Imagine Palmerston North’s temperature goes up 20 degrees overnight, trees die, the river and the lagoon dries up. What effect would it have on us? What effect would this have on animals? What would our environment be like? What foods would we eat? What activities would we do? 
For the rest of the term, the children will be working on the ‘Inspire’ stage of our integrated unit. Next week, our Deputy Mayor is visiting Room 6/7 to discuss the rubbish and recycling strategies in Palmerston North. He was invited by a student who sent him an email earlier in the term after reading an article on stuff.co.nz.