I want to see learners transition well from primary to secondary school and to help schools, teachers and learners to do this.
In the year I am formally focussing on this project, what can I expect to achieve?
As, Lenva, my patient and thoughtful mentor said:
"You may not do anything new in one year but you could open the door to new ideas"
My overall plan is to create a resource bank of strategies and tools for transitioning learners to Secondary School. I want these to be useful for the learner, the class and the school. Lenva and I have discussed a number of ideas and I have started thinking and acting on some of these.
Learners to share learning on blogs to an authentic audience
Blogging began during 2017, largely with the year 9 and 10 learners. An audience for a blog is something that develops over time as the learners are sharing their learning regularly. The ultimate aim is that the whānau (family) are engaging in the learning but to start with the audience is other learners both within and outside the school.
Blogging will be an ongoing focus as new learners start at the school and learners work on blogging with the support of teachers - they need to be given learning that is readily bloggable. This is usually in the form of learners creating a digital learning object to embed on their blog.
Digital badging being used on blogs
Badging has been included as part of the cybersmart site and unit of learning. This will be trialled in 2018.
This is a discussion with Heads of Department at this point. The idea is a learning station as a group of six desks in the centre of the room with learners moving to the station. Once together the learners are totally attentive - no headphones or Chromebooks are used. They learn as a group with the teacher for 10-15 minutes and then go off with a task to do. I will move to trialling this in classes with teachers this year. I will also do more reading about learning stations in the secondary setting.
Individual learning conference
This is an idea I have yet to work on. I plan to help teachers to trial one-on-one conversations with learners. These conversations will be about how the learners are progressing with their learning. The idea is to engage with each student in the class in turn and to use a PMI chart along with next steps. This way the learners are clear on what their next learning steps are.
Scaffolding to support learners
This idea is a discussion only so far. I will do some reading and note-taking to clarify my own learning about scaffolding learners.
Teaching as InquiryI will focus on this in 2018 in the schools I am working in both primary and secondary. I will look at working with leaders and teachers in schools to see how to align Teaching as Inquiry with the cybersmart facilitation I am doing in classes each week. As teachers are using Teaching as Inquiry the focus in on the learners and what difference the teacher is making. Spirals on Inquiry is a model that I find helpful and I can introduce if one is not already embedded in the school.
AssessmentAs part of Teaching for Inquiry, I will use a focus on formative assessment. I will plan towards helping teachers to realise that assessment for learning is valuable for them and their learners as it provides evidence on which to base their inquiry.
Embed Cybersmart learning in a subject
I have created a site to share cybersmart learning for year 9 Health as a starting point. This will be used for the first time with learners in 2018 after I trialled some parts of the learning with a small group of year 9 students in 2017.
Heads of Departments to visit primary schoolsSo as to better understand the learners and create closer links between the primary and secondary schools, the Heads of Departments (HODs) visited the year 8 (final year) classes in primary schools. These schools are the ones that feed the secondary school. This was a good start and I would like to build on this in 2018. I will need to consider how to do this with busy teachers. Google Class on Air could be a good resource to use once the teacher to teacher relationships are established. Teachers can then see the links between the classroom they visited and the one they see on Class on Air with the learning broken down into parts.
Home RoomAs a way to transition learners into year 9, Lenva suggested a home room for a time for the year 9 learners. This means they would remain in the one space and the teachers would come to them for six weeks in term one. The high school I was working with at the time decided they would not do this but would use a cross-curricular inquiry for year 9 learners for the first 6 weeks as a way to help learners transition to secondary school. I will see how the learners found this model and what the next steps might be.
These are the ideas discussed and/or explored so far. In 2018 I am working with a new cluster of schools so I am leaving the high school and teachers and beginning again with a new secondary school. It will be a good test as I seek to repurpose the ideas for a new context. A new setting will likely bring a range of new ideas and perhaps the new school is already doing good things to transition their learners into year 9.
Some links to get started on reading.