Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Day toooo

Today's highlight has to be creating our inquiries for the first two weeks of school.  This was fantastic because we were able to create an inquiry as a team and work together on the same inquiry.  It will be easier to talk about our inquiries with each other as we will already have a shared understanding of it.  So my goal for week one is to find out what my learners think a 'great learner' is and really break it down so they understand what I expect of them and foster a learning focused culture.

MindLab today challenged my thinking about modern learning environments (MLE).  I used to think that MLE referred to the way your classroom is setup, the furniture you choose and how your pedagogy changes.  Which it does, but today I was encouraged to think about it in a macro sense.  Beyond the wall of the classroom.  Questions such as 'we know there is more devices in hands, but what does this mean for the children?  How does this modern learning environment effect them?

Welcome back... TOD 1

This year will be a year of many 'first's' for myself.  I have started my own blog (...whoa) which I am using soley to record my ideas or reflections.  I have no intention of publishing this but would love to look back at it in Dec 2015 and see how my posts or ideas have shifted.  

This year I also have my first student teacher (or TC - Teacher candidate) and will be going 1:1 with chromebooks.  Very exciting!  

Today was filled with a lot of admin that will hopefully help the school run smoothly.  One thing that I have noticed is the presence of 'checklists'.  There are now checklists for classroom environments, marking books, planning, observations etc.  Normally I would shake my head and feel overwhelmed, but as a year of 'first's' I am going to be open to change.

I hope I can keep on top of these checklists, which will make them less of a burden and lighten the workload.  Of course, marking will be slightly different for me as my learners will be going digital this year.

Another point I noted was the importance of tracking RTC's and the appraisal system.  Last year I took in examples of work to share during my appraisal.  This was awesome an allowed the conversation to be less...formal and instead 'informative'. It made the appraisal process enjoyable and as a result I felt valued.  This is where we are hoping to head to this year, so it looks like the checklists might become my new best buddies.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Professional Learning Communities

Characteristics of a PLC
There are 8 characteristics of a PLC that need to be in place for it to be successful.  The main focus is on collaboration of all (based around learning), this means open forums where everyone is kept 'in the loop', sharing ideas and learning from each other and having high expectations of themselves and their learners.

Active reflection and input from students needs to be valued.  We need to listen to our learners.  As a staff we need to be open to change and for this to happen, change needs to be positive and not discouraging.

There need to be mutual trust and support.  All staff incl support staff need to feel competent, confident and the drive to succeed.  This could be achieved by applying the incredible years strategies to ourselves. For example, more positive than negative.  Really build on confidence and growing as a staff.  Professional development needs to be appropriate and apply to all staff members.  This will optimize the use of PD.

There needs to regular evaluation and reflection on the effectiveness of the PLC.  What needs to change?  Where to next?

Three ways to determine the effectiveness of a PLC
     • It has an impact on pupil learning and social development.
     • It has an impact on staff morale and practice, with potential for developing leadership capacity.
     • The characteristics are in place and processes are operating smoothly – it is part of ‘the way we 
       do things'.

PLC Article