26 February 2016

What impact did external PD have on your learning? - Pecha Kucha

In my role as Pedagogical Coordinator I have been focussing on "utilizing expertise within the school to expedite development of teachers". This is an area that I see fundamental to the growth and organisational culture of a school. Many years ago I attended a Pecha Kucha night in my hometown of Otara. The topics ranged from Graffiti art, fashion design, urban design and others. I was “wowed” by the powerful way in which people shared strong messages in a visual and succinct way. I have been pondering ways in which I could implement this in my team context. I took a leap of faith and invited colleagues to share using this format...

Hello colleagues
Recently you attended school funded PD/or you have talked to me about new learning and inspiration. I would like to invite you to prepare a Pecha Kucha presentation to share your new learning as a result of your PD. The first Pecha Kucha in K2 will start 10th January 2015. You only need to talk for 6 minutes and 40 seconds, share your ideas then hand over the reigns to another colleague.

What is Pecha Kucha?
Pecha Kucha is 20 images x 20 seconds = 6 minutes and 40 seconds in total

Who am I inviting to present? (have taken out names)
PE conference
Tech conference
Assessment and Documentation workshop
Light room (inspired by Reggio conference last year)
Teacher Learning Forum in Qatar
Cognitive Coaching - Naketa

What do I need to do?
Create a Google Presentation with 20 slides (mostly images) and email the link to me focusing on what you have implemented as a result of your PD.  

I was pleasantly surprised by the response, and have had most of the teachers respond to the challenge. The request for a Pecha Kucha usually comes a month after they have attended PD so that they can share with us the actual impact and shifts in thinking the PD has had and the short succinct nature of the sharing make it even more accessible to the team.

In what ways do you encourage teams to share ideas? Below is my slideshow after my first 4 days of Cognitive Coaching.

10 February 2016

Walking the Walls - Collaborative Team Learning

Our school has been working with Tony from Interlead for a little while now. As part of our professional learning practices we have been introduced to the notion of four-minute walkthroughs, which we have dubbed 4MWT (we love acronyms at our school). You can read more about 4MWTs here.

An integral part of 4MWTs is to "walk the walls". This means to do just that, have a look a the walls in a classroom or corridor to capture the learning that might be happening in that space. To look at the environment as the third teacher and take inspiration from this.

My team have started visiting other grade levels in our school to be inspired, be curious. be informed, be provoked. On occasion, we will arrange a Walkthrough and realize that it wasn't quite the right time - the class are in a single subject lesson or recess. In this case, we "walk the walls" in lots of classrooms. We have come away from every single one of these sessions with an idea, a curiosity or a wonder.

It soon became apparent, that while it was great to see other spaces we could really benefit from seeing our own classrooms walls (12 homerooms in our grade level). So, we organised an in-grade level "walk the walls" session. By this time our children had left for the day and we had the spaces totally to ourselves. We got together in groups (those we don't normally collaboratively plan with) and went walking.

When we reconvened as a whole group I invited teachers to reflect on a few questions and post their answers on stickies in response to these questions:

Questions I posed were:
  • What curiosities do you have? (You saw something in a classroom and you just need some clarification or the story behind it).
  • If you had 1,000,000SAR what would you change in your learning space?
  • If a space was a gender, what gender would it be? Were there gender neutral spaces?
  • If you were a 4 year old what would you want to see in your learning space?
  • What will you change tomorrow?
Unfortunately, we were a bit time-deficient to really get into deep dialogue about the answers, I hope to visit some of these answers in our next team meeting. What learning have you enjoyed from "walking the walls" in your learning space?

09 February 2016

Bookmark Banter #2

Over two years ago, I decided to start blogging about all of the bookmarks I find. You can see my first ever Bookmark Banter here. The joy of Twitter, Facebook and Blogs via Feedly means that I frequently come across really cool links that I save in my 'read later' pile. Only problem is I very rarely prioritise reading, digesting and reflecting on these links. Bookmark Banter is a place where I will list the cool links I come across with a summarizing paragraph.

Maria writes "Businesses want creative curious people. Think tanks want creative curious people. Scientists need creative curious people" and in order to do this we need to nurture "wonder" and lean into the unknown.

Kath Murdoch is the Inquiry guru. In her vast years of experience she sums up one of the biggest challenges of an inquiry approach - “letting go” and offers suggestions for teachers in this process.
  • Let go of talking (and do more listening)
  • Let go of ‘secret teachers’ business
  • Let go of the ‘boundaried’ classroom
  • Let go of the tyranny of the timetable
  • Let go of the what…(and hold on to the how)
  • Let go of certainty

Teacher Tom is a great advocate for ‘real’ childhood. He posts great articles emphasisng the need for children to have hands-on, authentic and genuine childhoods. In this post he offers teachers phrases to help support children to become risk-takers.

PYP Inquiry is a most wonderful thing, this article short and simple challenges teachers to ask these reflective questions:
  • What should we stop doing?
  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we continue doing?
A relevant topic for #tksecc teachers right now as we move into the next phase of our appraisal system. Teachers are encouraged to seek feedback from colleagues with regard to their own personal inquiries. Feedback is powerful.