Tag Archives: Constructivist curriculum

IB-PYP: Maps – Gathering prior knowledge: Show me the way to your home from school. What did I learn? I should have known more about this student!

We’re learning about maps so I asked my students to show their way home from school. They could choose how they would show their journey. One of my students started drawing…. What did I learn? I know that how we ask children to show what they know is incredibly important and when gathering prior knowledge we can’t assume what a child knows. One of my very quiet 7 year old students started drawing their map.

school ) 006

school ) 013

Kids and Graham Morgan Senior 014

Can I find the way to my student’s home? YES How did this student know what they know? Would I have discovered what I now know about this student and their thinking if I’d presented my initial question a different way? QUESTIONS!

Cheers Nina

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The year of the circle, cycle or pizza! A common approach to learning, a common language and Learner Agency!

This year the class JD displays just happen to be circles or cycles. Young children make connections quickly when learning representations have a common theme and language. This year across my school and for all curriculum areas we have a common Learning Cycle which students know and use.

Photo 1: The IB Learner Profile

2015 FebMarchand ANZAC 086

Photo 2: The Fountas and Pinnell Reading Wheel

2015 FebMarchand ANZAC 092

Photo 3: My school’s Learning Cycle which is displayed in every classroom and part of daily teaching. Our Learner Cycle is developing its own look, but essentially it’s the same whether laminated or not. Each part of the Learner Cycle is unpacked with students … and when they are learning they need to be able to articulate (deeply) the following.

What do we/I want to learn?

How best will I/we learn?

How will I know that we/I have learned?

Learner Cycle

2015 FebMarchand ANZAC 067

Photo 4 & 5: How best we will learn? Unpacked by students

2015 FebMarchand ANZAC 066

Young children when exposed to a learning rich diet are able feedback their insightful and unique understanding without prompting. The language of learning has to be used authentically and lived through daily actions to become embedded in the classroom and students.

Photo 6: On its way… The Writing Cycle in four pizza slices! Each pizza slice will encompass one aspect of writing e.g. the writing cycle, word work etc… You can’t eat one slice at a time, you have to constantly nibble at each slice!

Cheers Nina

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Our Claim: Inquiry is constructivist! Our Staff Meeting tonight…

Today the Inquiry Professional Learning Team (which I am a member of) led the first of three staff meetings on inquiry.
Our Goals:

To develop a common understanding of what Inquiry looks like at our school using an inquiry approach.
To provoke thinking that may influence practice.

We hear a about project based learning, inquiry based learning, etc… What does that mean? What does it look like when schools shift away from “drill and kill” learning towards big ideas, questions, and “no right answer” kind of learning?

Our Claim: Inquiry is constructivist

Staff viewed the first 4 minutes of Piaget speaking about the constructivist theory.

The feedback from staff has been very positive and considering we’ve had a school Walkathon and whole school transition session today this is fantastic!

If you were asked the following question: What is Inquiry Learning? What would be your answer?

Cheers Nina

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2011 – Me, Australian teacher, the constructivist, learner, seeker of answers and maker of questions – One year on….

And there goes another year! I’ve had many emails and best wishes from colleagues locally, across Australia and globally. The end of the school year in Australia is frantic with not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Hence, my lack of posts….

I hope everyone who reads my blog has had a wonderful year and put a ‘feather in the back of a colleague so they can fly’…. and have been ‘courageous’. (Anthony Semann)

I find it interesting that so many people read this post each year and look forward to my reflections of ‘my year that was’. 2011 has been my year of challenge, watching my son navigate his final year of school, and for a constructivist and IB educator, I question the purpose of these final years. Jenny Luca wrote an excellent post airing her thoughts. Well written Jenny! And just so you all know I have ‘dibs’ on 2012, it’s my year, but I’m happy to share!

As a constructivist I can look back, learn from, move forward, improve, and re-learn. Experiences (good and not so good) are gifts and should be treated as such. Experience and constructive feedback is important for educators, for people and for the children we teach. Admitting you don’t always have the answers and exploring to find answers is part of education and life. Being a learner is important to me, as it allows for foibles and that’s important.

The world lost a ‘new age philosopher’ this year in Steve Jobs. I’ve read much about his life and have selected the following quote…. Reflection, personal and professional growth is important!

I’ve adopted Steve’s attitude to life, professional and personal as my mantra for 2012.

‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.’  Steve Jobs 2005

With the support of my school, my Teacher Professional Leave (TPL) partner and I have continued to research ‘best practice’. Being able to spread our allocated professional development days over what will be three years has meant our professional development has been relevant to what we now know, and what we need to learn. When you start a project such as ours ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. Research and discussion has led us to be knowledgeable about what we don’t know. And that’s a great place to be…. we’re still in the learner’s seat.

The Instructional Rounds ning is active and has continued to grow. This space has now 291 members from across the globe. Collaboration and connections are being made throughout the world within the ning.  Education has no borders, wherever we are on the planet, educators are working to engage and provide students with the life and learning skills to navigate this century.

This year I completed the Leadership for Community Engagement Program as a member of the region pilot group. An opportunity to learn from, and listen to leaders in a small forum from different fields was something built into the program which many of us wouldn’t normally have exposure to. These leaders talked about building the capacity of others, being open to new ideas and courageous when undertaking change. The accompanying project completed has led to a new model for one aspect of community education in my school. I’m providing links within this post, if you’d like to read about the project.

Continuing to refine and develop new or improve existing teaching strategies has continued in 2011, with excellent results. Recognising education is about relationships, whether it’s with students, parents or peers and intrinsic for effective constructive feedback. An exploration of educational feedback will be a priority for 2012.

My Blog: Writing my blog is cathartic and my space to reflect, share,  connect and learn from others. This post is an opportunity for me to thank my colleagues for sharing here or on the web in one of the growing forms of on-line connectors.

Yearly Stats not reported by WordPress:

Videos:

Instructional Rounds SMR Pilot – 843 views

Instructional Rounds Part 1 – 1302 views

Instructional Rounds Part 2 – 527 views

Slideshare:

Central Peninsula Instructional Rounds Evaluation – 535 views

Preparing Staff for Instructional Rounds – 3210 views

Finally, thank you for your comments, emails and support in 2011. I wish everyone a well-managed and successful 2012 – ‘Stay hungry. Stay Foolish’.

‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’  Steve Jobs 2005

Cheers Nina

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized