Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

@Waimairi with Mike and Carol...

Well, what a great visit to Waimairi this morning for half of our staff.

Waimairi have been developing there beliefs, values, MLE's and teaching practice for 6 years now and are approaching things in a very methodical manner.

The biggest emphasis today was placed on the WHY?

Why are we creating new environments?
Why are we changing the way we think about teaching?
Why are we using MLE's and MLP?

This lead me to begin thinking about ensuring that as a staff we have an understanding as to why this is happening and what it looks like within our school community?

Once we have a shared understanding of this, it will be more meaningful in our practice.

It was also highlighted that @ Waimairi, what we saw today is part of a 6 year process!!!  We have master planning happening at the beginning of next year!

We must not panic about this, begin to trial things and when the time comes to design spaces, ensure that these are flexible enough to adapt as our thinking adapts.  I was impressed with how at Waimairi they have developed flexible learning spaces from very basic buildings but the teaching and learning that is happening is the real strength.  The high levels of engagement and student ownership was fantastic.

A big thanks to Mike, Carol and their team for hosting us and being so open about their journey so far...I am very excited about beginning ours!

Below are a few photos from today.

I love the third photo- this is a girl teaching herself to draw a cartoon by watching a you tube clip!

Monday, 23 June 2014

MLE'S- Furniture

This link allows you to easily use the tabs to view several schools and the furniture they have used in their MLE's.

Gives you a glimpse as to what is out there and being used...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Modern learning practice | EDtalks

A really interesting talk from Myross bush school about their changes in pedagogy.

Modern learning practice | EDtalks

MLE Readiness seminars- A review

We have just finished the 3rd and final seminar looking at MLE readiness which has been run by Derek Wenmoth and the Core education team.  Derek is fantastic at outlining vision and pulling in experts to speak and share their experiences, I found these seminars highly motivating, you always left excited by the prospect of implementing in our school.

Some of the points that really resonated with me :

  • Your core values and beliefs drive this process and should be constructed with the entire school community.  This will guide the principles and the practice will be a living expression of these values.
  • Keep at the forefront- "What do we want for our school"  What are the priorities?  When the time comes, we can work with the budget.
  • Modern Learning Practice is vital, the buildings will come, they will look shiny, but what happens in them?  How do the teachers work together?  Variety is the spice of life... Inside the MLE we should see peer teaching, parallel teaching, small group teaching, knowledge groupings, student choice, individual work and sometimes whole group- COLLABORATION!
  • Change is coming, how to work with the people in our community to be on the same page and moving forward together...
  • "We" need to own this process, and constantly reflect on it.
  • Remember the NZ Curriculum, it allows for diversity, it is not narrow, if it is, what is going wrong?
  • How do we create reflection time for readings, examples etc...?  This is important in educating all of us.
Our final session involved Hamish Boyd from Jasmax architects.  He provided a key insight into how other schools have come about...
  • We want to design a place that motivates, everyone wants to be part of!
  • "Spacial drama"  "Spacial excitement" "Connectivity between buildings"
  • If a school is like a village, where is the heart of that village?
  • What is your schools story?  How did it come about? Listen to the stories and embed them in the designing.
Some common spaces in MLE's :
  • Group tables/spaces
  • Individual tables
  • High/Low tables
  • Variety of chairs/bean bags etc...
  • Silent rooms
  • Meeting rooms
  • Bookable rooms
  • Specialist rooms
  • Furniture that can be easily manipulated
  • Nooks/Crannies
    Every space is a working space!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Visits to Clearview Primary and Breens intermediate- Christchurch

This morning I had the pleasure of touring these two schools with a friend and colleague from Te Anau primary- Grant is the DP there and it was great to be able to hear different perspectives on these changes to education.

Through all of our discussions and observations up to this point there are some real consistencies

  • A schools vision and beliefs must drive this move towards MLE's, this vision comes from all stakeholders within the community.
  • The practice of what happens inside these rooms/bases/breakout spaces is the key.
  • It is important to give our students options for how they learn and what they learn...
  • Technology is highly motivating and should support learning as opposed to keeping students busy.

Thanks to James for allowing visitors into this school.  I know they have had many in recent times.  Tracey Young who showed us around today allowed us to see a 21st century learning environment in action.  A strong message from Tracey centred around the vision within the school and how this was "living and breathing" in the classrooms, we saw evidence of this today.  What struck me was the options available for students, high presence of technology, flexible learning spaces and children having choice over their learning.  It was great to see students gathering together at the beginning of the day before moving off into the business of the school day.
There are a huge variety of options for students and teachers, one common thread was that often there would be a teacher taking a focused group, while another teacher was able to rove and support students on their tasks.  Senior students were able to earn a "SIM" card, which allowed these responsible students to work anywhere within the school- A high trust model which is working.
Options were high at Clearview, high tables, low tables, bean bags, cushions, lap boards, Ipads, Lap tops, sound proof rooms, group spaces etc...  But most importantly these were ways to complete the learning, giving students the power to work where and how they were comfortable.  Thanks to Tracey for the tour!

Breens intermediate
A big thank you to Breens for having us after the visit being organised during a Sunday conference, I was fortunate enough to jump on the bandwagon after Grant had organised a tour for today.
Nikki at Breens was very kind to give us an insight at very short notice...2 hours before we arrived!
What impressed me about Breens was the time and energy that had been put in initially to develop a strong values system and graphic that very strongly connected the community, it took into account a strong past history and current beliefs.  It was obviously working!  A bit like the journey that we will take @ Gilberthorpe, Breens had worked to create Modern Learning Practice within their existing buildings, which was why it was a nice contrast to Clearview.
They had opened up classes to de-privatise both teaching and learning and had spent time create "schools within a school" by having 3 teams of 3 classes.  Teachers planned and taught well together and it was obvious that the time had been put into developing the systems in order to maximise the learning times.  They also benefited by having technology on site, which they also provide for several other schools.
We saw many different technologies, but the real game changer here was potentially the use of chrome books, also hugely successful in Auckland within the Manaiakalani cluster.  Chrome books are a device we anticipate being readily available in the future within our cluster in Hornby. Affordable and capable , many students preferring to have the keyboard available, which tablets don't.
As with Clearview we saw classes allowing for group collaboration, quiet and silent areas, areas for specific instruction.  Walls were turned into glass and old canteen spaces were now teacher planning areas- fantastic creativity and just what I was hoping to see.

A lot of food for thought from both schools- a common theme being the options being made available to students, the range of choice over how and when to work and oodles of creativity from the way student learn and the way teachers teach e.g converting the pie shop to online ordering and creating another space.  A very inspiring way to start the week!

Thanks again to both schools for opening their doors to us...

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Pegasus bay School opening- First brand new school in Christchurch.

This clip is well worth a watch.  Shows the completion of the first major project completed under the Canterbury renewal scheme.
One challenge for us at Gilberthorpe however, is to re modernise our existing spaces to fit 21st Century philosophies...

Have a look!

Pegasus Bay school

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The beginning of our journey into Modern Learning environments!

Exciting times are coming for our school and community with news that in 2015 our school will be modernised as we move into 21st century learning!

The remainder of 2014 will allow us to come together as a staff to re visit what we value and believe are key ingredients in a 21st century environment.

A modern learning environment essentially means an environment that is current and also reflective of the needs of our students and whanau.

The entire Gilberthorpe community will be involved in this process.

It is vital that we have the opportunity to discuss effective teaching practice, and effective teaching environments in order to gain a shared understanding before moving forward and thinking about what our physical classes may look like.

We have begun work with Core education and the Ministry to help educate us through seminars, readings and visits in order to create our own vision for us @ Gilberthorpe.

Watch this space as I update our progress and provide links to various fantastic websites containing research and living and breathing examples.

Ka kite ano