Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Monday, 27 February 2017

Our Writing Journey Continues

It was great talking with the staff today about our Writing Journey with Murray!

We were able to reflect and think and share ideas around...

🤔   What excites us from what we have learnt
🤔   What challenges us with what we have learnt
🤔   What we want to try with our writing programmes
🤔   What we have tried already
🤔   Our AH HA moments

Here are our ideas below

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet

I am looking forward to many more great discussions throughout this year.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Murray Gadd comes to town!!!

For those that have not met Murray Gadd yet, please do!  A top man with expertise within Literacy that is highly sought after all around the world.  This year alone he will venture between Waiheke Island- where he is based, Sweden, Scotland and of course Hornby!!! ( And many more I am sure)

Murray brings such a wealth of knowledge and understanding which allows us all to benefit.  For me personally, this is the second time to work with Murray and I am very thankful that I have the opportunity.  Staff came away from the session buzzing, which is no mean feat on your first day back for the year!

You will be wondering why working with him is so powerful, so I'll try and outline that in a few bullet points :-)

His experience :
He has worked in almost every role within education and was responsible for developing the writing exemplars which are used nationally.  He also developed the effective literacy practice book which is widely used by educators across the country.  Through all of this, he is able to break down what really makes a difference when helping to teach students how to write.

Expert advice... some of Murray's messages :

  • Make sure everyone has something to say
  • Have a clear and authentic audience
  • Effective teachers are aware of the writing stages that the students will go through. Planning to crafting etc...
  • We need to have good content knowledge in order to teach others
  • We must understand what students should be able to demonstrate and achieve as developing writers
Students in Year 1-3 are learning to write, Year 4-8 are writing to learn.  This is echoed in reading.

  • Effective teachers have high expectations of their writers
  • Students need to be given the opportunity to write freely and for extended periods, own topics of their own choosing as appropriate
  • Instructional writing needs to happen 4 or 5 days a week and can be integrated
  • The instructional programme should include a range of teaching approaches, for us, giving students experiences is right at the top of the list (Writers MUST have something to say!!!)
  • Write for a purpose.  I loved Murray talking PIES- not steak and cheese :-) This referred to the dimensions of Persuade, Inform, Entertain and for Self, imagine students being able to identify which piece of the "PIE" they are biting off today!
Do we make sure that at all times students are aware of the purpose, the audience and why we have chosen that type of text???

  • Let's look for authentic and purposeful writing topics
  • Students must get a chance to write on student selected topics as well as teacher selected topics
  • Have fun with it -  Talk about ... your first birthday party, the naughtiest thing you have ever done, a person or place that is special etc...
  • Get outside, walk around, talk about what you see, prior to writing about it!
  • Motivate your writers through story telling, discussions, you tube clips etc...
  • Talk with the students so they know what they need to do, in order to be successful at the task
  • Differentiate lessons through writing groups
  • Ensure instructional lessons are focused and direct
  • Make the links between reading and writing explicit, after all, everything written is for someone to read...
  • Quality writing floats on a sea of talk- Make sure an oral language programme is in place
  • Use available resources wisely
  • Be passionate!!!  Make it fun!!!  We have the world at our fingertips.

Some great adages provided by Murray

‘You’ll never be a writer unless you have something to say’.

‘No student ever got excited by a learning goal or a genre.  What excites them is the topic and the task’.

‘A good writer re-reads, reflects and re-crafts.  In doing this, they think continually about the reader’.

‘We need to continually ask ourselves: Who needs what teaching, when and how?’

Murray himself also comes into our schools, models and allows others to watch best practice in action, something often missing as part of the PLD component.  He then returns later in the year to watch our staff in action, offering feedback to the staff to support their teaching.  Watch this space!

Writing is the area that our students struggle the most with, I am excited to see what the teachers achieve with our students over the course of this year!

2017 has arrived - What does it have in store for us?

When reflecting on 2016 in order to prepare for 2017, there were some really common threads coming through.

2017 is a huge year for the Gilberthorpe school community in so many different ways. We have been on a fantastic journey and this year will see us walk further on this pathway together.

2016 highlights noted at our staff development day.
  • Staff relationships
  • Collaboration
  • Building project
  • Student achievement information
  • Use of the online world
  • Our library
  • Use of technology
  • The freedom to experiment, try things out and review and reflect :-)
  • Our systems and many new and improved documents

2017 Goals and targets

  • Developing our school gardens and enviro school concept
  • Having the junior school and senior school hangout together more
  • Embed key systems and structures
  • Establish a school leadership group similar to a council
  • Connect with our whanau even more, develop strong learner centred relationships
  • Use the information we know about our learners to improve outcomes for students
  • Timetable well so our priority areas are protected

Some final wonderings around some big ticket items...

1) Time to embed
We were very happy and proud of many systems and structures that were put in place last year and this year is all about embedding those.  These allow us to know exactly where are students are at and where they are heading.  These documents are regularly reflected on, with action taken to ensure we are meeting the needs of each individual child. We really do know our learners, now what will we do with the information?

2) Learn Create Share - Manaiakalani Outreach
Our work with this amazing programme continues and 2017 will look to make bring the learn, create and share model to the fore.  What does it look like @ Gilberthorpe school? What would you see?  How are we ensuring that the research is informing our practice?  We are receiving high quality feedback from the Woolf Fischer research team about what is making a difference, it is vital that we do something with the information we are getting. How else will we move students forward?

There are 5 key areas to delve into :
Engagement - More time on task, student choice, interesting and purposeful activities.

Powerful teaching conversations-  More time for interactions- digital and face to face, greater knowledge of "where to next" for each student.

Complex tasks- accessing scaffolds, multiple text types, multi modal - so things can re presented and of course the ability to share their learning.  Using students as experts of new knowledge!

Increased collaboration- Use of google sites to scaffold, collaboration to support learning.

Visibility- A genuine audience, use of blogs.  This informs us and others and obtains other points of view.  Visible teaching and learning.

This link takes you to a fantastic summary of the progress being made within Manaiakalani and a great statistic shown about the impact of "Manaiakalani medicine"  The bottom line being that students who stay within the programme- at the same school make accelerated progress, which is absolutely vital in order for students who begin school behind the eight ball if they are going to catch up and work in line with their age expectation.

We look forward to making this work at our place!

3) Our rebuild.
Happening right in front of our eyes is our rebuild, which will allow us to work in much more purpose built spaces.  We look forward to working in these at the end of this year.