Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What is Effective Learning?

I was just looking through my files and came accross a range of notes I took for a Masters paper in the Uk and they seemed so relevant to what I am investigating - how to develop independent learners.

Effective Learning
Institute of Education, London University
This chart really made me think abut what I am doing as the teacher and what this is developing in my learners.  I need to transition further down the line from guiding through facilitationg and into consulting if students are to become independent and self directed.
When teachers:
Learners become:

I think this might need more:
1. Student understanding of targets and how to achieve them.
2. Student choice over learning activities and co-construction.
3. Me letting go more of the control!

While I am still wariting for my newly ordered copy of  Dweck's 'Mindset', this next part really rings true and echoes the same truth.  

Learning Orientation
Learning Orientation
·       effort = success
·       believe in ability to improve & learn
·       prefer challenge
·       personal satisfaction to success
·       problem solve & self-instructions
·       ability = success
·       judged as able
·       do better than others
·       competition
·       helpless & negative self evaluation in difficult task

For our class to be a positive learning place we need to be explicit about these things:

Hard work brings success. 
I can get better.
I will be adventurous. 
Success makes me feel good.
I can solve it!

This will become our 'Positive Mindset' for Term 3. We will unpack it and do lots of self talking to help embed it in our understanding.  It will be interesting to see how it supports the students with a more negative attitude to life.  It fits perfectly with the Māori whakatoki that is our foundation this term.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

SOLO Description collectors adapted

Our students like to use sheets to gather ideas and they are a great way to scaffold writing by gathering word banks and descripitve tools for students to refer back to.

This is what our initial effort looked like. As you can see, it clarifies what adjectives and adverbs are but also illicits deeper thinking and wonderings.  We have not managed to unpack the 'Analogy' section to develop effective metaphores and similes but will use that next term. This Desciption Collector resulted in 'Slow writing' and 5 Sentence Challenge responses.  It is a tool to feed any type of written response.

The Year 1-2 teacher came for a visit and we decided it should be simplified for them.  She had tried a version of it in her class and already had a student independently apply the 'see, think, wonder' to his writing on the following day.

First steps in Independent Learning!

We used the last couple of weeks as an experiment to see who could cope with making Independent Learning choices, what further support would need to be set in place and which students were ready to continue having earned their Independent Learner's Licence. All evaluations and learning conversations centred around these success criteria and our next steps in achieving them.

The initial Independent Learning Plan had titles of Writing and Daily5 Reading in the traditional places, while Independent Learners had choice of activitiy during these times.  They also earned the right to select where they work and who they work with.

During the first week we had 10 Independent Learners, while in the second week we expect to have 13. All of the initial students managed to maintain their independence and licence but as the numbers get bigger, I would expect some students to lose their licence by making the wrong choices.

Observations of our first week with Independent Learners:
  • Students I was not 100% sure could manage stepped up to the challenge, showing outstanding independence.
  • Independent Learners encouraged and supported peers to make the right choices.
  • The class was a calm and productive learning space. 
  • Most of the remainder of the class aspire to earn their licence and can identify their focus success criteria.
  • A couple of students showed aspects of anger or frustration as they thought they would never earn their licence.

Scaffolding steps to set up for Term 3:
  • Continue with the class tracking sheet or trial the one from the neighbourng room. (Alice K)
  • Set up clear guidelines about numbers and expected behaviour in the library, cloakbay or outside.
  • Incorporate aspects of the Independent Learner Licence in the student Daily Planner.
  • Purchase more lanyards and make 5-10 more licences. 
  • Begin to incorporate more SOLO visual organisers.
  • Develop more 'How to' sheets for ICT based activities.