Week 2 down and what a shame it was our last 4 day week for a while!
Tuesday to Thursday of this week was spent working hard on independence and collaboration (especially collaboration). We worked on gaining more of a sense of individual responsibility for the workings of a group as well has devising a set of solutions to common group problems as a class. There’s more work still to do in this area, but for the moment I’m happy that the children are more able to collaborate effectively. We have also begun to work on another skill I think is important – cyber safety and digital citizenship. I believe a few children have gone home and altered privacy settings and taken some personal information off line as a result. Hector’s World, a visit from the community constable and lots of discussion have been key to this and we will continue to develop our skills in this area.
THEN on Friday, we had a much more exciting day! (At least in my eyes!) My-Learning began and I was really pleased, and pleasantly surprised, at how successful it was. Especially given they had only had 7 days at school by that stage. In preparation, on Thursday afternoon, I showed them parts of the presentation I did at U-learn to demonstrate what exactly My-learning was. I had also got some children in my class last year to film “handy hints to survive Miss Winder’s crazy system” at the end of the year last year. Such useful ideas as “do your work properly the first time or you will have to do it again” (!!). I think this was really helpful to do as it meant that some problems we had last year were eliminated more easily.
The first day of My-learning really couldn’t have gone any better (phew!). I made sure each task I set was able to be done individually, did not require computers to be booked or wrangled with and was about half an hour long. We spent allot of time discussing each task and answering questions before we started so everyone was 100% clear (theoretically anyway!) about what they needed to do. Then I ensured I was available to help any children that needed it. I also sat at the same table as one student who I knew would struggle for quite a chunk of the day. It turns out I wasn’t really needed very much at all though and spent most of the day conferencing with individuals. The other thing that made the day somewhat successful was stopping to do super quick reflections regularly throughout the day. The class had 2 learning intentions for the day – to be independent and to manage their time well. They rated themselves out of 5 on their hands for these 2 intentions about every half hour. This seemed to keep them on track. I do need to make sure children know it’s OK to talk, but they need to be talking about their learning. It seems to be all (loud chatter about everything and anything) or nothing (silence and no discussion, helping each other out etc.) at the moment.
Here is what the class said when we reflected at the end of the day:
Things that were successful:
- We got to choose who we sat with.
- It was fun being independent.
- Nearly everyone finished. (One child did not, which was good from a behavioural stand point as the class realised that it was not an empty threat that I would call parents of children who were not finished and they would have to complete the work set for homework).
- The class was better behaved.
- Liked choosing when to do things.
- Some children finished early.
Things that weren’t so successful:
- Didn’t like to choose when to do things, like to be told when to do tasks (this was just one child this year – fewer than previous classes).
- Have to wait for others to finish for the end of the week reward (for those who have been well behaved and have completed all their work).
- Hard to know how long things will take.
Week 3 I will get children to plan Monday and Tuesday; then Wednesday to Friday. Monday and Tuesday will involve a task in a pair and one where they have to book a laptop. There will also be group meetings for Maths groups. Wednesday – Friday will involve computer bookings, group Maths and Reading meetings and organising a group to do a collaborative task.
Week 4 This will be a whole week to plan, assuming everything goes to plan!
I’m not sure when I will begin opt-in meetings but I’m working on getting students to be more honest about their learning for this to work well.