Our Learning & Actions for 2017-18
What will we do to enhance our students’ learning?
Individually and collectively, we will continue to explore the overall learning goal of “Building a Healthy Learning Community”.
We have a great deal of synergy in many of the initiatives within this over-arching goal, with many of our staff excited to build upon the successes and learning within one, two or a few of these areas of teaching and learning.
However, our Focus of Inquiry will be on the Core Competency of Communication; that is, to develop our students’ ability to more effectively communicate their thinking and learning within any number of these areas of learning.
Although all aspects of Core Competency will be developed, we will focus especially on the following two (of four) aspects of the Communication:
- Acquiring, interpreting, and presenting information
- Explaining/recounting and reflecting upon experiences and accomplishments
- Thus, we will continue to build upon the progress made within all of these areas of teaching and learning, but our main emphasis or area of inquiry will be on ways to have our students improve upon their abilities to:
- Reflect upon their thinking and learning
- Express their understanding of themselves as a learner
- Communicate their assessment of their own learning, and
- Articulate their hopes, intentions and objectives for improving their thinking and learning in the future.
- This means that some of our teachers will work to improve their students’ communication competencies while exploring Outdoor Learning and other teachers may choose to target their students’ communication skills while they are exploring First People’s Principles of Learning and others on our staff may work to improve communication while their students are focused on Playful Storytelling or Numeracy or Literacy… initiatives in the classroom.
What will we focus on in our professional learning to support our students’ learning?
We will continue to utilize professional development opportunities to:
- More deeply, explore and learn about the new curriculum - how to develop the Core Competency of Communication in our students.
- Continue to explore and learn how to use Technology, such as iPads, to create e-portfolios, to allow our students to express themselves, share their learning with others, and to document and communicate their thinking and learning in a variety of ways, such as:
- Using software apps to create written, oral and/or visual presentations and artifacts
- Using software apps and other technologies to create video clips and movies to show their understanding of learned concepts and to communicate their thinking and learning.
- We will also look for opportunities to develop this core competency, build common language and create shared understandings of what it means to effectively communicate one’s thinking and learning, such as:
- Parent Teacher and Student Led Conferences with guiding questions for students and parents that focus on Communication of Thinking and Learning
- Classroom and School Web-pages/sites - with artifacts, presentations and e-portfolio exemplars of learning with a focus on developing our students’ abilities to communicate effectively and helping parents to be attuned to how their child is communicating their understanding and progress within an assignment or project, or area of study.
- Self-Assessments of the Core Competencies – this term, many of our teachers asked our students to reflect upon their learning and communicate their thinking and learning over the third term or school year. Next year, we hope to conduct these self-assessments more regularly (each term?)
Our Evidence for 2017-18
- How are we going to gather evidence of student learning related to our focus?
We will continue to use the following Spirals of Inquiry Questions to encourage, foster, develop and assess effective communication of thinking and learning:
- What are you learning and why is it important to you?
- How are you doing with your learning?
- What are your next steps?
- We will utilize assessment strategies outlined in the new curriculum to measure progress within the core competency of communication. In fact, part of our professional development focus next year will need to be to develop an effective assessment strategy for measuring growth and progress within the communication competency.
- We will conduct Self-Assessments of the Core Competencies on a regular basis (each term) to create more opportunities for our students to communicate their thinking and learning and for us to measure our students’ abilities to do so effectively.
- We have already begun the process of gathering various forms of evidence of communication. We have asked all staff to provide examples of student learning and especially student’s communicating their thinking and learning in the following ways:
- Student Self-Assessments of the Communication Core Competency
- Pictures / Photos of Student Learning
- Artwork and Visual Artifacts of Learning
- Video Clips and Movies
- How will we know we have made a difference?
- Continue to utilize the Spirals of Inquiry questions to assess whether we are making progress in this core competency
- Utilize the assessment strategies developed through our professional development focus on Communication
- Collect Feedback, Observations and Reflections from all three stakeholders:
- How will we analyze and communicate our evidence?
- The creation of a Communication Steering / Focus Group or Committee to help us to analyze the feedback from our staff, students and parents is essential to all aspects of the Spirals of Inquiry process – discussing, collaborating and communicating with each other as we scan/rescan, focus/re-focus, take action, check our progress and begin the next spiral ensures that our Inquiry is making a difference in our community.
- The progress made within this area of inquiry will be discussed at Staff Meetings, PAC Meetings, Student-Led Conferences and communicated through newsletters, class web-pages and web-sites.
- The story of teaching and learning at DeBeck - highlighting our exploration of the Communication Core Competency, will be posted on the DeBeck web-site and continuously updated throughout the year.