Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Year That Was 2013

Well it has been another amazing year being a teacher and being privileged enough to spend my days with so many awesome kids and colleagues.

A big thanks to the Manaiakalani Trust and the Telecom Foundation for giving me some time this year to focus on an inquiry into something that I am really interested in and that is very real to my students. My boys have benefited immensely from my inquiry becoming far more aware of their learning in writing and thinking deeper about how they can improve. The girls have also benefited because they have been caught up in the slip stream of the inquiry as well.

I feel like this year was successful but also that the things that I discovered will benefit my students next year more so than this years group. The strategies I learned to really push cognitive thinking are going to benefit the kids when exposed to them for a whole year and not just half a year which is what happened this time around.

Some key points from the year and the inquiry that stand out to me:
  • Variety - give students choice and ownership and change things up even if its just slightly.
  • Learning Progressions - give the kids clear learning progressions that they understand and are in their speak. 
  • Honesty - show them where they are and where they should or could be and encourage them to share with others.
  • Excellence - show your students what excellence looks like. Share good pieces of writing above their level to give them something to aim for. 
  • Environment - provide an environment where the kids are comfortable and where they have options of where, how and who they work with. They love new furniture or moved furniture.
These are just some of the things that I will take forward into next year and continue to inquire about. Now that I have started down this road I know I will continuously be searching for the answer to the question, 'What motivates boys to get better at writing?' I know for sure I am am still trying and as you can tell my punctuation and grammar need some real work.

Next year I am shifting to a new school with a different demographic of students, so I am really looking forward to seeing how much of what I have learnt about my kids this year can be transferred to my new school. I'll let you know!