What have our teachers been up to over the last two weeks?
With the delay of the school year, teachers have been hard at work both engaging with professional development and preparing and planning for the year ahead. They have also been using this time to research and plan for new and engaging learning experiences for students.
In Junior Primary, we have been working on tackling the curriculum through play and inquiry-based approaches. This has involved brainstorming, creative thinking and professional learning so that teachers are equipped to teach the way kids learn. In Senior Primary, the focus has been on working towards ‘gold standard’ PBL (project-based learning) by increasing opportunities for student ‘voice and choice’. Teachers have been working on opening up success criteria to allow for more freedom in the ways students can demonstrate their understanding.
Writing has been another focus area for improvement over the past few weeks. Year 1 teachers have been investigating ways of creatively enhancing the link between oral language and students’ writing. This involves increasing time spent on thinking, brainstorming and sharing what they are going to write to help generate ideas.
Whilst it is important to teach the specific features of a writing genre, it is also important for students to learn how to break away from the production line that writing can become. Pablo Picasso once said 'Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.'
Across the school, teachers have rewritten, revamped and refreshed our writing lessons to move away from simply writing to a formula. Teachers have been looking at ways to enhance student creativity and ‘out of the box’ thinking by learning tricks and techniques used by real authors.
This has also been a time for teachers to further equip themselves with new skills. Some staff have been learning robotics, navigating our new mini sphero collection, while others have been learning the necessary skills to implement our new class set of Virtual Reality headsets. The Year 6 team has been learning to use app creator software so that students can learn to develop their own apps as part of their Semester 1 PBL. In order to support students with up-to-date technology skills, teachers need to continually keep refreshing their own knowledge in this ever-changing space.
Teachers have been working on building community and industry connections and embedding more real-world experiences into our projects. This has taken the form of play and inquiry-based activities, immersive experiences and building real-world connections. The Year 4 team is continuing a partnership with Aussie World as part of their Maths/Science theme park project. Students visit Aussie World as their entry event and learn about the science of roller coasters before designing and building their own theme park using mathematical concepts. The industry connection with Aussie World means that students get real-world feedback on their designs from experts in the field. The Year 2 team is looking into ways to connect with town councillors and town planners as they develop a new project where students get to design and build their dream city. These connections are vital in making students’ learning experiences authentic.