Update 1 – January

I am currently trying to work out the best way to take this forward now that the school is closing for the next few weeks. For the past few weeks, the children have been busy working together to come up with a plan to keep the different areas of the school litter free and have enjoyed recycling boxes and up cycling  them for  different games and activities within the classroom. I am seeing that this gives them a sense of both ownership of learning and creativity. Children have also enjoyed creating their own games and we made Little Boxes of Love as our Christmas gifts to take home which were made from recycled cardboard. This has changed how I am approaching this project, as on reflection, this was not child led. I had a clear set of aims going into this project. Although not formal, I also had a very specific list of Learning Objectives that I wanted the children to go through and I was guiding the lessons on a very particular way.

 

I have since spoken with the CDO who is based in school and our wonderful dialogue introduced me to new concepts within play based learning that my class of Primary 3s may be more familiar with and she has given me an observation sheet, which makes it easier for me to scan the room and look at all of the children.

 

My next steps are clear, I must ask more open ended questions using language such as using “I wonder” in place of “why?”and give children more freedom to explore topics in a less prescriptive way.

My Enquiry Plan (1st Draft)

I have spent time with my class, looking at their learning styles and I am planning on continuing the Lorax project throughout the year, setting aside various afternoons for the children to use their skills to work independently and together to explore various Global goals and how they impact their local area. We have, as a class, decided to focus on the litter problems in the school and try to solve that problem on a playground level as we already recycle and reuse what we can in our own classroom and are encouraging other classes to do the same thing.

 

I am currently looking at and trying different methods of assessment for these tasks as I am unsure what would be the best thing to assess and how I am going to assess this to prove that it raises attainment. I have removed Learning intentions and discuss with the children before each session what they think they need to achieve by the end of the session to be successful. Some children are goal oriented and have a specific idea of what they want to have finished, other children have stated that they will know they have finished when they’re done. This is something that I am looking to explore also.

 

What is already known?

Enquiry Based Learning is not a new idea. It has been spoken about for years, but due to the increasing need for autonomy and the increasing idea that children deserve an input into their own education, this idea is being explored more frequently. Throughout my teaching career, I have enjoyed the cross curricular links that topic work and other numeracy or literacy topics can bring and seeing how alive and involved children become when thy can make a tangible link between their leaning and a real life context.

 

While I have found an abundance of reading on this topic, I am working through and using this to reflect and critically examine different points of view on the subject. I have compiled government think papers and independent research papers on the subject of both Enquiry based Learning and Interdisciplinary Learning, as the research suggests that these two concepts go hand in hand. While I am more comfortable with the nature of cross curriculum learning (planning a topic – the topic is taught through a variety of subjects) I am intrigued by the idea of IDL wherein the transferable skills between concepts and subjects are used to explore learning and not based on subject specific knowledge.

 

For example; I have recently began a topic using The Lorax. We will aim to explore the environment an climate change through active an enquiry based learning. This will ultimately be child led. I left a gift of soil and seeds in the classroom and the children had to guess who it was from. This will be built on throughout the school year.

Draft Question

Focus: I am aiming to explore enquiry based learning with the idea that this will boost attainment in a year that is so uncertain and can change at any moment. Taking the traditional idea of learning away from children having to learn content, I am hoping that having a more exploratory approach will engage and enhance attainment within the class room.

 

Question: What Impact does Enquiry based Learning have on Attainment in primary schools?

Exploring My Itch

There have been many ideas in my practise about what it is I wanted to explore as my comfort zone is in health and wellbeing and mental health areas. However, in such uncertain times, I have decided that moving to a more play based approach for my current class would be something much more doable as it is not in my comfort zone, but it is also not something entirely new. My main area of change is the year group I am teaching as this is the first time I am teaching in Primary 3.

 

My main area of expertise is in upper school, therefore I have now moved down the school and while I have covered classes, being responsible for children’s developmental learning during a global pandemic is quite a new thing as I am having to think creatively about how to teach younger children. This has been a very daunting but enriching experience so far as I am learning just as much from the children as they are from me.

 

I am to engage in play based and active learning as far as the guidelines allow and will spend a lot of time outdoors.

Teacher Leadership Is…

Teacher Leadership is a concept that I have struggled with on a Daily Basis as, although I know I am a strong leader within the classroom, I have always shied away from cal along myself a leader in twitching the school setting. I am hoping that this project will help me explore this as through professional dialogue with colleagues I have been leading ideas and initiatives and sharing practises for a long time.

 

I have always been open about my classroom practices but thought that in order to be a leader, I had to be in a role in which people would see me as a leader. The reading on this subject is very interesting as it suggests that I don’t need to be a leader in the traditional sense, people already listen to my ideas and follow my advice. My colleagues do respect me and I know that this is one of the fundamental necessities of leadership; Mutual trust and respect. I am looking forward to exploring this more fully as the year and the project continue.

 

Hello,

 

My name is Katrina and I am a Primary school teacher in the north east of Glasgow. I have been teaching for 7 years now and the job has changed in those years. There are heavier demands on the job than there was when I started. My job has a bigger focus on mental health, health and wellbeing and emotional literacy than it ever has. While I am a class based teacher, the needs of the children have changed and therefore I have had to up-skill and add many more strings to my bow in order to be the teacher that the children in my classroom need me o be. This hasn’t been without it’s difficulties and I have endeavoured now to share this journey and this practise with other colleagues, which has lead me to this course.

 

I am hoping to find inspiration, professional dialogues and support in order to develop as a classroom leader and share ideas with others

Why Teach? Why Lead?

Hello,

My name is Katrina and this year I am exploring what Leadership is – teacher leadership, classroom leadership, and perhaps even Middle Leadership. However, in order to lead, we must explore the why.

Getting into Teaching was something I’d wanted to do for a very long time. I was inspired by teachers I had – how to teach and how not to teach.  Everyone always has that ONE teacher that makes them want to teach to turn the system around, to ensure that another child doesn’t feel how they felt.  So I chased the dream, I worked hard and I had a class of my own – a class that had its challenges and a year that had its ups and downs. The one thing that kept me going was the moments I could see that I was helping, making a difference, making the right choice no matter how difficult those choices were.

As a teacher, it’s those moments that drive me. The moments where I have a choice; I can choose the easy way, and mostly the easy way would damage a boundary that I’d worked hard to set up or damage a relationship that I’d fought to build.  The moments where making the difficult choice – for example – sit with a pupil who has hurt or upset another child or broken something in the classroom to find out why it had happened, rather than passing it on to someone else for them to sort. The wrong choice at that moment can irreparably damage a relationship with the child and change the relationship the child has with the rest of the class – showing compassion and empathy, allows others to copy that behaviour in similar circumstances.

Seeing this in action, inspired me to promote this within not just my class, but with every person I came across. This is important to me and seeing the small changes I could make on a daily basis had me thinking about taking this further – taking this step into leadership to help others achieve their goals.