About Me

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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2nd Grade Teacher at a school in Melbourne, Australia. My job: push kids to think. My passion: helping kids to tackle the life-long skill of searching for meaning, skills, answers and more questions.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


This week, our year 3 and 5 kidlets are completing The [Australian] National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)  Our teachers have been truly wonderful about not making a big deal over these snap-shot, standardised tests.  Thank goodness for that!  The debate about these is for another blog.  I simply thought I'd mention a different 'PLAN' which is, in my humble opinion, WAY more important.  YOUR PLAN.

Kid draws a better horse than I do....  Gotta be worth something.

You see... Sophie wants to be able to learn 20 new phrases in Mandarin and be able to use them in conversation. Anjali wants to be able to complete the monkey bars on the playground.  Some kids want to be able to find 'kid friendly' information online which they will be able to understand.  Other kids are confident with 'locating' but want to be able to 'interpret' and 'record' the information in their own words.  There are SO many more goals in 4RB.  This is just a snapshot.  Photos of goals sheets will follow soon.

Photos like this one: 
Who knows.. I might figure out how to put them the right way up soon.....

These kids have put in writing what it is they want to achieve.  They have chosen and now designed their SMART goals for the coming 5 weeks.  I quietly assure myself that this process will not be so glacial as they become more accustomed to the practice.

NOW.. how do I help these kids form a PLAN?  Their PLAN?

A screenshot of LOTEonline.com  Very cool, Birks lao shi!
The answer is to expose these kids to their options - remembering that I don't have all the answers.  In time, through exposure and practice, they should be able to show me different options I'd never heard of.

This morning I handed Sophie a Chinese/English dictionary.  That's the first step of me showing that I'll support her.  She also needs to be exposed fully to LOTEonline.com - an amazing resource built by our very own Mr Birks.  Sophie also needs to consider when and how she will practise the phrases she learns.  She will need to build daily practice of these phrases into her personal timetable in order to consolidate learning.  I, for one, am excited for her.

Wrong type of MonkeyBar, Anjali.  Sorry.

Anjali needs a plan to build up her upper-body and arm strength.  She will need to do quite a lot of hanging from bars.  I've tried to 'google' how to develop the skill of completing monkey bars.  I really can't leave that up to Anjali - for now.  I've found a few exercises that she can do daily to build up her strength and tone.  I hope that she will seriously put these activities into her personal timetable.

The kids who want to locate 'kid friendly' information online are about to be exposed to a long list of strategies.  They will receive the list of places to go - I will lead them to the water.  I cannot make them drink.  They will need to choose several different strategies and make time in their personal timetables to practise using these.

The kids who want to be able to 'interpret' and 'record' information in their own words will need exposure to the same resources as their 'locate' cousins.  From there, however, they need exposure to the process of note-taking, analysing, interpreting and recording.  They will need to make time each day in their personal timetables to read brief passages and record the information in their own words.  I will need to find passages for them.  I will need to facilitate small inquiry circles for them to discuss common findings.  I will need to make time for them to share, think, find information of their own and inquire together.  Yikes.

There are two common threads here:

1.  Equipping the kids with the RESOURCES they need to see HOW they can achieve their goals.
2.  Making time in our PERSONAL TIMETABLES to practise skills.

It really is about having a PLAN and MAKING TIME.

I'm going to create a MEGALIST of activity ideas for each of the SMART Goals that we have in 4RB.  With any luck, I'll be able to build up materials that we can all share - and YOU will add to it too!  Any suggestions warmly accepted and appreciated.


Bruce Ferrington said...

Love the way you think, Mr Black!

Nancy C said...

In the past I have used SMART goals with the kids. However, I wasn't providing materials and guidance on how to achieve those goals. I really like your thinking and this has inspired me to think about these goals in a new way!

Nice to see that other countries are not so hyper-focused on standardized testing as we seem to be here in the USA.

Thanks for sharing.

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