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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.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

HomeLearning - A new, streamlined process explained.

So I had to wait until holidays to share this post.  
I find term time too intense to add blog posts - especially ones as epic as this series is gonna be.  

I'm about to share over 30 Task Cards with you all.   
These cards help my students choose and complete HomeLearning tasks for themselves. 

The Head of Junior School at my new school is a keen supporter of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model that I've called 'Home Learning'.  I am, once again, blessed to work for a boss who is keen to support innovation.  Together we discussed what the parent body would need to support them in implementation.  TheBoss has helped me to build a model that better informs parents about what we are learning, helps them to feel and to become a part of the process, greatly improved communication and helped to establish a healthy degree of student accountability.

Together, we developed the idea of Task Cards.  

After briefly explaining the process of HomeLearning as it exists at this new school, the next 30 or so posts will be a mass-sharing of the Task Cards that we've made....  

I want to share what we've created so that we can continue to build a network of ideas.

Firstly, a quick re-cap of the HomeLearning process as it stands now:

HomeLearning in my Year 2 class is based on the same model as previously - with some cool tweaks:

1.  WE set some SMART goals together. 
These are typed by me, printed and glued in the space at the top of the page.  This process is not as arduous as it may seem though it does take some practice to develop goals quickly with kids.

2.  I incorporate SPELLING 'lists' * into the planning page.
There are two sections - One that I set as a phoneme focus.  The other section is for personal words.
We incorporate words from home, personal writing and personal interest in this section.
* WAY more on spelling lists later!

3.  Students set up a WEEKLY PLAN page.
They are encouraged to add all reading, co-curricular activities and family activities.
Many 7yr old kids CAN plan for themselves when they are shown how, guided at first and then expected to do it for themselves.  Several students in my class can NOT do this independently.
Hence the Gradual Release of Responsibility - differentiated for individual needs.

4.  Students CHOOSE tasks that will help them develop their goals.
This is easy enough at this stage - As I am negotiating the SMART goals, I can advise (if needed) which tasks would help with these goals.  By week 6 of Term 1, I was able to give many students almost full autonomy with this step of the process.

5.  I check that tasks are BALANCED and SUITABLE.
No matter how independent a student has been up to this point, I still check each plan to ensure that it is created properly.  I focus on different areas with different kids.  With less independent kids, I help to plan a balanced week and I help with task choice.  With more independent kids, I help them to see where tasks can be extended to suit their accelerated learning.

6.  Students ENSURE that they have the required task cards and resources for the week.
We have a brief time on Monday afternoons where students are asked to ensure that they have all the resources they will need for the tasks they have chosen.  It's important to note that they will have been shown a task before choosing it.  They will know what is required already.

7.  Parents CHECK that timings are realistic for the week.
This is a really vital part of the process.  The term started with many questions written on plans on Tuesday mornings after parents had seen the week's plan.  By week 6, the only notes on plans were notes to their child such as, "Great plan, Kid!"

So there you have it.  That's the process in year 2 in my little neck of the woods each week.  
I hope this makes the process clear.  
It was pretty stressful to get established, but it has been SO worth it.  
I can't wait to see these kids totally running the show for themselves as this year goes on.

As always - PLEASE ask questions or offer suggestions.

Next post - The first task card!


Bruce Ferrington said...

Capitano! I can see a book coming out of all this...

Richard Black said...

Talk to Scroope! She'll make it happen! Thanks for your support, Fezz.