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.

Monday, 12 October 2015

60 Minutes - The rest of the story

Hi there! 

You may be visiting here after seeing the Homework story on 60 Minutes Australia recently.  Welcome.

I hope 60 Minutes doesn't mind me using this image....

I wanted to share this quick blog post with you to help you see that there is indeed a little more to 'the rest of the story'.    Firstly, perhaps check out this clip that made the 'Extra Minutes' section of the 60 Minutes website.

To be clear:  I am grateful to the 60 Minutes team for helping to tell the first part of my story.  I feel it's important for me to now keep the conversation moving.  I think I can start to do that in ten statements.  If you like what you see, please look further back into the story here and let me know what you think.

The 10 things you oughta know about what I do with home learning

A summary of  the last 5 years of study, reading, trial, error, success, review, pilot, debate and toil goes like this:

1.  My students set goals for themselves - both academic and personal.  They are only 7 and 8 years old but they are starting to learn about SMART goals and growth mindsets.  As was shown in the 'extra minutes' section of the show on Sunday, I have by no means just dropped everything.

2.  My students know that, "A goal without a plan is just a wish".  They plan their weeks themselves - learning about time management, balance and a targeted work ethic.  They discuss and negotiate these plans under a gradual release of responsibility model.

3.  I've created scores of activities that will help kids to work towards certain key goals that they should be striving towards at their age level.  They choose tasks that they like, can complete independently and know will help them to reach their goals.  They do sometimes need 'gentle prodding' towards tasks that I know will help them.

4.  I check the plans and talk with kids about their progress every day. 
Every. Single. Day.
I check plans and even write on them, when needs be, but I don't pile on pressure.  I understand that there are nights where we just feel sleepy or Uncle Brian wanted to play with water guns.  I monitor to see patterns of engagement, not checking a tick sheet of worksheets handed in.  Plans can change.  Successful learning behaviours develop over time - when guided by a team of committed adults.  My kids' parents are my partners in this.  None of this happens without their trust, questioning, input and support.

5.  We talk constantly in large groups, small groups and even on an individual level about goals and plans.  We talk about moments that worked, activities that were fun or boring, things that went wrong and so much more.

6.  We read.  We read an awful lot - not because it's a time filler, but because I believe that it is the essence of a learner and I want to empower my students.  I have well over 2000 books in my class library.  These kids are expected to be taking books home every day.  They have enough to choose from!

7.  We do spelling lists... and tests.  I'm in the process of trying to innovate here.  I see this still existing in some form or other when I'm done.  It's important to have some targets.  I've been studying reading and spelling for a few years now.  More later.

8.  While I hate to enter into an adversarial power-trip about 'homework', I will 'call a student out' (quietly and with compassion) if I think they are trying to 'play the system'.  They have got it pretty good with this setup.  I let them know that they oughta respect what they have and to use the opportunity to grow and learn.

9.  These kids are learning to WANT to do work at home.  They are starting to see the benefits of goals, plans and growth.  They are learning to manage their time and they are learning that with greater responsibility comes greater power.

10.  After 5 years of putting my heart and soul into this, it is still a work in progress....

If you want to know much, much more about the journey, please feel free to check out this blog and take a look around.  The posts have been a tad sporadic over the years, I know.  I just often get caught up in the 'doing', rather than the 'blogging about'.  Thanks for your time.

Mr Black
'That dude who really should shave before going on TV'

1 comment:

family said...

Always best to tell the truth, the whole truth etc. Well done Blackie, your awesomeness is appreciated