In order to gather information about our students and their experience at school, we randomly selected Primary and Intermediate students and asked them the following questions:
Can you name two adults in this school who believe you will be a success in life?
- How do they show you that they believe in you?
Where are you going with your learning?
- What are you learning? What are the big ideas that you are learning and why is it important?
How is it going?
- What would you like to tell others about how you’re doing? How do you know how you’re doing?
Where to next?
- Tell me what the next piece of learning is for you. What do you need to do to get better at this?
In general, what we learned from student responses is that our students feel that they have supportive adults at school who believe they will be successful. Our students are also able to identify an area of learning they need to focus on and can provide examples of steps they need to take in order to achieve that goal.
Many students required examples and support to state the “big ideas” in their learning and why those ideas are important. With prompting, they were able to begin to draw connections between their learning and life outside of school. Students also demonstrated a need to be able to assess their own learning to determine how they are doing. This information will help us to develop questions as our focus.
With the information we gathered, staff discussed what focus might best meet the needs of students. We determined that focusing on the Core Competency of Thinking (Creative and Critical) would encompass the learning our students need to develop.
Core Competency: Thinking - The thinking competency encompasses the knowledge, skills and processes we associate with intellectual development. It is through their competency as thinkers that students take subject-specific concepts and content and transform them into a new understanding. Thinking competence includes specific thinking skills as well as habits of mind, and metacognitive awareness.
What we are working on this school year (2017-2018):
- teaching the language of thinking
- taking gallery walks to share student work
- Debriefing and sharing our learning
- Sharing photos or videos of “I can statements” in action
- Embedding creative and critical thinking in all subject areas
- Classifying competencies during and after tasks
Staff are coming together through collaboration time and meetings to discuss what they are working on in their classrooms, what observations they have made, and where to next based on the information they have collected about student learning.