Friday, March 17, 2017

Honoring Within Learning

Building a culture of risk takers, thinkers, motivators who self-assess and self-regulate is a process that is explored from day one of school and is continuously explored throughout the year. It takes time, and the key to success is letting students explore, reflect on their own actions and determine their next steps.

Competency-based learning is when students own the process and build their learning based on multiple perspectives by valuing their own thinking and others. When students are immersed in their learning they are reflecting on the process of what, how and why of learning.  The students are dealing with their habits and developing their social and emotional learning when they are reflecting during the process. Students' reflections on competencies during the process allows the authenticity of seeing themselves as designers of their learning.  The students need to know their voices matter, communicate effectively and self- assess to take action. 

I am sharing the recent causal models From Rotman I-Think Initiative of students interpersonal experiences while focusing on the causes and the factors of real world events.  Some experiences are shared on the last post.

During the causal model, the students are builders and agents of their own learning.  During the process the students contribute their voices with confidence, they are engaged in collaborative meaningful and purposeful conversations on real world issues.  

This is the students' third experience with the process of thinking through the causal model. The students identified five of the six competencies that they would highlight during the process of the integrative thinking.  The competencies are based from the 6C's of Michael Fullen's Pedagogies For Deep Learning.
  • Collaboration: Managing dynamics and applying the empathy process of listening, respecting all views and learning from others
  • Critical Thinking: Collectively thinking and sharing ideas throughout complex stakes and events and their causes. Keeping on asking "what causes this/that?" linking causes and factors of the sustainable global goals
  • Creativity: Asking questions that connect to the causes and factors to further inquire and challenge the thinking possibilities to world problems or issues.
  • Self-regulation/Character for Deep Learning: The responsibility for learning, to stay focused on listening, questions and communicating to add knowledge
  • Communication: listening and valuing ideas, building on others' ideas, reflecting and analyzing the communication as a team and considering multiple perspectives, maximizing diverse thinking, linking and analyzing my classmates' knowledge of the varied sustainable goals.
Below are slides of students focused collaborative thinking and images of the causal models



Some samples of reflections of the competencies during the integrative thinking




The students were also recording their conversations during the thinking. The recordings are evidence about their responsibilities to the interdependence of critical thinking and knowledge building. 



I have combined some audios, most were hard to listen to as you could hear the tapping of the markers while writing.
Warning when listening, turn the volume down!


While interacting and interdependently thinking about the causes and factors of global sustainability the students contribute with confidence in meaningful and purposeful conversations on real world issues.  The students become problem solvers that affect the construction of the factors and the causes to produce meaningful change and contribute to the thinking.  

The students become inclusive and they target at finding these causes and factors and be involved in asking and listening that leads to constructive knowledge of learning. The students have a clear purpose and they are aware and dependent on each other for the learning.  The students are motivated and persistent with each other to build the model. 

When students are exploring learning through the causal model they are honoring their own learning and other team members.  The learning happens among them within them respectfully sharing, questioning, analyzing, eagerly inquiring to further connect their learning.

Through this rich Integrative Thinking process, the resilience and the perseverance of responsibility to learn together is enriched, from thinking about what they know what they have learned to critically listen and share.

I continue to explore and reflect about the competencies of deep learning through Integrative Thinking with and from my learners. I reflect on how students unpack and arm themselves with the confidence of communicating, self-regulating, self-assessing, analyzing their thinking and their classmates when persevering in solving many real-world problems and allowing them to honor their thinking and others. 

What are the powerful learning experiences that we are allowing for our students to be constructors, owners, and reflectors of honoring their learning? 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shifts In Learning

My learners and I continue to shift our learning and evolve through competencies for authentic learning connections. We continue to experiment with learning, reflect on and iterate the learning in order to embrace the winding road of rich learning practices. Shifts in learning involve learning to happen with the students, being engaged with them, sharing and reflecting during the process in order to allow the shift and the depth in the learning.


As mentioned in previous blog posts learning practices embrace clear purposes, success criteria, feedback from the teacher and peers, and opportunities to self-assess and have students determine their own progress and success. (My previous post on reflecting)


Reflecting continues to pave the way to deepen our daily experiences. There is no linear learning or planning. Our learning is always based on how we are going to demonstrate thinking and having content as an equal partner with cognition for my instructional practices and for the students' learning outcomes. In this blog, I am going to focus on the latest learning experiences and unpack our shifts in our learning. These learning experiences are many opportunities to also pique students' curiosities.


The students are reflecting on their own growth on a daily basis. The competencies are also explored and highlighted during the process. The students focus on how the learning experiences develop their growth and next steps through competencies. When I am planning the learning experiences, I am also referring to the competencies.


Our school board, the Ottawa Catholic School board has been building experiences of competencies with their schools for the past three years based on Michael Fullen Pedagogies for Deep Learning.




As I catch up to my reflections on our shift in the learning process, at this time my learners are becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable and are capable to independently refer to their habits as they are applying and reflecting on the competencies for learning. (Post on the Unlearning) The students are thinking with flexibility and paying attention to details when reflecting on real world experiences and audiences.


Connecting to real world learning through the Global Goals For Sustainable Development in relation to Grade 6 Social Studies Curriculum of Canadian Interaction With The Global Community has lead to the process of explorations that began in January through the visual arts and drama as students still continue to investigate local, national and international events.


The learning shift for the students has been done by becoming open minded while focusing on social justice, political and economic impacts to the environment. When reflecting on these experiences they are rendering to real world accountability.


After watching 360o videos of Virtual Reality about the "The Displaced from NYTVR, which it could be viewed on 360o videos on Youtube.






We were lucky to also have a camera spot on Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants with Inger VanDyke who captures images from tribal Africa. This was an interesting hangout for the students as they reflected on how happy these cultures are and how immersed they are with their simple daily life expectations.






Students interacting with the presenter and documenting their new learnings.






We also followed up on events by reading, listening and viewing many links online from our local, National and international news on xenophobia, human rights, Children rights and twitter from United Nations and UNICEF.  

Of course the exposure to many perspectives and contexts matter. This blog focuses on students' reflections and their journey to further explore empathy by observing, listening and sharing their thinking during class discussions. The students are reflecting on their own growth by being concerned for the planet and relating their learning to social, economic, political and environmental impacts of all human actions. I am amazed by students' reflections and their courage of being authentic to their emotions and embrace the shift of learning about themselves.


The pre and post reflections focused on Citizenship, "thinking like global citizens, considering global issues on a deep understanding of diverse values with genuine interest in engaging with others to solve complex problems that impact human and environmental sustainability." (Fullan &Scott 2016 p.6)


The students have taken action on environment sustainability while exploring the production of energy. They have designed and built sustainable cities on Minecraft with zero emission and they partnered with Natural Resources Canada with Mr. Meli Stylianou for feedback about zero emission housing and with Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulo for urban sustainable cities. I should have blogged and shared students' thinking of the process of environmental sustainability. I will share some evidence.




Mr. Meli met with all groups on their sustainable housing.




Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulou offered feedback online with all teams about their mine craft samples of sustainable cities and infrastructures.




As students focus on global issues, as to which they are presently planning to take action with Students Who Teach the Sustainable Development Goals. They have begun their designs of informing their local and global community and hopefully, I will be able to share their process of design.


Below are some images of the Grade 6 reflective shift and expressions of where they are now with their thinking about global issues, global perspectives, diverse values and understanding their place in local, national and global life. The reflections are written in French and I will be translating them.







I am proud of how my learners are progressing with their emotions and sharing how they are moving forward by thinking about the future and how it is real and it impacts everyone. The process of reflection about the Citizenship competency has allowed them to accept where they are at, how to move forward, embrace change and emotional exposures to other people's experiences, needs, and concerns from global, local and national events. They have become listeners, observers, curious, caring and sincere to understand than approaching people with a mindset.


The classroom is the beginning for the learners to explore and invite open-minded curiosities about diverse world values and views. The students will continue to make these global connections, differentiating facts, thinking critically and taking their learning deeper. They will continue to reflect, express their self-awareness and think how to impact others through social change.


How are your students reflecting on the change of their feelings and emotions towards real world problems?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Reflecting

Blogging is my platform for thinking and reflecting about my learning journey with my learners who make me a better teacher every day.


My #Onewordfor2017 is Reflecting, for us as educators and for our students.  If we need to become self-directed learners and our students to be on the same path, we all need to reflect! As educators we know a lot, what is important is the doing of what we know and reflecting about the failures and the successes to make a difference in our learning.


Reflecting is a process, it is more than an event or a task with the students in the classroom. Our students are our teachers as we reflect on how to think, apply, collaborate, communicate, retry, persevere, change habits and create together.  It is a process to allow students the time to reflect on the skills required to lead a path of recognizing their habits for learning. Bringing awareness of what is thinking? What skills are applied? It is a research-based process of students applications while unpacking their learning.


I have been fortunate in the past 6 years that I have taught students for 2 or 3 consecutive years allowing reflections on daily skills. Throughout the years students have become confident risk takers and leaders of their learning. Reflections were the indicators of their thinking process and assessment as and for learning to determine goals and strategies for learning.  It is more than just reflecting on what has been learned, it is how the learning took place on conceptual and competency-based learning.

It involves observing behavioral actions in which they have become cues for learning to take actions. How students' actions impact their learning? The reflecting process is about encouraging students' insight on learning. It is a way for students to control their own learning and to foster their own growth.


Students' reflections are based on:
  • Identifying their learning goals
  • Co-creating or determining criteria of the process from content, concepts and skills required during learning tasks
  • Experiencing that learning is more than just acquiring knowledge, it is behavioral actions developing their skills
  • Being aware of their behavioral change during the process
  • Becoming their own architects of how to develop their skills by reflecting on specific dimensions during tasks of the 6C's
  • Be aware of their perceptions of unlearning to change habits for their learning
  • To further inquire their learning in relation to real life experiences
  • To explain about how they are acquiring/applying skills during learning tasks
  • Reflecting on effective and ineffective strategies during learning
  • Aware of interpersonal perspectives for learning
  • Interdependence for learning during collaborative learning
  • Developing character responsibilities
  • Tension is learning- always working on inclusion
  • The new learning acquired from others
  • Their contribution to the learning process
  • Reflecting on feedback from the teacher and colleagues about the learning process


During learning, it is the scaffolding of reflections that I make the students aware of. It is the signaling of the thinking based on which skills the students are applying during the learning. Giving the students opportunities to make meaning of their learning. The reflections could be applied at the start of the tasks, during and at the end. The intent is to compare and draw the causal of their learning outcomes, it is producing personal insights and learning from all of their experiences.


Through reflections and sharing their reflections, the students build their perspectives of their learning growth and accept the classwide peer pair learning approach in which students take turns as leaders and learners. The students become cooperative learners making meaning by sharing their reflections. Once students reflect about their skills developments, their ego falls away. They monitor their problem solving and build the habits of empathy, trust, perseverance and flexibility of working together when they share their reflections.

How valuable will students’ reflections be to impact their learning?