Good Day Kunyung Families
Just to get people thinking this week I am asking you to consider the following questions………..do classrooms look and sound different to years gone by? Has the role of the teacher, student and the nature of the task changed? Has learning changed to meet the needs of our future learners?
It’s a huge YES to all of these things……..
I’m going to use an idea called ‘The Golden Circle’ by Simon Sinek to explain our developing curriculum and why it is important to change and adjust the way we teach and the way students learn?!
Why..…….because people require more than just knowledge to survive in the world as we know it and in a world that is ever evolving…….our students require so many skills, attitudes and learner attributes to live in a world that requires problem solving, innovation, creativity, curious and collaboration to be the successful global citizens they will be.
Why.…….because we want our students to ‘know how to learn’ and not just what they are learning!
Why.……we want our school to be providing the best education possible for our students!
The following is our WHAT and our HOW!!
WHAT.….We now use the Victorian Curriculum and PYP Essential Elements as our ‘What do we want to learn’.
This is what we want to achieve at the end of our journey- it is the result of our why- our proof!
HOW.…….’We learn best through’: INQUIRY LEARNING, PERSONALISED LEARNING, LEARNER AGENCY and we have a variety of ways to ‘now what we have learned’.
Not only are teachers aware of this but so are our students and, more importantly, they are involved in many of these choices and decisions.
By the sheer nature of this thinking, the role of the teacher is vastly different to what it used to be, the students have so much buy in, and engagement, in the learning that involvement and role is no where near what it used to look like when students were ’empty vessels that needed filling’. The task can no longer be the same as it was years ago purely because worksheets and repetitive activities just don’t make the grade if students are to have Learner Agency and tasks don’t work if they are aimed at ‘one size fits all’ learning.
Do we still teach Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Maths, History, Geography, Science, Personal development……absolutely…….it’s the how that has moved into the 21st Century!
PYP Coordinators Day- The Buzz……
Melanie Woodland and myself shared an exciting experience at the PYP Victorian Coordinators Day spent with ‘Tracey Ezard’- author of the book ‘The Buzz’. Tracey was inspirational and gave us time to reflect on the learning environment we have created at Kunyung for staff! We were able to identify what we need to do to support staff and inspire them to want to be the best they can be…………we shared our thinking with many other PYP schools and were so happy with the learning environment we currently have at Kunyung. We are certainly not a compliant staff- we disagree on occasions and have stimulating and engaging discussions. We push ourselves out of our comfort zone- always looking to improve ourselves. Many other schools sit nicely in the comfortable zone and maintain the status quo………we are always questioning and dipping into the confused state of thinking, just so we can discuss, share and move back into the transformative zone!
We took a lot out of the day that has since been shared with staff but one thing we really thought was worth sharing with the whole school community was:
‘Emotions are contagious………what infection are you spreading?’
What an incredibly exciting time to be in teaching and to be at Kunyung!
I hope your week is travelling well!
This week is Education Week and, at Kunyung, we celebrate by inviting our families into school to participate in Student Led Tours……..the tours take place over a two week period and give our students the opportunity to share their learning and growth with their families.
Other events happening around the school over the past week include the Preps participating in PMP and beginning their new unit of work on ‘Who we are’, Middle School students enjoying 2 hours of Artistic Expression to provoke thinking for their ‘How we express ourselves’ unit of inquiry, Senior School Interschool sport, Senior School Parliamentary Election, Junior students sharing their learning with buddy classes, Lunchtime Star Search auditions (with over 200 students attending as an audience) and the initial planting of our Kitchen Garden!! Education is alive and well @ Kunyung!
Last week Elaine and I spent time at Mount View PS and one of the IB Educators gave us a 20 second explanation of why children are better off in an IB school! So….if any of your friends ask you ‘Why an IB school’…….here is a 20 second grab………..
‘IB students are creative, innovative and collaborative
IB students are good communicators
IB students are well rounded’
The clip below will also give you a good explanation of what makes the PYP curriculum so good!!
Have a lovely end to the week!
What excited children, enthusiastic teachers and beautiful weather to come back to!
With so many things happening, there has never been a better time to highlight the collaborative nature of schools! Do we always get everything right? No we do not…..but as a school we own our errors just as much as we celebrate our successes. We are able to do this because we work in teams, with students and staff always given opportunities to contribute and add their thoughts, ideas and suggestions to what we do.
Learner Agency is a HUGE part of what we do, and how we do things, at Kunyung………student and teacher ownership and responsibility of their learning and growth of themselves and the school is KEY to keeping all members of our community engaged and feeling a sense of school pride!
Some examples of collaboration and LEARNER AGENCY in just two weeks back at school!!
Caspar van der Meer, Stu Andersen and their families have spent much time putting into ACTION the plans and ideas of our Eco Team (led by Lucy Kyriaciou). Our students have been meeting with Lucy all year to design and cost our very own Kitchen Garden. We are now ready to start planting the garden and putting together the final touches….stay tuned to hear more about this collaborative project!
Each team of teachers meet for 2 hours every week to plan out what our students will be learning, how best they might learn it and how they will know if they have learnt it! Add to the conversation- how the students might add or drive the planning, how teachers might give them ownership of this learning through things like setting their own goals, choosing best ways to learn and writing their own questions and you have Learner Agency being promoted at the coal face of our classrooms on a daily basis!
Senior Students Unit of Inquiry
Our Senior Students have been learning all about politics and the influence that decision making has on others. How better to do this than by creating their own political parties who will going to an election at the start of May! Classes have had to work as a collaborative team to work out Leaders, Ministers, policies, media campaigns and strategy!! Working closely with the Governor General (me) who is representing the Queen (Elaine) the winning party will have the opportunity to act on their policies!
Local PYP Network Meeting
Our staff went in teams to all 5 Local PYP Network Schools- Kunyung, Mt Eliza North, Benton, Mornington and Toorak College. Staff went to share examples of how they promote Learner Agency in their classrooms. All specialist teachers attended Kunyung from the 5 schools and shared innovative and exciting practice! Our staff ROCK!!
Walking past Elaine’s office today I saw a group of Year 4 students discussing with her what they think of Kunyung. Preparing to conduct School Tours in the absence of Year 6 students, as a team they developed common understandings of what our strengths are and how to articulate them to others! Our students are a very impressive bunch!
EXTRA EXAMPLES: School Council Meeting consisting of staff and parents, School Council Sub Committees, The PYP Victorian Network Meeting held at Kunyung, School Captains preparing weekly for Assemblies as a team, Senior School Leadership Teams, our office staff working together on a daily basis, School banking team…….the list could keep going on………
Collaboration is a key to 21st Century employment, learning how to effectively communicate with others, listen to, and respect, their thinking and ideas, the ability to make group decisions and adopt a variety of roles are all skills that are required to be able to function effectively in many fields of employment- those we know about now and those we don’t even understand yet!!
We try at Kunyung to, not only teach and support the development of these skills, but to also model them to show what they look like if they are done well!
Dear Kunyung Families!
This week has been all about Team Kunyung…………..
Not only has it been a build up to our Kunyung Fair (A massive community team effort, but also planning week for each Level Teaching Team.
Each Teaching Team has spent the day together, working through our focus areas for Term 2 whilst each class of students has worked together as a team in each specialist class for the day!
Teachers have started each day by discussing how we promote Learner Agency in our classrooms- the little and big things that we do. We have kept Learner Agency in the back of our minds as we have gone through the day.
We have rigorously discussed our next Units of Inquiry and what we can do to improve from Term 1. Our central ideas, concepts and skills were agreed upon and excursions and incursions planned to support the learning. Many teachers asked their students for feedback from Term 1 and brought this feedback to our planning session.
We then moved onto planning, discussing and organising our Reading, Writing and Numeracy for Term 2. This involved breaking down maths and literacy outcomes, preparing pre assessments and discussing our Term 1 data. Finishing with Blog development, excursion planning and general business.
The days are full of thinking, discussion, debating and reaching consensus on many ideas……..all to reach the best possible outcomes for our students- we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Our staff are so incredible professional in their approach to everything they do………we provide them with many professional readings that are discussed and ideas implemented almost immediately……their effort to be on top of world’s best practice amazes me……….we finished our planning days with a recent TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson and even now I am receiving emails from staff who watched it again and just wanted to comment on it straight away!
One staff member commented ‘I think you guys have mastered the art of treading softly on our (teaching) dreams. Sometimes we might not be right, in fact we (I mean me) may definitely be wrong, but you never make it feel like that. I will head Sir Ken’s words and tread more softly on my students’ dreams…’
What a powerful reflection of our teaching staff! Your beautiful children are in good hands!
Go TEAM Kunyung!!
Dear Kunyung Families!
What a wonderful community spirit we are lucky to have!
Just to name a couple of highlights……..Fair organisation, Family Picnic, Open Classrooms, Lucy K driving the Eco Schools Program with our Eco Monitors, including the Kitchen Garden design which is nearing completion, Fiona M working quietly and regularly in our Resource Rooms, Mr Jepson and the Year 6 ‘I See I Care’ Leaders swimming with the dolphins, hosting the Dolphin Research Institute student/teacher meeting, Bronwyn B meeting with all of our enthusiastic Contact Parents……the list just goes on…….
Whilst all of these supporting acts are going on………our students are learning, learning, learning!!!
Last week we looked at one of our BIG curriculum ideas- ‘Learners Teaching Learners’…..
This week we move onto INQUIRY!
“Inquiry based Learning” (The process initiated by the students or the teacher that moves the students from their current level of understanding to a new and deeper level of understanding.)
At Kunyung it can mean students:
• exploring, wondering and questioning
• experimenting and playing with possibilities
• making connections between previous learning and current learning
• making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
• collecting data and reporting findings
• clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
• deepening understanding through the application of a concept
• making and testing theories
• researching and seeking information
• taking and defending a position
• solving problems in a variety of ways.
It can also look like students working through the stages of an Inquiry Cycle as they explore their Unit of Inquiry! The Kunyung Inquiry Cycle looks like this…….
Our teachers and students will spend this year deciding as a class what we might ‘think’ and ‘say’ at each stage of the inquiry cycle, what they might do at each stage and what it might look like if they were successful at each stage of the cycle!
Inquiries can be personal, teacher driven, student driven or collaborative………throughout the year our students will have the chance to experience all of these different types of inquiry!
Inquiry isn’t the only way to best learn but it is our lead way @ Kunyung….
To finish with a lovely experience, I met with the Preps last week! When I asked them what they thought my job or responsibility was in the school, these were some of their responses…..
‘You use a computer’
‘You walk around the school’
‘You check to see if we are learning’
‘You make sure we are happy’
After our conversation they left my office with the understanding that ‘I am a teacher and that I teach the teachers!’
They thought this was very funny but seemed to be impressed at the same time!
Ahhhh…….working with Preps……gotta love what they think and say!
Have a lovely week everyone!
Good Day Kunyung!
What an absolute delight to see you all back so bright eyed and bushy tailed- ready to learn!
To start our curriculum journey for 2016 I just wanted to revise our BIG curriculum ideas!
If someone asked you what makes Kunyung learning so great……..here are some complex ideas written as simple statements!
“Learners teaching learners” (Students, Parents and Teachers)
“Inquiry based” (Learning how to find out for oneself and not just being told information)
“Concept Driven” (Understanding BIG transferrable ideas)
“Gratitude, Empathy & Mindfulness” (Developing a balanced student)
“Learner Agency” (Taking ownership of one’s own learning)
“Personalisation of Learning” (Learning that is at a student’s point of need)
Each week we will break down these simple statements so we ALL understand how curriculum works @ Kunyung!
Let’s make Kunyung even greater in 2016!! 😉
Good Day Kunyung!
This fortnight has been another ‘typical’ Kunyung fortnight……………learning, learning, learning and some more learning- and that was just the teachers!!
Through some wonderful life experiences and through some explicit, ‘sense of urgency’ teaching and learning we are ‘humming’ along in more ways than one……………..we also received our Staff School Survey results back and I have outlined two of our most positive areas- even though they were all great!
COLLECTIVE EFFICACY and RESPONSIBILITY………say what?
Our Staff School Survey results showed that our staff strongly believe we have a high amount of collective efficacy at Kunyung- that we all have a responsibility for the planning, teaching and assessment of all students in our teams…..what does that actually look like? Here are some examples…..
· Every week staff bring their class Student Data to our planning meetings- we look at this maths and reading data and discuss what teaching needs to be the focus for the following week, how we can move students further along in their learning and how far are they away from reaching their next benchmark (how can we get them there?). We discuss what direction the students want to take in our Unit of Inquiry and what are we actually looking for in our students to be able to say ‘Yep, they understand that!’
· Teachers have been completing assessments that will inform end of year school reports and part of that process has been ‘moderating’ student work. At our weekly collaborative planning meetings, teachers have brought in samples of student writing to share, ask questions about and decide on a level as a team. We have discussed maths outcomes and reading levels- trying to share our collective experience, understanding and thoughts. Our aim has been to give every student the best possible opportunity to demonstrate their learning before a final assessment is made!
TRUST IN PARENTS & STUDENTS
Another area of high scoring was the trust our staff have in you as parents AND the faith we have in our students’ ability to learn! How positive is that!!! It matches the high result from the Parent Opinion Survey that showed the high level of trust you have in our staff!
We thought that perhaps the work we are putting into opening up communication channels (Skoolbag app, newsletter, blog, diaries) between home and school, in regard to the ‘learning’ and events happening around the school, that parents have more of an idea about what is being learnt at school and how best to support their children. Our Staff have TRUST in you guys….what a compliment to you!!!!
Our staff also have confidence in your children’s ability to learn! Our work on developing a Visible Learning Culture where not only do teachers know What is being learnt, How best will it be learnt and How will we know what has been learnt BUT your children know the answers to these questions as well!!!! Our staff know that not all students are working at the same level (In fact our teachers know EXACTLY where your children are and so do they!!) but they have confidence that your children are al capable of learning and to be the best they can be…………
Just wanted to further reinforce two of the many positive things our staff feel about our school………..
Meanwhile in other news……..
Our Preps have been observing things in the environment they we have a responsibility for and, acting as custodians, as they learn about Sharing our Planet through the eyes of an environmental scientist! Reading and writing is starting to ‘take off’ and the Prep Swimming Program has just finished!!!!! Excitement reigns supreme!!!!!!
Over in ‘Junior Land’ our Juniors have also been looking at the world through the eyes of an Environmental Scientist……their focus being on structural features and adaptations help living things survive in the environment.
Their focus is on ‘how things function’ in the environment and that we all have roles to play if things are going to work!
Our Middle Students, not to be outdone, are spending time inquiring into how we organise ourselves. Their focus is on how we create organisations and systems to meet personal, local and global needs. They are looking at the systems and organisations we create to assist us in our learning. What roles do we play in these systems?
Our Senior Students have continued their inquiry into ‘Who we are’ and are spending time deeply thinking about what makes a ‘balanced’ person. It has been a perfect way to approach transition and has allowed students to address some of their concerns, worries, fears and excitement about growing up! A highlight has been the Family Life Program run by Family Life Victoria! Kelli is a wonderful presenter and the Seniors have approached such issues as developing positive relationships with maturity and confidence (and Kelli’s humorous approach has certainly supported these discussions!) SB have also been fortunate to have welcomed into their classroom, Ulli, grandmother of one of our Preps. She has worked with SB on developing the positive attributes inside them and attributes that a confident and resilient person displays. How lucky are we to have such expertise in our community! J
Let’s not forget FRENCH DAY next week………….our students will look amazing!!
Now……..after reading ALL OF THAT………which Learner Profile attributes do you think our students and teachers have exhibited over the past fortnight????? Have a look below and try to identify some they may have not only used but had the opportunity to develop!!!!
IB LEARNER PROFILE
The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. The IB learner profile represents 10 attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help individuals and groups become responsible members of local, national and global communities.
IB learners strive to be:
We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.
We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.
We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination;
we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.
We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.
We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.
We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.
We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of
our lives—intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.
We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.
We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.
We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
‘Long time no newsletter article from me’……..well, to be honest, I had a lesson in ‘flexibility’ and ‘adaptability’ last week…….I wrote my newsletter article twice and lost it ‘into the ether’ both times!!!
I admit that I was grumpy and frustrated with myself as it took quite some time to construct and, let’s be honest, we are all time poor! So maybe my lesson was really in ‘backing up my work’ or ‘not rushing’???
I’m not really sure what it taught me specifically BUT I do know that I could have looked at my situation through so many different lenses and I would have learnt a good lesson that could transfer into any situation!
FLEXIBILITY- Things are NOT always going to go as planned!
ADAPTABILITY- always look for a PLAN B!
SAVING- It’s always safer to save- just in case!
TIME MANAGEMENT- Manage your precious time so, if things don’t work out, you have time to fix it!
For me, these BIG understandings were far more important to take out of my lesson than the simple one of what my newsletter article was actually about!! (Ha! Not that it wasn’t excellent reading!!!!)
This is what IB calls ‘concept driven’ learning……..and it’s how we learn at Kunyung!
We use concepts to drive our teaching…….these are the BIG IDEAS that can be transferred and applied in many life situations. They are timeless and not value laden!
You may have heard your children talking about them (or not!) but once a concept is chosen, teachers use this concept in all areas in the classroom.
The key concepts include: responsibility, reflection, connection, perspective,
form, function, causation, change
Some example related concepts include: bias, evidence, opinion, loss, systems, consequences
You can probably see that these ideas are not ‘taught’ in a lesson but are used during class time tasks to develop an understanding of what they mean and why they are important to understand!
Our curriculum is ‘INQUIRY BASED and CONCEPT DRIVEN’ and all staff @ Kunyung work together to develop this………….please just ask if you would like any further information about how we use CONCEPTS to drive our teaching and learning!!
Please look below at our new Units of Inquiry for all Level Teams- this will be the final Unit of Inquiry for 2015 for all levels…….as always please contact me, or your child’s class teacher, if you would like to assist with any of the inquiries below!
THEME: Sharing the Planet
Living things share resources in order to survive and grow
AN INQUIRY INTO
Characteristics of living and non-living things
Plants and animals having similar needs
The need to share resources to sustain plants and animals
RELATED CONCEPT: Custodianship
THEME: How the World Works
Structural features and adaptations help living things survive in the environment.
AN INQUIRY INTO
Adaptations that help survival
How adaptations aid animal survival
Adaptations of living things suited for particular Australian environments
RELATED CONCEPT: Roles
THEME: How we Organise Ourselves
Organisations and systems are created to meet personal, local and global needs.
AN INQUIRY INTO
Personal, local and global needs
The structures of organisations.
The functions of and within organisations
Local and Global Organisations
RELATED CONCEPT: Roles and Responsibilities
Personal well-being is dependent on a complex balance of interconnected factors
AN INQUIRY INTO
The concept of ‘well-being’
Factors that contribute to well-being
Personal issues affecting our well-being
CONCEPT: CAUSATION, RESPONSIBILITY
RELATED CONCEPT: adaption, growth, relationships
Have a lovely week and GOOD LUCK to all of our previous Kunyung students who are right in the middle of Year 12 Exams! Do your very best and remember that an ATAR score doesn’t define you, there are many ways to measure your success as a member of the community- a score is one way only……
Don’t think for one minute that there hasn’t been any teaching and learning happening at Kunyung- quite the opposite actually!!
The problem has been that I have been in Elaine’s Principal position for the past 7 weeks and…… to be honest…..simply forgot to add anything to the blog!
It has been a great reminder to me that, when things are going well, we do tend to stop thinking about them or prioritising them. It’s a bit like us, as parents, when our children are reading well……we stop listening to them read, stop asking them about reading or don’t bother reading the blog about reading! We just put it to the back of our minds because our children can read!
It’s the same when something isn’t going as well as we would like- we obsess over it, ask a million questions about it, read blogs on it, speak all the time about it…….
I guess I have been reminded that, like everything in life, moderation is the key!
So, back to me and this teaching and learning blog………I didn’t need to post HEAPS of information on it but I shouldn’t have left it alone so completely either!!
We are always learning and I look forward to sharing with you your children’s learning over the coming weeks!
Cheers and here’s to a wonderful final term of the year!