Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What do Student Led Conferences Look Like at Freemans Bay School?

Student Led Conferences Freemans Bay School


As you see we have several families in the room at the same time. The students talk to their parents about their learning goals which are posted on the learning management system - KnowledgeNET.   This year we had 95% turnout. Many parents are now accessing their student learning blogs through their own log-on at home. They are able to post to their students blogs strengthening the home and school partnership around learning.  

Student led conferences provide an opportunity for students to talk about their learning goals and have parents find out what these are and consider ways to support their students learning at home. Students are able to open up their goals on a classroom computer to access our on-line learning environment “Knowledge Net” and talk to parents about their goals and next learning steps. Parents interact with their students in the classroom and take part in some learning activites both online and in the classroom.

The focus of our student led conferences includes:

■Literacy goals

■Numeracy goals

■Habits of Mind (work habits)

What does a student led conference look like?

■A conversation between the students and their parent about learning

■Other families are present in the room at the same time

■The teacher is present but the student is doing the talking about their learning

Friday, August 10, 2012

Garden to Table Programme

We have started a new programme at Freemans Bay School. We are now part of the Stephanie Alexander Garden to Table programme. This programme gives students hands on experience of growing produce, cooking and sharing the food they harvest.

This term our Year 1 and Year 2 students have a teaching unit called "Garden to Pizza".

They are growing food that they can utilise for pizza toppings and will have a harvest celebration pizza party, once the food is ready to be harvested.

This Photo-peach presentation demonstrates progress so far.

The Garden to Table programme enriches our curriculum. It is fun, involves creative thinking, life skills and encompasses learning areas such as measurement, science, social studies, health and techology. The students have to use a range of habits of mind to solve problems and work together to achieve their garden. These include, persistence,  thinking creatively, managing impulsivity and working together. The Garden to Table project provides an authentic setting for  learning to happen. It is exciting, motivating and fun!

The launch of the garden was a success. We had help from parents, teachers and volunteers. Our first student garden has commenced ready for Spring growing of plants. We look forward to our students experiencing their first harvest and sharing of food with our school community.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Student voice v Parent accountability

This week I held a workshop with our teachers as we move to prepare for student led conferences to be held this term.

We know that effective reporting systems are the ones where 'student voice' is an integral part of the reporting process. The focus of student led conferences is the students talking about their learning goals and their next learning steps and how to get there.

The issue we face is also around accountability to parents. Parents need to know is where their child is achieving is OK for their age. If the teacher has this conversation at the student led conference with the parents then we risk disempowering the student.

We considered the comments from parents and have decided to allow around 5 minutes to go over student achievement information with parents. We will also remind them that this is available on line and that the teacher is available to discuss at any time.

We would be interested in others view on how to manage the tension between honouring student voice and parents right to student achievement information.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Twenty-first century learning at Freemans Bay School

We have just rolled out i-pads to every class in the school. These are part of a range of devices available for our students. Each class has PCs, netbooks and now i-pads and access to a pod of i-pods.

This roll-out of digital devices  is further resourcing our e-learning vision vision  at FBS.

The biggest thing about students being able to utilise devices such as netbooks, interactive whiteboards, i-pads is their motivation and enthusiasm.

Increased digital devises enhances opportunities to learn by offering students virtual experiences and tools that save them time, allowing them to take their learning further.

Our commitment to e-learning   enables us to provide a 21 century curriculum where our learners are:

Flexible, open minded and creative


Effective Communicators and creators

Focused on problem solving

Critical thinkers

.... and Globally connected

E-Learning facilitates shared learning by enabling students to join or create communities of learners that extends well beyond the classroom.

E-learning encourages connections by enabling students to enter and explore new environments overcoming barriers of distance and time.

Parent Portal Workshops

Last week we held two parent workshops to facilitate more active participation with our Knowledge Net portal.

KnowledgeNET allows us to extend  learning beyond the classroom by providing a powerful online learning environment that gives our  students easy access to learning resources, reflections and assessment information.

With KnowledgeNET our students  can easily share their learning with their parents. Parents are able to see into their child's learning world at school. They can see their student  learning reflections,   evidence of their learning and comment on their students learning from where-ever they are.

Our KnowledgeNET portal  gives parents  a window into your their child's classroom.

It is a convenient and  quick way to monitor their child’s progress by way of the internet.

Parents  have instant access to important information about your child, including evidence and samples of your child’s learning, records of achievement and attendance data.

We hope that these workshops will encourage more parents to support their child's learning through our parent portal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Learning Spaces at Freemans Bay School

Last year we demolished a large 1970's open plan building because it was subsiding. This gave us an opportunity to innovate with the design of the our new classroom block. We wanted the design of our learning environment to support the design of our curriculum vision.

We wanted the new learning spaces to support flexible learning and teacher collaboration to support student learning. We wish the physical environment to support assessment for learning principles, e-learning and our thinking curriculum - habits of mind.

The new classroom block has a large atrium space being utilised in a variety of ways. Teachers are experimenting with the use of it. We purchased a range of furniture that is colourful, at different levels and can be moved around. This has supported the flexibility of these spaces.

We only moved into the building last April and the furniture for the Atrium space was purchased in November. Teachers report that this open learning space has strengthened collaboration in their teams and encouraged creativity in the way the environment is used. It has created opportunities that were not considered in the "single classroom setting". The new open learning environment has encouraged teacher collaboration around the way teaching is done as well as collaboration among the students. This is a new journey for us and teachers continue to explore different ways than can use these spaces.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Goal sharing Conferences

At Freemans Bay School we embrace the concept of students being in charge of their learning. Feuerstein promotes that planning for and reflecting on learning experiences deepens the students learning experience. We have a holistic approach that puts the locus of control as much as possible with the learner. We believe in the importance of encouraging students to reflect on and analyse their learning so that their learning is meaningful to them.

We have just had our goal sharing conferences. Students were supported by their teachers to share their learning goals with their parents through Knowledge Net - our online learning management system.

The next steps for students is to provide some evidence on how they are working towards achieving their goal. This can be written, spoken, a video, a photograph or a picture of their work.

Parents have access to the goal reflections and can support their students at home, through the "Cloud". Thus supporting the home / school partnership around learning.

At the conference each student and their parents had a 15 minute slot with the teacher. This was a valuable time for all, strengthening the partnership between the school and the family around learning.

This goal sharing event reinforced the importance of reflection to maximise learning in a meaningful way for students and their families.