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.