Thursday, April 29, 2021

Joining the dots between Space and Pedagogy


Over the last year I have been facilitating in Oranga and Grey Lynn Schools. Both schools are in process of improving their learning environments and were looking for support with the process of change. Both in terms of space and pedagogy.

Both schools had the opportunity to pilot a series of workshops delivered by the Planning Learning Spaces team and based on the framework in the best selling book, Planning Learning Spaces. You can find out more about the Planning Learning Spaces  process in this presentation.

There is now significant body of research which gives evidence to demonstrate that learning spaces that are purposefully designed to support teaching and learning organization linking to the school vision for learning has positive impact on student achievement.

The Planning Learning Spaces framework, includes a series of workshops or discussions with the principal and school staff provided the opportunity to reframe the school vision for learning into learning space design principles enabling staff to refresh both their new and existing learning spaces to actively support organization of teaching and learning in their collaborative spaces.

The workshop framework provided a reflective process for teachers to develop their learning environment and how to strengthen collaborative ways of working in their spaces. The last series of meetings with the principals and leadership teams focused on developing a strategy for change which drilled down to an action plan to support sustained change with a focus on collaborative teaching and the ongoing relationship between pedagogy and space.

Following the strategy for change meetings with the principals,  both schools successfully applied for Professional Learning Development hours which enabled staff to have a deeper dive into fully understanding the education spaces they were moving into and the collaborative teaching models that these spaces could support. These transition plans will support both schools to continue to reflect and review the effectiveness of their new collaborative spaces.

The workshops provide opportunity for schools embarking on creating schools and spaces within schools, investment in time and practice to define and evolve their approach. They facilitate developing a common belief of what actual practice will look like in the new learning spaces. By following the PLS Framework, both schools have redesigned their learning spaces in the most effective ways possible and now we are working on ensuring that they have continued sustainability going forward. The schools have also identified the next steps that they wish to work on through their strategy for change plan.

This PLD provides opportunity for schools embarking on creating schools and spaces within schools, investment in time and practice to define and evolve their approach. They facilitate developing a common belief of what actual practice will look like in the new learning spaces. They have successfully utilized PLD support to continue to reflect and review the effectiveness of their new collaborative spaces. It will be great to see the changes being implemented at Oranga and Grey Lynn Schools over the next 12 months.


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Grey Lynn School Strategy for Change

Excellent news! Check out this weeks blog entry on the Planning Learning Spaces in Practice website which detail the case study at Grey Lynn School progress on their strategies for change to make their vision for learning in their ILE fly!…

Look out for weekly snippets of the case study updates in NZ & Cambridge UK by following the PLS in Practice website

Learning Space Design Lab™️

 I was delighted to utilise Learning Space Design Lab™️ developed by @LeneJensbyLange with this team of teachers at St Joseph School in Matamata. The teachers were exploring possibilities on reimagining their ILE space linked to their school vision. The use of the models and the process is a highly effective way to support teachers to re-imagine and to make sense of their ILE Space.

You can find more information about the Learning Space Design Lab™️award winning innovation here:

Friday, February 5, 2021


 Super stoked to see launched which show cases the #planninglearningspaces case study at Grey Lynn School, Auckland which I was proud to facilitate.

Over the last year I have been working with Terry White, who is the UK Project Director of Planning Learning Spaces. I spent my time in lock down in New Zealand doing research and development around co-creating a series of workshops that could be facilitated to support the PLS Design Framework.

These workshops were  facilitated as a trial to develop a prototype in two Auckland New Zealand Schools: Grey Lynn Primary and Oranga Primary in Auckland and in Trumpington Park School in Cambridge.

Having completed the PLS framework through my role as a Professional Learning Facilitator I am now able to  implement the professional learning needs identified in the "Project Implementation Review" workshop in these two schools.

Teaching teams are now building on the PLS framework and digging deeper to develop collaborative practices in their learning hubs through my work as a Ministry of Education Professional Learning Facilitator with Momentum Learning.

In New Zealand the next round of MOE PLD funding applications closes on 19 February, 2020. I am happy to speak or facilitate workshops online around my areas of expertise.

Both streams are exciting work and anyone interested in exploring futher can contact me if you wish to explore options.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Co-teaching, Collaboration and Organising learning in super classes

In large flexible learning environments with anywhere between 3 or more teaching staff, there needs to be clarity around how the teachers will organise and deliver teaching and learning. Initially it is important to dedicate more planning time until you establish routines. It is a good idea to write down the agreements from the team discussion, to ensure everyone has clarity on how the organization of the learning hub is going to work.

Teaching Block Curriculum Focus:
Team Agreements
Adults in the Learning Hub in this block:
       Learning Support Staff:

Roles of Teachers:
Learning Support:
Number of Learners each staff member will be responsible for?
Learning Support:
Where will the staff be positioned for the workshops?

Check the line of sight of all zones.
Learning Support:
How will learners identify the Roles of staff?:
Hats? Jackets? Bands? Sash?
When will we swap roles?

This is important to discuss to ensure that each knows all the learners, and ensures variety and that the work load is shared fairly
It is important that systems are in place to ensure that the learners are at the workshops / learning support otherwise those staff waste time looking for learners.
What will be the transition / notice  signal. Eg Handbell?
Behaviour Expectations

Clarity on what is acceptable and what is the behaviour management plan. Ensure the learners have clarity around the behaviour plan and expectations.
Learners Must Do Activities
These are activities that the Learners must complete before they have choice of “Can Do” activities in the learning zones
When will review the teaching block?

Collaboratively develop Clarity around the teaching roles.

·       Discussions with the teaching team needs to take place to define the roles of the teaching block. This will clarify who is doing what Each person must have a clear role:
·       Some roles take more time and energy, so It is a good idea to swap the roles around and to take turns at the different roles. This shares the workload and provides variety
·       Wear coloured jackets, badges or hats so the learners know which adult is doing what. Clarify with the learners what the roles are and develop the learning hub vocabulary around the roles.
·       All take responsibility ensuring that the learners required in the workshops get there quickly
·       Ask 3 then me” type rule helps children to seek help from up to 3 peers first). 
·       The team needs to have a discussion in the number of learners who will be with the “stretch” teacher at the beginning of introducing the model.
·       It might be useful to have all of the groups that the “lead” teacher, and the “help” teacher are going to take in the session, sitting in line of site in zones close to them.  Eg if they were taking three groups of ten each they would have up to 30 students in their line of site. Give the learners pre and post activities- effectively a tumble of activities associated with these workshops.
·       This would mean that in a team with say 90 learners – that the  “stretch” teacher would initially have 30 learners to be “stretching”.  The numbers in this zone could increase as the learners become more agentic. It is useful initially if the “Stretch” teacher takes a lesson with that group for the first 40 minutes of the teaching block, before the learners more to activities in that zone.
·       If the teaching block has a focus on literacy – reading and writing,  recommend that the “Stretch” teacher starts off with a 40 minute writing lesson with the group they have. Once the learners have completed their writing task they can move on to choosing other activities in the zone. Same lesson plan format would apply:

Lead Teacher

·       Facilitate the collaborative organization of learning & pllanning agreements.
·       Agree to timing of teaching block section
·       Complete planning for own groups
·       Set up workshop area
·       Put timetable on whiteboard
·       Put workshops / participants on whiteboard
·       With the workshops – include the ‘at risk” learners in the first two groups
·       Identify with the team the learners “Must Do” tasks and the “Can Do” activities
·       Check with other staff that they are clear about their role/ discuss any queries
·       Facilitates the review of the teaching block

Help Teacher
The teacher supports the lead teacher.
·       Complete planning for own groups
·       Set up workshop area
·       With the workshops – include the ‘at risk” learners in the first two groups
·       Set up workshop areas / books / resources
·       Help to Set up resource table for the session
·       Have timer ready and signal system

Stretch Teacher
This third teacher is focused on differentiation
·       Plan a guided lesson or workshop to take with the whole group or groups  in the first 40 minutes
·       Stretching those who are only just coasting along,
·       Have the learners with less agency close, support them to be on task
Sets up shared resource table
·       Be cognoscente of any “Must Do” learning activities that learners need to complete
·       Label the zone area and any activity areas
(On folded card each with a number, designating how learners at this activity / or in this zone)
·       Help to Set up resource table for the session

Flowchart: Connector: LSear


Learning Support:
Complete planning for groups
Set up workshop area and resources

Lesson Structure
Collaboratively organising the needs of learners in the defined learning zones

To support the system bedding down, structural routine of the lesson is important. The structure needs to be tight when the system is introduced- this gives the teachers and learners confidence as it is bedded down. Inititially it could be useful to have all activities around the key curriculum area of the workshops, but as the learners develop more agency and the teachers more confidence this can be much more flexible. This way learners can be encouraged to take more agency over their learning.

The structure of this collaborative model is as follows – noting that this is a place to start with the shift from Me to We!

It will become more fluid as time goes on – but this structure will be a place to start, provide learners with a routine, develop the teams confidence and provide opportunity to iron out any challenges.

·       Short introduction (no more than 10 minutes)
·       Transition to spaces ( 5 minutes)
·       Workshops and activities  (20 minutes)
·       Transition to next workshop and activities / and reminders (5 minutes)
·       Workshops and activities  (20 minutes)
·       Transition to next workshop and activities / and reminders (5 minutes)
·       Workshops and activities  (20 minutes)
·       Plenary (Reflection) (10 minutes)
o   In final group
o   Eg Teachers complement on specific learning that has happened
o   Learners turn to partners (threes) and talk about what did they work on today in their learning, what was tricky, what they need to work more on.
o   Share a few
·       Re- set the room (10 minutes)
o   In the last group area: Lead, Help, Stretch, Learning Support. Have the resources needed for the lesson set up on a central table or tables – these get returned during reset time
o   Everyone takes responsibility and pride in re setting the last area they are in.
·       After the area is reset – that teacher reads a story and then gives out any notices and dismisses learners in small groups from this area. (15 minutes)