I have planned for myself a busy weekend of jobs. Mrs Boon and son are currently away in Scotland visiting her side of the family. They are due back in a week and a half and following the life-changing events of the #EdChatNZ conference, I wanted to update you all quickly on where I currently lie in the transformation process before I begin on the list of things I have to complete ahead of their return.
As I have mentioned previously, it’s very easy to go away to a conference and have an amazing couple of days meeting new people and sharing your ideas. The difficulty comes when you return to the normalcy of your usual work day with all the pressures that pull you this way and that.
How are we able to implement change if we don’t have time?
Well, I’ve made time.
I read or heard somewhere once if you don’t make change within two weeks of some professional learning you will never make any change (I have in my head that Tony Ryan may have told me this, but I could be mis-remembering Ulearn 2009). With that ringing in my generously side-burned ears and the fact that #EdChatNZ is the single most ground-breaking PD I have ever been involved with, I was determined not to let the lessons I had learnt fall by the wayside.
Here’s what has happened:
- I am changing the way I plan: too often I write my plans in the two-week break we get every ten weeks or so. By the time week 3 comes around so much information has entered my head that all of the holiday stuff has fallen out. I get a bit lost occasionally, therefore my learners get a bit lost. I am committed to sitting down with my brain more regularly and getting the ideas and directions I have for my learners down in some more official capacity than just daily notes in my planning book. I’m also trying to give students a bit more of a say in what they learn, although I am finding this a bit tricky due to the nature
- Student agency: I have made this more explicit to the learners. “It’s much easier,” I’ve told them, “to motivate you all to achieve if you have first chosen what you are going to achieve.” I’m probably paraphrasing myself there in a way that makes me sound a bit more Dead Poet’s Society than I actually am, but the sentiment remains. This is something I have been doing well this year already so I just need to maintain this.
- SOLO Taxonomy: I’ve already blogged on this. It was one of the first things I did upon my return to school.
- Connected education: as a class we have made contact with Hobsonville Point Primary. I am in email contact with a school in California who are to become pen-friends – old-skool pen-friends as well; pens, papers and envelopes. This term I have used a parent expert to deliver some art lessons. I have also maintained my twitterati connections through the various edchats that are now underway (there are mutterings of more, so more columns will be open on my tweetdeck!). There will be more to come in this section so watch this space.
- Teaching as Inquiry: this is our current professional development programme. Apart from #EdChatNZ, it is the single-most important professional learning I have undertaken. Twice a term a facilitator visits and as a staff we reflect on our successes or any issues we may have. This is making me a better teacher. It is giving me skills I can apply to all areas of my teaching, not just numeracy or writing or science or whatever.
- #EdChatNZ Conference 2015: Three weeks ago while resting between breakouts with my new homies (@AnnaGerrit, @mrs_hyde, @carobush, @digitallearnin, @annekenn etc.), I flippantly said I would be presenting at the next #EdChatNZ conference. Last night I tweeted, reiterating my commitment. So now I have to do it.
— Mike Boon (@boonman) August 29, 2014
So that’s what I’ve been up to. When you make a list like that it seems to be huge, but it hasn’t been a great deal of extra work – just smarter work. Or something.
Right, back to my other to-do list.