Day one, in our first staff meeting back, everyone was talking about how the new strategies we had introduced last year had become embedded so quickly. Learner dispositions were ready to go, learning pits in place, feedback, feed forward etc etc.
The school improvement plan for this year was also ready to go from day one
We have split our VL plan into four areas: the visible learner, Inspired and Passionate Teaching, Feedback and Know thy Impact. Conveniently, we have four senior teachers in school so we've each taken one strand to lead.
Each Thursday we have planned in Team Time to develop our areas.
Day two, Solo Taxonomy training with Craig Parkinson....wow! An absolute game changer. If schools can only afford one training session, do this one, amazing. My most experienced teachers were telling me they wished they'd had this training 15/20 years ago. My experienced teachers are now becoming expert and experienced teachers. There is a difference.
Day three, learners are back. I went into year 6 in the morning. They were discussing the summer holidays and assessing the questions they were asking as one idea, many ideas, related ideas and extended ideas. It took us most of the training day to get our heads around SOLO, it took year 6 about 10 minutes. We are still, after all this time, underestimating the ability of our kids.
Also meeting one of our guiding coalition took place. This was myself, our family worker, two parents and one ex-teacher who lives over the road from the school. I explained their role was to help and support our aspirations to become a VL school. The meeting went really well. They asked that we start a lending library to support literacy and numeracy. We discussed making prompt cards with SOLO questions for reading books to take home and next month, the group are going to observe learning so they can have a baseline of how well the learners can explain their learning and next steps. Powerful stuff!
Day four, year 1 and 2 are using images about electricity in order for the teachers to assess what the children already know. It was brilliant, they knew so much already and it really focused the planning on what they need to teach. We are extremely lucky to have a Polish mum in school who comes to help out. The Polish kids were telling her what they knew about electricity in Polish then she was interpreting for the teachers. Amazing!
Day five and the rest of this week's plans. Thursday Team Time to look at a baseline for Inspired and Passionate teaching and Friday, action planning SOLO.
In a couple of weeks we are having our second #VLnetworkuk meeting at Bader primary. The collaboration between our UK schools has been excellent and the sharing of our practices have benefitted us all, regardless of the education system we follow.
It's going to be a good year at Ysgol Merllyn.