Since Chris Wakefield arrived at SBL for personalised training intensives on the methodology of the High Tech High curriculum, approximately 40 staff have come through the doors of Seminar 1 of our newly reclaimed ICPS and had their passions ignited by project-design, project-tuning, critique and evaluation. The training days are practical, informative, and geared towards engaging and motivating our students (not anyone else’s!) to work together, to ask questions, to learn facts and to acquire knowledge.
I have created a page devoted to the various projects that are being undertaken in school at the moment. These are wide-ranging and are an opportunity to ‘try things out’ – to work with the students and with colleagues to design projects that might have a ‘real-world’ emphasis and practical, ‘real’ outcome.
Two pilot teams are currently trialling projects in Creative and Media and in PDC. See the Project page to find out how Jenny Roberts and Caroline Martin have been working with their KS3 groups. They have also posted a range of resources, including timelines and project-planners, to help to contextualise projects within the classroom. PDC benefits from double periods, so the planners will reflect this extended time.
In addition to the pilot teams, several members of staff who have been trained are also trialling projects in their own classrooms, in a wide range of subject areas. Stuart, for example, is trying out a science-based project with Year 9, my Year 9s are creating a magazine to be critiqued by Year 12, and Dominic and John B have been welding and pasting cut-up pages of their Skills group novel into picture-frames. There are many more projects going on – the intention now is that we can all find out what we’re doing, share, talk, try out, fail, try out again, share…… you get the picture.
On Wednesdays after Easter I am going to set up Project Marketplaces, where everyone who is involved in designing and delivering at the moment will be able to share their ideas and their outcomes with others – regardless of whether they are also ‘doing’ projects. Additionally, Chris Wakefield will be aiming to train remaining staff after Easter – whether they will be actively teaching in the new Junior Academy next year or not. As CLs will have told you, the methodology is one which we would like to see adopted in various forms school-wide – definitely driving the curriculum in 7 and 8, but also being trialled in Year 9, the first year of the Senior Academy. At KS4 and KS5, LG discussions have focussed on how to build in aspects of PBL despite these years being heavily exam-focussed. Critique, for example, focusses on the importance of multiple drafts and turning in thorough and thoughtful work, and collaborative enquiry skills create independence and a sense of responsibility, and with it growing maturity. Just what they need at 14-19!
I will be using Forward Thinking – for the moment – as my main method of communicating all things Professional Learning/CPD. The platform might change by September, but as you know, I’m all in favour of digital portfolios, so it’s likely to be online.
Until I have experimented with a less static website, I am using the WHAT’S NEW page to publicise… erm.. new things.
There is also a T&L RESOURCES page where I will archive and tag all CPD/T&L newsletters (including SecEd) so that you can find any article on any subject (thanks Dom for the suggestion).
Please feel free to comment on any aspect of the website, or to use it to ask questions.