I am so behind on my blogging!
Last month we had the second meeting of the #VLNetworkUK at Bader Primary in Stockton on Tees. This time we had colleagues from Roslin Primary School and Hawthornden Primary join us. It was a great opportunity to see another school’s journey and to take some time out to reflect on where we are and how we can learn from the experiences of our colleagues across the UK. We received a very warm welcome at Bader from all staff and learners.
The entrance at Bader sets a very clear message about learning in the school and this was confirmed by experiences while there.
One thing that struck me is that the journey of Bader Primary is very similar to that of our across Midlothian. I know both Roslin and Hawthornden staff felt the same and were equally reassured and enthused. Bader Primary have been developing learner qualities and a language of learning and it was interesting to see how this was embedded within learning and teaching.
The school had recently completed a day with Craig Parkinson (Visible Learning Consultant) on solo taxonomy and we could see evidence of teachers using this within their classrooms with learners. Mr Hayes took time over break to share how he is using solo in science – naturally we asked for a copy of his plan!
I asked one teacher what has been the best thing about Visible Learning and she replied ‘developing independent learners who are taking risks in their learning, all of this has changed how I plan learning’. This is an emerging picture in Midlothian as well, more and more teachers are identifying this as something that is changing and this is motivating and inspiring them as teachers.
One of the characteristics of a ‘visible learner’ is being able to understand assessment tools being used and what their results mean. We had a very interesting conversation with some learners in Yr 5about the assessments they were doing and how these help their learning.
I spent some time in Yr 5 as they were engaging in a problem solving activity designed to help them develop an understanding of themselves as a learner. They talked explicitly about preparing to go into the learning pit and experience the struggle of learning, about knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do and how they challenge themselves when they do know what to do. They reflected on the learner qualities they were using to do this with a strong focus on reciprocity.
We finished our visit to Bader Primary with their ‘learning warrior’ assembly. This was a celebration of learning that week and what I particularly liked was that each teacher shared the reason behind the award for each learner. There was a sense of ownership and accountability that was so strong and positive and the learners were so proud of their awards. Mr Feasey also shared a video from earlier in the week – you can view it here – http://visiblelearning.mybaderblog.net/2015/09/24/collaboration-and-reciprocity-in-a-y4-maths-classroom/
A huge thank-you to all at Bader Primary and we have accepted the baton for the next #VLNetworkUK!