Writing Reports?

In light of all the interesting posts about report writing (it is report writing time in the Southern hemisphere, at least for Australia and NZ!), such as Report writing season by Henrietta and 10 ways to get your reports written….not by Edna, I thought I should share what report writing looks like for me!

No need to state the obvious (house is cleaner than ever!), but report writing for me is interesting, because I find it difficult to focus on any given task for too long at a time.
I tend to write a few sentences, then get up, walk around, talk to people, cook, clean, whatever, and then I get back to the report. In the meantime I think about the reports, and that I find to be the most important part. The thinking and reflecting, not the actual writing.

This year I am writing comments early on. I have started to write the unit of inquiry comments for the last unit, and I am thinking about Math and Language development as well. This allows me to use my scattered approach and still get it done without feeling too pressured. Let’s see how I feel in December!

School? Or a place for learning?

My mind is trying to make sense of something. There is a gap, between what is currently possible and available, and what some people advocate should be. What I am trying to see is… how is it possible?

Cryptic? A bit maybe, let me explain what I mean. Recently I watched this video:

http://www.youtube.com/v/zDZFcDGpL4U?fs=1&hl=en_US
Sir Ken Robinson – Changine Education Paradigms

Like most of the people who are part of my PLN, the message of Sir Ken Robinson’s talk rings true. He speaks from my heart. And yet, even though I work at a fairly progressive school, teaching a fairly progressive curriculum framework, …. I feel that so much more is possible.

But what is? What does all this new learning look like?
Are we talking about schools?

Lets face it, with most schools underlying strict regulations from governments or boards, we are “limited” but that doesn’t mean we can’t implement changes!

What I want to think about more is… what IS the learning environment we need NOW (not in 20 years BUT NOW)? How can we make it happen?

Looks like… learning?

If you had walked into my classroom for the past couple of days, you would have seen:

  • Students “working” with Lego.
  • Students painting a variety of pictures (proper big paper, paints, messy!).
  • Students looking at books.
  • Students watching videos on YouTube.
  • Students working on a “model” of a city.

All of these things were clearly related to our unit of inquiry and our Math focus. It clearly looked like “children having fun” and I can guarantee there was a lot of learning!

  • Students making connections to the concept of adaptation
  • Students applying what they have learned about how humans respond and adapt in zones continuously affected by change (such as changing house structure)
  • Students exploring their forms of natural change by painting and talking about it
  • Students exploring measurement of the need for standard units of measurement

I like to think of myself as a very “open” educator, someone open for new ideas, and a risk-taker. I found that letting things flow challenged me though, that giving up so MUCH control was making me uneasy at times, and it makes me so much happier to see the outcomes of those days.
Students were becoming more and more independent. Students were collaborating in a huge variety of ways. Students talked about their ideas and wonderings. Students applied learning. Students had fun!

What's been happening?

I have been BUSY!

Just before the holidays, Grade 3 (that includes me!) were working hard on developing an understanding of the Earth’s form (What is it like?), by looking at its structure, and of how the Earth changes. Before we knew it though, we went on half-term break. To stay connected students were to follow the news for any changes of the nature of the Earth that might occur. And a lot happened during those 10 days we enjoyed off school!!!

Following a rather pleasant break, teachers arrived back for a workshop on Assessment in the PYP (and also the MYP). The workshop was great (I love workshops! Esp. PYP ones) and challenged a lot of my thinking. But most importantly, it made me learn a lot! A lot of gaps I had before were bridged! I took an Assessment in the PYP workshop online before, which was a different experience, and a year later, the similarities those workshops had helped me move on considerably.

There were portfolios, which I am trying to make as relevant and meaningful to everyone in the classroom. Seeing them as a way to RECORD data or evidence of learning was making SO MUCH MORE sense to me than seeing it is a reporting tool, which seemingly I had done before.

Another important learning step was planning for learning for understanding using the Six Facets of Understanding. Using those helped me to think of meaningful learning experiences which would be recorded on the PYP Planner. Those of you reading my blog who are PYP teachers will know the space limitations on those planners! The boxes are small. But approaching the planning process this way, I think I will be able to be MUCH more concise. Fingers crossed.

Looking at the connection between assessment strategies(The way to collect data) and assessment tools(the way to evaluate data), I realized ways to improve my assessment practice. In order to be more “accountable” or more evidence-based, I will need to find ways to RECORD more data in the future. Also, in conjunction with this, I found the process of Planning for assessment -> Assessing / Collecting data -> Recording data ->Evaluating data very helpful.

Overall, a wonderful workshop, fantastic learners alongside me, enjoyable and meaningful exchanges.

Since Wednesday the students were back at school. We dived straight back into learning, focusing on our unit of inquiry, assessing and developing measurement skills, inquiring into explanation texts and more. It’s Friday, we achieved a lot this week!

Have a lovely weekend!