All it Takes is a Spark
A Best-Practice Reflection by: Kendra Breau, Tabusintac Community School
Change can be a hard thing to take on, but with the right tools and the right team, change can be so good! The spark of inspiration has hit us, and it's hit hard! Some colleagues and I had the opportunity to visit another school in our district, Superior Middle School. This is a grade 6-8 school that has taken on a new perspective to education. They have reshaped what their entire day looks like so students will have the opportunity to reach their full potential when learning. The experience was very positive and has made a huge impact on how change can happen in our school.
Some of the best practices that were witnessed while we were there was that students were completely self-directed in their learning. They were identifying how they liked to learn, what they needed to move forward in a lesson and what their strengths were in learning a new subject. They were working on all different kinds of things as the day went forward. They were also able to articulate really respectfully what was working for them and what was not working for them. They could identify what kinds of learners they were and where they had struggles.
Another best practice was how the teachers were giving feedback to their students. They were accomplishing this feedback in a very smooth manner. They set it up so students had to come for check-ins with the teacher at certain points in their learning. They were able to do quick formative assessments with them and set them to continue forward. Teachers had charts in their work rooms and charts in their classrooms to keep track of where the kids were in their learning and where they needed to be throughout the year. Very well cataloged.
The learning was very active in all the classes we went and viewed. Whether is was math, or literacy, etc. The students were active in the projects they were completing. They knew exactly what they were doing and why they were doing it. They were taking ownership of their learning, rather than just doing the content. I loved how they were able to tell us why they were completing certain tasks. It all connected for them.
The effect of these best practices with Global Competencies was exactly in line with each other. They were hitting on all points as we toured through the school. I think one of things I was most excited to take away was the communication that was happening with not only the students, but the students with teachers. How they were able to articulate their problems and how well they were trying to solve them. It was easy to see how at ease they were with the whole concept. Especially the collaboration with each other, which can be sometimes difficult at younger ages, but they were really putting their best efforts forward.
Authentic Student Learning was very apparent here! The students were genuinely interested in the subjects they were learning. The classes were all engaged. The conversations were on point and there was nothing stopping them from asking or engaging with others. They weren't forced into projects they didn't want to learn and i didn't get the sense that they were disengaged with any of the topics being presented to them. They were all a community of learners, who were self-directing, thinking about the problems at hand and solving real-world problems. It was so inspiring to see such an environment.