Saturday, 29 September 2012

First New Pedagogy - Warm Ups

In June we began our change in school culture with 'Warm Ups'. [I must acknowledge that "Warm Ups" is a John Fleming term] After viewing Warm Ups in action at many schools we developed our own how-to guide, which continues to be refined as our brilliant teachers find more and more ways of presenting them.

Basically, Warm Ups are daily, fast-paced rote learning experiences. We use traditional flashcards, alphabet freizes and number boards as well as electronic whiteboards which are our favourite because the presentations can be shared and are easily updated.
Warm Ups are done at least twice a day (one for English and one for Maths) at the beginning of the session. They contain a variety of concepts and last for 5-15 minutes. Eg. Number facts, Counting patterns, Maths tables, Measurement facts,
School-wide, it is important to have common definitions for every concept. Eg. "Verbs are doing, having and being words." "A prime number has only 2 factors. One and itself."

BSS - Explicit Instruction Guidebook

We began our journey by starting a forever-evolving Bowen State School (BSS) Guidebook. We started by 'explicitly' listing all the not-negotiatble pedagogies that we expected every teacher to follow. Basically, this was a process of putting current good practice into written policy. This proved succcesful in getting 80% immediate buy-in by all teachers as it validated all the great things that have been happening over the last x years.

We choose the not-negotiables after the Principal, Deputy and HOC attended a John Hattie seminar in Townsville where we learnt about Effect Sizes. The Principal and Deputy then attended a John Fleming presentation and visited a number of 'Fleming Schools' in Cairns and Innisfail.

Our mentor and driver for this project is our fabulous Deputy Principal who has worked very closely with John Fleming, while at his previous school in Far North Qld.

Pedagogical Change

After one term as introducing Explicit Instruction - Bowen SS style, and seeing the benefits already, I have been asked to share our story. However, it's not a story. It's a work in progress. We have only started Chapter One. So far we have had teachers and principals from 4 schools visit to view our teahers in action. We have also had requests from 2 other schools to send delegates to personally view what is happening here. I expect we will be needing to share our journey many times, so I'm hoping this blog will save us some time re-explaining.