Gabrielle Nuthall, teacher at Halswell School, talks about the preparation that took place before they transitioned into their innovative learning environment. They found a management system that worked really well in a single cell classroom and also proved successful in their ILE. Because students and teachers were already familiar with the system the transition into their new space was much smoother.
So, Before we came into the ILE, we started looking around for management systems and programmes that we could use in this environment that would be able just to help with the transition and one that we found was called Daily Five, which is an American programme and we absolutely love it. We had it running for two years in the single cell classroom and it worked beautifully in there but it has actually has transferred over into this environment really, really well.
It gives the children a lot of buy-in to their own learning. They know exactly what they’re working on in terms of strategies for reading. It involves writing, word work, all sorts of things. It’s self-directed to an extent but it’s also got a lot of input from the teachers. So that was one programme that we put in place before and that really helped with the transition because we had something that was familiar to the children coming in, they knew exactly how to do it and it just worked really beautifully coming in here as well.
Since we’ve come into this environment, one of the things we’ve noticed is while there’s less individual work in terms of planning and things like that, there’s a lot more communicating our ideas and sharing ideas, discussing the day. So all our planning is done all together which requires a lot of talking and just making sure we’re all on the same wavelength. We’ve all got the same vision.
We use Google Docs for our planning so that it’s all very easy to share. In terms of assessing the other children that are from other T groups, we do a lot of talking about them. There’s always these informal meetings going on about how we’ve worked with the children, the work they’re doing. And also we have the shared documenting of their assessment. Any one of us can go in and see what another child in the team is actually doing.
Working in this environment is really great for giving us the opportunities to teach to our strengths and also to teach to the needs of the children. So, they have more ownership, more buy-in and it works really well in this environment.