After some engaging and exciting professional development, we’ve started to think about how to alter our current collaborative planning structure to better serve the needs of the learning community. This is no easy task at such a large school – most grade levels from one to six have 9 or 10 classes, and there are several specialist teachers to consider. One model we’ve come up with so far is to repurpose a time already set aside for all teaching staff to be at school.
Using this time, I met with our grade five team and the arts specialists to begin to plan out our next unit – How the World Works. It proved to be very productive to have the arts specialists in the same room as the classroom teachers (and me, the STEAM facilitator!). The unit was changed – not drastically, as we left the essential elements in place as they were last year – and moving forward we hope it will unfold in a more student and inquiry driven way, with less focus on the scientific method being explicitly taught and more on it being discovered.
I believe the planning session was successful because of the willingness of the homeroom teachers to be open to new ideas and new perspectives. They were willing to share ownership of the unit, and we all realized the potential of having these new ideas come to the table.