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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2nd Grade Teacher at a school in Melbourne, Australia. My job: push kids to think. My passion: helping kids to tackle the life-long skill of searching for meaning, skills, answers and more questions.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Refining the product for its stakeholders

Refining the product for its stakeholders

I'm sorry.

"If my child is not doing maths at home, how will he consolidate maths learning?"
"My son will do what you tell him to do.  Why not just 'tell him' to do homework?"
"How will this program prepare my daughter for high-school?"
"Should I be hiring a private tutor?"
"What should my child's au pair be doing?  She needs the structure."
"Will my child learn to be lazy?"
"Is my child developing an unhealthy reliance on Minecraft?"
Remember these old chestnuts from a few years back at my Parent Teacher Interviews?  I sure do.  These questions have followed me. They have pursued me across state lines.  They constantly challenge me..... and so they should too.  They are some of the most important challenges that I face.
In two days, some parents will raise these and other challenges.  I am preparing in two ways.  1. A quick blog post to clarify my ideas for myself. and 2. By ironing as many creases out of the product as time will allow.
After consulting with TheNewBoss, the product is becoming more refined already.  His 2c has certainly improved the concept.  Tomorrow - after a day at the MCG for World Cup Cricket today - I will create the A4 sheet where each student will write their goals, their weekly plan and their daily reflections.  This page will be glued weekly into their HomeLearning book and be a one-stop shop for the parents to see what the goals are and what the plan is.
A4 sheet of accountability - That's next.
After that, I am going to get started on task cards for as many Home Learning activities as I can think of.  Some parents finish a hard days work and head home to hear their child cry, "I don't know how to play dart footy!  I don't understand it!"  I can sense their frustration.  I can even imagine them seeing their child playing darts and wondering if this even IS learning what they need to learn. 
Task cards will allow parents (and au pairs) to see:
a) that a task is sanctioned and negotiated with a professional
b) that it is considered worthwhile academically 
c) that it is targeted towards a specific goal 
as well as seeing
d) the steps to completing the task - no more than 5 simple steps.
"Uh..... sounds pretty structured and stale to me....." I hear you think.
Yeah.  For year 2 kids, in an authentic Gradual Release of Responsibility model, I guess it is.  But these kids will learn that With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power.  As they take control of their goal setting, planning and implementation, we adults can step aside and let them show us what they've got.
As a sidebar here... I've searched the internets this morning for this twist on the famous Spiderman quote and found nothing.  I am now claiming it for myself and for TheHomeworkAdventure.  Dibs!
I really do....
A4 record sheets seem a smart way to keep this process accountable.
Task cards give clear directions for activities that the kids themselves choose.  They clear up many questions that parents will naturally have.
This seems a helluvalotta work for the teacher - and it will be for now.  BUT in time, I hope that the story becomes one of 7 and 8yr old kids gaining greater autonomy for their Home Learning.
Time to get ready for Australia vs England at the MCG with 100 000 other people.  See you tomorrow with the first of the resources to share.
Capitano Out.



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