I have finally graduated to HS! With some recruiting challenges at ISB, and issues around Visas and travel, I agreed to move into HS PE this year to fill a role working 40% with Grade 9 as well as 60% working in the Office of Learning leading up our school’s re-accreditation process. I have been super pumped about both of these opportunities, but still took the time to check in with my two HS children, as I felt it was important not to cramp their style… and my MS daughter, who was sad that I wasn’t there for her to drop in on in MS PE but is still able to find me when she needs to.
Accreditation is a joint process between CIS (Council of International Schools) and NEASC (New England Assoc of Schools and Colleges) and it continues to be a massive process to undertake as a school and for me to pull together. I have been totally blessed by three big pieces – firstly that I was fortunate enough to work with LorraineW who is a very experienced accreditation person, and she set up the process and led up the formation of the Domain teams which helped enormously and guided my start to this work with lots of support and efficient, timely work. Secondly that the Domain Chairs leading up the different lenses of this work are super professional and have taken this work with gusto! And thirdly that the leadership team evolution from the start of this process to now (with major personnel change-over) has been involved, interested and worked hard to make sure this ship continues to sail.
With this experience of working across school, with many different stakeholders and sticking to timelines and needs that are rigid, but alongside a school and city that has many shifting timelines and needs based on online teaching and learning etc. I made the decision to apply for further leadership opportunities and have been fortunate to be offered/accepted the role of MS Assistant Principal for next year. This new opportunity to serve ISB is opening up a lot of wonderings and professional learning as well as the work I am doing with HS PE around its curriculum fidelity and creation of units/lessons but also to see the culmination of our PE program as students complete G9 and G10 and a chance to see what it currently looks like.
Professional Goals for this year
HS PE is made up of a smaller team, and with the same workload that we are trying to acheive as MSPE this has been a little hard. I have wondered whether the best way forward would be a Secondary PE team with folks who are working between two grade levels but to see the vertical alignment and share more of the load. I think that this would be something to consider in the future as we look to explore different models of middle leadership and coaching and how we might grow as a bigger team. I also think that this would mean we could have more centrally organised work – ex. creation of posters or booking spaces and rubric writing as well as sharing of equipment and a bigger picture look at what we are aspiring towards within our program.
The PE Department is working with Captivate as its focus. ISB uses the Tripod 7C framework as a base and have now evolved that slightly and with the school’s strategic focus on “challenging and joyful” teaching and learning for all it is good to have a goal around how we are hooking our students into lessons.
These are the results from the Tripod survey from the students from Spring 2022 (G7-8 class) to Fall 2022 (G9 class). It is clear that there isn’t a major difference, and that the students know that I care about them – this is always my biggest wish. I have been working on Classroom Management and how to do that with Care – always a little tricky. Last year I focused on Challenge, working really hard to unpack this term and its multitude of ways that we can Challenge ourselves, or be challenged by others in PE. I think that this is still something to be aware of, especially as the differentiation between the students is much greater at the G9 level.
Captivate – I have enjoyed working with Visible Thinking Routines, for the last 10 years and find that most of my dialogue in lessons is around asking questions to gauge what the students are thinking about. So I was most excited to be introduced to Micro-routines as I was looking for ways to engage with students while online this most recent block of time. Micro-routines are mini VTR that engage students in three stages of 30seconds to 2 minutes per stage through an action or thought process, that are very open ended and allow students to interact and engage in a topic conversation with language frames and clear task instructions. I have been trialling them and have found a few that really work with higher interaction and collaboration with their use and I would like to continue using them as part of my work in Captivate, using different stimulus within them. Here are a few examples of the routines:
The beauty of these routines, is that you can use them for a range of reasons, depending on the work you are doing. I initially used them to start off a lesson, it gave us time to hook into a lesson with a high ceiling and easy entry – here is one example from our Fitness unit, this was the second lesson introduction. In lesson one we had looked at the Components of Fitness (health and skill-related) and I wanted to see whether that learning would come out in this Micro-routine – and also see what else the students were seeing/relating to. I chose a range of creative commons images and chose where I knew we had students in the class who completed or play these activities, focused on Asian faces where possible, and a range of fitness components.
Students wrote a lot of really cool things into our Teams Chat – as I had hoped there were connections to Lesson 1 content, people saw each other in the images (we have a very shy male ice skating champion as well as some very hard working dance students, these were all mentioned) as well as connections to hard work to be this elite and some comments about the World Cup going on at the time. But the best part was the Part 3 – Choosing one of the peer’s conenctions to respond to – this was the golden connection for me, where the students were using each other’s comments to respond. And having the language frames really helped us to write some lovely, thoughtful things. I really enjoyed seeing the range of comments and how they were inter-relating together. I used these comments to help create breakout rooms for our class work in this lesson based on who was connecting to who to try and carry on that peer connection in further work.
I used the first routine at the end of our lesson after we had completed some fitness investigation and reflective writing in small groups via breakout rooms, students then were asked to re-read their notes and highlight and then comment on peers who they had worked with. They then had to submit their notes to me for formative assessment. The micro-routine gave me a chance to see where they were having questions or what they felt was important. The peer comments gave everyone a shout-out or a way to see how they were contributing to the success of the collaborative room work. I used these notes to code and sort out peers for next lesson’s groups and to see where our communication leaders were or who was being given kudos in rooms that I didn’t get a lot of time in myself.
Captivate: I would like to try and continue to use Micro-routines to captivate interest with prior learning or introducing new material or captivating interest and confidence about how the students are collaborating for success to model the work we are expecting and have the students lead this work with these language frames over time to see how this grows our community. I want to continue to be thoughtful about the ways we can choose media or modelling based on who is in our classes, the unit we are in and how to captivate our learning so that the start of our lessons is not just about getting changed and showing up for a boring warm up.
Professional Learning – personal goals
I am currently engaged in three different professional learning courses, the first is a Women’s Leadership course for middle leaders (NESLI) out of Australia. It is running all year and has a Professional learning plan (PLP) as part of the course. I am working with the current MS AP and our Office of Learning Director looking at discipline and its role in the MS and in the Secondary school as this is going to be a significant piece of learning for me in my new role next year. This also involves Child Safeguarding professional learning which is a sadly a necessary requirement for all leadership.
The second course I am working through is a focus on Gender equity and anti-bias and I am learning a lot. I am planning to continue my work on anti-racism and anti-bias work with action around our Health and mentoring curriculum but also am keen to be more involved in the action around our school policies (linking to the discipline piece) and how we are addressing bullying with a gender or racist lens at our school. I am finding this work challenging but very important, and working out how to use the information and learning in context both for our students and the adults we work with.
Thirdly I am enjoying the work with EAL and collaboration for all students – and have been experimenting further with how to build/create resources that engage students with clear language outcomes and supports. I have found the first workshop to be full of great ideas and resources to use with great examples of how to engage students in language work. I now need to continue thinking about how to use these but not takeaway from the movement part of PE, especially as we return to PE at school (not Health or online PE).
There are other projects for this year, including looking at MS scheduling and being involved in Accreditation in March – I am really enjoying being captivated by the opportunities to learn new things and work with new people in different ways. The main goal here will be to continue to action the work, and not just to be a thought partner in this process.