The Gist

“Deep Learning is the process of acquiring and growing in the six global competencies.” —Michael Fullan

At the center of Hanover’s deeper learning plan lies the 6 Cs. If our goal is to design opportunities for our students to develop these competencies, then it seems logical to get a grasp on what they mean!

K to Grade 8 teachers at Blumenort School have been on a journey of making meaning of the 6 Cs at their grade levels. Below is a timeline of some of the main work that’s been happening:

End of June 2018: A provocation was created and discussed to bring to light our current understandings. This was in preparation for our work in October when each grade band, K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 would meet.

Beginning of October 2018: Our 3 targets for the year were discussed and next steps were brainstormed. One of these targets, intentionally incorporating the 6 Cs into our planning and our work with students, brought to the forefront our need as a staff to gain a more comprehensive understanding of what the Cs mean.

Mid-October 2018: I met one-on-one with a Grade 1, Grade 4 and Grade 5/6 teacher to design a problem solving based math lesson which incorporated one of the Cs. Planning was intentional so that this competency would have the best chance of being brought out during the lesson. Each grade band group then observed a teacher and a protocol was used to debrief.

End of October 2018: Each grade band took a half day trip via school bus to visit other classrooms in the division to observe and share wonderings about bringing the Cs to life.

Nov-Dec 2019: Each teacher completed a self check in around our 3 targets. This check in doc was the springboard for conversations between myself and each teacher to determine which supports could be brought in to aid them along their journey of diving into each target. One need that overwhelmingly stood out: Student friendly language around the Cs that is visible around our school.  

Beginning of January 2019: We re-worked our previously created “bengalized” definitions of the Cs through Chalk Talks, video provocations and a strategy called Save the Last Word. We used the dimension descriptions from the New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning  progressions and transformed them into grade band language. We worked on Citizenship and Collaboration first.

Mid-January 2019: We continued our work with the remaining Cs. Images that would speak to students from K-8 were selected and discussed. With the help of one of our creative Grade 1 teachers and our artistic Grade 7 student teacher, the Blumenort 6 C posters were taking shape.

September 2019: A new Blumenort bengal logo was designed and the 6 C posters were printed and posted in each hallway and classroom. The entrance foyer to the school also took on a new look and the Cs were framed and hung for all to see. 

September 2019: Our school goals were written using deep learning competency language. These are posted on a bulletin board near the entrance of the school, written in language for teachers and parents. 

Good Stuff

  • Our work has felt purposeful. It has been based on a pressing learning need of teachers which they feel will impact their instruction. 
  • Our work has been open enough that each grade band could make it their own, but at the same time still build a school-wide collective understanding of the Cs.
  • Our work contained variety, allowing us to look at the Cs in different ways.
  • Our work allowed for input from different invested parties; classroom teachers, administration and learning coach.
  • Administration is using the posters as a foundation when speaking to students about behaviour choices.
  • This focused journey is supporting our vision of growing in our collective efficacy as classroom teachers; everyone is contributing, and feels they play an important role in making a difference.
  • Reflections about our journey are positive:
    • “It is exciting to see how far we have come in such a short time.”
    • “I am looking forward to having across the board language that can be used by students and teachers to help us all make the C’s more relevant in our school. I find the clarification and the direction of where we want to go exciting and meaningful, which I feel will help us all become better!”
    • “I feel like there is SO much value in time spent sharing. I was inspired and encouraged by my fellow educators and appreciate the opportunity to share what is going on in my own room. I appreciated the “activate” exercise with the videos and the chalk talk. When we try different activities in this room, it is constantly inspiring me to take these new ideas into my classroom. That is why I appreciate the variety and the collaboration so much. These meetings are like a hub of inspiration and creativity.”

Wondering Stuff

  • How could we have included specialists in this work and designed it so they find it purposeful as well? 
  • Creating and designing the language and posters was a valuable process for teachers. How do we bring this language to the students in authentic ways each day throughout the school? What is already being done and how can this be shared?
  • With a school-wide focus on numeracy this year, how do we connect our understanding of the Cs with math? What resources are available to help us do so?

Next Stuff

  • Spend time at monthly grade level meetings sharing ideas on how the C language is being incorporated into our classrooms.
  • Apply a split screen planning mindset to guide the learning intentions of a lesson or longer learning experience.
  • Display the posters in a visually accessible area in the classroom so to serve as a reminder for teachers and so they can be seen by the students.
  • Build the C language into different subject areas so the message is that this is not just who we are growing to be in a particular subject, like ELA or SS.

Last Thoughts

Making meaning around the complexity of the deep learning competencies takes time, energy, team contribution and an inquiry mindset. Our work isn’t done; we will go deeper as we begin to intentionally apply our understanding of the Cs to classroom instruction and the designing of students’ learning experiences.

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