Each month, the administrators at Blumenort School organize a school-wide assembly. The purpose is to promote and further educate about the 6 deeper learning competencies. The focus this year is on the character of a learner. To help students make meaning and give everyone a practical way to name and notice themselves from this perspective, the Our Learning Tools graphic was created. Each month, one of the tools is highlighted. This is done in 3 main ways: through individual teachers sharing their PIP (personal inquiry projects) that they have challenged themselves with since last spring, through sharing common language seen as important to use across the school, and having individual students and whole classes share about a specific journey they’ve been on as a learner.
- Common language breeds common understanding. Using Our Learning Tools language with the whole school at the same time contributes to a greater possible impact and use across the building, not just in pockets.
- Our Learning Tools presents teachers with a tangible way to talk with students about how we develop as learners. It gives Kindergarten to Grade 8 students accessible language to talk about themselves as learners.
- It is an opportunity for the whole school to gather around a learning-focused purpose.
- It supports momentum towards the school’s deeper learning goals. With sometimes many weeks between deeper learning team meetings, the assemblies are a reminder and nudge for staff that we still believe in this work.
- By various students and adults sharing their inside and outside of school learning journeys, students see that these tools don’t just apply when in the classroom with a teacher. They are lifelong skills that contribute to our joy of experiencing the world.
- By having administrators lead the assemblies, pressure is taken off teachers to have another thing to prepare for, and relieves any “having to one up each other” feelings amongst staff.
- The assemblies are a practical step to support one of the school goals around community building.
- What impact are these assemblies having on students and teachers? How do we measure our efforts?
- Is the frequency effective? Should the assemblies happen twice a month or more? Or less?
- Should we continue this assembly format next year? If so, do we continue to focus on Our Learning Tools, or something else?
- How do we find quality examples of learning journeys from our student body so there isn’t ever a scramble to find someone to present?
- Create a school-wide survey using Google Forms to begin to measure the impact of these gatherings, on students and staff.
- Gather assembly ideas from students. Who has a learning journey they would like to share with the school?
As the school continues to make meaning of the deeper learning competencies, and promote the development of them in students, they need to be visible at different levels and contexts throughout the school on a regular basis. We need to stick to our goals for a few years if we want to see the long term impact of this work and philosophy.