Two weeks before the launch of the 2016-17 school year, new teachers circled up together for the first time on our campus for an intensive introduction to Expeditionary Learning Education at The Franklin School of Innovation. Anne Vilen, Franklin’s EL Education School Coach and I had the great pleasure of working alongside these spirited and inspiring educators in Franklin’s EL 101 Bootcamp, designed to immerse teachers in experiential learning with these Learning Targets:
I can describe how we teach and learn at an EL Education school
I can explain how a positive culture supports achievement in EL classrooms
I can describe the purpose of Crew for students, teachers, and classrooms
I can name and commit to consistencies for instruction and assessment at FSI
I can balance self-compassion and growth mindset.
This training required that we all wear both teacher and student hats. As students, we engaged in inquiry, dug deeply into content & methodology, and experienced EL as a learner. As adult learners/teachers, we grappled with how to transfer and apply the processes, practices, strategies that we were experiencing in our own classrooms and administrative roles at FSI. We reflected on our learning and set professional goals for the year ahead, realizing that we all must practice FSI’s Habits of Scholarship as teachers!
I’m very honored to be Director of Curriculum and Coaching at Franklin and to collaborate with our Faculty Crew, new and old, as we strive to fulfill FSI’s Mission and, as an Affiliate, the Mission of EL Education: “To create classrooms where teachers can fulfill their highest aspirations, and students achieve more than they think possible, becoming active contributors to building a better world.”
“EL Education’s core work is building the capacity of teachers and schools through professional development, professional resources, and curriculum. When students and teachers are engaged in work that is challenging, adventurous and meaningful, learning and achievement flourish.” Read more here: http://eleducation.org/
Did you know that the FSI Faculty regularly circles up for professional learning on Friday afternoons? Our teachers and administrators actively and collaboratively “dig in, engage, and apply” Habits of Scholarship in our research, preparation, and planning for student-centered learning. We examine EL Education Design Principles, best practices, and exemplars to plan projects, expeditions, daily lessons, and formative assessments that will actively engage FSI scholars in becoming leaders of their own learning .
This week’s focus was on Student-led Conferences and Deeper Learning. FSI Faculty practiced self-reflection and SMART goal-setting in order to identify individual professional learning goals that will ultimately serve our students. We practiced Student-led Conferences and offered feedback to one another, an authentic demonstration of FSI’s commitment to developing leaders of life-long learning!
This month, during Crew, all Franklin School of Innovation students are preparing for their Student-Led Conferences, scheduled for May 1. These conferences give students the opportunity to demonstrate their growth in the Habits of Scholarship and empower students to reflect on their own learning in order to share knowledge and set goals for further growth. SLCs for 8th graders mark the passage from middle school into high school. Students from Warren Wilson College and their professor, Annie Jonas, are visiting FSI to share their own experiences in SLCs and portfolio assessment. The following photos capture a few scenes from this shared learning experience.
After the first session with the Warren Wilson students, I surveyed the FSI 8th graders to get their feedback and input for moving forward with future lessons. Their responses were anonymous, but here are some thoughts shared by students:
“It made me realize that I should be proud to present new ideas.”
“The Warren Wilson students listened very well. Instead of telling us, they guided us.”
“I learned to be more confident by practicing the script for the conference with someone who has experience and offered perspective.”
“This helped me realize my weak areas in speaking. It reminded me to bring work and be prepared to practice next time.”
“My teacher from Warren Wilson encouraged me to create a “to-do” list for my SLC work.”
“I got to understand the SLC better, because before I didn’t really understand why we were doing this.”