Week 4 has been all systems go as we dive into the details of our programmes and how we will approach learning at OJC. The team completed an in depth investigation of the New Zealand Council for Education Research’s book “Key Competencies for the Future” and also worked on unpacking what the OECD Research project called “The Nature of Learning” might mean in relation to teaching and learning at OJC.
Other work that we’ve prioritised has been around solidifying working partnerships with a variety of NGO’s, Council committees, Iwi, businesses, and other groups. These organisations will work with OJC teachers and learners to provide authentic and real world work and problem solving experiences in the field, rather than completing “practice learning” within our walls. Just this week we’ve met with Curious Minds NZ, The Participatory Science Project, The Young Enterprise Scheme, Banqer, The National Library of NZ, Auckland City Library, and Life HackHQ, among others, to begin work co-designing 2017 OJC curriculum opportunities. These range from working on youth health and wellbeing initiatives, connecting the future Ormiston Community Centre and Library (to be built in 2018) with our school, local waterways and significant site restoration and conservation work, and financial literacy learning and business education. It’s an exciting time to be a student, and all of us are really counting down the days until we get to roll up our sleeves and begin work on all these wonderful opportunities with our foundation learners.
Viv has also continued her work connecting the Ormiston Primary School’s work on their Math Hub and learning progressions with our approach to numeracy and learning in mathematics. We’ve also enlisted the lovely Lisa Banfield, formerly DP at both Willow Bank Primary and Sommerville Intermediate School to support with this important mapping so that the OJC numeracy curriculum has a unified and rigorous approach that meets the needs of each learner while supporting them to accelerate their learning and take on new challenges in maths.
Once again Chris Clay of ‘Thinking Differently’, joined us for another provoking session. He emphasised the significance of creating knowledge networks, as an organisational form that can stimulate innovation and help transfer knowledge between learners. In pairs, we were given a ‘Hydraulics Challenge’ where we created a piston using two syringes and needed to lift $1 worth of ten cent coins. We tinkered, talked, questioned, collaborated and problem-solved. A successful reminder of the power of collective thinking.
As a team, we are gathering a better knowledge of our key stakeholders in our community and have been lucky enough to meet some of our learners who will be joining us in 2017 from Baverstock Oaks School and Ormiston Primary School.
Our Baverstock Oaks School visit included building rockets with Year 6 learners who worked in teams to discover the best combination of which rocket fuel (the liquid) and rocket powder (citric acid) were required to make their rocket (film canister) blast off! We saw the learners tinker, talk, question, collaborate and problem-solve. The students' minds were blown by how much fun they could have learning. As a staff, we were able to practice teaching collaboratively and got our ‘fix’ of working with some awesome kids.
Ormiston Primary School welcomed us into their environment on Friday where we met some more of our future OJC learners. We were so impressed by the way the students confidently interacted with their Habitat environment and people, as the room was buzzing with busy learners.
As part of the preparation for our learning programme in 2017, we have been gathering ideas to put into our kete from other school environments and have been welcoming the support from our colleagues in education. Thanks to Fred, Alfriston College kindly hosted us and shared their valuable lessons learnt over 14 years of innovative teaching and learning practices. We saw a Whanau-based approach at the centre of their learning in which relationships and student needs were a priority.
We were also toured around Manurewa Intermediate by Mel and two student leaders from the school. It was clear that the culturally relevant environment and physical presence of their school-wide initiatives reinforced their values for the learners and the community. The Marae and Fale were wonderful reminders of the importance of creating a sense of belonging for our learners. There were great take-aways from both these schools. When we share and learn from each other, all of our learners benefit.
As we continue to work our way through enrolment interviews with all our OJC whanau, the team is also looking ahead to the family information hui on the 16th of November. This evening will provide all OJC learners and their families with the necessary details for how to prepare for the beginning of the 2017 school year. It is a chance for our foundation community to get together to find out about both the little things (like stationery lists, cafe, and uniforms), and hear about the bigger picture (like a Day in the Life of an OJC Learner and how OJC school systems will work.)
We look forward to seeing you all there, and introducing you to our team!