Here’s why I love to teach lesson planning and team teaching sessions with motivated educators and vibrant students.
I recently completed three rewarding days running teacher workshops at Lighthouse Christian School in Rockhampton. This small (yet mighty) school of 170 students from P-12 is led by the wonderfully focussed and motivated principal, Blair Harp.
When Ngaire Tagney, an amazing educator and former school principal, asked me to assist her in helping a visionary school in Rockhampton develop their teaching and learning capacity, I was more than willing. For five years, she has been helping the Lighthouse Christian School grow and develop in a happy and serious direction.
Excited to support motivated teachers, I designed a jam-packed schedule for the three-day teaching intensive at Lighthouse Christian School in May. I worked with more than 100 teachers and 70 students across many year levels and ran lesson planning sessions, team teaching, demonstration lessons and teacher workshops. The central focus was the Thinking Skills Framework. It’s the most important tool for teaching thinking.
I experienced three incredibly joyous days of teaching. The atmosphere was positive and vibrant and I could sense the teachers were open to new ideas to help them be better leaders.
And, best of all, there were significant ‘lightbulb’ moments for many of the teachers who suddenly appreciated the importance of focusing on the ‘task verb’ and using an appropriate thinking tool to scaffold their students’ thinking. The most popular strategies we used included the Silent Card Shuffle, Double Bubble Map, KWL and Extended PCQ.
Here’s a quick run-down of the teaching and learning sessions we tackled. As I mentioned, we incorporated the Thinking Skills Framework and appropriate thinking tools into our teaching at every step.
I taught 56 students across Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 from 9am-12.30pm. The topic was The Reconciliation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, which is one of my books (soon to be released as a second-edition e-book) designed for Primary teachers.
The Reconciliation of Goldilocks is a step-by-step lesson plan that shows teachers how to infuse critical, creative and co-operative thinking tools into a curriculum setting. These students rose to the challenge and demonstrated exceptional language skills and vibrant thinking. We had a lot of fun!
This student session was followed by a useful debrief session where the nine teachers were highly reflective of their practice and shared their learnings and insights.
In the after-school session, we worked with approximately 95 teachers, including a large number form Heights Christian College, Depot Hill State School, CQ Christian College and Mt Morgan State High School. Here the topic was Part 1 of Establishing a Thinking Skills Framework along with itc publications’ Four Steps to Student Success method.
We spent a highly productive day lesson planning with 20 teachers. In the after-school session, we explored Part 2 of the Thinking Skills Framework with 75 teachers.
On Day 3 we delved into the team teaching session where I shared the teachings based on the previous day’s lesson planning. I taught a Pre-School class (not my strength at all, being a former high school teacher). Other students involved were from Years 7, Years 8 and Years 9. The students were brilliantly natural, enthusiastic and responsive.
The feedback was incredibly positive and it proved to me that teaching is all about renewal and that great educators – both principals and teachers – are energised by this quest.
I hope you too are energised by your quest to be a better leader, every day.