As the 2018 school year kicks off, I have been enjoying consulting to many industrious schools in South East Queensland. I spent last week facilitating a series of pre-service teacher training workshops. It’s wonderful to experience the renewed energy of teachers ready to start the year on a positive note and try new thinking tools and teaching approaches in their classrooms.
Last Monday I taught at the stunning Maroochy River Golf Club for a whole-day Beginning Teachers’ workshop. The teacher attendees were professionally aware and excited to assess and modify their practice. We explored how teachers can quickly plan strong lessons by using the task verb, the related definitions, an appropriate thinking tool and relevant language to scaffold important tasks. All teachers were thrilled to see how this simple approach to thinking tools ensures their students are more likely to succeed.
On Tuesday, I had the privilege of working with 47 specifically selected final year preservice teachers from many universities. During 2018, these preservice teachers will graduate from the Morayfield Teacher Education Centre of Excellence (MTECE). Mentored by Sue Clifton, Head of the MTECE and Kirsti Harrington, Head of Mentoring, the workshop focused on Explicit Teaching using the Thinking Skills Framework and the itc Four Steps to Student Success method. It was clear why this group had been selected for this elite program. It was interesting to see that the majority of attendees had been in other occupations and were looking for a more fulfilling career. Their various backgrounds will undoubtedly enrich our classrooms and engage and extend their students.
On Wednesday I ran a teacher workshop at West End State School, where we focused on Inquiry Learning with an emphasis on science topics. Dr Rosie Thrupp and John Hunt assisted me in offering possible inquiry scenarios and these sessions were very well received. Thanks Rosie and John! The staff was clearly excited to be teaching within their school, especially as they enjoy strong curriculum support from the principal Kim McNamara and curriculum leaders Anastasia Hunter and Sheree Carr.
Thursday’s workshop involved teachers at Ashmore State School on the Gold Coast where the focus was also on Inquiry Learning but more specifically on HASS topics. Again, we used the Thinking Skills Framework and the itc Four Steps to Student Success method with great response – the workshop was energetic and a great deal of fun. The workshop was organised by Suzie Ross, Director of Teaching and Learning, with whom I previously worked at Nelson in New Zealand over 15 years ago. The teachers contributed great energy and had a lot of fun throughout the day. The principal, Margaret James, has created a wonderfully professional and collegial atmosphere where teachers feel both excited and fortunate to be on staff.
You can see why I love my job. Here’s to enjoying a fulfilling and expansive 2018 teaching in our thinking classrooms.
If you’d like to discuss my availability to run teacher workshops at your school, please get in touch at email: [email protected]
To see my print book and ebooks where I share my teaching strategies and observations as an educational consultant of 35+ years, please visit our shop at www.rodineducation.com.au/shop
Cheers, Eric Frangenheim
IMAGE CAPTION (below): This Cause-Effect map on the topic of ‘bullying’ was completed by teachers at Ashmore State School at the Inquiry Learning teacher workshop. This map was completed in under three minutes. It’s a great example of how simple it is for students to use graphic organisers such as the Cause-Effect map to ‘explain’ (the task verb) an event or phenomena.
IMAGE CAPTION (below): Teachers developing a learning object using one of the graphic organiser thinking tools at our Inquiry Learning teacher workshop at West End State School, January 2018.