Our session with Tom, Jamie and Pat was very insightful. Tom got our brains working hard by starting with the question- what skills do you demonstrate when you have a deep knowledge of something? As a team we found that we had the same responses: passion, ability to communicate about the topic and the confidence to talk about it. It really linked well with how do we as teachers know we have a deep knowledge of the curriculum. We discussed the importance of passion and how having a deep knowledge of the curriculum allows us to stretch our students and skill them for the future. It is also important to note, that while we may not have the same passion for all KLAs, we have a passion for learning and are committed as educators to provide the best for our students- that means knowing our content.
Next we looked at our outcome that we would like to focus on for next term: identifies how language use in their own writing differs according to their purpose, audience and subject matter.
It sounds funny to say but it was amazing how having the outcome and indicators up on the wall made such a huge difference to how we unpacked the outcome. We realised that often we get so bogged up with the indicators that we can overlook the actual outcome- which in fact is the most important because it is what we are assessing the students on. The word 'identifies' really stuck with us as we realised that we were expecting the students to do a lot more when the outcome stated it so clearly and plainly.
After that we discussed what words caught our attention and were asked to be honest about our areas of development. I thought it would be a bit scary but it was actually quite liberating to say - I have no idea- please help.
What started was the word 'audience' and what it actually means. Louise brought up how it was quite an abstract concept to the students- that there was an audience they had to write for. We unpacked this a bit further and talked about the benefit of actually providing the students with a 'real audience' to make it authentic for them and to also put a face to a name. This linked well with 'purpose' because the children then can see why it is being written.
We had a whole discussion about real feedback too- that if children are going to be able to identify how their language meets the audience and purpose- they need real feedback from the people they are writing for.
It really reminded us of the importance of sitting down and talking about our outcomes and how we can devise opportunities for children to demonstrate their understanding. Its really interesting how once we understood and had direction with the outcome, like all teachers, how heads started buzzing with all these ideas.