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Professional Learning

Posted by on January 9, 2017

The Spiral of Inquiry ( has been the centre of our professional discussions this school year.  We are using the spiral model to look into our school community and find a focus that will drive positive change. 

inquiry-spiralIn September we began by looking into what attributes we wish to see in our students, the goal of this activity was to make visible the characteristics that we value as a school.

The attributes are:

Responsible, Empathetic, Respectful, Problem solver, Critical thinker,  Confident, Accountable, Positive, Adaptable, Patient

During an October staff meeting, we discussed  tasks that we are doing in class and if there were links to our attributes.  It was surprising to see that most of the tasks that were listed were not academic in their focus.  The list seemed to have more of a PBiS feel to them and a general observation to the tasks were in their development of citizenship and deportment.  Reflecting on the last few years at the school, there was considerable time spent on behaviour matrixes and most of the school concerns were in the behaviour of students.

Tasks List

Daily 5, Tech club, Morning fitness, Recorder, Note taking, Labs, Choice, Coding, Cleanup, Classroom jobs, PBL science, Novel studies, Centres (literacy & math), Journal writing, Class dojo, Math problem solving pairs, Morning meeting, DPA, Home reading, Calendar, Mark own work, Healthy snacks, Math flash cards, Friends for life, Agendas, Cardboard challenge, Planting a promise

For the December Professional Learning day we spent more time working on establishing a focus that would support learners in meaningful ways.  Through much of our discussion there were similar themes that were coming forward.  Staff were finding that the number of students meeting expectation in reading for primary was low, also that writing in the intermediate grades was noted on many report cards as an area that needed improvement.  The discussion that followed lead to a consensus that reading comprehension and foundational literacy skills (Phonics and Vocabulary) was a focus area that would would benefit all learners.

We worked on an action theory statement

  • If we promote a growth mindset and provide collaborative learning tasks that challenge students to transfer their knowledge to new concepts then students will be more engaged, behaviours will be reduced, and achievement will improve.
  • IF students improve their basic skills/concepts THEN student engagement will increase.
  • IF we promote the knowledge of basic foundation skills THEN students will be more engaged
  • IF we focus on foundational literacy skills and build comprehension in students, THEN students will improve their ability to be independent problem solvers.

To date we have taken some action towards this focus.  We have created a framework for the Daily 5 in primary classrooms.  This framework has a teacher specialist working with classes to build the daily 5 skills into each room.  We have worked on the creation of literacy centres and provided collaboration time for a teacher to meet with the LART and specialist teacher.  The school also purchased a Levelled Literacy Intervention kit to assist students to reach the reading expectation level for their age.

Classroom tour

Daily 5 getting started

Videos have been used to introduce the daily 5 and assist in the understanding of what we mean by daily 5 and how to get started.

Next steps are digging deeper into the tasks we teach through the lens of our action theory statement.


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