Karen and her colleagues think it is unacceptable that young people are blocked from developing creativity and experiencing moments of mindfulness during a day of learning because of timetabling and traditional teaching practices. Their reality at the start of the year, however, was that there was a core group of staff at her school who were conservative, opposed to change and had a very loud collective voice!
Karen and her colleagues decided to tackle their problem head-on and actively reduced some of the barriers in place so that students had access to a range of opportunities to engage in the creative process.
They’ve spent this year getting ready to launch the following programs in 2017..
1. Genius Hour. For 2 periods a week in 2017, Year 7-9 students will have an opportunity to engage in a learning program that fosters innovation, creativity, choice and passion, at the same time as developing literacy and numeracy skills.
2. Creative Timetabling. Maximising the time that teachers have with groups of students, enabling time for extended investigation. So if a teacher takes one group of kids for both Science and Maths, they will have 420 minutes per week to teach the curriculum for those two subjects, without needing to dictate what gets done in which lesson slot. This means teachers have the scope to spend extended periods of time on learning goals, and additional opportunities to gather evidence of student progress through cumulative student assessment.
3. Alternate Program. At the end of 2017, Karen’s school will run a program to encourage students to come to school for the last few days of learning. They’ll run activities like wildlife sketching outdoors, team cooking challenges, skill development in favourite sports, a trip to CQU for scientific experiments, scrap booking, coding and computer program writing, Make-A-Space, spending time with a local artist learning a new technique, listening to elder stories in the Yarnin Place and spending time with primary school students reading.
Karen and her team’s ideas kick into action at the beginning of 2017 but their comprehensive approach to creating a creative timetable means that a huge number of kids can be positively and directly impacted. In addition, staff have benefitted from the design and planning process Karen and her colleagues have led this year.
“One of the other teachers at my school was on the brink of leaving our school and possibly the profession because she’s been so disheartened at work this year. She’s been really involved in the planning and design process and she’s now looking forward to next year at our school. She’s excited about the impact she can have on changing the mindset of students and staff. We almost lost an amazing operator to the systems, but she is back on board and raring to go and make a difference!”.
Like the idea?
Karen would love your support for Creating a Creative Timetable, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Karen and her clever colleagues and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
#WhatChangeLooksLike #ECStories #EduChange