At the end of last term I went to the International Conference on Thinking. It was a very full on programme with sessions starting at 9am and the last session finishing at 7pm. My brain was very stretched by all that thinking!
Seriously though, it was a fantastic opportunity to hear from experts who have been around for decades (Art Costa, Edward de Bono) as well as newer experts (Guy Claxton, James Nottingham, Lane Clark, Ewan McIntosh) who were expanding their theories and practices around thinking.
All the staff at VAS know my opinion about thinking. We cannot teach children how to think! All of us just think, we don’t need to be taught how to think, we think all the time. What we can do, is to teach children skills so that they can broaden, extend and expand their thinking.
A great analogy is learning to cook. You start off by learning to cook a very simple repertoire of dishes – boiled eggs, scrambled eggs. Someone may teach you more skills or you may follow instructions in a more difficult recipe and next thing you’ve made a soufflé. You learn how to use different utensils for different recipes, you understand that you can’t effectively use any utensil for every recipe – you can’t lift a poached egg out using a whisk. You apply this knowledge to more recipes as you refine your skills to become a very competent cook.
The same goes for thinking. When a child thinks about something, it may be at a simple level – I think that car is going fast. Someone may say to them “why do you think that car might be going fast?” immediately the child’s thinking is being extended to a level where he or she is considering different scenarios. As the child is taught ways to analyse, ways to compare data and make predictions, ways to make connections, they add all these skills to their mental knowledge so that they know which thinking skill ‘utensil’ to apply to which learning ‘recipe’.
Back to the conference. There was much talk around issues our children may face in the future and the place of thinking in our curriculum in order to prepare them for life. There was much about the thinking skills that children need to develop. There is also a greater understanding of the connection between neuroscience and thinking/education. Here is a link if you want to read more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_neuroscience
These are the implications for VAS following my attendance at ICOT.
- Confirmation that we are on the right track with thinking and inquiry
- Understanding that we can’t teach thinking, we can teach students ways to broaden, deepen their thinking
- Collective understanding of the way thinking about student thinking must underpin our programmes
- What we mean by thinking skills and how these translate into our learning programme
- So What? Is the most critical part of our planning and thinking and developing and implementing appropriate topics for students
- Change mental models of thinking / learning in our community of learners, teachers and parents
The great thing is that as a staff, we are focussed on continuous improvement in our understanding and use of thinking skills as tools to broaden and extend children’s thinking.
Riding Scooters to School
I love that lots of children bring their scooters to school. I do worry about their riding behaviour on the way to and from school. Last week, a member of the public rang me to tell me that she had seen one of our younger children riding his scooter flat out along Victoria Avenue, then straight out onto Combes Rd between two stationary cars, directly into the path of a car turning into Combes Rd. The car narrowly missed him, but she said it was only by a millimetre. Then this morning, one of our parents told me she had seen a young child riding along Remuera Rd to a local school get hit by a car today. Fortunately, the child was ok.
Please remember that all VAS children who bring scooters to school must wear a helmet to and from school. All we want is for our children to have the appropriate safety gear so that they stand a greater chance of not being injured should there be an accident, either being hit or them falling off their scooter.
Please don’t stop your child from riding his or her scooter to school, but ensure they are wearing safety gear and that you have previously walked the route with them to show them how to cross roads safely.
What a great week we’ve had. Some of the things that have been happening are:
- Each day both an achievable and tricky problem of the day has been loaded onto our internal admin site site and emailed to each class. How many can your class solve each day?
- Number study – Each year group takes their year number (eg Year 4 is 4). What do we know about 4? eg What shapes have 4 sides? What numbers are multiples of 4? What dates have a 4 in them? What things happen every 4 years? What weighs as much as 4 elephants? How many groups of 4 can we make in our class? What things come in groups of 4? What examples of 4 can you find around us? (take photos). Fascinating facts about 4. Roman numerals for 4. 4 in Maori, Spanish, Chinese etc. At the end of the week the number studies are shared.
- Maths team have made maths trails
- Maths art
Ask your child what they have been doing and learning in maths this week.
PUPILS OF THE WEEK
Samuel Cotton and Zac Hood
- Room 1: Hanuyi Hui
Room 2: Rebecca Ross
Room 3: Rowan Somervell
Room 4: Zoe Fon
Room 5: Amanda Dissanayake
Room 6: Felicity Thompson
Room 6: Taylor West
Room 7: Jet Cheung
Room 8: Mia Gadnai
Room 9: Ethan Binsted
Room 10: Jamie McConnel
Room 11: Jordan Yan
- Room 12: Fiona Deng
Room 13: Klaudia Horsfall
Room 14: Dulcie Snelgrove
Room 15: Noah Abou-Ghoury
Room 16: Shaelyn Green
Room 17: Izabela Perich
Room 18: Phoebe MacGill
Room 19: Grace Lee
Room 20: Fred Gilbert
Room 21: Bianca Pennington
Room 22: Olivia Hanson