I last updated you about Grey Lynn School in week 11, where we saw the ‘Activity Poster’ project come together. The posters have now made their way into the ‘Learning Hubs’ where both teachers and children have had a chance to use them to support their daily activities.
With school holidays and a senior camp taking place now, the school has found time to review the use of the posters. Principal of the school, Alicia Whata, felt that the trial of the activity posters has been worth the effort, and although at this stage the review process had shown mixed results over the different years, the overall result was positive.
Alicia commented that the initial decision-making process by staff was to identify how the posters would look, their content, where they would visibly sit in the space and how they would ultimately benefit the learners. She went on to say how the review was now able to ask the question, what do the posters mean for teaching and planning and what improvements could be made?
One observation from the feedback in the review was that the posters, being a flat object fixed to the wall, meant they became lost and couldn’t easily associate with the many different activities that occurred in the spaces. The team thought that going forward, it would be great to take a smaller version of the poster off the wall and place it into the centre of the activity, maybe a 3D object that could be moved around tables.
Having these as movable objects, and amongst the activity would allow the teachers to incorporate the use of them into their planning and design phase. The children could easily focus on the language relating to the activity and review the guidelines when working in this activity, ‘this is what we do, this is how we work, this is the equipment we need to bring and this is what we want to take away.’
I also asked Teacher, Jody Hayes from the year 1/2 Hub, how she felt the trial was going with the ‘Activity Posters’;
“Yes, I absolutely think the zone posters are of use and zones are vitally important to assist the flow of different needs at different times of the day. As the zones are static currently the next step or area to trial for Alice (one of the other teachers in the Hub) and myself is to try and make the zone labelling (Posters) more movable and/or flexible.”
“The current ‘Maunga’ Space (Presentation Space) is being used as a ‘Wananga Space’ (Small Group Space) so it would be good to have a portable sign to indicate what zone the space is being used for at that time. This would help us have clear communication to and with our learners, empowering them to be able to select the zone needed at different times of the learning cycle.”
I think from the comments above, the ‘Activity Posters’ have been reasonably successful in helping staff and children get a better understanding of the activities they are engaged in. However, by making small versions and putting them into the centre of the activity, the children, in particular, will have a better opportunity to focus and reflect on the activity components.
Many of the teaching staff, are already looking at fabricating these smaller movable versions and it will be interesting to see how that process has played out in the coming weeks.
I have been working on this aspect of the PLS process with both Terry White (PLS Director) and Bhavini Pandya (PLS Lead Facilitator) so that we can design a set of universal learning aids that can be used as part of the PLS Design Framework, to support both staff and students.
In the coming weeks, I will be going back to Grey Lynn School and we will also visit Oranga School who have a very special celebration with the opening of their new learning space.
Written by: Doug Crutch (NZ Facilitator)