For the third year, Hamlin teachers delved into reflective learning through inquiry projects that they personally designed. Teachers used data, research, and reflection, to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. Several teachers participated in the Inquiry Project Year, sharing their findings with colleagues at a year-end celebration on June 13. This reflective work serves to make Hamlin a learning institution that continues to grow and strive for excellence in a variety of areas. Below are some of the project descriptions.
For the 2018/2019 school year, I created a student satisfaction survey that was given to 3rd – 8th grade students after their yearly Outdoor Education trips. The survey was created using Google Forms and given to students the week after returning from their Outdoor Ed trip. The survey combined short answer questions and five-point Likert scale questions where respondents could express how much they agreed or disagreed with the particular statement. This data will be used to examine how students feel the Hamlin Outdoor Education program is doing in relation to:
-the Hamlin Creed
-the mission & purpose of Outdoor Education
-student’s lives at home and at school
Lindsay Bothwell & Meagan Andrews
Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) is an instructional approach using the principles of scientific inquiry as a basis of word-level literacy instruction. This word study approach is based off of the idea that the primary function of spelling is to represent meaning instead of phonology. This year, our fourth graders got to experience this type of word study approach.
Maggie Jo Feldman
Drawing as a foundation skill is one way to build a student’s confidence and help them manifest their ideas more fully. I wanted to apply different methods of presenting drawing techniques and creating stronger lesson plans. My focus was on three different areas: observation drawing (5th & 6th grade curriculum), field drawing (for Outdoor Ed projects) and portraiture (Elective class).
How can interdisciplinary units help provide context and connections for students learning a second language at school? How do interdisciplinary units benefit teaching and learning? I’ll be sharing my reflections on these questions based on my experience of creating an interdisciplinary unit with Kylie Cobb for Grade 2 students where we explored Guatemalan culture and SEL strategies.
Alison Kutnick & Kylie Cobb
To provide a proactive, interdisciplinary Social Emotional Unit of Study, specifically for first graders, in order to provide the students with tools and life skills to support themselves in 6 focus areas: Friendships, Kindness and Respect, Conflict Resolution, Building Confidence, Feelings, Mindfulness, and Resilience. This curriculum is a combination of objectives, learning experiences, learning goals and resources.
Anu Mathur & Whitney Thayer
“Auditing” our health and wellness curriculum across all grade levels, seeing what we already do and what we might be missing. Eventually working on creating a new Scope and Sequence to help streamline and keep everyone on the same page.
The first grade spends the year learning about the Neighborhood/Community. We celebrate the completion of the 3D map by inviting parents in for a “Block Party”. This has often felt like the natural end to the unit but we have about 2 more months of school. I wanted to see if the girls would enjoy choosing the focus of our study for the last part of the year. It is a slight twist to the idea of an emergent curriculum. They generated a list of questions or topics that they wanted to know more about in relation to our neighborhood. Then they voted in order to choose the topic.
This year I surveyed our JV and Varsity teams to collect data about the coaching staff, the program and information on the experience of these athletes. I sent out a Google survey after every season to our most competitive athletes and from there, examined closely their feedback and input. I was hoping that by getting their feedback, they felt heard and valued. I also wanted to determine if their feedback was of substance in order to make changes to our Athletics program.
I have completed my first year of a 2-year program through UCSD to clear my California Teaching Credential. This process is rooted in reflection and goal setting with a mentor to assess my strengths and areas of growth using the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTPs). Through the creation and implementation of Individualized Learning Plans (ILP), I am working to craft lessons and units with attention to strengthening specific teaching practices.
My share-out will focus on the CSTP “placemat” that breaks down the standards and the use of how/why questioning to reflect on my teaching practice.
This year, I undertook to be the lead on our three-teacher 6th grade team in the area of teaching writing. Throughout the year, in consultation with my esteemed colleagues, I have tracked the writing process and offered suggestions about how to make it stronger, especially during this year. We have added “Writer’s Workshop” days before each writing assignment to give focused practice on certain elements of a strong paragraph (topic sentence/thesis statement, point-evidence-explanation sequence, hook and conclusion.) Additionally, we have strengthened and better-aligned both our rubrics and our pre-writing scaffolding, being more descriptive and precise about what the students should be aiming for in their writing, along with offering strong examples. Over the coming summer, we are going to work together to review what we’ve done, tweak some activities, and add some others, based on what we have learned in living through this year’s curriculum together.
Getting an inventory of where Environmental Stewardship is infused or sprinkled into different divisions and departments, this will help us get a better idea of how well we are already meeting our ES goals and what we could be doing to support/integrate further into our existing school program.
How accessible are our Environmental Stewardship goals to the girls? How well are we supporting the girls to understand and forge a relationship with the natural world and meeting the challenges of their time in this domain?