School Name: Ecole Ballenas Secondary
School District: SD#69 Qualicum
Inquiry Team Members: Trish Cathrine: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ballenas Staff Members (whole staff collaboration)
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Other: This was a whole staff focus for collaborative learning; teachers then applied this learning to their own curricular areas.
Focus Addressed: Differentiated instruction, Flexible learning, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Inquiry-based learning, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How do we bridge the knowing/doing gap – “knowing” about inclusion to “doing” and our understanding and use of inclusive practices? The what is “inclusion” and the “how” of inclusive practices?
Scanning: Many are aware of what inclusion is, and have different levels of understanding. Using the work of leaders in our province (Moore, Schnellert, Brownlie and others), we knew that we want to incorporate MORE inclusive practices, frameworks, and planning structures, but that we needed time and space for conversation about this and gentle support to move forward in this (teacher collaboration time with intentional focus on diverse learners and structures to support learning for ALL).
Focus: This has been a topic of conversation for the past few years within our learning services department. More diversity in classrooms has also been a discussion amongst teaching staff here at Ballenas. We are wanting to bring the two together and work on, 1) knowing our learners, 2) designing powerful learning based on big ideas with layering levels of complexity and lots of option (baked potato bar), and 3) structures as supports (and so much more).
We were hoping that our learners continue to feel included, seen, and heard in their classes, and that they experience success through the intentional use and focus on learning design, based on goals – not activities. What is the goal? How will I get there? Who can help? Where to next?
Hunch: Many are aware of what inclusion is, and have different levels of understanding. We were wanting our learning services teachers to be able to provide support in terms of planning, and really resonate with the words of Shelley Moore in regards to retro-fit supports and learning (taking things off that are already planned, instead of planning with the groups and learners and background design in mind). Our hunch was that we needed to make a shift in how we approach this, and provide time and opportunity to look at how this is done and how it impacts learning here within our community.
New Professional Learning: Using the work of leaders in our province (Moore, Schnellert, Brownlie and others), we knew that we want to incorporate MORE examples of inclusive practices and planning frameworks into our teaching and learning – we structured teacher collaboration time with this specific intention, provided background resources and support, and provided plenty of time for teachers to collaborate with the goal of planning for ALL in mind.
Resources that were helpful in this investigation included the work of Shelley Moore, class profile templates from Schnellert and Brownie, planning templates from Moore, and UDL support from Katie Novak and Jennifer Katz.
1) Whole staff collaboration
– UDL vs. Differentiation
– Offering the “buffet”
– Working with the curriculum: What are the big ideas? What is essential?
– Class profiles – KNOWING your learners: strength based teaching and learning
– Whole staff brainstorming and discussion about: expression, representation, and engagement – creation of “the Ballenas buffet”
– Time for colleagues to talk and discuss UDL and design in curricular and cross curricular areas
– Sharing from colleagues about wonders, challenges, success stories …
Checking: Example 1: PE teacher teaching a variety of skills to entire class, then lets students choose based on goal/strength/area of interest to further develop. Goal(s): everyone would learn basic skills of basketball, everyone will be physically active, but students can choose: play, referee, score keep/stats and support. ALL students were active and participating. ALL students were physically active. ALL students were able to choose a particular aspect they wanted to focus on more deeply. Feeling of cohesion and inclusivity within class – everyone worked together in an area they wanted to focus on going deeper in. Repeated again with a focus on volleyball. Positive feedback from learners who felt and experienced success.
Reflections/Advice: We have only just begin to go deeper in this area.
We know that:
– Knowing our learners
– Starting with strengths
– Supporting learners through goals, not activities
– Differentiation vs. UDL
– Layering on choice, goals, options
… are all inclusive practices. We need to continue to explore these approaches and collaborate as colleagues. We would like to continue this focus and continue to share real stories of this in action. We know that teacher collaboration is essential and will continue to make this happen.