Elijah Smith Elementary School Yukon Education

By August 27, 20182017-18 Case Study

School Name: Elijah Smith Elementary School

School District: Yukon Education

Inquiry Team Members:Jane MacArthur

Inquiry Team Contact Email: Jane.MacArthur@yesnet.yk.ca

Type of Inquiry: NOII (focus on core competencies, OECD learning principles, etc.)

Grade Levels: Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Area(s): Not applicable

Focus Addressed: Aboriginal understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Formative assessment, Growth mindset, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can I support my students to become independent self-regulated learners, so they can be engaged in 21st century forms of learning?

Scanning: I have gained a ‘deeper knowledge’ of my grade four students by:
• Conducting regular check-ins to hear their voices and ideas, and watch for self-regulation
• Observing students during off-campus experiential learning where they could connect to nature in meaningful ways – canoe, hike, science lessons etc.
• Asking the 4-Key Questions that Matter of the students, one question a day for a week -very doable
• Watching how they respond to growth mindset lessons with a focus a safe learning place
• Considering the OECD 7 Principles of Learning during scanning processes
• Honouring First Peoples Principles of Learning, with a focus that learning ultimately supports the wellbeing of the self, family, community, land, spirits and the ancestors
• Observing my students during typical daily classroom and school activities
• Remaining curious and open to ideas from other professionals at our school, other schools and in the Learning Network…asking how others view self-regulated learning (SRL) for their students

Focus: I think that a focus on new knowledge and skills about self-regulation (SR) and self-regulated learning (SRL) will bring about positive changes at a very fundamental level in student motivation, engagement in learning and an ability to engage in independent 21st century forms of learning. Understanding and being metacognitive about SRL is very fundamental to student success in our redesigned Yukon/BC curriculum and lifelong learning.

Hunch: My hunch is that students at this age are not often aware of strategies specific to self-regulated learning. I sought to evaluate the accuracy of my assumed hunch by asking students to complete a self-assessment about their prior knowledge of self-regulation. This “pre” self-assessment confirmed they were not familiar with aspects nor language of self-regulation and SRL. My goal became to teach these strategies explicitly and implicitly so that students could better recognize what and when to use the SRL strategies that make them successful learners. If my hunch is correct, then focusing on teaching SRL strategies and SRL-promoting activities will improve student success in our learning environment. A change that will demonstrate success for my learners will be an increased level of self-efficacy, agency, and awareness about their own self-regulation. An essential part of this is to learn about, reflect on, and change my practice to model SRL for my students, as well as expecting them to change as they learn about SRL.

New Professional Learning: The following resources were valuable to guide my learning. The Developing Self-Regulating Learners book in particular and peer reviewed articles were helpful for new learning on this topic. Keeping a journal also helped to reflect on my learning.

Readings and Resources – related to self-regulated learning inquiry question:
Brock, A and Hundley, H. (2016). Growth Mindset Coach; Dweck, Carol (2006) Mindset
Butler, D, Schnellert, L & Perry, N. (2017). Developing Self-Regulating Learners
Clark, I. (2012). Formative Assessment: Assessment is for Self-Regulated Learning
Halbert, J & Kaser, L. (2013). Spiral of Inquiry; and Spiral Playbook (2017).
Hattie, J., and Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback.
Perry, N., Phillips, L., Dowler, J. (2004). Examining Features of Tasks and their Potential to Promote Self-Regulated Learning.
Stacey, Chris. Yukon Moodle Website yesnet.knowplace.ca
Wery, J.and Neitfeld, J. (2010). Supporting SRL with Exceptional Children
Wiliam, D., Leahy, S. (2015). Embedding Formative Assessment.
Zimmerman, B. (1990). Self-Regulated Learning & Academic Achievement: Overview.

BC/YT Core Competency Curriculum, Personal Awareness & Responsibility (green triangle) – it has three facets: 1) self-determination, 2) self-regulation and 3) well-being (see graphic).

Learning Partner: Co-worker Kristine Lachance and I met to collaborate, discuss and develop adaptive expertise in our big ideas of self-regulation and friendship – both in learning network.

First People’s: FP Principles of Learning are posted in my classroom as a daily reminder. I am committed to connecting with FN co-staff, our CELC, and external FN resources.

Yukon Learning Network: I appreciate the opportunity to participate in 2017 – ’18.

OECD’s Seven Principles of Learning: These are posted in my class, to refer & reflect on: Focus: putting learners at center, emphasizing the social nature of learning and using AFL.

Practicum Teachers: I have learned from hosting, mentoring and sharing about SRL with practicum teachers who are coming into the profession with new training and fresh eyes.

Taking Action: What Do People Self-Regulate? Students learned about paying attention to certain aspects of their performance so they could more successfully engage in learning activities: They learned to pay attention and self-assess in areas of: “environments, behavior, emotions, motivation, strategic action, cognition, and relationships” (Butler, Schnellert, Perry, 2017, p. 20).

Complex Learning Activities: I followed the framework of Nancy Perry, who describes Complex Activities as having eight qualities that foster students’ development of SRL. They are not called complex because they are difficult, but because they are designed to have variety and depth for all students to find an entry point for self-regulated learning. Two projects that had most if not all of the eight characteristics of Complex Activities were our Heritage Inquiry projects and Destination Imagination Team Challenges. Figure 7-3 below, on the green squares, shows Nancy Perry’s SRL-promoting qualities of Complex Activities (Butler et al., p. 97-98).
Formative Assessment is something I’m striving to integrate into every activity. FA has been called the lynch-pin of self-regulated learning. Assessment for learning efforts should inform students on their efforts, so they can self-regulate their learning (Wiliam, Leahy, 2015). The four questions were asked of learners several times through the cycle of our year. These questions originated with the feedback work of John Hattie and Helen Timperley at the University of Auckland, who intended for both teachers and students to seek answers to these questions with the intention of creating an ideal learning experience and environment. This can promote SRL.

Growth Mindset lessons were taught so students could develop the language of celebrating failures and successes in each step along our SRL journey. There are many, but for starters, try the read-aloud books The Dot, Ish, and Sky Color and accompanying lessons by Peter Reynolds.

Friendship Buddies/Self-Regulated Learning Buddies: Collaborating with a colleague, we observed and reflected as my students helped mentor and co-regulate her students through play.

Checking: I have been able to identify changes in my practice which are leading to students’ ability to self-regulate themselves more often. Through the use of the colored dots (related to standards criteria), students showed an increase in their understanding of the seven aspects of self-regulation and how these aspects affect their learning: “environments, behavior, emotions, motivation, strategic action, cognition, and relationships”. Through observation, I have evidence that students in my classroom and with specialists are more independent self-regulated learners.

There is more work to do in this area of developing measurable tools. I will revisit and ask the four key questions again, closer to the end of the year. I will need to see more specific progress to be satisfied. My learners are definitely richer I think, from the new learning so far.

Reflections/Advice: I learned that students can make significant improvement in school success with work in the area of self-regulated learning. The topic is engaging but fairly difficult to quantify and measure. I am just getting started and plan to be working on this inquiry for some time. Next, I will continue to teach my students about what people self-regulate and how to promote self-regulated learning through complex activities, formative assessment and other strategies that promote SRL. A continued effort to increase my learning through collaboration and integrating FN ways of knowing while working on SRL are also goals.

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