Network Goes Global

By May 26, 2013Uncategorised

In January Linda and I attended ICSEI in Santiago, Chile. While we were there we heard from April Lowe, a teacher leader in Sea to Sky district. April said we simply had to meet some friends of hers who teach at Colegio Institucion Teresiana – a Catholic school in Santiago.

The world is truly a network – through a friend of a friend of a friend (or something like that) it turns out that last summer April and another colleague from Squamish spent three weeks at this school helping teachers develop literacy strategies. Claudia Fábrega, one of the teachers from Santiago completed her MA at UBC and has close ties in Vancouver. 

April had planted the seed about inquiry and literacy and our conversation in  January led to our thinking – why couldn’t a school in Chile be part of the network. With April’s on-line coaching,   Colegio Institucion Teresiana has taken the plunge into inquiry with a specific focus on reading using Adrienne Gear’s work as the basis for their new professional learning. Check out their NOII question and at the end of this post, take a look at the comments from Claudia about the progress they are making in their literacy work. It is pretty impressive!

We are excited about the potential for connections with schools in Australia as well. In June Linda and I will be working with 20 school in a suburban area of south west Sydney. They will be using the spiral of inquiry to focus their change efforts and to direct their professional learning – and they are especially interested in connecting with BC schools who are also working with the spiral of inquiry. Representatives from these schools are planning to attend the Network seminar in May 2014 to connect in person with BC colleagues. Stay tuned! Who knows what opportunities this might create.

Here’s what Claudia had to say…..

Santiago of Chile
April 29th, 2013.
Dear April:
I have been working a lot lately but always thinking about you and about the wonderful experience I had with you while I was in Canada. You cannot imagine how useful has been everything you showed me; I am already implementing many ideas.
I have been working directly with teachers of preschool and elementary school. All photographs taken on our trip have been of great support to encourage reading. This experience has strongly questioned our pedagogical practices, which have not been very well evaluated recently, especially in Math.
Below I describe implemented actions and activities acquired from Canada´s internship:
Together with Magdalena we had meetings with the management team, academic coordinators (subject head teachers), preschool, elementary teachers and English teachers to share the experiences we had in Canada and also to share the challenges we face now to achieve our short and long run objectives.
During the meeting it was positively evaluated the opportunity of joining NOII.
Thanks to an internal reconstruction of our library we could rearrange the library´s functionality and incorporate several parameters observed in your library. Now, it has become a better area to work in, however there are still a couple of things that need to be fixed. Thanks to this rearrangement the bookshelves are placed in an efficient way to exhibit different books.

     Rules for library use were established in order to create an ideal place for research, reading and working.
1,636 text books were purchased (Spanish, Mathematics, Science, and History books for elementary school to tenth grade).
We reviewed all the personal reading lists and we changed many of them. All Students, from elementary to high school, have to read one book monthly for Spanish class so we decided to buy many different books.
The infant library helped increase the number and variety of texts in the classrooms, from preschool to fourth grade.
We reoriented and implemented the infant library in order to allow the little ones find books easier. It looks really nice and cozy now.
Students, from preschool to fourth grade, are participating in a one hour/week storytelling activity which is in charge of the librarian.

Every Wednesday morning all students, from preschool to 4th grade, have a period of silence reading before starting class. Each child must bring a book or choose one from the classroom and read for 10 minutes in silence.
The number of times that teachers read to children has increased; these readings are in groups and for the purpose of motivating reading. These readings have been incorporated in the weekly planning.
Every Friday preschool Children take a book from the classroom library to read it at home with their parents. Then, on Mondays they can comment on the book they read.
We are implementing some signage we saw at your school in order to provide visual information on certain learning processes.
a.     We celebrated “Book Week” from April 22nd to April 26th. This celebration used to be only one day, but we decided to expand the celebration to a week to highlight the importance of reading.
b.     We translated the poster “10 great reasons to read” and asked eleven and twelve graders (students specialized in the artistic area) to create different designs for the phrases. These designs are now displayed around the school in colorful posters. These posters will become part of the permanent library decoration. We also displayed the phrases at the school entrance and each classroom.
c.     High school students (eleven and twelve graders) who belong to the Student Council (16 in total) dressed as story characters, and on Monday and Friday mornings of Book Week they received all students at the school entrance. Also, during that week they told one story to preschool daily. This experience was highly valued by children and teachers.
d.     Students from seventh to twelve grades had an encounter with a Chilean writer named Francisco Mouat and the seventh graders are reading one of his novels right now. It was very interesting to see the level of reflection children had after this activity.
e.     Eleven graders had an encounter with Alvaro Bisam, also a writer. Both were enriching experiences for students.
f.      Different storytelling and plays were also performed using a technique called “Kamishibai” from preschool to sixth grade.
g.     Our students created micro illustrated stories which were shown every day.
h.     The Parent Center promoted a bartering book activity; this was held every morning in the lobby.

The teachers were given material for personal reflection and for preparing reading motivated activities.
As you see my dear friend, we have not stopped working and I feel personally responsible for transmitting the importance of what I learned from you to my students. I have a strong belief that what we do will significantly improve the quality of the learning process that our students go through, and we will have the opportunity to reflect on our teaching practices and make the correct changes when needed.

Nowadays, I have been with a lot of work and meetings, but I haven´t forgotten my commitment to implement these changes, I know we can achieve them.
The NOII will be implemented.


I hope you agree with us that this is a pretty impressive start to NOII involvement!

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