Today I had my first day in Everett and my first experiences working with the ALC Everett crew. Drew and I had some deep conversations last night over dinner about what I can make of my time here this month, the primary intention being for us to jam on some of the teaching/facilitating practices here.
There are some key differences between how this school works to others in the network. That’s part of the beauty of the Agile Learning Network, each ALC responds to the needs of the people that it serves. [Some examples of differences: The classes here begin at 10am and finish at 5pm, class happens Tu-Fri, the school is also the home for most of the students. Also blogging is done daily.]
This morning Drew and I discussed a change I’d like to explore regarding the role of facilitating. Having worked in a sort of facilitating role in ESL classrooms where the focus in the pedagogy is on classroom management, one of the keys to effective language teaching is ensuring that the students are producing most of the language. Something we are often reminded to keep in check is our TTT (teacher talking time). Looking at the dynamics of interaction patterns in an effective classroom you can depict it like this: T-SSSS / T-S S-S / S-SSST / SS-SS/ etc.
When considering the model for our interaction patterns with the students during our mandatory intention setting meetings, i’ve noticed different approaches at work in different ‘spawn points’ in manhattan. Speaking with Drew about this we decided to try to explicitly create interaction patterns during the intention setting phase. The Facilitator (me!) directed the group with a specific question/task, effectively managing the timing as well as the interactions. I had the students brainstorm/state their intentions to a partner, then again to a new partner then we joined into small groups and shared what we heard from the others. This received positive feedback, especially because the whole activity both allowed everyone to talk at once in a focused way AND it achieved the task in 7-8 minutes. The next step we returned to the whole group and were all much more clear on our own intentions as well as possible offerings about to come up in scrum. We went around and made those intentions clear to the group.
My intentions for the day:
- get coffee
- walk around the area/neighborhood
- get to know people better
- watch the video post on Everett blog about Richard Feynman – how computers work
- Eat a paleo diet with Drew
- Explore Agile pedagogy
- Set up a Kanban at the school!
I’ve achieved most of these intentions so far, with the exception of setting up my own Kanban. Need to get that done.
The highlight so far was the walk we took back from The Everett School Resource Center which we went to check out, as the Sterlings are working on a project to get access to this community resource.
Here’s some photos ~