10 things you can’t just do on Monday in period 6…

Some of these used to be subjects. In some places they still are!

BREATHING CLASS
1. Technology

We don’t have a pencil lesson. Tech should be integrated seamlessly into all disciplines.

2. Critical thinking

We need to build a culture of thinking, starting from day one so that learners know they’re in an environment where thinking is valued.

3. Inquiry

It’s not a lesson, it’s a stance. It involves letting go of control and giving kids an opportunity to explore, wonder, question and experiment.

4. Collaboration

If students are expected to sit  in lines facing the front and listen to the teacher most of the time, they won’t suddenly know how to collaborate for ‘group work’ on Monday in period 6.

5. Values

It’s who you are, what you model, what you expect. All the time.

6. Art

Okay, so you should teach art on Monday period 6, but using art across other disciplines adds another layer to learning. Examine paintings of historical events. Use artifacts and paintings to provoke thinking.

7. Language

We use language to think and communicate. It’s fundamental to learning across the curriculum.

8.  Literacy

‘Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.’ (UNESCO)

9. Study Skills

I didn’t even know this one had  been considered a subject in some schools! Surely learning about how to learn is vital across all areas? (Thanks @olafelch)

10. This one’s yours…

What do you think?

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32 thoughts on “10 things you can’t just do on Monday in period 6…

  1. Fantastic list. In regards to the technology issue, I wonder – will the weekly ICT lesson with a specialist teacher in the primary curriculum become obsolete in the future? It makes sense to me, however, I think there needs to be a big culture change in the generalist teaching staff before this is a possibility.

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    1. I think there are still skills the ICT teacher has to teach (because not all classroom teachers can), but you need a flexible timetable where the ICT teacher can be more of a facilitator, there to support the learning as required.

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      1. I’m one of those specialists, although I’ve never called myself that – I’m really an aide with a tech bent. Now I’m starting to insist the class teacher come to the lab and use the room to teach. I’m there to help when the technology fails or there are tech barriers so the teacher can get on with teaching without being distracted or let down by technical issues. In general I think most ICT skills can be learned incidentally.

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      2. @ Kelly, that’s a terrific strategy and it’s a good step between where most schools are and where we’d ideally like to be. I definitely agree that most ICT skills can be learned incidentally and this year I have made a point of being very explicit with my teaching of incidental things – eg. we need to copy and paste this information, what shortcuts will we use? this page isn’t loading properly, what can we do? how can we refresh it? We need to look up something in Google, what words can we type in etc etc.

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      3. As Ed knows, as the ICT specialist at her school, we are just at the point of letting go of a ‘once a week’ timetable and going flexible for ICT. We have always had some computers in all our classrooms, but all classes have had a timetabled lesson each week, as well as the ability to book one of our two labs in free lessons for ICT at any time. Class teachers have always been required to participate in ICT lessons in the lab, as we have always inisted ICT be integrated into the rest of the curriculum. This has helped class teachers learn the skills they need, as well as voluntary sessions they attend once every couple of weeks before school.

        Our fortunate move to a new building next year will continue the process of change in ICT. We will no longer have labs. We will have more computers in classrooms, and the ability for teachers to borrow the number of laptops they need – from a few more to class sets. The building will be more open plan and wireless, so students can work flexibly with technology as needed. We’ve come a long way, and are really looking forward to the challenges of our new ICT learning environment. I’ll continue to support the ICT learning, but in a different way.

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  2. @Kathleen – I hope that the tech specialist class disappears sooner than later. However, it’s going to take huge steps for classroom teachers to make it happen. It might start with teacher schools pushing technology into their content. Perhaps the next generation of teachers will be comfortable enough with tech to use it in content. If I were to run a school, I wouldn’t have a tech class. I would only hire teachers with that level of comfort.

    As for study skills, I teach a middle school course called AVID which basically teaches students how to be a student: organizing, studying, note taking, being in class. It’s a great course and badly needed for our students who haven’t be taught how to do school.

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    1. Ben, I think these things SHOULD be integrated across disciplines. Doesn’t mean they always are though! If not (eg study skills in your case) we might just have to teach them exclusively and explicitly…maybe on Monday in period 6!😉

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    2. @ Ben, how many times have I thought – if I was running a school I would only hire people who are comfortable and capable of teaching/using tech. I think my students learn miles more through incidental lessons every hour of every day in my classroom than they do in their IT specialist class.

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      1. How true. I’m having more and more of thoughts about if I was running a school….

        I love the teachable moments in education. Directly teaching one thing when another thing pops up. Happens a ton with technology.

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  3. Love it!

    I’ll add math to that list. I think if students (AND teachers) saw math as an integrated part of daily life, from figuring percentages with grades, to calculating future deadlines, to organizing seating charts on a grid, etc., I don’t think they would be so scared of it!

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    1. I make my students keep up with their grades in my HS classes, and I inevitably get the “Why do we have to do math in English?” whine. Poor babies! It’s no more than simple addition and division. ;D

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  4. Love the definition of literacy up to “using printed and written materials associated with various texts.” First what’s the difference between “printed and written” but more importantly What about social literacy?

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  5. This is one that we had at my school that I always wondered about: Character education. Really? Isn’t life character education? Shouldn’t that be modeled and guided all day every day. Definitely not for period 6.

    Great post as always!

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  6. I definitely feel that way about Language and Literacy ….. and all other things to be honest! At school we have a computer lab with scheduled time. This limits us/me a lot, but we also have laptops we can use throughout the school at any time. So this afternoon, not sure if it is period 6, I will continue to focus on the use of toondoo, in the context of our unit of inquiry, of course😉

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  7. Hi Edna, I like your point about inquiry. I once went to visit a school in South America that had a timetabled lesson called IBL 4 times a week. I asked what it was and I was told it stood for Inquiry Based Learning. That told me all I needed to know really – as like you say inquiry is not a lesson it’s a stance. This school used to be an ISCP school but chose not to go forward into the PYP, which I think was a great shame as I’m sure with all the support given by the IB it would have moved the thinking of the teachers forward.

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  8. Thought about this some more and in my old old school we had “Planning time” which was meant for reflection on learning and planning for learning. I think this is not a subject or schedule-able thing to be honest.

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  9. Target Setting/Review

    The idea that one reflects on progress & sets goals should be integrated into the learning process for students (& teachers!) not bolted on out of context.

    Interesting list, thanks.

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  10. Hi
    I’m torn here: it is a nice idea that sounds possible if only we weren’t in the current financial crisis. Realistically however you need a school full of staff who are wholly comfortable delivering using new technology, can layer multiple subjects with ease, can adapt their lessons to suit diverse learning styles at a moment’s notice and can teach effective study skills which do not contradict the skills taught Monday period 5 by a colleague! Managerially this would be a Hydra of a problem and I feel would end up restricting the autonomy of the individual teacher.

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    1. I’m always happy to provoke a bit of controversy🙂 I know some of the points are a little extreme, but I stand behind the ideas.

      A school structure where each of the above isn’t integrated through all learning areas, doesn’t reflect the way people learn. And perhaps the time has come for schooling to be about learners and learning, rather than about what’s best for management.

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      1. Good point! So this requires a fundamental shift in teacher training as well as in the LA requirements for a person who is up to the demands of the job. This would inevitably decrease the amount of people qualifying as teachers due to higher demands (not a bad thing at the present time), so suggests a lack of available personnel in the future – doesn’t that suggest that increasing class sizes as a result would negate the benefit of personalised learning?

        Plus, despite the ethos that this should be done for the benefit of the learner, someone somewhere still needs to be making the important decisions for the benefit of their staff.

        Interesting discussion!

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  11. I am taking classes right now so that I can become a teacher and technology, to me, is not a comfortable subject. My problem with integrating so much technology into the classroom is that kids nowadays do not seem to socialize like when I was growing up. I understand that today kids have grown up texting, emailing, and blogging. Now walk up to one of these kids who are texting their friends and ask them a question, point blank, and watch how socially inept they are, one on one. I believe that technology does have a place in school, but, when your teachers are spending all of their time training to use the tech, when do they actually teach? When your kids cannot answer a simple question face to face, but can text you an in depth response then how has technology helped? Where have all of the basic social skills gone? Maybe that should be taught in period 6.

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  12. Though I agree with the idea that many subjects should not be taught exclusively in isolation, I do believe that it is beneficial to teach certain subjects “Monday in period 6”, but then practice, expand upon, and integrate those subjects into all aspects of learning. Though I can integrate famous artists and their masterpieces into a history (or other) lesson, I cannot actually teach the children how to do an impressionist painting. Though I sing in my classroom, and incorporate song in my lessons, I cannot demonstrate proper pitch. To me, eliminating technology specialists would be like eliminating all reading or math specialists or other learning support teachers. All teachers should be held to high standards, but we cannot be experts in all areas. We should be part of a team, all working together to provide the best possible education to our students.

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