Wednesday, 8 June 2016

What does leadership look like for a head student?

 1) Role model for the vision and culture of the school.

2) Respectful of teachers and peers and mindful of boundaries.

3) Responsible for own behaviour.

4) Being mindful of what is the business of a head student and what is not.

5) Management of self (personal issues to be dealt with separately from the position).

Alan November and the $1000 pencil.

I have been reading some of Alan November's work recently and the idea of the students carrying around $1000 pencils is the one that keeps coming back to me. It's such a wake up call for all of us. Are we actually doing things differently or are we doing the same stuff with fancy gear? It's a scary thought.

 I have been  particularly inspired by a section in the book "Who Owns the learning?"  It is in the second chapter called "The student as tutorial designer." There is a story at the beginning of the chapter about a mother arriving to pick up her daughter. The daughter was not there. The mother went to look for her daughter and found her in the maths room working on a tutorial for the class. The mother was astonished at her daughter's commitment to the task. It was quite clear that for the daughter having an authentic audience and being able to present using technology was highly motivating for her.

I am going to Alan November's conference in Boston in July and I am really hoping that I can explore the potential of technology to excite and motivate our students.

$1000 pencils ?  just scary.

Martin Robinson and the Trivium

I recently wrote to Martin Robinson. I admire his work on The Trivium.

HI there
My name is Barbara Cavanagh and I am the foundation principal of Albany Senior High School.
Over the last year we have engaged enthusiastically with your book   The Trivium.  Our enthusiasm comes of course because we agree with you.
We are a relatively new school and have had the opportunity to do things differently.  Our students engage in specialist subjects for part of the week , tutorials for part of the week and then they do a full  day of project work on a Wednesday,
That means that the students get a balance of teacher led time and time to follow their  passions and interests.
Currently we are looking closely at the learning model   grammar, dialectic and rhetoric  and trying to come up with a design that both teachers and students can engage with.
Do you know of any school that has done that already ?  Might make things easier for us.  I will send you what we come up with.
Thank you so much for your Inspiration.  There has been very healthy discussion here and it continues. What we can all see of course is that it is the dialectic that so often gets missed in an exam driven curriculum and it is the dialectic that is crucial for nurturing critical citizens.
Best wishes for your ongoing work.
I have been following your blog and continue to be inspired by you
Barbara Cavanagh 

And this was his reply

Hi Barbara,

How lovely to hear from you, It is gratifying to hear you are getting so much out of my book! 

As to your questions you might be interested in having a look at the forthcoming book 'Trivium in Practice', where some people who are trying things out with the trivium have written about their work:

I also work with schools on developing their practice, pedagogy and curricula, if you are interested in discussing this as a possibility please do get in touch as I can then share with you what others are doing as well as developing a relationship with your school in order to help you work on your trivium shaped curriculum.

I am also developing a course called 'History of Thought' and I have attached a couple of leaflets for your perusal.

Best wishes,


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Matariki Celebration at ASHS

This year our team leaders decided to celebrate Matariki with a showcasing of the first round of impact projects.

It was fabulous to have the opportunity to talk with students about what they had achieved over the last twelve weeks.

-The inspirational young woman writing a fantasy novel who has designed a cardboard world as a reference point for her writing.
-The two young men designing racing cars  - they had set up a track for us to test our skills.
- The three young women who have interviewed elderly folk from the Retirement Village next door and made up a cookbook with favourite recipes from the past. Some of the recipes were favourites during World war 2. How exciting that the cook book actually arrived on the day.
-The young man who has set up a computer timeline for himself to mark off the number of words he writes. He says it keeps him motivated.
-The three young women who presented their GIRLBOSS business. They have already organised 2 very successful conferences.
-The young man fascinated by the earth and its development has set up an earth timeline. He has been sourcing animals to go with each age.
-The three young men who have designed and built a false door on the top floor of the school with a great message
-The passionate young man who has been rebuilding a trail bike - my goodness he could not stop talkling - his excitement was just an inspiration.

That is just the tip of the iceberg.
From now on I will add to this list every Wednesday