Spirals Of Inquiry 2020/2021 - Pearson Road Elementary
Over the past few years our team, including classroom teachers, support teachers, administrators, students and their families, have engaged in 2 Spirals of Inquiry scans. Our first scan focused on the learners perception of supportive adults within the learning community. The second scan was an exploration of the experiences of our students with numeracy . The scan data showed us that our students have a strong sense of support from the adults at Pearson Road and that they trust the genuineness of these relationships. We also were able to identify some students who did not feel connected or supported specifically by PSE adults. With a numeracy focus we also discovered a fairly consistent lack of confidence in our learners and a closed mindset in students’ perceptions of their ability to become numerically capable. Staff eagerly shared a desire to continue to grow as educators, specifically in reference to numeracy.
This brief summary shares a condensed narrative of where we have been. Now, in the fall of 2020, amidst a global pandemic, and with new members to our staff and community, we feel it is time to scan again. We need to know how our students are feeling right now, how they are feeling about learning right now, and where they need support right now. With curiosity, we are working collaboratively to design our next school scan to determine the current climate of inquiry at Pearson and what is happening for our learners now!
Our first scan showed that the majority of our students felt connected to/supported by adults in our learning community. We did identify a small set of students that shared they did not feel connected to any specific adult. The staff designed a student specific intervention plan to address disconnected students and quickly we were noting a difference in student perception as a result of the intentional efforts. Now a few years later, we are ready to rescan our students, parents and staff to get an understanding of where learners are now.
Through the numeracy focused scan, we narrowed our learning goals on growth mindset, teaching with intention, Pre-Assessment, I-Can Statements and student choice. We are continuing to work on professional growth in this area by leveraging learning meetings, collaboration time, MathUp resources and Professional Development days. We are also exploring artifacts of assessment that can be indicators of whether or not our learning has had a positive impact on the experience and progress of numeracy learning.
We believe that Pearson Road is a safe and caring community where we: all belong, all learn and all lead. We believe that every student needs to feel that the adults in the building think each student can be successful. We believe that the current global pandemic has impacted learners in a range of ways and we need to explore where learners are, right now. To address learning needs of each learner at Pearson Road, we believe it is important to engage in a schoolwide scan as curious leaders aiming to meet the REAL needs of our learning community because “without data you are just another person with an opinion.” (Kaser & Halbert, 2017)
When we truly engage in inquiry, through a consistent curious approach, then learners will truly be at the center of all learning. “Chefs need to eat, and writers need to read, and teachers need to learn and find new ways of doing things” Michelle A’Court as quoted by Kaser & Halbert, 2017). We have been engaging in deep learning around numeracy, growth mindset, teaching with intention, Pre-Assessment, I-Can Statements and student choice. We were 2 years into a larger 3+ year plan when Covid hit and temporarily paused some of that learning agenda. Our team is intentional at the continuation of our learning journey towards increased numeracy capacity. We will design opportunities for collaborative time and leverage learning meetings to continue this work. In addition, we have also been incorporating the First Peoples Principles of Learning into our classroom practice and focusing on intentional Social Emotional Learning. We feel that a re-scan of our community will also inform what learning we prioritize. We know that our new learning needs to be tailored to the current situation (Covid), exploratory and curious and sustained and supported over time. Curiosity leading to scanning, identification of focus areas, the forming of hunches and leading to learning is perpetually repeated when we embed the Spirals of Inquiry framework in school procedures & processes.
Now in 2020, 2 years into our numeracy inquiry we are ready to scan again. We want to know what is going on for our learners now. Many of our students lost a significant portion of their last school year and are currently living in unprecedented pandemic times. We need to know what's going on for them, not what we THINK is going on for them.
A secondary scan could also gather data with regards to our numeracy work:
What impacts has our professional learning had for our learners? Have our numeracy pedagogies evolved? Where do we want to take our learning next? What evidence of numeracy growth do we have? What are the artifacts we hope to collect that are indicative of our numeracy goals? What are the mathematical mindsets of our numeracy teachers and learners? "A lot of scientific evidence suggests that the difference between those who succeed and those who don't is not the brains they were born with, but their approach to life, the messages they receive about their potential, and the opportunities they have to learn." - Jo Boaler
As mentioned previously, we are now in the design phase of reentering the scanning phase of the Spirals of Inquiry. We are curious where our learners are now and we need new data to determine our next steps. We are also looking to supplement our scan with a variety of data sources that can measure impact, growth in learner and teacher confidence and increase in pedagogical knowledge with reference to numeracy goals.