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Friday, April 15, 2016

Making Lifelong Learning Competencies Visible

I continue to be inspired by Albemarle School District's Lifelong Learning Competencies, and I'm wondering how I can make those competencies more visible in the work I do with and for students and schools.

Plan and Conduct Research
We have a number of research studies throughout the learning year including a space study, biography study, and STEAM projects. During upcoming STEAM projects, I want to pay close attention to what we have in place for this and what we can do better. Also I want to start next year's math program by working with the class to conduct a survey of the class and eventually make an infographic of important class data, data that will help us get to know one another and data we can pull from throughout the year as we study numbers and math concepts in multiple ways.

Gather, organize, and analyze data. Evaluate process and products, and draw conclusions.
We do this a lot in class as we meet to discuss ways to learn better. I will look for more ways to do this too such as next year's early year survey project.

Think analytically, critically, and creatively to pursue new ideas. Acquire new knowledge and make decisions.
Our service learning focus is a great way to maximize these efforts. Also as we animate and apply math knowledge, concept, and skill, we can look for ways to do this. Our STEAM projects provide avenues for this work as well.

Understand and apply principles of logic and reasoning. Develop, evaluate, and defend arguments.
There's lots of potential with regard to this competency in the math classroom as we debate multiple methods of solving problems and applying mathematics.

Seek, recognize, and understand systems, patterns, themes, and interactions.
Again we discuss this often. However, our work in this area might be led by signage that asks: What is the system? What patterns do you see or create? What are the themes in this story, play, investigation. . .? How do the elements interact? Why does this matter?

Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve new and increasingly complex problems.
Students enjoy solving problems, and we can lead them in this activity by applying and adapting appropriate strategies with them and the entire learning team.

Acquire and use precise language to communicate ideas, knowledge, and processes.
This is critical across all curriculum and school areas. In Massachusetts, our work with RETELL focused our attention on ways to teach and use language well. As teaching/learning communities we have to continually share with and update each other about best terms and language related to ideas, knowledge, and process.

Explore and express opinions and ideas using multiple media, the arts, and technology. 
Making learning one's own is taking that learning and reflecting and building upon it. Providing students with multiple means of reflection, application, and share will help those students to own their learning and make it their own. This will create a path to rich learning and lifelong learners. I want to think about how I do this now, and how I can do it better. Students showcase portfolios are one small example of how we provide a vehicle for this kind of work.

Demonstrate ethical behavior and respect for diversity through daily actions and decision making.
How do I make this visible in my work each day? How can we better do this as a school team? This is an ongoing discussion in our school building. There is a lot that we currently do, and more that we are thinking of doing in the future.

Participate fully in civic life, and act on democratic ideals within the context of community and global interdependence.
How can we boost our civic participation, community contribution, and awareness and interaction with global communities and issues?

Understand and follow a physically active lifestyle that promotes good health and wellness.
First of all I can work to model this. Next we can focus on this issue at the start of the year to promote a healthier, more physically active learning community. Further coupling physical fitness events such as kickball with open circle discussions is a healthy weekly combination with regard to developing healthy school teams.

Apply habits of mind and metacognition strategies to plan, monitor, and evaluate one's own work.
Continue to build on our social competency and learning-to-learn curriculum in order to build this practice with students from the start of the school year.

The Albemarle School District's Lifelong Learning Competency list is a valuable list of learning/teaching goals and constructs that I want to employ more in the years ahead. I also think that this is a great list to use to lead the entire learning community as well. If educators, leaders, families, and community members lead with these competencies we will have successful learning/teaching teams.

teachers do this