Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Timetable 2.0 and Rainbow Unicorn Schools

It has come to my attention that we have been called the rainbow unicorn school. I should point out that this was before Halloween on Thursday where the staff of Hobsonville Point made an excellent effort to get dressed up. No unicorns though but certainly an excellent Medusa (Natural Confectionary Company jelly snakes attached with hairpins) and of course Thomas the Tank Engine.


I suspect that part of the reason for being called the rainbow unicorn school is our tendency towards blue sky thinking. Lots of teachers have thought "what if..." What if we could do this? Change that? If we had this and we had that. The difference when you go to a rainbow unicorn school, is that it is not enough for people to think what if. They actually have a go at changing things. And they take the what if one step further, we actually believe that things can change. That said though, passion is not enough to create effective and meaningful change. One needs research, strategy, determination, resilience, collaboration and a whole lot more. However, from my own experience, I know that it is passion that allows me to put in extra hours, gladly, even when I am tired. It is passion that allows me to have another go at something even if I have failed miserably a few times before. It is passion that allows me to keep revisiting and idea, question it, turn it over, learn more about it, try again. And so, I think it might be the collective passion of the staff at Hobsonville Point that might allow our new school to succeed. It is passion that has allowed the team to break down the old school secondary timetable into a model that allows personalisation, autonomy and choice for students but teachers too.

Personalisation will happen at Hobsonville Point through three parts, projects, learning hubs and modules. Big projects will be a whole school approach however with an emphasis on service learning. Passion projects will be just that, passion projects. The learning hubs will replace the old idea of a from class. Learning hubs will use the advocacy model to ensure a focus on a dispositional and academic curriculum but also to ensure that every student has one person in the school that knows them really well. Hence, every student will have a mentor. The modules will be the vehicle for curriculum delivery. Each term, every student will select one large module, two small modules and four spins (mini modules) as well as hoops (workshops). Cross curricular teaching teams plan these modules together however all under an overarching theme for the term. The SLLs (specialised learning leaders) then have the job of ensuring curriculum coverage.

Myself, and the rest of the team are hugely excited about the new timetable and the possibilities that it holds.