“If you wrote the narrative of your classroom through the voices of your students, what would you want it to say?”
The more I thought about the question, the more it seemed like the right backdrop to frame the conversations that would set the direction for our school year.
I posed the question to staff during our initial PD and a sample of their response included:
“I feel safe sharing my ideas and creations. I have fun learning through moving, singing, listening and playing. I love being an important piece of the group.”
“My teacher listens to us, likes to take risks, challenges us, supports us, and takes us outdoors.”
“I know how I learn best. I am brave. I am known. I feel safe. I can be creative.”
“My teacher listens to me and asks me questions that make me think. She encourages me to do my best and always gives me feedback. She lets me make choices in my learning”
“I’m not afraid to be myself in my classroom or to try new things. I feel card about and that people know me. I feel like I belong.”
The writing was on the wall. Literally, and figuratively.
Then the next piece of the puzzle came together via Twitter. I was perusing the Twitter feed of one of our teachers, Heather McKay, when I saw her tweet from her Innovate West conference which featured a visual by Sam Hester, a local artist specializing in graphic recording.
I was captivated.
I immediately reached out to Sam via Twitter and asked if she would be interested in coming to do some work with our school, students and staff.
She was intrigued.
We were both willing partners, and now I had to figure out a way to bring it all together. The vehicle for our collaboration became our School Development Plan.
In an effort to track a correlation to intellectual engagement and student achievement, we wanted the students to be able to express their learning experiences. Through the voices of the students, we could track out levels of engagement and achievement.
Our students would be providing US with feedback.
Sam would join us as our official graphic recorder with the purpose of capturing students in their learning experiences.
Here is a sample of just some of Sam’s work at Andrew Sibbald:
For now I would say that we have an amazing, non-text, way of capturing student learning which looks captivating on the walls of our school.
Ian Fero (@principalfero) is the Principal at Andrew Sibbald School. His favourite parts of the day involve listening to stories of wonder and excitement from students. Adventures outside of school involve all things hockey, Netflix binges, and good music.
Sam Hester (@calgaryhester) is an active local artist whose work is visible at www.the23rdstory.com