Monday, 1 May 2017

What did I learn today?

After 5 and a bit years of everything being solely focused on Hobsonville Point Primary (HPPS) and the team, I felt it was time to fill my cup a little from different sources and find some interesting inspiration.

I have a great relationship with Maurie Abraham who runs Hobsonville Point Secondary. After a conversation around what next,  Maurie shared a little of his plan to go on sabbatical, he asked "why don't I join him?" So here I am with Lisa, my amazing DP and Maurie, for a week, as we look for some innovation and inspiration in San Francisco.

We left Auckland on Friday night and arrived Friday afternoon, we have had a few days acclimatising to the time difference , the craft beer and awesome food. Not to mention the 40km on a bike that was supposed to be half that!

 Today was our first school visit and we had the pleasure of visiting Brightworks Academy.

We had time with Karen and Gever who shared their passion for student led learning and allowing risk within what they do.

Karen started the tour by sharing an important metaphor around one of their founding principles of trust.

This drop saw is the first experience all five year olds have when they arrive at school. They learn how to use it, they learn the danger, the precision, the planning, the possibilities and the rules around it. They use this as a scaffold for all learning, "we trust you to learn!"

Tools are everywhere! From the ones in the image to the adults, they call them collaborators, who are always around to support and challenge learning.

The workshop is available for the students to access and utilise the skills of making, thereby making meaning of their learning through doing so. Staff support the planning of the project with a natural integration of the learning areas, however as we see at HPPS, there can be a tension between the contextual and curriculum.

It reminded me a lot of Discovery 1 in the ways students could speak about their learning, the passion with which they dived into self selected projects (at Brightworks they have contexts within which these projects live).

The sense of student ownership was strong and staff truely knew their learners and pushed the rigour behind the learning at all stages.

So what did I learn?

I learned that I am very lucky to have an amazing group of educators and community to work with. I believe we were show casing many of the attributes that made Brightworks so amazing.

I learned that while we believe we are engaging in true student voice, we could challenge ourselves further.

I learned that knowing your learner is still the most influential factor in student growth.

I learned that my cup can get filled by talking with passionate educators.

Tomorrow we go to D-School at Stanford University. More to learn tomorrow.


  1. A great start. Guess your trip,and Mauries will be a great mix of confirmation and challenge. Like your blog title - similar to ours. Great minds thinking alike
    Bruce Hammonds

  2. A great start. Guess your trip,and Mauries will be a great mix of confirmation and challenge. Like your blog title - similar to ours. Great minds thinking alike
    Bruce Hammonds

  3. Lots of learning. Looking forward to us three going to designtech apopo

  4. Thanks for sharing the information. It is very useful for me . keep sharing. . .

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