I finished the third and final session of their workshop today and I must say that I was sad to do so. We tackled the application of Shoebox principles and structures to student writing, one of my favourite subjects since I loved writing so much in primary school, and I was thrilled to see the way that the staff engaged with the content, practised it (with reference to unicorns, nuns, the smell of Venetian canals and running through New Zealand!) and discussed how they would use it in their classrooms.
To Kevin, the principal, and the Collier staff, bravissimo! I applaud you and wish you every success.
I met with the delightful staff at Aranmore Catholic Primary today for the second of their Shoebox workshops and was delighted to see how much they had remembered and how keen they were to apply their new knowledge in class. Tomorrow, I'm meeting with some app developers in Subiaco to talk through my ideas for the first of the Shoebox apps (oh, there are going to be a whole family of them for both primary and ESL students)
It's always good to see and hear teachers in a workshop discussing how they will use Shoebox techniques in their classrooms, so I was thrilled to overhear several teachers planning declaring how the Shoebox cards would benefit their next grammar and writing classes.
At the close of the session, some were excited enough to request that they receive their login details to website immediately instead of after the third session, as we normally do.
I've just completed a delightful PD with the Pearsall Primary staff in what would have to be the most scenic location I've ever had the pleasure to visit. Gary Payne, the Pearsall principal, organised the PD at the Marmion Aquatic Club, which has a panoramic window overlooking the Indian Ocean. Standing at the window, it was easy to get distracted with people paddle-boarding, boats passing and the constant wonder of the vastness of the ocean.
Congratulations to the Pearsall staff for their determination to get through six hours of grammar. They discovered that much of what they learned about grammar at school was either false or incomplete, so the learning journey had to begin with quite a bit of unlearning. Well done to Gary, not only for the fantastic venue and the great lunch, but also for his engaged and enthusiastic staff. I trust Shoebox makes a difference at Pearsall.
The day after school finished and the day before my 27th wedding anniversary, I had the great pleasure to drive down to the foothills west of Bunbury and give a PD for the combined staffs of Our Lady of Lourdes in Dardanup and St Michael's School of Brunswick Junction.
My congratulations go to the teachers who engaged with grammar even after the school year had ended and the school was empty of the laughs and chatter of children. As the day went on, it was clear that the nods and smiles of teachers were showing that the principles of grammar were becoming clearer to them as true and unchanged and less a matter of individual preference or judgement.
Brava, teachers! I trust the rest of your holidays will be free of PDs!
Coogee Primary has the distinction of being the fastest turnaround (less than 24 hours) for any school from demo lesson to PD booking. Barely had I finished the demo lessons in their delightful Year One class with a group of teachers standing at the back wall watching when their order appeared on the website and they had made their dates for the PD.
Today, this enthusiastic, engaged staff completed their training with some practice exercises on applying their Shoebox principles to writing. I wish you well, Coogee! Certainly your students will benefit from your keenness!
Some staff find session two the most difficult of the three. Not so Coogee Primary, who had their hands up, their minds engaged and their learning in top gear. For these staff, they had already disengaged from past bad grammatical habits and put aside the old ideas that verbs were doing words, or that you couldn't join a comma and and. They were willing to learn new content and skills and were being ably led by Warren Bell, Marilyn Lamplugh and Alanna Burton. Well done, Coogee!
I just had an enormous amount of fun teaching grammar to the Year Sixes at St Pats and the Year Fives at Our Lady of Fatima schools in Fremantle and Palmyra respectively (yes, I just used the words fun and grammar in the same sentence.) Thanks to the staff and students of both schools for two fully engaged classes who listened, learned, thought and discussed; I was sad to leave both classes.