March: Focus on ATL (Approaches to Teaching and Learning)

No Bully student perception and visioning

Please go through the visioning activity with your class and then use your notes to answer the questions in this survey:

No Bully Survey

Wednesday March 1st

March is a great time to take a step back and look at our progress on ATL skills. First, state testing is coming up in April and a reflection on HOW we learn can help us approach questions on the test in the best way for us individually. Secondly, Everyone is approaching a new school year in a few months. Some of you are entering high school and all the opportunities and challenges that come with it. Taking stock of our progress now can help each person set new goals for the rest of this year to prepare you for the next year and approach new challenges with the confidence of knowing HOW you learn best!

Let’s review the ATL categories and what they all mean with this video

Each Monday and Wednesday in March, you are going to look at a skill or two from some of these categories. On Thursdays you are going to be reviewing test taking strategies for PAARC in April. Remember, each individual student will be at a different level with these skills. Some will seem easy, like you’ve been doing them for years. Some may not come naturally. The purpose is to identify what skills are strengths and what skills need work. It is never too early to start becoming self aware about your own learning!

So, let’s talk meta cognition, or the idea of thinking about how we think. Go through the following steps with your class and begin the process of reflecting on how you think…

Become familiar with the use of the reflective learning cycle through the analysis of a previous learning experience. Once familiar with all the steps of the cycle you can then use the same analytical system to plan and implement a strategic approach to a new learning situation.

Complete questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 as an assignment on separate paper.

Question 1:

Draw a diagram of the four step experiential learning cycle: Do, Look , Plan, and Think. (It looks a  lot like the Design Cycle!) You can draw any diagram that shows

1. The relationship between each step of the process, and  

2. The cyclical nature of the process.

Question 2―Choose a topic:

Choose a previous learning experience which can then be analysed using this cycle. To do this what you have to do is to choose a situation or experience from your own life where you learned something new by doing it―by having the experience. In other words you need to choose something that, at one time, you could not do very well but something that you applied yourself to and you learned gradually and got better and better at.

Some examples might be learning:

- to ride a bike, a skateboard, a horse

- to surf, skate, swim, snow ski, water ski

- to use a tool like a wood chisel, a food processor, a welder, a skill saw, a sewing machine

- to operate a computer, a video camera, a digital camera, a microscope, specific software


- to play a musical instrument, a computer game, a video game

- to draw, paint, sing, dance, act, juggle

- to play rugby, soccer, netball, basketball, water polo

- gymnastics, athletics, ballet

- to study well, to pass exams, to learn well

- how to get along with other people, make friends, be compassionate, caring,


- how to start and run your own business.

OK so now you have to choose―complete the sentence:

a) the learning experience I am choosing to analyse is learning to ………………..

In the next few questions you are going to analyse how you went about learning and improving your performance in this area. The questions are going to ask you details of the actions you took as if you were watching yourself perform them. You will have to use your imagination to see yourself learning this thing and improving your performance. The aim of this exercise is to get you familiar with breaking down performance improvement into distinct steps so that you can then apply this model to improving your own performance in any area you choose.

Question 3―Pre-conditions:

Now you need to analyse how you were before you learned to do this thing you have chosen. To do this you need to describe the following (not necessarily in this order):

Before you learned how to do this thing….

a) what skills did you already have in this area?

b) why did you want to learn this thing, what was your motivation?

c) what made you think that you would be able to do it?

d) how did you feel about the possibility of being able to do it?

e) what was your situation, what was going to happen to enable you to learn it?

f) what was the level of commitment you had towards completing it―how determined

were you?

g) how easy or hard did you think it was going to be, how much effort did you think it

would take?

h) how long did you think it would take you to learn it?

i) to what level were you planning to master this thing?

j) what other things did you think you would be able to do once you had learned this new


Question 4―the LOOK step:

Think about when you were first learning how to do this thing―before you could do it well:

a) describe how you did it before you could do it well―describe what you did, step by step.

b) imagine you were someone else watching you do it then―describe what they would

have seen if they were watching you before you could do it well.

Question 5―the THINK step:

From your experience described in question 4:

a) list the things that you noticed that you did which worked, which helped you improve

b) list the things that you noticed that you did which did not work, which did not help you


c) how did you feel when you were at this early stage of learning this thing?

d) what did you notice that other people did that seemed to work?

Question 6―the PLAN step:

Based on your thinking in question 5:

a) describe the changes you decided to make to improve your performance next time

b) describe what the different actions you decided to do were, step by step

c) how did you expect the next experience to go?

Question 7―the DO step:

a) describe what actually happened the following time?

b) how did you measure your improvement?

c) how did you feel about that improvement―how did it affect your motivation for the

future and your expectations of yourself?

d) what did you decide to do from then on?

e) describe how your actual experience of learning this thing matched up with your

expectations described in question 3

Question 8

Having considered your learning in this situation to be a cycle of four steps:

do  look  think  plan  do  look  think  plan  do …….

list three other things that you have learned where this same type of learning―experiential


Friday March 3rd

ATL + Reflection prompt (8th Grade please have students fill out 8th grade superlatives survey for yearbook!)

Monday March 6th

Take a few minutes to finish up the metacognitive activity from last Wednesday if you didn’t get a chance to finish. Then, let’s look at the ATL skill of previewing and skimming texts to build understanding.

Use this NewsELA article to help with the activity

1. Hand out an article or project it on a screen either in sections or all at once

2. Ask students to consider the following elements in turn:

Title / headline

Ask students to predict from the headline what the article will be about.

Images, illustrations or graphs

Ask students to develop or modify their predictions.

Show them the subheadings

Ask students to develop or modify their predictions.

First paragraph

Ask students to develop or modify their predictions and work out the key elements of the article

o the who – the main people and parties involved

o the what – the subject / topic / issue of the article

o the when – the time being referred to

o the where – the historical, geographical, cultural context of the article

o the why – the reasons or main arguments for

Introductory (and concluding) sentences of each subsequent paragraph

Ask students to quickly read the topic sentence and the concluding sentence of each paragraph to get

the gist. They could write one word alongside the paragraph to try and summarize the main point being


Concluding paragraph

Finally ask students to read the final paragraph to gain on overview of key conclusions reached.

3. Now give students two minutes to write down as much as they can remember about the article as a series

of bullet points. Pair share: 30 seconds per person to share the main ideas they picked up.

4. Then give students three minutes to find three key sentences that relate to the headings of the text.

5. Then point out to students how much they have gleaned about the article in only four minutes.

6. Give students another two minutes to read the article and see how many gaps they are able to fill.

7. Finally, ask students to turn to one another and recount the main ideas of the article.

Written reflection: How can you use this strategy in class or on PARCC?

Tuesday March 7th


Wednesday March 8th

Take a few minutes to finish up the skimming activity from Monday if you didn’t get a chance to finish.

Today, we are going to talk a little about mindfulness. This is a term you may have heard so today we are going to watch a short video that describes what mindfulness is and asks, why aren’t we teaching it to you? You are just going to focus on the first 8 minutes of the video where she describes what mindfulness is...

In teams What are the two kinds of mindfulness AnneMarie Rossi describes in the video?

Can you think of an example when you were unable to focus or manage distractions in your life and you missed something important?

Can you think of an example when your emotions took over and something small became bigger?

What do you think about the idea that practicing being mindful allows us to create space between our emotions and our reactions?

Is this is a skill you would like to practice?

Give a few of these mindfulness practice games and see what you think. Remember, being mindful is to train your attention using everyday senses and perception. It might seem weird if you're not used to it, give it a shot!

Mindfulness practice number 1: choose a story to tell your shoulder partner and try to keep track of every time you use the word “I” Switch roles.

Mindfulness practice number 2: close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 1 minute. Let your thoughts wander but every time you notice you have lost track of your breath refocus on your breathing.

Thursday March 9th  

No Bully student perception and visioning. Please go through the visioning activity with your class and then use your notes to answer the questions in this survey.

Friday March 10th

ATL + Reflection prompt

Tuesday March 14th


Wednesday March 15th

Go over writing SMART goals with the class using this chart.
Write two SMART goals. Choose a non academic goal to practice, then, write a SMART goal for the test in April. The measurement does not have to be your test score. For example: maybe your goal is to make sure you plan fully before you write your constructed responses. The measurement there would be that every constructed response has a plan that goes with it. Remember, the idea is simply to set realistic and meaningful goals for yourself to practice for setting goals in every area of your life.