There is nothing more important than seeing learners engaged in discovery about the world around them. It’s those moments for which all teachers live. Amber Chase, Director of ICT for Calrossy Anglican School in New South Wales, is no different.
A desire to see such moments realized for her students is what led her to a partnership with Wabisabi Learning and its president Lee Watanabe-Crockett. “After working with Lee, I saw the value in the school adopting a shared language around problem-solving, and Solution Fluency was a perfect fit,” she recalls.
Amber had decided Solution Fluency would play an active part in Calrossy’s upcoming Water Week Challenge for the students.
For Water Week, Calrossy’s Year 7 and 8 secondary boys and girls embarked on an aquatic adventure for five whole days. They swapped regular classes for a week of water-focused activities that actively engaged them in exciting problem-solving quests and discovery learning challenges.
“This was the big project that we did with our Year 7 and 8 students for an entire week,” says Amber. “Our students participated in ‘experiences’ and then worked in groups using the 6Ds to develop any project they could imagine involving water.”
Students love the more hands-on approach to learning that working with the Fluencies brings.
Their projects included coding spheres to navigate a water course in a pool, building boats, ice water bath experiments, some tye-dying, and even a Water Bottle Flipping Challenge.
Amber adds, “Students are loving the more hands-on approach to learning that working with the Fluencies has brought, and teachers love the chance to shake things up a bit and try something new.” Amber confesses that many teachers who were reluctant about using the Fluencies, in the beginning, are now their most prominent advocates for them.
After achieving success with the Water Week challenges, Amber is now looking at the future of Solution Fluency at Calrossy with excitement. "We are now looking to do more activities that involve more than just a class group," she says. "Year groups, multiple year groups, and whole-school projects are being discussed with enthusiasm by teachers and students."
- Students are more fulfilled in their learning experiences.
- They are free to explore their interests and have opportunities to work collaboratively on challenges.
- They are honing critical thinking skills and scaffolding these into more meaningful projects and solutions.
Implementation of the Fluencies, although still in the early stages at Calrossy, has been gaining momentum since demonstrating to the teachers how they can be used, and providing them with templates and tools to help in their classrooms.
- Teachers are moving from a linear lesson approach and beginning to look at lessons through the cyclical processes of the Fluencies.
- They’re becoming braver in the problems they take on with their learners.
- Teachers are much more confident in guiding learners through the problem-solving process.
According to Amber, nothing had ever been done like this before at Calrossy. Many teachers were a bit skeptical about how it would all work. However, they ended the week with the vast majority of students and staff thrilled with the level of engagement and the caliber of projects that were created.
- Teachers are leaving excuses behind and starting to ask more questions about how they can make things work.
- Teachers are developing new resources and tools incorporating the 6Ds for their use within their classrooms.
- Teachers who were very skeptical are now becoming some of the greatest advocates for the Fluencies in Calrossy School.