Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Notes from Jamie McKenzie Workshop

Jamie McKenzie (
Howick Club, 12 May 2010

Session 1
Asked us to look at the course evaluation at the start so we knew what we need to be
thinking about. Able to make notes/collect data during the day. Modelling
classroom practice.

We are spending less time on learning and more on tests. Educators need to be more
politically active or we will be bulldozed.
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Synthesis - the ability to put pieces of a puzzle together in a new way.

Strongest readers use the following strategies:
  • inferring
  • Questioning
  • Picturing
  • Recalling prior knowledge
  • Synthesising
  • Flexing
(David Pearson)

Latest book 'Beyond Cut-and-Paste'

Jamie has developed a taxonomy for synthesizing - he is happy to email the PDF or
find on or (use search box to find it)

Questioning toolbox on - kids need to know the types of questions so
they can chose the best one for the task.

Essential questions also known as questions of import.

Eg Joan of Arc 'in what ways was the life remarkable?'
Examples on - other cool stuff - biography maker
Underneath that will be many many subsidiary questions.

What should we do about ......
Would you rather .... Or ........
Who is the better poet, ........... Or ...........

Topic based research leads to cut and paste thinking:
Lack of original thought

Cognitive dissidence good for the class!!!

Session 2
Watched A Dove Film 'Evolution' and then another that parodied it A Film 'Slob
Asked to align the second movie with his taxonomy of synthesising - justify your
Then watched a Greenpeace movie about Dove being responsible for 98% lowland forest
losses in Indonesia due to palm oil production.

The Gruen Transfer video

Even if you do nothing - change happens!

Be wary of fads or bandwagons that fail to change practice or student performance.

Avoiding haphazardous change:
  • Wreckage
  • Disappointment
  • Waste
  • Disruption
  • Disillusionment
  • Distrust
  • Disaffection
  • Alienation
  • Withdrawal
  • Insurgency

Session 3
Silence is powerful. If you keep filling the gaps kids have no time to think.

Virtual change:
  • Cosmetic
  • Fashionable
  • Trendy
  • Illusory
  • Untested
  • Diversionary
  • Seductive
  • Dramatic
Some wholesome change strategies:
  • Anticipating - What could possibly go wrong? What's the worst that could happen?
  • Testing - venturing, piloting, learning, adjusting, improving, expanding
  • Preparation - laying the groundwork, building capacity, exploring, explaining, analysis
  • Support - scaffolding, just in time support, barriers, resource expansion
  • Balance - not going overboard, moderation, modulation, restraint, focus
  • Pacing - plateaus, cruising, deep breath, consolidating, refining
  • Discernment - questioning, wondering, doubting, delaying, challenging, researching,
  • selecting, prioritising
  • Sheltering - reducing distractions, limiting new goals and projects, resisting
  • frivolity, encouraging, calming, filtering, embracing
  • Courtship - winning buy-in, what's in it for me, showing value/benefits, identifying and addressing basic needs
What are the tactics, strategies and tricks to promote questioning, wondering and learning.   
How must the repertoire change? 
Reflective practice 
5 year PD plan where teachers can chose from options to suit their needs
Building units around challenging Questions and problems

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