We had encountered some off task behavior during the previous six months – students not on the correct task online, or playing games instead of completing work. These infractions had incurred device bans as per our behavior management program and had been logged and discussed with management. I had felt that we had addressed these issues, with targeted teaching moments and were ready for the next step, due to no repeat offending.
Unfortunately, what I had not seen was behavior online that had taken a nasty bullying turn. It had been hidden from both myself and other students in class (as the other infractions had been picked up by class culture) and had been happening during class time. This was brought to our attention by one child telling their parents and those parents bringing the issues to our attention.
So think about it I did. I talked about it too. Going to my go to sounding boards and trusted colleagues for some sage advice and sometimes some silly suggestions. Taking twenty-four hours to think through a plan (and calm down), meant I went back into my class and told them we needed to stop and go back to the drawing board, because what this told me more than anything else – they were not ready for the responsibility I had thought they were and we needed to have a rethink of where to next.
This meant that assumptions over what they knew about our cyber-safety agreements needed to be put to one side and the documents revisited (we had discussed them at the start of the year but this was at another level altogether). We stepped through each clause and unpacked what the schools, their parents and their own responsibilities are in relation to digital citizenship/cyber-safety etc. The richness of the discussion and the clarity we gained as a class was priceless – so I have learnt this is part of what I need to do as part of our orientation at the start of the year and with the introduction of each new student. It was the detail of the discussion and the signing of the agreements that resonated with both myself and my students (They are now displayed prominently on our class windows). But what was the next step?
The answer to that question came from work I had begun a year earlier with my critical buddy, GH, on self-regulation. We had observed a display in ‘The Hub’ that NL and LM had developed for their students to use in a modern learning environment. It included three stages where students gained more freedom to choose where to sit and work in the space as they proved themselves. GH and I had liked the concept but didn’t want to steal their theme so had begun working on our own ideas. While talking through what to do to keep our students safe this idea came up again, but by adding a level of digital citizenship to each stage we could build in self-regulation to that aspect of our classroom culture.
So I took our super hero theme and ran with it. Asking NL for her wording of the three stages they used in ‘The Hub’ as the starting point to launch from, adding GH’s input, we built the following four levels of the Self-Regulation Rubric! It is still a work in progress (students were given an opportunity to provide feedback and input prior to launch, they also allocated their own initial levels with minor consultation from me) and will need further development but, it is working: (Middle Earth was the class name)
I kept the hope alive to reach my goal of working at the Opaheke Avengers level but we all needed to work together to achieve this and only a handful made it.
So this year – with a change in year level and teaching collaboratively in an innovative environment, with LM we will start with these stages in place to develop more Opaheke Avengers!!