Creative Schools Professional Learning: Campbell Primary School

September 1, 2021
Naomi West
Kellie Gibson
Creative Practitioner: Naomi West
School: Campbell Primary School
Teacher: Kellie Gibson

“Embedding creative and critical thinking will be a business plan priority for the next iteration of the Campbell PS Business Plan commencing in 2022. We hope to share and embed the five Creative Habits with teachers across the school over the next six months and give them the skills through PL to begin to integrate some of these into their daily practice.” - Paige Goodsell, Assistant Principal

To help Campbell Primary School staff become familiar with the 5 Habits of Learning model as a tool for building creative thinking skills, Y6 teacher Kellie Gibson and Creative Practitioner Naomi West were invited to prepare a Professional Learning session for the staff. The intentions were to introduce staff to the ideas underpinning the Creative Schools program - the 5 Habits of Learning wheel - and to model and suggest ways they could begin integrating them into their classrooms, at first through warm-ups.

Together we planned a session of playful activities so that staff could experience the Creative Schools approach themselves. We hoped they would feel energised and confident to try out a warm-up themselves.

This staff session will be followed by another Professional Learning session led by Creative Practitioner Trudi Bennett and teacher Daniel Kujawski during a Staff Development day in early September.

We began with a warm-up to stimulate thinking around the qualities we consider to be creative. In groups of around eight people each person took a card with the name of a famous person. Each had to then make the case for themselves as the most creative in the group - and finally they had to rank themselves from most to least creative. Its strength lies in allowing people to consider creativity in an impersonal way, not analysing their own qualities but those of a public figure. We talked about the function of warm-ups in Creative Schools sessions, giving a few examples: to warm up the brain, to energise, intrigue and challenge the students, to begin exploring one or more of the 5 Habits of Learning.

We followed by introducing the 5 Habits of Learning model. Kellie had created an image of the model with the sub-habits blanked out. She prepared a card sort game, asking groups of staff to assign the three sub-habits to each habit. This allowed staff to begin becoming familiar with the model, the language and the meanings of the habits.

To give an example of a game through which students could become familiar with the habits through making connections, each group of staff were then given one category (native animals,  fruit and veg, book characters, sports people…) and had to come up with an example to represent each habit of learning. Making new connections can enhance both understanding and propel innovative thinking for learners.

Kellie then talked about the Term 2 project we completed and our Term 3 project plans. She described her own experiences of Creative Schools and how she has used the 5 Habits of Learning model in teaching other areas e.g. in a recent English activity about characterisation. She emphasised that the curriculum remained the focus in our sessions.

“We’ve covered a lot of cross curriculum content in a very small amount of time.” - Kellie Gibson, Teacher

She then introduced the resources available on the Creative Schools website, the downloadable Healthway Warm-Ups Toolkit and the Case Studies, so that teachers could look at projects focussing on different curriculum areas for different year groups.

Assistant Principal Paige Goodsell had created laminated A4 Habits of Learning resources for each teacher to take away. There are also large scale boards for every classroom to use in their own way. Having this level of support and enthusiasm for a whole school approach is exciting - a real opportunity to see a lasting impact.