By Julia Briggs

Glad you’re here!

Welcome to this new weekly blog series “Life as an LTT Educator”. I am so excited to share this school year with you and hopefully make many new connections along the way as we learn together. 

Who am I?

I’m Julia, I have been teaching for over a decade and my main teaching focus is Science and Chemistry (I am a huge science nerd – and proud of it). Over the years I have learnt a lot about teaching and learning and probably unlearnt even more, I love education and am always interested to know and grow more each year. Since 2012, I have been living in Bogotá, Colombia, working at an international IB World School. We teach the PYP through to the DP (but we also sprinkle in a little of the Colombian national curriculum standards here and there) – I speak Spanish so some of these blogs may include some Spanglish. I lead the Chemistry Department and occasionally coach colleagues with teaching for conceptual learning transfer. More about me here

What have I been up to lately?

For the past year and a bit I have been part of Team LTT (Learning That Transfers) as the Science Lead within the Core Team. Julie Stern has done an incredible job leading our team; Nichelle Pinkney (Social Studies Lead), Nathalie Lauriault (Elementary Lead), Kayla Duncan (Mathematics Lead), Erin Leininger (language acquisition), and Trevor Aleo (English Language Arts Lead). We also have an extended and specialist team of incredible educators that collaborate with us on various projects. Julie, Kayla, Trevor and the fabulous Krista Ferraro recently published Learning That Transfers: Designing Curriculum for a Changing World (a Corwin Best Seller!) – Throughout the school year I will be using this book, experimenting with and implementing the strategies while documenting my experience here. If you don’t have a copy of your own already check-out this list of providers.  

So, what will this blog be about? 

I want to share what I am doing in the classroom and have a concrete way of collecting and thinking about the work being done to reach the goal of Learning Transfer in my classroom. Each week I will reflect on the week gone by, the strategies I played with, sharing student work showing how the strategies are impacting my students’ learning, how I am designing my curriculum, any coaching or projects done with colleagues, how LTT works with the MYP & DP, and just about anything else I get up to during the year. 

My most precious time during the week is my Saturday morning coffee (I get up early and have this delicious moment to myself), so my goal is to make this blog an enjoyable place to be that can be read alongside a yummy coffee (or tea if that’s more your thing). The blog will be fairly short, with some honest reflections on my life as an educator and how I teach for transfer. I have seen the impact teaching for transfer has on my students and I can’t wait to share examples of student thinking in this blog this year. I also love to read widely and our team believes in integrating what we learn and iterating on what we do so you’ll see splashes of other areas of thinking in the blog, too.  

My wish

One of my hopes is to develop some interactivity. Team LTT are not afraid to dabble outside of the proverbial comfort zone and this will be another space to experiment and try new things. Each month I will write a ‘Try Together’ blog post – I will share a particular strategy/approach/tool at the beginning of the month and you can send your personal experience trying it out. We can connect via email or Twitter and I would LOVE to showcase your reflections, adjustments and student work samples here on the blog so we can grow as a community. 

Before I sign off 

The ‘Try Together’ in August will be a concept attainment for ‘Wellbeing’. The past couple of school years have been challenging to say the least and many of us have gained a new sense of perspective about what it means to be an educator. Starting the year with wellbeing as a priority feels right. This month I will be kicking off with a concept wall for wellbeing and related concepts. I can’t wait to see yours! 

So, that wraps up my blogging debut! I am so looking forward to recording this year in blog form and am excited to connect with you all over a coffee break each week. I am certain that by the end of this school year we will have connected, learnt a bunch and become an extended LTT family, or at the very least I will have converted a few of you to Colombian coffee! 

See you next time.

Try Together: Concept Walls
This month my priority focus is wellbeing. My students don’t return to school for a week so I will first use this concept with my team as we set the tone for the year. We have a busy one ahead of us; returning to a more ‘normal’ school day, finishing our curriculum rewrite, as well as our IBO and CIS reaccreditation visits. 

A concept wall that centers around ‘wellbeing’ seems like a great place to start. We will use one of our notice boards that can be seen by anyone in the building and it will include attributes and examples of this concept. 
More strategies for acquiring meaning of individual concepts can be found on page 226 of Learning That Transfers: Designing Curriculum for a Changing World

The blog I write in the last full week of August will share a reflection about this strategy. If you would like me to include your experience helping your students acquire or consolidate understanding of the concept wellbeing, or using a concept wall for another concept, please write to me by Sunday 22nd August: juliakbriggs@gmail.com

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