Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Calming

Sunday nights have always been a problem for me. I do not sleep well. I have a tough time shutting my mind off with the things that need to be done for the week. I read in a blog post that writing things down will help "ease your mind". What have I got to lose, another restless Sunday night with little or no sleep? I figured I would give it a shot...

I am excited about this week because we are trying something different with our 6th and 7th graders. We have created projects that are focused around a couple of Essential Questions. We will allow the students to choose a partner they will want to work with, but we will pair them up with a group of our choosing, giving them a group of four. Within this group of four, we will ask the students to investigate a series of questions that cover subjects across the curriculum. They will be able to collaborate with each and produce a presentation that will be given the last two days of school.

In addition, we will not have the students change classes. They will work with their group the entire day, regardless of the bell schedule. That's right, our students will not be changing classes. After a lot of discussion, we decided the teachers would be the ones to roam around the classrooms, assisting students with whatever they needed. We did not want the bell schedule interfering with the chance to learn for a longer period of time.

I am excited because we will be putting the students in charge of the class. They will be in control of where they take their learning. We will be there to support, question and provide feedback, but we will not be in the front of the room. We will be able to roam amongst the groups, providing assistance when needed. I am interested to see how changing this dynamic improves the learning of our students.

Will there be roadblocks? Absolutely. Will there be groups that will need help guiding their own learning? Of course, they are only 12 and 13 years old. But, I am hoping that allowing the students to be in control of their own learning will have them excited about working this late in the school year.

I am hopeful that this is the beginning of more changes we will implement for next year. I would love to see projects of this kind implemented during our Focus Periods next year where students have time to dive into areas they are passionate about. Give them time to dive into areas of interest. What a noble concept, school being about learning!

Here's to a great week of student centered learning for our students. I am excited to see what final products their imaginations create. What a great job I have...this excited to get into my room, even during the last two weeks of school!

What are you doing to keep your students engaged these last few days of school?

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