Did something


There are less than 0 days of classes left in this school year. Rooms have been undecorated. Incidents of dishevelled desks are now down to zero. I can actually see the top of mine again. It is the culmination of 10 months of hard work, joy, and growth.

DPA time lasted a little bit longer this week and despite the fact that there was a wind down in full effect, there were some delightful learning opportunities delivered. In defiance and deference to dimming the lights and decreasing instruction my class had work to do. It was different in my class.

Over our final week we dissected the year, loaded recycling dumpsters with past academic momentos, and did a little more learning. That’s right, we worked on a project. My students worked on a final team task: Identify a problem in our world and solve it.


First we brainstormed. Students popcorned out their thoughts and I scribed. Slavery, poverty, pollution, ignorance, intolerance, racism, greed, war, hunger, and bullying all made the list of problems affecting our world. I asked whether there was room for increased kindness, respect, and patience with one another too?

Students chose partners and then decided on which topic to tackle. The roles of searcher, sheriff, scribe, and spokesperson were divvied up among team members. A device was distributed and the deconstruction of their global problem began.


I have to admit, it was a lot of fun to watch the students collaborating on one last job. While they worked together, it was a good time to wander about the classroom while they wrapped their minds around the challenge. I enjoyed interacting with them knowing this task did not require an assessment, that it was democratic, and that students would be discovering that they have the tools to be problem solvers. I may have stoked that fire by stating that adults have failed them, look at the mess that we are leaving their generation to clean up?

After two days of self-directed learning, students were asked to share their solutions to global problems and then to lead a discussion about what they decided to do about them. They did not disappoint.


The decision to do this each year reminds students that we start strong and we finish stronger. And that there is always something more to learn and do before the year is done. Each final week of school has become an amazing opportunity to celebrate hard work and success right to the very end. A little pizza party and social activities on the second last day has never hurt either. We even watched a documentary about screen addiction.

Today, before our final farewells, we played social games, shared moments of appreciation for one another, and organized the classroom. Another best year ever is in the books.

Thank you for all of your support this year. Thank you for the opportunity to share my classroom experiences with you.
Wishing you a restful, restorative, and happy summer.




Updated: June 29, 2018 — 1:46 pm

The Author

Will Gourley

Grade 5 lead learner and SERT at Adrienne Clarkson PS in the YRDSB. Focused on disruptive, divergent, and modern learning. Member of the global TED-Ed(Club) movement, 1 of 110 TED Ed Innovative Educators, and Global Math Project Ambassador. Twitter @willgourley Proudly blogging here and at https://escheweducationalist.wordpress.com/

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