I am currently starting a really exciting journey which involves myself and a group of 10 teachers. We are choosing a topic that interests us and going on a year long journey to discover the answers to this question. We are currently thinking about our question having to do with student led learning and how can we get students to take the lead with their learning and how to make meaningful tasks that will inspire action.
We are meeting 3.5 days this year and we are able to work alongside these other teachers to discuss our findings and see how we can put this plan into action in the classroom.
The first meeting involved getting to know all the teachers. We did this by mingling with the crowd based on which card in the deck we had (all sixes went together, the tens went together..) and then we met up with the same suit cards and then we had a few different challenges after that. When we met with our random groups, we answered the question how have we seen or used innovation in our classroom. It was amazing the chats that we had when this question was posed to us. I felt happy explaining my students current inquiry projects where they research a question of their choice which they will then present to the group it relates to. I also shared about selecting meaningful projects that will somehow create change or an action in our school. We discussed all of our innovation ideas and then we were asked to go back to our seats.
A teacher across the room shared about something that someone had said to her that will change and solve all problems involving math: going gradeless. She mentioned there would be various levels in math like when children go to swimming lessons and they wouldn’t be able to move onto math level two until they finish level one. In a way it sounds like an IEP but it would be in place for all students.
The rest of the morning we had to find a group of people that had a common area of focus as us and that is how I ended up in the student led learning group where students guide themselves to tasks that they find to be meaningful and essentially are 21st century learning tasks. This group will meet next week to discuss our plans.
After going to this exciting learning opportunity, I went back to my class and made a self reflection for our drama haunted house that the students had just finished planning, creating, presenting and then cleaning up. I had them assess themselves using four words: not engaged, somewhat engaged, engaged and very engaged. I told them to circle which word best described their involvement before, during and after the haunted house. It was incredible to see that the word they had circled lined up with the way I would assess them. If they had done this same self assessment and I had put marks or levels on the page, I am not so sure they would have been as successful with their assessment.
I am excited to continue learning with my inquiry group and keep trying out things that we learn as a group. The gradeless self assessment was just one small thing that I know will come of this exciting learning opportunity. It is very fun being apart of a group of like minded people that are really hoping to see a positive change in our classrooms.
More to come!