SOL17: Choose Your Own Adventure in Learning

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for providing space each week to share our slices.

So sometimes,  a conversation with a colleague spurs my brain into overtime.  On Friday the conversation was about creating a space in class (30minutes once a week) for fourth and fifth graders to work on individual projects.  In their mind, their students would have to get “endorsements” such as Internet safety, researching skills, etc.  Then they could pursue interests.  Those without an “endorsement” would be asked to read for the library time a book of their choice.

I’m the kind of person who jumps into the fire. I sometimes fly by the seat of my pants.  Like today, at noon, I realized that it was International Pirate Day.  So my afternoon classes hear pirate books.  And for my 1st/2nd grade, I let them loose with mini-Ipads and Seesaw so they could record pirate talk.  It was so capturing a moment and it went so well. Kids shared props and it will give them a baseline for learning video skills,

But back to the 4th and 5th graders.  I think in January-ish, I am going to give students the option for research of their own choosing.  I may do a menu approach which will include some topics around their Social Studies:  Westward Expansion, Lewis and Clark, American Revolution and Colonies.  Or even some Science topics.  But I also want to allow those students who have a special area of interest to explore that.

With Seesaw, an online student portfolio which the district has a subscription, students can record their wonderings and learnings.  I find the biggest challenge with class anymore is the thirty-minute limit once a week.  I want students to dig in and become users, evaluators, and creators of resources.

So Friday night instead of drifting off to sleep, I was wondering:

  • where do I start
  • how do I plan for those students who aren’t self-starters
  • how do I make sure all the digital citizen points are covered
  • how will fourth and fifth grade teachers react to the idea that I’m shifting what I teach in the library

It was difficult to sleep.  But I feel that I have greater purpose for teaching this year.

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