Our Educational Journey
If you think back to your educational journey, what do you remember the most?
Opportunities you had to shine?
Opportunities you had to be creative?
Opportunities you had to learn from others?
Giving our students opportunities to be themselves in their learning will and DOES make a difference in their educational journey. We must be mindful and involved in our students individual needs as learners.
How do we get to know our students on this level? I wish I could sit here and type that I one-on-one journal with my students on a daily basis, but unfortunately, there is just not enough time. So, I have to be creative. Taking every little moment in the morning, during lifetime (recess), and during leadership time... I talk to them! We have a conversation; not based on academics (unless they bring it up), but more about their personal lives. This allows me to provide the opportunities that are needed for them to enhance their educational journey.
Exploration and Discovery
How would you define exploration?
Google defines exploration as the action of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it.
Exploring is 21st century. Going through the process of learning through curiosity, inquiry, research, and often finding an answer or explanation and presenting. Using technology in our classes, allows us to explore the world more now, than ever before. We must take the risk and the chance to teach our students HOW to explore and discover.
I have done this in many ways within my class in every subject! We have used Google Hangout with our State representative, we have used Wonderopolis, Newsela, Instgrok, and KidRex to aid in our research, we have created Powtoons, Google slides, Telligami, and Weebly to present our findings.
But, MOST IMPOrTANTLY, taking exploration to infinity and beyond... I have implemented Genius Hour!!! The kids are LOVING it! One hour a week, researching something that they are passionate about, creating products, and reporting their findings... equals 100% engagement!
Can you remember your first group project as a child? or helping your parents cook a meal? or building a treehouse with your grandfather? or playing hide-n-seek?
Working together, learning from one another to reach a common goal in collaboration. Communication is pertinent to an educational journey. There is not one day in my class that my students do not work in groups. I often get the skeptics saying, "They will not stay on task, or they will argue." I am not going to lie, there is truth to both of those statements, but I have learned that implementing a safe environment, where everyone's opinion is valued, has helped in both of these areas.
On a daily basis, we have a Kitchen Table Discussion. This is where I give them some type of prompt/question. Allow them to discuss with their groups, and then, they discuss it as a class. Here are the rules: no raised hands, look at the people you are speaking too, do not hog the conversation, use discussion starters... This discussion is completely student-led and lasts about 5 -7 minutes. The thoughts and in-depth ideas that come from these discussions are mind-blowing. What better opportunity is there for the students to learn, than from one another?
It is my hope that you will provided your students with opportunities... Opportunities that they will remember as a part of their educational journey.
BECAUSE THEY DESERVE IT!