Call for comments!

Dear blog viewers and followers,

 

I have been asked the following question so many times and I don’t have the answer, so I thought I would put it out there to you:

“Does My-learning work with younger children?”

I teach a year 6 class and know My-learning has been trialed  in classes from year 3 up to year 8 but, beyond this, I’m not sure how well such a system works with younger children. Have you, or do you, use a self-directed system, formative assessment strategies or e-learning with younger children? Or have you tried My-learning its self with younger classes? Please let me know via the comment function or email (emma-winder@hotmail.com).

 

Thank you 🙂

Emma Winder.

My planning… or should I say the kid’s planning?

This year, I have gradually been giving more and more responsibility and autonomy to the children in my class. We started off small – children were organised into groups who had responsibility for running a fitness session one day a week. From there, we have gradually built up such autonomy and ownership. Children plan their day; tell me when they want to be tested; instigate, organise, attend and run optional meetings; decide how the classroom is going to be arranged and where they will sit; make goals and work on these (mostly) independently; instigate giving and asking for feedback; along with solving problems and improving classroom practice with their ideas alongside me… to name a few examples!

This week, we took this further and the students planned the week with minimal input from me. I time-tabled a few unavoidable activities such as assembly and meetings with the whole syndicate; and the students added in a whole class vocabulary quiz to enhance their vocabularies. This was something they thought they all needed to work on. Then we added in group meetings and talked  about what these needed to be focussed on, as well as the kind of follow-up they thought would reinfoce their learning best. The children decided they wanted to get PROBE tested at some point in the week so we factored that in.  We then talked about any optional meetings that were focused on things that just a group of children wanted or needed to learn. Suggestions abounded but we selected 6 and filed away the remaining suggestions for future weeks. Following this, the class discussed useful tasks to help their learning, as well as optional tasks that were not necessary for everyone’s learning, but that some children wanted to complete. Our plan was complete!

This is the latest step in children taking more ownership and responsibility for their learning. It has taken lots of scaffolding and a gradual introduction of more  and more skills and expectations of the students. I’m really looking forward to seeing how next week pans out, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t as we are doing exactly what the students wanted and indicated they needed.

Digital Storytelling

Let’s think more broadly about writing, presenting information and telling stories!

Here are just a couple of ideas that you may or may not come across:

  • Xtranormal – Animated cartoons
  • Animoto – Professional looking presentations
  • Storybird – Online books with artist’s illustrations
  • Zooburst – Online pop-up books
  • Voicethread – Multimedia slide show people can comment on
  • Voki – Speaking avatars

There are just so many options to tell stories digitally out there. This is just a small selection of ideas I know have worked in my class.

Sharing: Ideas don’t come from mid-air.

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. – George Bernard Shaw

It’s great when people contact me about what they are doing in their school or have seen being done in other schools and we need to do more of this. I was talking to a business woman yesterday about how people in education openly and willingly share ideas and thoughts. This is at odds, as far as I can tell anyway, with most other sectors – where ideas are patented, sold and kept under wraps.

I think this sharing we do in education is imperative as we take the students we teach forward into their unpredictable futures. Ideas don’t pop into our heads from mid-air. They are sparked from something we have read or heard, sit and percolate in our minds a little, grow from our own thoughts and from conversations we have with others, then are put into practice. Presumably, the more sharing, the better the ideas and the better quality the education.

So email me or post messages on my blog. Visit me and allow others to visit you. Share your ideas!