Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why Students Should Not Raise their Hands?

As we focus on students' engagement and verbalization, mentioned in previous posts, I am sharing an example of how effective conversations are for learning and as learning . Of course a purposeful conversation provokes thinking and engagement. Our conversations are designed on the co-constructed criteria of listening and speaking that were established at the beginning of the year. 

Our conversations are provoked through pictures, newspaper articles, videos ... and questions or any authentic experiences. This activity was based on the following question: 

If biodiversity is the balance of all living things in ecosystems, what will happen if the balance is threatened? 
Si la biodiversité est l’équilibre des êtres vivants dans des écosystèmes. Qu’est ce qui arrive si l’équilibre est menacé?

Before answering, students on their own in their teams started questioning and clarifying what is a balance, what is an ecosystem-all curriculum based expectations. Once they clarified, each student took time at writing their own thinking and making connections to their own background knowledge and experiences from our field trip to a local protective endangered community Beaver Pond.  In teams they shared added new learning took the responsibility of  team thinking and new learning from one another. Students were dependent on each other to explore and learn through conversations-giving students a chance to explore learning together in order to  increase their responsibility of thinking, sharing and risk taking. Lastly I shared with them a short French paragraph to confirm what they have learned in teams and apply annotations when reading. for confirming, for new information and for clarifications. (check sample in the second pi-collage).

I could have given them the text without the steps of conversations. Instead I wanted students to explore the authentic collaborative thinking experience for learning, for responsibility of thinking, making connections, risk taking in speaking French and adding new learning from each other. That is why I introduced the text at the last stage of the conversation. In their group students wrote their new understanding by applying the new learning in French. A longer process for learning that leads to more engaged learning.

Once the Classroom blog is updated students will share how technology amplified their thinking. During their conversations I used Reflector for sharing teams audios of conversations and proof of teams' thinking orally and in writing. I will have students update the blog.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It Does Take Time!

I always have to remind myself  that building the classroom community always takes time!  I am trying to always put myself in my students' shoes and be a reflective learner from their conversations during tasks and their feedback about the learning process. I am trying to keep up and share my reflections regularly. From the beginning of the year in September up to October 14th.  Here is what I have learned!
  • Building a relationship with students, where students feel that you are more like a friend in order to feel free to share any thoughts and life experiences. Students wanting to stay at recess and come in early to have more time to visit and talk. Building a relationship of trust and value for learning and expressing voices. 
  • Remembering to give time for reflections through out the learning  process not just at the end of the day.  
  • Scaffolding throughout the process by constantly sharing new learning and augmenting thinking for students to curate learning from each other that would encourage more conversations and thinking.
  • Encouraging students to take control and ownership of learning using many tools to design learning. Taking time to learn to facilitate this independence. Many scenarios and skills are still being applied and reflected upon this learning process. Many classroom management experiences are still being developed.  
  • To see the teacher as a mentor than the expert. It is a good shift that is taking time to explore. I sometimes still have to facilitate the explorations of strategies and skills by focusing on scenarios and hoping full ownership by the end of Octobre.  
This is the infograpic that I designed for my approach with the students for the beginning of the year.

Howtostarttheyear title=

Building a classroom community and one of the activities is setting up Human Treasure Hunt:

Best way is starting with projects for deconstructing collaborative skills. By building a team structure students discovered what is listening? what is speaking? what are components of collaboration?  We worked on collaborative ideas for 3 days and we continue to reflect on the co-constructed criteria.


Scenarios of a good and bad example around the classroom and the school. 

Tellagami was used to demonstrate scenarios.

I requested from students for suggestions of what would they like to keep or change in class after few weeks of designing and establishing classroom culture. Involving students' and making sure that their opinion matters in our classroom culture. 

We are just beginning our curriculum inquiries. Provoking students' questioning and curiosity: Grade 6 students exploring Beaver Pond Nature walk to explore  Biodiversity in our community and assessing the human impact on nature. Grade 5 students exploring organs from a butcher shop and videos on diseases to provoke their curiosity on the functions of the human body.

I enjoy learning and changing my pedagogy for students' purpose of  learning and letting go to give them ownership.  Throughout the process technology amplifies students' thinking and new learning. to be able to share and reflect.  Students  build their confidence by amplifying their thinking as it is an open process and a concept of critical views and ideas that need to be meshed together with the team in order to create innovation.

We also focus on conversations, agreeing, disagreeing with purposes. Students need to verbalize before they internalize not only in a French learning environment also in all learning environments. I will soon be posting examples of our academic conversations through the inquiry process.

I will be sharing on the next posts students' inquiry process, ownership of learning and capturing the thinking and managing the assessment process through eporfolios.