Friday, March 16, 2018

Unlocking Students' Superpowers

What stories are being told? Whose voices are being included?
Being an educator in the classroom is the most fulfilling experience as you succeed and fail with your community of learners and together you unlearn and relearn for growth. How does learning takes place and becomes so eventful, from block times to individual learning styles and many emotional peaks from students? The classroom is the living lab that co-exists by decentralizing the learning and building a community of learning and leaders.  I have been blessed and continue to work in schools with very supportive leaders to experiment with my learning.

Learning is about sparking creativity through communication and collaboration. Building a culture of thinking by allowing students take the responsibility for their learning process. Students can unlock their superpowers when they are given the chance to experience them.

These are important reflections that as educators we need to be sharing:
  • How am I giving opportunities for my students to communicate and to learn from each other?
  • How am I creating opportunities for students to collaborate and take ownership of their process?
  • How am I leveraging digital for thinking?
  • How am I allowing students to build their confidence for risk-taking, failing and reflecting?
  • What opportunities am I giving to students to create knowledge together?
  • How are students reflecting and dealing with the discomfort of their social-emotional learning?
  • How are students building the trust to be community members?
I am going to keep this blog post short as I am behind in telling the stories of learning from the students. My stories are always based on students evidence. I am going to present two stories one from Geography and One from French on Sustainable Development Global Goals.

Why not unpack the curriculum?

The Grade 7 students took the leadership and ownership of unpacking the curriculum and creating criteria of the process.

Can students co-construct criteria independently?

The students teamed up to plan how to explore the physical pattern of a changing world by focusing on the Canadian physical regions.

Why not design compasses using Micro:bit?

Please click on the link to watch the video The students applied the math and geography by programming a compass for an amazing race of team members across Canada.

How can students connect causes and factors of Canadian physical regions?

Through the causal model, students applied their thinking and developed their competencies by finding causes and factors of natural events and human activities that apply on the physical regions. They also analyzed challenges and opportunities presented by the physical regions.

Can students reflect on Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking while thinking the causal model?

Can students research and develop perspectives on natural resources?

The grade 7 students analyzed aspects of extractions/harvesting of natural resources in different regions in the world and assessed ways of persevering these resources.

Can students analyze and interpret data of natural resources between Canada and the world?

Can students learn from experts online?

The Geography Grade 7 students spoke with Doctor Rich Petrone Professor of Geography & Environments Management at Waterloo University, online. Students also had a webinar with Dr. Jennifer McKellar from Partners In Research Video recording.

Sustainable Global Goals 

Can students choose and unpack the causes and complexity of each of the Sustainable Global Goals?

Can students interpret and analyze data about the Sustainable Global Goals?

How do students consult with experts on world equity problems?

A hangout with Dr. Annemieke Farenhorst about First Nations Quality of Water Video Link. In addition, they spoke with Sarah Begum, explorer and journalist with Royal Geographical, investigating the impacts of oil exploitation and deforestation on Huaorani tribe land in the Amazone Rainforest.

Meeting with Midia Hassan a biochemist and a Chemical Engineer who makes change locally and globally through many innovation hubs. Midia is also a recipient of the Queens Young Leaders award for 2018.

Can students reflect throughout the process?

Some Reflections just specific to the causal model

 Can students unpack the 6c's while explicitly unpacking their thinking?

There are many layers throughout the process from analyzing reading, researching skills, consolidations and co-constructing criteria by students as needed.

The Flow Theory is when students are engaged in meaningful tasks, take ownership, make choices and build positive relationships. The learning goals are clear; the learning is attainable and achievable by students focusing on their thinking, connecting learning and mastering their skills. The Students scaffold their own learning taking leadership by pausing and reflecting, searching and critically solving and connecting their experiences and new experiences. The students are completely taken by their concentration and focus.  This is the focus in the classroom when students are engaged, being agents and owning their process of learning.

Through Integrative Thinking, the students are immersed in conditions that allow the 6c's - collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity, character, and citizenship - to be explored and immersed throughout the process. When students are thinking through the causal model, Pro Pro model or the ladder of inferences, all competencies are enabled. No skills are separated when the students are collaborating, they are communicating and critically analyzing each others thinking, valuing ideas, connecting them and creating knowledge as a team. They are persevering to problem solve and are in the state of the Flow. They are very focused to connect thinking, values, benefits, and interpreting data. It is the equity of learning where all voices are accountable and all perspectives are valued. The students are agents of their own learning with perspectives shared and leveraged with the whole team and equitably achieved.

The students enable their own conversations and scaffold their own inquiries when it is needed to research and persevere to apply their thinking through the models. All voices are heard, all perspectives are accountable it becomes a collective responsibility. Learning is very dynamic and their thinking becomes very explicit and builds their confidence. The students ignite their own fire and develop a culture of learning. Where discomforted learning becomes enjoyable learning, the students are in the state of hyperfocus connecting their thinking and willing to critically think, collaborate and communicate to persevere in making thinking explicit.

As William Butler Yeats is quoted as saying, Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

Learning experiences happen when students are immersed in tackling problems relevant to their real-life experiences. Building relationships while managing social-emotional learning creates a sense of belonging to the community of learning. The students feel they are important to the space of learning. They are compassionate, making differences to their own experiences and knowing that learning is reachable within themselves as experts and with an online community of experts.

How are we impacting and empowering students in deep learning?
  • Who is setting the goals for learning?
  • How is learning equitable?
  • How are students taking full ownership and responsibility to keep interested in owning their learning?
  • How to grow in experiences of valuing and trusting their learning?
  • How are they developing self-trust in thinking and risk-taking?
  • How are they building compassion to their learning?
  • How are they reflecting on their learning?
  • How are they aware of competencies and being enabled during the process of learning?
  • How are students feeling accepted and their ideas are validated?
  • How does their perspective matter and is understood by others? 
Looking forward to telling more stories about Grade 7 sustainable actions in their community and how their learning will make a difference and contribute to change. 

The Theory of flow from the master himself, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi A short video on Flow  Another short video on Flow by John Spencer Video

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