Monday, May 20, 2013

Finally Catching up 2013

I have FNALLY disciplined myself to catch up and publish some postings from Sept 2012.  Reflecting on former postings rippled into more reflective learning that never got published or shared.  Oh well, I will improve on the click of the"Publish" button! 

I will click the button today on a summary of learning from 2012 to May 2013. I always credit my students and the Learning network community online and my fellow colleagues on a whirlwind of new learning. Learning is real with my students, it is a conversation, listening, reflecting, observing, sharing, thinking, building on ideas and always relevant to real life. 

There are so many variables in the classroom and the school academic year that directly influence what works from one year to the next.  If learning is real, who would want to cover the same content activities with the students?  Giving students more control, ownership and responsibilities, that is the focus of my pedagogical approach. Yes of course is there really enough time to cover the process? we try! 

The positive gains with my students were and still are, that the learning process is transparent by allowing them to develop active inquiry taking all ideas and learning from each other (will update the inquiry post). This process also includes, a culture of questioning, listening and reflecting We also embrace that failure is fine as it is in the context of success and if we do not make mistakes then we are not learning.  Reflecting and consolidating are daily routines of how the process worked and what did not work in order to pursue in our learning. 

Our learning environment is always the center of collaborative decision making by handing the responsibility to students. Through this cooperative learning community, curiosity, questioning, listening and speaking are respected.  The core of this process involves daily reflections on our experiences. The fluidity of the process includes the co-construction of criterias, feedback,  group and individual goal settings (will update assessment post).  Parallel to the process is the culture of empathy, respect and making every one matter.

From September the focus has been on students designing their own thinking. Students were able to design the needs of collaboration through many tasks (September/October) . Questions that students unpacked during tasks include:
  • What is collaboration?
  • How to listen and speak with partners?
  • How to share ideas as a team?
  • Why is collaboration important?
  • How do I agree and disagree with my team? 
  • How does collaboration guide my learning with others and enhances my thinking?
  • What strategies do I need to share?
  • How do we compare and share our new learning?
  • How do I ask questions for clarification? 

It is always important to set the collaborative culture environment in and out of the classroom. Through many tasks on collaboration the students created the following tools:
  • A team box that included a talking stick (watched a video on talking sticks).  In the box, team members signs/name tags using foam on colored Popsicle sticks, clothe pins to attach to the name tag when the student is ready for discussion or ready to share & sticky notes of all sizes in each box.
  •  Daily questions on news events were presented to encourage oral communication and create situations for teams to build success criteria on listening and speaking and provoke curiosity. 
  • Activities that also covered the importance of a learning goal.
  • Daily reflections on learning goals.
The following are activities that students co-constructed:

 Links are on Google drawing about conversations on daily needs. 

           Travail en équipe   Les outils en équipe  Les sacs d’école  L’évier  L'eau
           The students  also learnt to use Google Drawing.

Some examples of building Collaborative Criteria:

Gr 4 collaborative skills discoveries: 
 Gr 4 students: also took pictures of themselves demonstrating collaborative criteria.

Gr 4 bubbles for everyday necessities

A slide of pictures on why I matter Gr 4 and Gr6 projects:

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