June 30, 2017

Student-Led Learning-Go for It!

Welcome back!  If you're here for the first time, welcome!  I am on an experience where I'm Inservicing Myself during my summer break on Student-Led Learning.  I have been moving along by reading an amazing book called Fearless Learners by Christy Sutton and Kristin Westberry!  Be sure to check out some of my other posts!  

Today, we are looking at Step 3:  Let's Go!  Both Sutton and Westberry share a number of personal stories about their beginnings, what kids said and did on those first days.  There were some amazing stories and successes within the text, which all pointed to the following-CHARACTER QUALITIES!  Student-led learning is not all about just learning about school work, it is also about developing students who can problem solve and think about others.  I'm being brief here because I would like to back up a little and give you some background and ideas of my own to share.  

In 2003, I started doing something with my students that I can now clearly see was student-led learning.  I was above the curve and now realize I could have made a million dollars if only...Now, I say that laughing, but, it is a reality.  In 2003, I started doing student-centered math, today known as Guided Math.  It was so amazing to see 5th graders rocking their own learning.  What happened to stop me from making a million-other teachers!  You see, after seeing the following student-led characteristic, not only myself, but a fellow teacher, saw the HUGE impact it was having.  Students took risks, students helped each other, students were remediated immediately, student test scores went up, and students were leading their learning in many of the same exact ways both Sutton and Westberry are sharing.  I can tell you 100% this works, especially in math!  So, with the encouragement of that teaching friend,  I presented at a district level inservice to...crickets.  No reaction, no support, in fact, the opposite.  I was told by primary teachers there was NO WAY they were going to teach math more than once a lesson!  I was told there was NO WAY they would use manipulatives in small group!  I was told by intermediate teachers there was NO WAY they could just let their students work on pages they already knew and move ahead!  NO WAY!  So, I closed my door and did it-and, then,-stopped!  High stakes testing got higher, Common Core math craziness stepped in, and I stopped!  Poof-million dollars gone (and now went to someone else!  HA!)  

What I do know is that all of the character qualities discussed in Let's Go can and will develop as I step back into this mode of learning.  That's where I'm starting again-math!  So, I have a few pics to share and a product or two also!  

What my student's rubric page will look like at the beginning of the year. 

How my students will chart their work across time (Ignore the red.  That's work I have to do!)

First, I will say that I've decided not to use the terms found in Fearless Learners for my classroom. They use scales as the term that they use with students.  I have always called what they call "scales" as rubrics.   I will not be able to retrain my brain to call them anything but rubrics!  

I've also decided to call the guiding page a Unit Overview.  Again, this is what my district calls our teaching tool, so I feel that it is implanted enough in my head to call it that.  Needless to say, you can call these tools what you would like.  There is no "set" terms to go by, because, we are all different!  Here is one of the things I've whipped up for sale over at my store:  

This product is a simple way to keep your kids on track to develop a game.  11 different game boards are in this product with or without cards to match the board!  Print and Go-all you need to do is put them in files for easy student access!  

As I learn more and more, my brain keeps going to the possibilities of this model!  Let me know what you think about this model and the possibilities in your room!  I'd love to hear!

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