July 6, 2017

Student-Led Learning: Failure IS an Option!

Interesting, isn't it?  To think of failure as an option-because, as Sutton and Westberry point out, it IS going to happen!  Welcome to Step 5-Failure!  

As I shared last time, I did try a similar ideas many moons ago. What I can't remember are the failures.  Honestly, I can tell you the how I did it, I can tell you the why I did it, I can even tell you about the specific moment I realized that remediation was instant!  A very bright young man came up to me with his paper.  Students were allowed (and still are in my room-and in Sutton and Westberry's class) to self-check papers.  I pull my pages out of the teacher's student edition and I create a key.  Students go to the assigned area and check their work with an approved grading tool (a red or blue grading instrument-instrument so no one asks if a colored pencil is ok, a crayon is ok, etc.).  There can be no more than 3 kids at the paper at once.  I label the word problems they do with Mrs. Santello so I check those for accuracy and understanding.  This is the system I've used now for all these years-whether I've taught whole group or small group, it was something I never gave up! Anyways, back to young man...

This fine young man came up to me and had many incorrect problems.  We stood together while I checked his work very quickly to see how he mismanaged the algorithm.  I discovered the problem, quickly showed him again right there, and sent him on his way to redo.  In that moment I got it! I didn't have to create some extra grouping the next day!  I didn't have to do an additional reteach page!  All he had to do was have feedback right away!  And he got it!  He was able to prove it on a number of problems I gave him.  This moment has stuck with me for about 14 years now!  This is the power of the model!  

So, how does this show failure-it took me a few good months to figure out that whole system I just told you about, just as it did for Sutton and Westberry!  Their many failures led to successes FOR THEM!  They are clear to point out that there is no perfect model, just the cycle of trying something and failure within it to try again!  This is a chance for us, as adults, to model perseverance for our students!  They do give a few good tips along the way, too, so that you don't make some major snafus they did!  One HUGE point-be preplanned a few units ahead if you are targeting math, just in case!  But, again, they consistently point out the fact that you must never give up because our students deserve better!  

Are you ready to take the plunge?  I totally am!  I'm super excited and I've preplanned a number of my math units!  It just so happens that my district rearranged our Science this year, so I'm ahead of the game there too!  Here are some of the products I will be using to get the Student-Led Learning model going in Science!  These are fun to use and, theScientist Craftivity will allow students their first taste of becoming a leader in learning in the Science block!  

Read the post HERE

Again, I think the key takeaway from this chapter is to expect failure and model perseverance!  What a great way to be a role model for the very students we want to embrace and grow in our classroom!  I'd love to hear what you have to share or your experiences along the way!  Be sure to share them in the comments to help us all grow and learn together! 

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