As many of you know, I have been trying hard this year to make my classroom an environment of higher order thinking, student-led creativity, and an arena for transparent dialogue between students and me. What I like most in the past few weeks of class is the fact that I have giving them a goal, and a few resources, and they have really stepped up to make the most of it. Let me explain.
My students and I are in the midst of an engineering unit. I give them a topic,and some background information. I also give them a bag of resources to make their project. For example, this week we are bridge building. I don’t dictate to them what kind of bridge they have to make. I just told them it has to have characteristics of the five types of bridges. Everyone has the same amount of resources. What I love about this is that every bridge is different. (You can check my Instagram feed for some pictures of my students.)
What I realized yesterday, as I began to read the book Pure Genius by Don Wettrick, was that I am in the beginning stage of giving my students a voice. By allowing them the opportunity to choose how they want to design their projects I am giving them a voice in their learning. By the way, if you haven’t read this great book I highly recommend it.
I plan to move in a more positive direction of having a class where the students have more of a voice. Just because they have a voice doesn’t mean you can’t follow the Common Core Standards. I know that I am responsible to teach my students the standards, I am just choosing to be more creative than I have in the past. I am not sure how that will look like, but I am taking baby steps.
So what are you doing to give your students a voice in learning? What are some things you learned along the way?