CHAOS: All I really wanted was student VOICE and CHOICE!

Student voice and choice with lots of chaos

How did I start to tame the chaos? This post will outline steps that I took to guide and shape my students to become self directed learners. (While using learning videos accessed through scanning QR codes.)

(These students are only 4 and 5 years old at this time during the school year!)

Students were reflecting on our first few days of learning through video and all the responses were the same. They were vague and did not show evidence of learning about subject matter. I did not let this get me down, I turned it around and asked the students to think about WHY they were doing certain activities and HOW they knew they were learning. This was the TURNING POINT! The students took the challenge and took time to pair share with each other. (They did the pair share all by themselves, talk about taking the teaching moment and going with the flow!) It actually took me a few minutes to realize I was no longer the teacher. The students were becoming the teacher.  I must admit I was in awe and just stood in the middle of all this.

Back to how I got the students to take more ownership of their learning and guide their own learning. During the chaos of giving the kids videos linked to QR codes, I quickly demonstrated how to take learning seriously and be active in the learning process.

The steps we took to become active learners and teachers:

  1. The whole class talked about what it meant to learn
  2. The students broke off into groups to talk about how they learn best
  3. The whole class discussed key words; HOW and WHY in relation to learning
  4. The class agreed to have the words HOW and WHY become part of our classroom community and learning
  5. We used the center activities that had the QR codes on them
  6. After we used the center activities and QR code videos with the HOW and WHY for learning in mind, we had a class debrief to explain/share our personal HOW and WHY for learning.
  7. For the next week after each learning center session we had a class debrief to share our HOW and WHY for learning.
  8. The kids were starting to understand the importance of needing to know HOW and WHY they are learning/completing task, skills and learning goals.
  9.  Let the students explore learning activities

10. Start to share with students about documenting their learning.

The students were seeing the power in being able to express HOW they just learned something and WHY they just learned something.

Learning in my classroom was starting to evolve!! These kindergarten students were starting the process of becoming independent learners. BUT they were not quite there yet. I still needed to guide and demonstrate ways to push them to the next level. What that level would be I had no clue. I just KNEW I needed to keep this evolution going. Stay tuned for videos of students describing their learning.

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