Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Learning Journey

So here we are well into the school year and three months into life in a brand spanking new campus. I have the awesome job of running a new campus and teaching the little people in Grade Two. So much has happened and my heart is full. I couldn't be happier. 

We are five classes strong and growing a very special community of people. This year we are focused on developing a strong culture for the years ahead. One that will stand the test of time. Our community matters and we know that the partnership between home and school is vital for laying a strong foundation of future growth. Together we impact eternity.

We are pioneering and cultivating the plans and purposes of God in a barren stretch of scrubby land bordered with lush green sugar cane fields on one side and a ridge of tall scraggly trees on the other. We are flanked by the Translink railway line and regularly hear it rumbling past in the distance. This large parcel of swampy land will one day be a P- 12 school. Currently we are Prep to Year Three campus and housed in one classroom block of nine classrooms, three of which are devoted to Child Care purposes. 

We are about to kick off the next step in our learning journey with the 'Genius Hour, a time given during the school day to allow students the opportunity to engage with the curriculum and learn about topics that personally interest them. Students are naturally curious about the world around them and the Genius Hour fosters this childish wonder and love of learning. It is an opportunity to engage with content at a personal level with passion and purpose. 

The 'Genius Hour' outcomes are to develop a passion for learning through self-manifested and self-directed learning opportunities. Students in the junior primary years need support to develop and refine their research skills, primarily accessing appropriate information and then sorting it out efficiently. I have therefore divided the learning into five segments or steps to help guide learning.

The learning journey is what it is all about!

    1. Wondering - Students should begin to wonder about the topic being studied. What interests them? What would they like to find out? Students then formulate a question after thoughtful discussion. 

   2.  Finding Out – Students make sense of ideas important to them. This is where research begins and students record interesting facts. Encourage students to record their findings – in a notebook, ipad, journal (No worksheets). Refine the finding out to a particular area of interest. 

    3. Reflecting – During the reflection stage, students should be encouraged to ask the question, ‘What is it that interests me the most? At this stage students should reflect and refine learning to analyse findings, evaluate information gathered, make decisions about where the learning is taking them and engage in problem solving processes.

   4.  Designing – How would the student like to present their learning? Students create a product that demonstrates their learning.

    5. Presenting – At the presentation stage, students have the opportunity to show case their learning journey and present the final product to the class.

 An Overview

Complete a ‘What I know now, What I want to know’ chart. What do I already know about this topic, what do I really want to know?

Finding Out
Begin answering the big question and recording interesting facts for the specific area/topic being explored. 

Reflect and refine ideas gathered;
      Analyse and Evaluate… What will work? What do I do next?, How will my product look? What do I want others to know?
      Problem Solve… What are the problems?, How do I solve them?
      Make Decisions… What do I do now? What will I create?

Begin creating a product that demonstrates the students learning. i.e an ebook, podcast, poster etc.

Present Learning to peers

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