Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Giving students more voice and choice - part 2

A couple of days ago I wrote about a new model we are trying in Grade 4 to give our students more voice and choice about the technology they can use to show their understanding.  The model we are trying is having each teacher and assistant in the grade become expert in one tool, then over a period of 3 weeks letting the students choose which tool they want to learn and setting up a rotation so that the students will learn a new tool of their choice each week.

This is now the second week of the model and at our Tech Meeting yesterday I was keen to share my observations and to listen to what the teachers and TAs were saying about the process.  The overwhelming feeling was that this is a great model.  Teachers and assistants are feeling happy that they can become experts in one tool and not having to jump on-board with many new ones.  The students in the groups who have chosen to use those tools are motivated to learn.  Last week I observed students trying out different things at home and then coming in and sharing in during their expert groups.  The teachers picked up a number of tips from this sharing that they are incorporating into their sessions this week.

This week the teachers have decided to add an extra component into this:  at the end of this week each student will choose one of the new tools that they have learnt so far and will teach that tool to another student.  Then the student will learn another tool from that student.   This means that by next week each teacher will still be an expert in one tool, but the students will have been exposed to 3 different tools via the rotations and 1 extra tool that will have been taught to them by another student - they will therefore have 4 more tools in their "toolbox"

Once again I'm curious to find out what tools the students will finally choose, when they use them to make their summative assessment for their upcoming unit of inquiry after Christmas.

Photo Credit: Stitch via Compfight cc

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