My Journey to Moving towards a less Constrained Classroom

I recently blogged about a moment in the classroom when I had little to no kids. In fact I only had 8 due to various reason, so I decided that I couldn’t go on with traditionally teaching and instead moved to a choose your own adventure model of learning. I let my kids explore whatever they want to do or work on any projects that they wanted to. This got my brains thinking about:

“What if learning was like this everyday?”

I had many questions about this process and trying to make it a whole class approach:

I know that we are hampered with the curriculum but are we?  
Is it possible to let all kids explore what they want and for us to assist with the learning? 
Is there benefit to have all kids learning the same thing at the same time? or should students do what they feel like? 

I also struggled with the idea that if this is a better model of teaching how do we do train teachers and sustain this model. I loved the responses that I received from my PLN and I am still researching and learning more about this process.

However, though I still have more questions then answers I have decided to go ahead and try something for our next unit of study in Social Studies.

The idea started with Myron Dueck’s tweet:

I loved his insertion of choice of medium and how will I showcase the learning expectation. As you know I have been struggling with how do I let the openness to happen while still maintaining the curriculum. My thought is for the students to complete a series of challenges anyway that they can.

I devised five challenges that link specifically to the curriculum big ideas. I tried to leave it as open as possible focusing on a key question for them to investigate and then let them decide on how they will showcase their learning.

Here is my plan. I still have to create the website along with what the badges will look like but its a work in progress.  Thought I would share with you my process and if you have any advice please let me know.

What do you think of this idea?
Do you think it will work?
Any advice?
Anything that you would change?

I cannot wait to hear your ideas. Thanks for helping me with this plan.

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When little to no students are in your room

So recently due to a sporting event and low numbers I had a class of 10 kids. Traditionally I would normally just gone on with my lessons and let the others catch up later. However, lately I have been exploring what is a classroom.

Traditionally, the model for classroom has been rows of desks and children sitting in them. It is an industrial model that makes us the teacher in charge of imparting knowledge. However, our classrooms haven’t really changed much. I know we have moved to more student centered with grouped desks but the model we still follow has been to impart knowledge.

This has bothered me a lot because I think in todays world knowledge is being thrown at our kids so fast. I am also finding that many of my students seem to just be coming to school and really not thinking about the learning. This has really bothered me as I think it should all of us.

So having a very small class allowed me to do some more exploring. I decided to make my day a choose your own adventure model of learning. We have had a couple of projects on the go as well as some cool maker space things that we have in our classroom. I left the day up to the students and I decided to walk around and observe/ help with their learning. It was probably one of the best things that I have ever done. The kids didn’t even want to stop the learning, the bells went and they were still building robots, practising speeches and playing with circuit boards. I also saw learning for the sake of learning.

This got me thinking, why isn’t all class like this?

I know that we are hampered with the curriculum but are we?  
Is it possible to let all kids explore what they want and for us to assist with the learning? 
Is there benefit to have all kids learning the same thing at the same time? or should students do what they feel like? 

At this present time I have more questions then I have answers and I would love to here your comments and thoughts. I believe education needs to start changing and needs to look different then what we traditionally see it. How should it change?