Some more reflecting

Last week I asked my students to do a final reflection on Grade Six. I gave them a google form that asked four questions:

  1. Rate your year
  2. What is your favourite memory?
  3. What is one thing that you loved about the year?
  4. What is one thing that you would change?

It was amazing to hear their words and voice through the form. I loved the honesty and it really has me thinking.

The questions that I focused on was what did you love and what would you change. Here is the response to what I loved:

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What really struck me were two things:

  1. They loved the use of technology
  2. They loved their freedom

Technology struck me because you often assume that these children are growing up in a digital age, shouldn’t they be used to using technology? But that really isn’t the case. Sure they are digital consumers of things but they don’t really know how to use it. In addition, I know that we have the tech in the classrooms but it isn’t always being used. I know that it is more but many teachers are hesitant to use it because we ourselves have no idea what to do with it. But what this really shows me is that our students don’t really know what to do with it. It shows me that we still need to teach them proper digital skills to create and use technology for educational means. They need to learn and be taught how to harness the power of technology and not just use it in the classroom. The kids want to use it they just need to know how to apply it.

The last part really struck home. This year I have been experimenting more with allowing my grade sixes to have the freedom to choose the path that they want. I want them to be in charge of their learning. The more I teach the more I am getting tired of pushing curriculum and telling students how to learn. I want my students to learn because they want to learn. I want them to be in school because they want to be in school. I know that we have a curriculum to teach and that it was made with good solid research but I still want my students to feel empowered by it and not because I put on a song and dance. This year I have tried a variety of things from rearranging my classroom, passion projects, to doing badging and going gradeless. It is great to see my student are loving those changes, that they actually made an impact. It’s amazing to see when you turn things over to your students what and how they learn. They are amazing people.

I was also equally shocked by what my students said they wanted to change:

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A lot of it centered around working in groups for math. I think I need to do some more work around how to work in groups and why we work in groups. Though I also wonder if students need some time alone to think. It reminds me of the book “Quiet.” Do we as teachers sometimes forget about those quiet moments where we reflect or think on our own? I know that group collaboration is a skill but so is working on our own. Do we give our students enough balance? I also loved the line about more homework, had a chuckle with that one.

Overall, this year has been about showing my students that they have a voice and that they are in charge of their learning. I want them to be comfortable in who they are, and know what they need to do in order to learn. I did ask one more question and that was what is one piece of advice you would give next year’s Grade Six. I did smile a little when I saw the responses because it was exactly what I was telling them all year, “Be bold, Be Brave, Be confident!”

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What would your students say about their year?

 

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Author: MrSoClassroom

I am a grade school Teacher, promoting creativity and exploration in all of my students. My classroom is always in a state of Inquiry.

5 thoughts on “Some more reflecting”

  1. I love that math got mentioned twice in the favourite things! Way to go! 😀

    One of the things mentioned at OAME this year re working in groups is to have a rule that the person whose idea it is cannot be the person to write it down. This forces them to explain the idea and someone else to get it enough to write it. I think it is an interesting thought anyway and am interested to see if I can make this routine enough to get it to work next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Heather for the comments. That is a great idea. This is also the first group of students that I have not taught yet at the school in some compacity. Between teaching primary for a couple of years and computers I have seen most kids but not this group. I forget the work that it takes to build a good collaborative classroom. Also this year I didn’t change the groups but kept them the same. Math was the only subject they didn’t have a choice in group partners. I wonder if changing this up will help too. Give flexible groups within abilities? Lot to think about. Thanks for the thoughts though. Will try that too.

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      1. The same teacher odds also a believer in visible random groupings. He uses a deck of cards, those that get an ave go to board 1 to work, 2s, etc. Haven’t tried it myself yet but am interested to explore.

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      2. Yes I have heard that research but most of my findings in elementary seem to lean to homogenous working the best. They can both look at the problem from the same eyes. But i do understand the other arguments.

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