Putting Students in Charge of Their Learning Journey

Putting Students in Charge of Their Learning Journey

>>Student: So you think they
breathe through their skin or what?>>Casey: When students are compelled
to ask the questions that I’d want to ask them, but they’re creating
these questions on their own, that’s when their minds
are actually engaged.>>Do you see any sort of
respiration happening anywhere?>>Student: No. I do not.>>Arria: Here at the Springfield
Renaissance School, I think if you step into any classroom, you’re going to
see a teacher who isn’t lecturing but really doing a balance of catch
and release student-centered learning. We begin with what do your lessons
need to look like in order to make sure that students have a part in it. When teachers are designing a
lesson, they’re really thinking of what am I going to have
students grapple with today? What am I going to have them figure out?>>Casey: All right. So let’s go
look at some really gross bugs.>>I think if you over-structure a
lesson, then you lose your students. Yeah, you might be really, really
organized and you might tick every one of your boxes, but you lose them. So if I can be flexible
enough as an educator to let them guide the instruction,
that’s where real learning lies. To start the class, the do now was to
list the characteristics of an organism that you would need to know in order
to determine its role in an ecosystem.>>Think specifically about the
physical qualities of the animals. Right? So what would you notice
about it that would help you go, hmm, this thing might bite me?>>Student: If there’s more
teeth or sharper teeth, they most likely eat animals.>>Casey: We shared out the list
at the beginning of the class and created an anchor chart on
the board of these characteristics that would want to be
paying attention to.>>Casey: All right, Jaidin,
what are you thinking?>>Jaidin: Way of transportation
or its legs.>>Casey: You’re going to look at some of
these organisms and you’re going to be, like, I don’t even know
which end is which. So if you get stuck like
that, come back to the list.>>Jaidin: We are looking for body size,
the mouth, if it had legs or if it swam. The first station I was at,
there were worm-like things and they were an inch
long, each of them. They were tangled together, and they
were squirming on top of each other. It was kind of gross and
awesome at the same time.>>Casey: While students were
off in their different groups, there was a level of intense curiosity.>>Student: Ms. Fletcher,
is there a reason why–>>Casey: This is exactly
what we’re talking about. Like, those really weird body–>>Student: Feathers on it
>>Student: I wonder what–>>Casey: Feathers. Okay.
Tell me about that.>>And when I know that, yes, I got them,
is when they start asking the questions that I’m hoping that they would ask.>>Student: These roly-poly-looking
ones, they’re the isopods?>>Casey: Yeah.
>>Student: Okay.>>Casey: If I’m not excited about
what it is that I’m teaching, I definitely can’t expect my
kids to be excited about it. So if I’m modeling what it
looks like to be curious and to safely investigate
life, then they, I think, feel empowered to stand alongside
me and do the same thing.>>Jaidin: Ms. Fletcher, she’s pretty
curious, and it makes you want to go along with her and learn with her. Because she’s only human;
she doesn’t know everything. So it’s really fun to
learn things with her.>>Jaidin: Why are they moving?>>Casey: That’s a good question.
Why wouldn’t they move?>>Jaidin: So that we can’t see them?>>Chantel: Curiosity
allows you to push yourself to understand more, to ask questions. It allows me to see for myself so I
can have my own understanding of it. Because Ms. Fletcher, she gives you
understanding, but when you see it up close, you can write your own notes
and have your own meaning behind it.>>Casey: So this weekend for
homework, what you’re going to be doing with this information is hypothesizing
what you think these organisms do in their environment based on the
qualities that you are observing.>>I could have very easily just
shown them pictures of the organisms and told them what role
they play in the ecosystem. But there’s not a lot of critical
thinking that’s involved in that. It’s just sort of passive consumption. It’s really hard to look at
the mouth of a dragonfly nymph without getting really,
really close to it, but they did because they were curious.>>Student: They can sense if
prey’s around or something.>>Casey: Having all those little
feelers out to be able to detect?>>They’re asking the questions.
They’re finding the answers and I’m just a facilitator. That’s my job and those are the
moments that they take with them.>>Casey: And for an organism like
that, why might that be important?>>Student: Because they’re very small.>>Casey: So do you think this
is a prey animal or a predator?>>Student: This is definitely a prey.


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    Maycon Rebouças Leal

    It's seems promising, but this class has a few students so based on my opinion only I would say that this just would work in a scenario like on the video: few students on class.

    How would manage a class with more than 30 students like in Brazil?And I'm not even considering the social problems

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    Christian Butcher

    This is an awesome engagement activity, but I'm wondering what a classroom like this looks like when getting into the real difficult stuff. How do you take kids from the wondery of bugs to some rigorous argumentation and modeling?

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