Today was exciting! Thanks to Don Wettrick and his Innovations Class, we began our journey into innovative learning. I had seen Don share what he was doing in his high school Innovations Class on the Two Guys Show and couldn't help but wonder what this would look like in my 3rd-5th grade GT class. After speaking with Don and hearing the amazing things that his students have done, I decided that this is exactly what I wanted my for my students.
I met with students individually today to discuss topics of interest. As they came in and sat down, I asked them questions like, "If you sat down at a computer and Googled anything at all, what would it be?" "If you could sit and talk about one topic for hours, what would you want to discuss?" "What do you think about when you are not working on school assignments?"
Student after student sat in front of me and hesitated as though this might be a trick question. They gave me the "Are you serious?" look and then sat there...thinking.
As I watched my students, I realized that this was a new concept to them. It isn't often that they are asked what they want to learn. They are not usually in control of what they learn. Instead, they are told what they will learn and when and how they will learn it.
But then it happened, student after student began to share. They began sharing things that they would love to investigate, explore, and analyze. Many of them lit up as they told me about their interests. Some of them were predictable and expected while others were surprising and refreshing. All of their ideas were welcomed and accepted.
Our next step is to meet as a group and make some important decisions about how we will carry this out. I want the students to have ownership in the planning process as well as their projects. Students will be speaking to experts outside of our school as well as blogging about the process throughout the year.
I know that this is going to be a learning experience for the students as well as myself. There are going to be bumps in the road but we must remember that every bump will bring us closer to our destination.
I will post often about our innovative learning journey on this blog. Please feel free to comment and share with others that might be interested in following along as well.