Experiential inquiry based learning

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/03/creating-classrooms-we-need-8-ways-into-inquiry-learning/

experiential learning – make it meaningful, robust to get engagement.

ask students to use their own voice

inquiry learning approach to challenging students

allow kids to fail as part of the learning process

ask students what they can do with the information that is all around them, how can they be critical of it, how can they compare it to what they already know

experiential learning – student voice – embracing failure

Experiential learning and integrated curriculum

Reading a lot about unschooling and the approach to learning in these families and communities I have noticed a common theme.  Learning through experience. In learning through experience children gain a greater level of understanding, they can make connections to things that they already know and can add value and meaning to what they are experiencing.

Experience, by nature, does not isolate curriculum areas, it integrates them.  All knowledge comes to play within one activity giving a rounded, more complete understanding.

Being somewhere where curriculum integration is the norm, is championed and celebrated gives me both opportunity and challenge when it comes to planning rich learning experiences for my class. We have the opportunity to follow a question, fully work through a cycle of enquiry with few limitations.  I have the challenge of planning for the unknown while still maintaining focus in the form of learning intentions and expected outcomes form my students.  A bonus in working this way is that activities and learning are differentiated through the nature of experiences and prior knowledge and the benefit for students is huge in terms of being able to access learning at their level within all classroom activities.

My challenge is to marry paper with practice.

I enjoy reading this blog and in particular this post that discuss the value of experiential learning.

http://unschoolingme.blogspot.co.nz/2013/08/classes-workbooks-textbooks.html

Collaborative journals.

When searching ideas around writing and improving both engagement and motivation for writing in my classroom I found this article which I could relate to.  Having used whole class journals in the past it was interesting to revisit the idea and apply it to my new class and the change in age group.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/class-journals

I have used whole class journals in the past and the students have enjoyed them.  I really agree with the author’s statement that at times you just need to take a break from your set piece and write on a different topic to give you renewed motivation.  In my past class students were very proud of their journals and it was a great way for students to share their writing with others.  They were well read during silent reading time too.

I would like to have the journals be ‘whole class’ journals, ie: written in by all students on a set topic chosen by the class at the beginning of the year.  The aim is fluency and adding detail freely when writing about shared experiences, and increasing opportunities to write.

My concern at this age level is that there is a large spread of abilities within the class, I want motivation and confidence to increase and wonder whether the class dynamic may mean that these journals are used as a tool against other students?

I have purchased 4 journals to use in class and intend to have students choose their own topic for writing in them.  Having a smaller number of students I can see that we could use these journals repeatedly, improving our writing each time and they could become a record of whole class goals being applied during all writing opportunities.

Child’s views on learning

Some holiday reading that is written in kids speak, using child’s language and giving their views on classrooms, teaching and learning.

Holmes, J (1999) Learn, Think, Live – Mike Scadden’s amazing new method of learning.

I’m wondering whether I know this about the students I teach? Have I ever asked them what they think of our classroom environment, how they like to learn or how they’d like to be taught?

In most cases I make a judgement about their style of learning as I get to know them, I observe them in different situations and adjust my program and classroom in response.

What sticks out for me is the highlights for students, the things that I didn’t expect and the things that I would only know about my day, lesson, classroom etc. by asking.

I would like to read this with my class to prompt discussion and to them confidence in their responses.