A few weeks back, I came across an IG post by the Primary Gal that caught my attention. She was gearing up for her summer book study; the book title was catchy and intrigued me enough to go straight to Amazon to look into it.
After reading the brief summary, I was all in! I want my classroom to be a bunch of pirates!
I'm linking up with Amanda (The Primary Gal) and several other teacher bloggers for this summer read. Each week, we'll share our thoughts, inspirations, and resources for transforming our classrooms into environments where students can led!
Chapter 1: What is a Student-Led Classroom?
That's a good question! My first response would be something along the lines of a room where students are in charge of what is being taught/learned, possibly slightly chaotic, and monitored by a teacher just for the sake of adult supervision.
That's a bit pessimistic, don't you think?
I love how Paul Solarz (author) describes what a student-led classroom is: "A student-led classroom is one in which students make decisions and choices throughout the day without consulting the teacher. These decisions impact their own actions, the actions of others, and even the actions of the teacher. Everyone in the classroom appears to have equal power and equal say in what happens, although everyone understands that the teacher's word is final."
He continues by describing how learning targets don't change, just the method of instruction. Less focus on the teacher talking (whaa-whaa-whaa in my best Charlie Brown teacher voice) and more on students becoming engaged and active learners. Say what you need to and let them explore the objective through teaching each other.
I love this concept. Obviously, it would be easier to implement in the later elementary grades, but I'm really looking forward to tweaking it for my upcoming Kindergartners. Given the proper preparation and procedures, those little learners definitely can start taking charge of their own learning in certain areas of content. Now, just how can I accomplish this with 5 year olds? Ah, that's a great question!
Start early and practice often! Pick a short segment of time each day to give students the opportunity to teach each other a skill that you've covered. Teach, practice, let them re-teach it back to others in the way they best understand the skill. That could be just one way to lay the foundation for students who take charge of their learning.
I think Paul's statement of being patient, praising every attempt, and practicing to make permeant are so important! It won't happen overnight, it might be more difficult for some than others, and require lots of practice, but oh won't it be it worth it when your students could essentially run the classroom on those dreaded days you have to be out?!
Check out what others are saying about Chapter 1 by clicking on the links below and come back next week to see what we thought about Chapter 2: Common Concerns about Student-Led Classrooms.