Self-directed Learning: Getting Started
I am very excited about incorporating self-directed learning into my curriculum. I work with two awesome fifth grade teachers who embraced the idea when I shared it with them. Great to not be doing this alone!
We had two sessions where we got all the fifth graders together to brainstorm ideas and do an activity to see what a project might look like.
Now we are working with the students in our homeroom only. The students filled out a survey about their strengths, interests, life experiences, etc. They also listed whether they had an idea for a topic and project.
I have met with 8 students the past two days. Each initial student conference lasts about 10 minutes. It is time consuming in the beginning, but once they get going, the conferences will simply be me checking in on progress and facilitating learning/process.
Students are learning how to research their topic and are taking two column notes: main idea/details. Also, in their spirals, students are writing reflections about the process. This week, I have a surprise for my students. They will each have their own blog on Kidblog. This will raise the stakes for the kids since now their work will be seen by the world! I am hoping to share my students' work with my Twitter PLN and Facebook friends and get some immediate feedback for students. Please read their blogs and leave positive comments!!
New Developments with SDL
Students are almost ready to start blogging about the process of self-directed learning. My teammates and I drafted a permission letter to parents explaining Kidblog and online safety guidelines. Students will get their passwords when they pass in the signed permission slip.
It was exciting, earlier this week, when @joykirr contacted me through Twitter about putting my blog on the Genius Hour live binder. She also put me in contact with @robynthiessen who facilitates the Global Genius Hour Project. Our self-directed learning blogs will be part of this project. Students around the world will see Room 16's blogs! We will be able to see others' blogs and share praise and feedback. I will explain this to my class tomorrow. They will be excited, I am sure!
We have been lucky to have access to the computer lab the last two weeks. Not anymore. Time to get creative with laptop/ iPad accessibility.
Learning to draw
Building a Lego City
Ice Age Interests
Researching Goalie Jerry Cheevers
On Friday, I gave my fifth grade students the blogging permission form and told them that they will get their passwords when they return the signed form. As of today, there is only one student who has not returned the form. Many are blogging and commenting. They love it!
Of the 20 forms I have received, only six parents did not sign permission for their students faces to be seen. That was surprising to me. I thought more parents would be wary of this. I was pleasantly surprised.
I am creating mini lessons to improve the quality of my students' blogs, as well as a kid friendly blogging rubric.
With Kidblog, I approve all blogposts and comments before the public sees them. I like having that safety net!
Please read my students' blogs and leave encouraging, helpful comments. If you have trouble getting on to the blog, please let me know. I may need to double check my settings. I think it is ready to go though!
We Have an Audience
Our progress with blogging is exciting! Students are thrilled to be getting comments from all over North America, as well as the Bahamas and New Zealand! Our blog has over 4,000 views after one week of blogging!
Now that students see they have an audience, they are stepping up their game for sure! I am almost done with the blogging rubric. I shared it with my team and am revising based on their feedback. I will share it when done. I shared examples of great kid blogs and will be showing them how to cite sources next week after our overnight field trip. The rubric will also clarify what is expected and includes relevant standards.
Here are a few pictures that show examples of posts and comments, but please visit our site http://kidblog.org/MrsMilnersClass-2/ read the blogs, and leave a comment! You will make their day!
Here is the blogging rubric that I created for my students' self directed learning blogs. It is a work in progress. I was inspired by an article I saw on Twitter, "Your Rubric is a Hot Mess: Here's How to Fix It," posted by Jennifer Gonzalez. The single point rubric is just brilliant! We tend to look at the "Meets" column while grading a rubric, so why not just have that on the rubric with space for not meeting and a space for exceeding. Our report cards are standards based anyway, so this is more organic/informative about each child's progress. As much as possible, I used the language on our report cards...common core standards. I recommend the article and feel free to use and tweak this rubric for your needs.
Student: ____________________________ Month: __________________
Room to Grow
Progress Towards Standard
Standards for this Performance
Above and Beyond
Evidence of Exceeding Standards
Clear and Coherent Writing
The student clearly expresses original ideas and stays on topic. Writing is appropriate for the audience. Each post has at least 5 sentences.
The student wrote at least one post a week.
Follows the Writing Process
The student’s posts show improvement from planning to final draft due to drafting, revising, and editing.
Prod./Distribution of Writing
The student commented on other blogs at least once a week. If applicable, the student cited others in their research and writing.
Use of Media
The student enhanced their blog by regularly using video, audio, images or other media