The basic idea is this: ask students what they WANT to learn and then........LET THEM. Provide them the means to discover all they can discover and ask them to teach us what they learn. It's a simple, yet powerful model for learning. At Samuel Houston Elementary, teachers have been prepping themselves for the upcoming Friday. We have met as grade level teams to discuss, plan, and collaborate about the logistics of our experiment. Here's what we've come up with:
- All grade levels CAN participate, even Kindergartners.
- Allowing students to move around the campus freely is vital to their success that day.
- Each student will prepare a plan and their teachers will conference with them about their proposal.
- Dividing the students by interest will be easier to coordinate.
- Teachers will guide students in the planning stages by asking questions but will refrain from leading or giving constructive feedback.
What are you interested in learning about?
How much do you know about that?
How do you think you could learn more?
What can you do to show others about what you know?
Can you take that a step further?
How else can you show us what you learn?Teacher, by nature, are helpful people. Especially elementary teachers. Stepping back and letting students learn through discovery is going to be tough for them, but I am so encouraged by the attitude and enthusiasm our staff has shown in response to our Innovation Day. I cannot wait to see what plans our kiddos propose, which topics are being covered, and the final products of the day. Creativity might be stifled by seemingly endless attempts at standardizing kids, but I don't think it's dead just yet. I think we have the opportunity to exercise our minds with projects like Innovation Day. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out. Prepare to be impressed!
Btw: if you click on the link above re: FedEx Day, read through the comments section and think about what you could call Innovation Day on YOUR campus! There are some great suggestions there :)