Chapter 5 – pages 163 – 201

Comment below regarding this chapter.

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10 thoughts on “Chapter 5 – pages 163 – 201

  1. As fifth grade is a digital classroom, I enjoyed reading the digital aspects of this chapter. I have found that what it states on page 175 is so true: …”connected learning represents a path forward and that it is the learning that is socially rich and interest fueled.” I remember before iPads I continually searched for ways to get fifth graders motivated. I was just thinking the other day that I really don’t do that anymore because things have changed. The iPads actually make it easier for personal learning, too. There is so much choice involved in any projects we work on. The students love that.
    I also enjoyed reading about print vs. digital. As I have stated many times before, it is about balance. I would not want a paperless classroom. There are things in which digital just does not work. By the way, I have found just like the book states, that enhanced e-books can distract students.
    I love the term “expert learner”! I believe that is the most solid point of this whole book. Fifth graders love being in control. Through the use of Mindset techniques, I have seen this time and again. The challenging part for me is to get students one step further and direct their learning. I look forward to future classes when they are into this already!

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  2. This chapter was really fascinating to read since 3rd grade has made a huge shift towards becoming a more technology driven environment in the past few weeks. My students are so excited to be using iPads. They love exploring new apps and personalizing their learning by choosing which app they want to work on and why. I also think they love the ownership that comes with being in charge of a personal ipad. They have really shown a lot of responsibility.

    The iPads have caused great frustration for some of my students, but the frustration has really pushed them to work that much harder to keep up and practice. Typing has been the biggest challenge thus far, but in only a few weeks, my students have made leaps and bounds. Every time they use the iPads they become more comfortable and confident.

    I have watched an attitude of ownership take over in my classroom. The students have really been honest about what they need to work on. In math, personalizing their learning has been so straightforward and easy with the iPads. There are countless math apps that cover what we learn each day. They help students review concepts and add knowledge to concepts.

    A sense of community has really been strengthened with the iPads. Students have been blogging and commenting on each other’s posts. They love the feedback and have really pushed themselves to work harder, knowing that their work will be on display.

    It’s really been a huge learning experience for me as well. I truly feel like so many neat learning opportunities are at our fingertips with the1:1 iPads. My students are truly engaged in their learning and excited about it. I’m excited to see how our iPad use grows and changes in the next couple of weeks.

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  3. I loved reading about Louisa’s experience with increased “ownership.” It brought up the power of the quote on page 154, “Most learner voice activity in schools resides in expression, consultation, and participation. The GOAL (my emphasis) is for learners to have a voice that moves to partnership, activism, and leadership roles.” What might that look like for our youngest kiddos? I like to think how a seven year old can learner “partnership” with a teacher. Plays and drama are one way to accomplish this. So is building representations and defending them in mathematics.

    I also enjoyed the quote on page 170: “the brain interprets printed and digital text in different ways.” Another example of the endless paradoxes we must learn to embrace in the 21st Century. In Benedict Carey’s wonderful book, How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens (2014), he talks a lot about how location, mood, and zillions of other factors influence whether we remember things. For example, a new research study proved that if you learned something while inebriated, you’ll only remember it well on a test…if you are inebriated. If you are sober, your test score on the subject you learned inebriated will go down. The converse is also true.

    Seriously. Don’t tell the folks at Maggie’s Farm…

    This is because the brain likes consistency. Sadly, to its detriment. We have to train it to like variety. Thus, to store something way beyond short term memory, we have to study in a constant variety of ways. That’s to ensure your brain remembers it if the setting of the test is not familiar to you. The old idea of “find a quiet place to study,” is only right if you only plan to remember the content for a very short time. …it’s why kids never remember their spelling words…

    That’s the rub, I guess. That to make learning personal, we have to become very tuned into the variety and teach our learners to tune into it. Did you remember your multiplication facts better when you studied with the tv on in the background? Or when you were jumping on the trampoline? Did you remember the text better when it was digital or printed? It’s slightly different for each learner which is why THEY should be partnering with us and practicing learner activism in the classroom.

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  4. The section that resonated most for me was the section on flexible learning spaces. I am motivated to rethink my space to encourage more choice and collaboration among students and to create a safe and supportive climate and culture. I loved the quote by Vygotsky, “The most fruitful experience in a child’s education is her collaboration with more experienced or skilled partners.”
    The section on motivating factors also pointed out the importance of feeling OK and a sense of well being in a learning environment as key motivator as well as having an active experience with opportunities to plan and reflect upon our learning.
    I am more inspired to reflect on how my environment supports or may even be counterproductive as described on p. 197
    -The more structured we make the environment,the more structure learners need.
    -The more we decide for learners, the more they expect us to decide.
    -The more responsibility for learning we try to assume, the less they accept on their own.
    -The more control we exert, the more restive their response.
    If we are going to truly cultivate a love of learning we need to think about ways to empower our students from the earliest years to be in charge of their own learning.

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  5. This chapter made more sense to me, especially the “growth mindset” section. I agree with all of this, and I like the emphasis on changing mindset. Mindset in learning is everything. So to what degree I can help a student think differently about their abilities, potential and learning goals, I want to find those keys. Where I believe we connect important knowledge, core knowledge, if you will, is in the motivation piece. It does seem on the surface that core knowledge and personal learning are at odds, but I think it depends on how we set up the options. For example the history piece. Last week I played a NOVA documentary for the 5th and 6th graders on the research project that was undertaken to figure out how the Romans got the wild beasts to the floor of the Colosseum in Rome without the crowd knowing how it was done – also how they flooded and emptied it in very little time. The kids were fascinated, asking really great questions. They didn’t want to stop talking about it even when the time was up. Granted, the movie was done in a way that was not boring for their age, but there was a good deal of engineering talk and ideas in it. I was so encouraged. It made me think of all the possible mini projects that could spin off, like creating a pulley system, using the principles of the Colosseum lift system. Words have also been great for the kids. When we talk about where the meanings come from and how they connect to other things, it’s inspiring. For example, they love the word “inspiration”, because they can connect it with “spire”, like on a cathedral. I guess I’m a geek, but I think there are lots of launch points. I love using art history, too. It connects with literally everything. I feel like I have lots of material to work with, but I need more lessons on how to facilitate whetting the interest part, knowing where to point kids, and then getting out of the way.

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  6. To begin, I enjoyed reading about creating expert learners. The diagram that explained the steps from giving the child a voice through the self-regulation painted a picture, which could be used in every classroom with every child regardless of their ability or passion. The child is at their own place in the system…. personalized learning.

    When we were in elementary school the skills for the future were quite different than the skills listed in this chapter. I liked the fact that the skills noted were also motivators for our students today. They enjoy technology, communicating, problem solving, etc. Watching ipads come into our school has been remarkable in that every child has an opportunity to use technology, they love it, and they are clearly motivated just by using it! Our school naturally evolves with the educational current and children’s’ needs.

    I agree with Kym that it is also fascinating how environment supports may be productive or may even be counterproductive. The structures, decisions, responsibilities, and control we put into place can have an impact that might not motivate a child to become an expert learner.

    Understanding that each of our students are learners, developing the skills to become even more amazing, can develop personalization further in our school.

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  7. The first thing that struck me from this chapter was Figure 5.1 which showed the continuum of an expert learner. This figure and the explanation surrounding it modeled that personalized learning is a process and I appreciated that. I love the fact that we get to teach and prepare kids for jobs that we may not even know about yet. I agree with the text on the kinds of skills we should be teaching to prepare our kids for the advancing world. However, because of all the pressures schools, administrators, and teachers are currently facing due to testing mandates I think schools considering this approach to education, our school included, have to make a choice. To go in this direction, we have to decide that regardless of what the state mandates we will teach the skills we believe and know students need to be successful citizens in the advancing world. We make this choice with the understanding that those skills may not always align with the skills needed to perform on a standardized test, but we have the support from our leaders to keep the twenty-first century skills our focus. I think our school district is caught in this tough place between what we want to do and what we feel pressured to do and is struggling to balance both. I think that has sent a mixed message to the teachers as we wonder each day which way do I go? Personally, I have felt like I’m being asked to do both and finding it pretty difficult. I loved the ideas presented in this chapter for how to create a more personalized learning environment. The possibilities and ideas really excited me. However, again I feel that we have tried to move into this direction and have met resistance and obstacles. It just leads me to feel that moving toward this type of structure and learning for our kids could be a great thing and we have shown glimpses of it already in our school, but for us to completely move in this direction we need to decide what our unwavering goal and purpose is and we need the unwavering support from the top-down to do it.

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  8. I agree with Kym about the flexible learning spaces. The ability to be able to adapt and learn and grow in different situations and environments is serious business if we want to all move to a growth mindset. The place where we actually allow ourselves to release control is scary but necessary.
    The concept of a structure classroom has always been important to me and many see structure as not being flexible. The balance in this is being flexible within the structure to allow all to learn not just at their own pace but in their own way. Imagine if a Doctor or a Lawyer had over 20 patients at a time and had to treat/ listen to them all and move them forward positively. It would seem crazy. But as educators we do this daily.

    Being flexible also will require us as educators to say that we are preparing our students for jobs we have not created yet and preparing them to enter a world that has established jobs. This is the most challenging concept to balance for me. I do not see myself preparing them for jobs but to find how they will fill a niche or a void in our world. I hope this is where they can find happiness.

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