Like hundreds of others, I’ve been following the studio5 initiative at ISHMC with great interest. @makingoodhumans has been incredibly humble in sharing her/their process in trying to enable student agency to/in its most authentic form.
Those of you that know me, know that my number one goal as an educator is to make learning real, and by this I mean to get my class outside of our four walls at every available opportunity. Hunting for these opportunities and then Teaching in this manner has become second nature
I’ve always struggled with the learning that takes place in the four walls of the classroom, as this learning does not meet my idea of authentic or real. Sure it might/could be relevant, significant and challenging, but to hit those four descriptors that take learning to another level (you know… the ones the IB has historically promoted: challenging, significant, relevant, authentic) you must get into the real world to make it authentic and real. (Real is far more desirable than relevant.) In the classroom trying to get to that authentic level of agency that the studio5 folks are chasing does, in one sense make things more real, more authentic; and as such I am trying to attempt to do the same for my class with inspiration from studio5.
Today I started with my grade two class at the International School of Estonia with the following chart(I was introduced to the method by the studio5 folks):
I created the first three columns. The class created the last column. We’ve been talking about the Gradual Increase in Responsibility for weeks now, and this is framing our actions/choices in this new classroom culture. Up until now the idea of Gradual Increase in Responsibility was only framing our goals (and yes, each child has a being goal which is related to actions).
I’ve been building towards this for weeks, so it’s not like the class was blindsided with a new way of organizing themselves. Voice and Choice have always been a huge part of their day with me. This initiative though, is a definitive next step for them.
I love what i see in the posts that @makingoodhumans has shared with us, and I’m borrowing and adapting what I think might work with seven year olds. Predictably all but one of my students went directly to the want to do choices this morning; the one who didn’t quickly changed his mind when he saw what his friends were doing. Slowly, as the day has progressed and with some reflective/constructive questioning on my part, some children have gone to engagements in the first three columns. It feels great. Then they went back to the want to do column. This felt less great, but I know the kids have to learn to manage the choices which is going to take tons of time…and then some more time.
I have many questions, but mostly at this very moment it’s… Is what I am doing a glorified version of ‘centers’? I don’t think so but perhaps it is. I do not doubt that what I am trying to do is what is best for my class. I hope that my version of providing more student agency works. I hope I am doing it right for this group of kids. We will see. I trust them wholly which makes all of this a lot easier.
I may be many stops behind the studio5 train, but this is okay. In fact I am likely on a different set of tracks, but headed in the same direction. As @makingoodhumans wrote you will go further together than faster alone. Thanks to the humbleness of @makingoodhumans and the studio5 team i don’t feel alone which will help me get further and in time, perhaps can some ISE colleagues on board my train.
Huge thanks for leading this (studio5 team), sharing (@makingoodhumans) and promoting (@hktans).