Our teachers started the new school year with iPads in hand, ready to explore, as adult learners, in order to find ways to continue to improve the learning at Greystone. One of the areas we are developing is finding ways to make student learning public to our families and our community. We know that when students are sharing their learning beyond the walls of the classroom – that the level of engagement and the quality of work is improved. The work becomes more meaningful to students as they are sharing it with a larger audience.
I wanted to explore this a little bit with a grade 6 class I spent time with yesterday. I talked to them about doing some quality work – some pictures and words to share with others outside of our school about what it means to learn at Greystone. I told them that we would be making some chalk drawings on the front sidewalk so that the rest of the school could see their ideas – and also, parents who came in and out of the school would hopefully notice their work. This seemed to turn the activity into something more important than simply doodling on the front sidewalk.
The students asked how long these pictures and words would last out front – as the clouds were rolling in. I told them I would take pictures with my iPad so that we would have the pictures for as long as they wanted.I also told them that I would share their pictures not only with their teachers, but with all of them,their families and even the world through our school website and via Twitter. We then got into a short conversation about how Twitter can be used to connect with so many others from across Canada and even around the world. This seemed to make the task even more appealing to the students!
Students worked in small groups brainstorming a symbol that would represent our school and a message to go with their symbol – which they created on a rough draft. Ideas like Endless Learning, Anything Can Happen When You Try, Greystone Gives You Wings, and We Grow at Greystone came from the kids. They were excited to get outside and bring their ideas to life on the front sidewalk of our school. Unfortunately, the only thing that got in our way was time, and we ran out of it so a few groups did not get finished. As predicted the rain came in the afternoon and washed away all of their work…but the process of brainstorming, collaborating, designing and creating in order to share their ideas with a larger audience was successful. Thanks Learning Community 6A – it was awesome working with you on this!