Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Websites and "What's Next?"

Today was a 20% Time work day with an embedded workshop.  We combined our groups of kids for the last two classes of the day and had them work on their projects.  During this time, Sheila Burkett, a team parent and IT professional, conducted a workshop about creating websites and blogs.  All of the groups have blogs, but Sheila was able to show the kids some advanced features of Blogger and how to improve their blogs.  Ten to fifteen kids participated in the workshop while the rest of the kids worked on their projects.

While many groups were busy working on their projects, we coached the kids on "What's next?" with their projects.  Part of the frustration of this whole project for us is that kids keep looking to us for direction.  We try to question them so that they discover, on their own, the next step in their process, but some of the kids want to be "rescued" or given so much direction that the project becomes ours instead of theirs.  We resist giving answers and instead ask questions that we hope will stimulate new ways of thinking about their projects.  

We cannot lie.  It is incredibly frustrating to see kids who are doing nothing when they should be working.  When asking them about their inaction, we get answers like, "Well, we sent an e-mail."  Ummmm, and????  Making that paradigm shift, for many kids, from "I have to do what the teacher tells me" to "I am in charge of my own learning and I know what I need to do next to reach my goals" is monumental.  About 25% of the kids are already there, another 25% are getting there, and the other 50% are struggling.  While we struggle ourselves with their creative paralysis, we have to keep reminding ourselves that, for many, this is the first time in their lives that they have been in charge of their learning.  If nothing else, this semester will be a great introduction to creative problem-solving and they will be much more able to face these types of challenges in the future. - Don

No comments:

Post a Comment