As I reflect on my year, it has truly been a year of a-ha moments and thoughts of “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
After learning about SOLE (Student Organized Learning Environment) last summer, I had the idea to pilot these lessons in my classroom throughout the year. My goal was to encourage learner-initiated action through them, provide an environment where they are learning by doing, and take their learning into their own hands. I wanted to bring teamwork and a more collaborative atmosphere into my classroom and I wanted them to have ownership of research and presentation skills that they will learn throughout the year on their own through their own failures or by learning from others.
Little did I know, that by piloting these simple one hour lessons over what I was already teaching and doing, would essentially encompass all of my goals and exceed my expectations. The growth I have seen in my learners is incredible. Even more unbelieving is the fact that all of the research skills, knowledge, and presentation skills came from their own learning, not by me teaching them or having structured mini-lessons about them.
Through the StartSOLE app, it made facilitating these quite easy. With limited time as an educator, I appreciated that I could plan a lesson within the app in about 5 minutes and could choose big questions from the app too. I was able to project pictures of great things I saw during the SOLE sessions onto my Smartboard through the app so kids could see the collaboration of others as they worked.
Self-led learning and research is crucial and kids need to know how to become lifelong learners with our constantly changing world. Allowing kids to have that agency, accountability, and choice over how they learn, what they learn, and what they do with what they learn is profound.
Technology is our future and we have to teach kids how to use it appropriately and how to use it to learn new ideas. SOLE gives kids the opportunity for choice and the ability to learn life skills on their own which in turn makes it more meaningful to them and the learning experience is so much more effective.
I have been incredibly blessed with a great group of kids to work with this year and my teaching strategies have grown immensely. I am so happy with the decision to utilize SOLE lessons this year and it has become part of my weekly planning routine!