Blog Archive

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Moving to a Student-centered Classroom

Being that I teach 2nd grade students, passing on the control and transitioning the learning to be more student-centered can be intimidating for the students and for me.  I begin each school year by creating a lot of structure and making sure my students know my expectations very clearly.  In the beginning we do our projects together.  I take it step by step, modeling every little detail.

In my lessons I often say things like, "I don't know the answer to that question but I know how to find it!"  I show them how to Google their questions.  I show them how to look at maps online and YouTube videos. I show my students how I blog to communicate with others.   I try to take every teachable moment possible to demonstrate how to take learning into their own hands.

Once I know that my students are grasping the basics, I give them more freedom.  For example, at the end of this last school year I had my students do a research project.  This was very student-centered and each student worked at their own pace.  They Googled to find information and pictures and created their own slide presentations.  There were some reluctant students whom I had to show more support to but for the most part, the class was very eager to have the independence and make the learning their own.

As far as "teaching students to demonstrate their master/understanding without explicit requirements," I feel like the modeling and setting of the structure in my classroom takes care of that.  When my students know that I have high expectations in all that they do, they will understand what I want to see when they are in control of their own learning experiences.

Digital Distraction

I would say that my way of controlling digital distraction is by authority.  Being that I teach very young children, I feel like I am the one who needs to model and teach how to use the devices in the proper way.  I want my students to get the most educational time from the school day that is possible and we do not waste any time in my class.  It is my hope that the structure I provide in my classroom will continue on with the students as they progress through their years in school.

I do utilize some of the third level, self-control.  Especially when we get to the latter part of the school year I give my students more freedom in choosing their learning activities.  If they have extra time after finishing an assignment I will tell them to choose a learning activity.  They will often ask me if their choice is appropriate, and usually it is.  I also have some choices listed on my blog and on our school website.

I really don't think there are any "resources" that I would need to let my students have complete self-control.  Complete self-control is something that should come with more time and experience.