Yes, apparently I am obsessed with acronyms this summer. But, when you can make them fun (WILD) and mean something great I just cannot help myself!
I teach 6th and 7th graders. Middle school is their transition time. It is when they begin to grow up and become independent learners. Becoming an independent learner is a corner stone of our school philosophy. I know that this takes time and can even be difficult at first, especially for students coming fresh out of elementary school. My goal is for all of my students to move from being dependent upon me for all of their learning, to becoming independent learners.
To help my students achieve independence in their learning, I am going to have designated WILD days this year. On these days I will have students start on our student created wiki help pages to access websites to work on different concepts. They can start with concepts in which they are not proficient. Students that are proficient in most concepts can work ahead so that they will not be bored reviewing concepts they have already mastered. They will keep an online WILD Log that they create using a Google Doc spreadsheet. This GDoc will be shared with me so that I can monitor their progress.
I expect that helping students target what they need to work on and finding the best resources will be high maintenance at first. Eventually however, I would like the students to learn to tailor their own learning. I want WILD to be interesting and challenging for students of varying ability levels.
Here is what I have for the GDocs WILD Log, but I would love more ideas on how to make the Log (or anything else) better.
One sentence caught my eye: “Students that are proficient in most concepts can work ahead so that they will not be bored reviewing concepts they have already mastered.”
Thank you for that. So few teachers think about these students at all, that it is refreshing to planning for them right in the initial design of a lesson.
@gasstation – YES! It is so refreshing to finally be able to plan for them! I am thrilled that technology is one more step towards me becoming the teacher that I have always wanted to be for students of all different levels. I don’t agree that so few teachers think about these students at all. In fact, I think it is the opposite. I used to teach in a large crowded public school, and then a smaller charter school that wasn’t over crowded, but had a very diverse mix of abilities in each class. When I taught in crowded classes or classes with such a diverse mix of abilities, it was difficult to differentiate for all students. I worked endlessly to meet the needs of all students, but often I did not succeed. I could sense their frustration in class on some days when the questions or misunderstandings persisted. They were the students that I often thought about the most and even kept me up at night. Hopefully, proper use of new technology will enable more teachers to help students at all levels.
Point taken. I had no access to what teachers were thinking, only what my son reported happening in the classroom. Perhaps I should have said “so few teachers manage to do anything for these students … “
I’m sorry for your son. I can easily see how a parent would feel that way. In fact, knowing what I know now is what prompted me to put my children into a different school after a bad third grade year. I always felt bad for those students as a teacher, but not until I was a parent of one of those children did I realize how much it actually did affect them. When students start doing poorly they come for extra help before school, at lunch, and after school. You hear from their parents often. Everyone is upset. But, when students are bored in class, just because they are making A’s does not mean that they aren’t just as upset as the struggling students. My son was. He started to dislike school, he was tuning out. As a teacher it makes you feel bad, but as a parent it is disheartening and scary. I want my children to love school so that they will be intrinsically motivated to do well and thus be able to comfortably support themselves in the future. Most of all, I want them to be happy. This is just one way that being a parent has made me a much better teacher.
Very cool! I wanted to figure out a way to get my students to use a wiki (or something similar) and just never got my act together. I am a new follower to your blog and hope you check my blog out too! I am hosting a giveaway this week to TeachersPayTeachers so you should stop by to enter!
This is a great concept. I think, however, as you go through the year, the idea will develop more fully… I’ve had these great ideas and some float and some sink like a rock. Let me play devil’s advocate if I may…
-Students will not, in any timely order, find what they need the most on the Wide world web. Yes, I see that they start at your class wiki, but even then, I’ve seen my 6th, 7th or 8th grade students select exactly what I didn’t want them or think that they should be doing.
-What outcomes (besides becoming more independent in their learning) do you have? Are they individual? How will a student know, measure or celebrate achievement during these days?
I’m interested in your idea, and know that this year in April I have loads of time that could go towards something similar. Or, I could just get a subscription to aleks.com or something similar that would remove most choice and independence… Please keep posts on WILD coming!