Weekly Reflection: The MAGIC of self-organised learning enviroments

Maker Faire Plastic Jug Igloo
Image used under creative commons licence (not my igloo) photo by Lynn Friedman

Phew.

Another week over, another term done and dusted.

A particular highlight of this week was finally getting the bottle bivvy construction started. My class had been collecting milk bottles all term but I had no idea what kind of base to build the bivvy. Finally in a moment of inspiration I realised that the refurbishment happening in my school would likely mean that there would be spare carpet to use and we were on our way.

I took a group for a ‘guided’ construction process. We watched the video about how to glue the bottles together and then I helped the students to chalk out a giant circle. What was awesome was quickly the students took over the project. Over the course of the week, the students I initially taught were teaching each other the procedure of how to glue the bottles together and we’ve made a big dent in the construction process.

To me this is learning at its purest. Finding an idea, learning a process and then others teaching each other. I hope that this is one of those the experiences that the kids remember for many years to come.

If feels like I’m coming into the home stretch of the year. The last term seems to be a manic mix of camp and end of year festivities. For my Year 8 students in particular I often wonder if I’m actually setting them for success in high school.

My class looks like this. When visitors to my room arrive, they often can’t immediately find me and spend a few minutes around looking a little lost until they find me in a little corner of the room or buried under milk bottles.

Yet I know high school classes don’t function like this. It’s an hour in and then onto the next person, no time for real deviations from the plan.

We spend a lot of time blaming in education. Workplaces blame universities for not preparing graduates for the world of work. Universities blame high schools for not preparing students for high schools. High schools blame the primary schools and on we go.

But perhaps instead of blaming we should put our energies into ensuring that each year for our students is a great year so the stay engaged in learning. Perhaps it’s teachers who need to prepare for our students rather than preparing our students for others.

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8 thoughts on “Weekly Reflection: The MAGIC of self-organised learning enviroments

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  1. Woohoo MAGIC indeed! Your bivy looks amazing! I hope you add to the blog – http://bottlebivy.blogspot.co.nz/ We have finished too and I am getting onto adding the timelapse. It is such a cool space. We cut the ribbon at shared lunch on Friday to officially launch it then all 27 of us fitted in it! Funtimes. Well done on your amazing new learning space.
    AK

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  2. Awesome work Stephanie. You are truly an inspiring teacher. Your class will have more than this memory from the year! Fantastic project. You are right about High School learning being very different but you are preparing your students to be well rounded, collaborative, happy achievers so let them cherish the now. I would love to read a book in there!

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  3. Bottle bivy looks awesome. Yeah blame! Keeps me awake at nights sometimes when I let it get under my skin, because somehow teachers seem to be at the bottom of the pile.
    I agree, keep them loving learning each year and leave it alone!
    You are doing an awesome job, can you believe it, nearly your first of many successful years completed.

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