On Saturday, May 20, we hosted our first event. In terms of having strangers show up, take a chance on a new style of learning, and give positive feedback about it, it was an all out success! In terms of numbers and next steps, we still have plenty of room to grow.
The event was a 2-hour experience, in a Capitol Hill Community Center, where families were invited to come for the morning and try out a new style of teaching and learning, putting the student at the center of every part of the experience. Taking a page from Sugata Mitra, we hosted a S.O.L.E. type experience, which stands for Self-Organized Learning Experience. The students are given a big question, they think about it, and then they have to figure out how to find the answer, how to distill that information, and how to present it back to the class... all in a small group format of collaborating. While our numbers didn't allow for the ideal amount of collaboration and depth of conversation, the students did have the experience of being in charge of themselves, their learning, and sharing out at the end. In the whole experience, I (as the teacher-facilitator) did not give out any information, only asked questions. And yet, the students learned!
It was great to see the 7 year olds engaged throughout the entire session, not wanting to take a break, not asking when it was over or wanting to leave. In fact, at the end, they were still raving about how awesome it was!
Some of my favorite quotes were:
"It's silly that we are the teachers!"
"I like that I could sit anywhere, or move while I worked"
"This was awesome!"
I am currently taking in all of the feedback, lessons learned, and positive outcomes and determining how this will factor into the planning of event number 2... coming up in June! The ball has begun to roll and it's picking up steam, and I am thrilled!
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!