Wyandot Kindergartners Write their Own Lesson Plan
The best learning often starts with a really good question. And if you’re a kindergartner in Anne Gibson’s class at Wyandot Early Childhood School, you get 30 minutes nearly every day to do just that.
It’s a little something Gibson likes to call “Inquiry Workshop” - a time when her students get to not only be curious, but also become the experts. And while she may orchestrate the actual subject matter to align with whatever science or social studies kindergarten standard is up next, her students essentially write the lesson plan from there. It’s all the makings of a personalized learning experience.
“I find a way to get them hooked with a specific question,” said Gibson of her inquiry-based approach that favors student voice and decision-making throughout the learning process. As a result, she says, student ownership and engagement skyrocket.
“Some discover their independence and literally take it in their own direction,” Gibson said.
Most recently, this approach took the shape of a class-created book all about the solar system. Gibson used the recent solar eclipse to spur a long list of student-generated questions all about the sun, moon, stars and other facets of the solar system that may have never even made it into Gibson’s lesson plan otherwise.
From there, each student adopted a question and chose where and how to find the answer. As a class, they also decided that a book was the best way to share their knowledge to others. So, they went to work on writing and illustrating their individual pages.
This is where Gibson so often sees projects that start with science and social studies standards bleed into other areas like reading and writing. “They are just beginning to spell and sound out words,” said Gibson, explaining how the book helped them to see a direct application of this skill very early in the school year. It was also their first experience with non-fiction writing, a standard her class will tackle later this school year.
In some fashion, Gibson even lets the students dictate the length of a project. “I’ll let it continue as long as they’re still interested and engaged in a topic,” she said.
Several weeks into the project, Gibson’s students were still hard at work on their book - some still on their first page and others who had tackled multiple pages, while still others huddled in the class’s reading corner to indulge in one of the many space books Gibson had put out.
If you stepped back and took it all in, it was certainly a picture of personalized learning.
- personalized learning