Te@chThought‘s Day 23 Challenge is: “Write about one way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in the learning in your classroom. If you don’t yet do so, discuss one way you could get started.”
I am not sure if using a single way to involve the community can meet the criteria of being meaningful. Involving the community requires offering multiple access points into your classroom. It was a difficult process for me to be comfortable welcoming other adults into the daily routine of classroom teaching. I still get stage fright! It can be scary to invite others in and possibly face criticism. But, the flip side of having an open door policy means that you also welcome the exchange of information both ways. Instead of criticism, more often helpful suggestions or ideas are offered by guests. Sharing out ideas and experiences helps to form connections with experts, other classrooms and new voices for our learners to hear.
So, in the spirit of involving others in day to day life:
- we tweet from a classroom Twitter account. We use hashtags to organize our thinking and to connect to others. We proudly share our learning and our questions. A new term this year is “WOW” – Worthy Of the World: moments to share out.
- we blog. Students can write on any topic, seeking support, guidance, feedback and connections from around the world. Twitter helps facilitate and amplify our student voices by sharing blog post links.
- I’ve always had a class wiki, but this year I am trying a general classroom blog. I am hoping that the authorship of this blog will shift and become a student perspective/sharing out.
- we invite in guests or travel out to visit new learning sites. We learn from experts and venture out on adventures together!
- student work is shared out in the school newsletter.
- we attend conferences, or participate on committees – students are welcome to share their voices at some conferences or at the Board Office, and our learners play a key role on some committees at school.
- we participate in Global Projects, reminding the learners how small our world is. This Autumn we will be participating in Global Read Aloud and Dot Day to begin our year and we will once again embark on Genius Hour.
Providing opportunities to connect or windows into the learning our students are doing is important. Forming connections between home and school is vital to extend the learning that happens in both environments. Encouraging students to embrace feedback from more than one source as they explore and learn will also grant our learners access to a greater wealth of information, ideas and opinions.