Giving students voice and choice is very important and at my school that has meant asking students from Kindergarten all the way through to year 7 what they were interested in learning more about.
Step 1: allowing students the opportunity to share ideas they were passionate and excited about.
- For the older students in stages 2, 3 and 4 they recorded their thinking via Google forms.
- The younger students in ES1 and Stage 1 verbally shared their thinking during a brainstorming session where ideas were recorded on a glass window with textas. Once the ideas were visible the students then voted to indicate their favourite topic.
Step 2: collating all the information and sharing it with all the staff at our school.
- For the younger students the ideas ranged from learning more about slime and other science activities to playing Pokemon or Minecraft.
- For the older students they expressed interest in more active, physical activities and art based activities.
- The challenge for staff was to choose an interest expressed by students and set up a display in preparation for an ‘open day’ where all the students would have an opportunity to view and then vote on which workshop they wanted to participate in!
Step 3: waiting and then discovering that students have decided to choose my project as their passion. Then developing and implementing a program that will meet all the needs of students who chose my project.
As daunting as that initial process felt at the time I now realise that we as adults need to challenge ourselves and accept that the students we work with have many hidden skills and abilities that we may not be aware of. Having colleagues who work collaboratively with you and who support you is another wonderful component of “Adventure Learning”. The first few weeks have been all about allowing the students time to explore aspects of photography as well as art mediums. To say I was blown away by their talent and ability to view the world from many perspectives is an understatement…these students have taken on every new challenge with a true joy of learning!
We have explored photographing miniature people using iPads and iPhones…
Responding to challenges based on elements of light/dark, shadows, colours, shapes and textures…
Then the students worked on using various art mediums such as water paints, aquarelle pencils, charcoal (including a range of charcoal pencils), a range of lead pencils from 2B – 6B, acrylic paints, oil pastels and Aquash brush pens. Students have also been invited to share ideas that they themselves would like to have opportunities to explore.
From there the students were able to decide on which perspective they wanted to follow to create a portfolio in preparation for week 10 of this term when they will participate in an exhibition of their learning. Within this group of amazing artists there are 17 students altogether with one from ES1 and 2 from stage 1. These 3 students have worked independently as well as with partners throughout the exploration stages and have had a little more guidance with ideas to begin their first artwork and then they will verbally share what they would like follow up in their next series of artwork.
To assist the students in understanding the where to next I provided them with a timeline so they could visually see the framework required to be successful.
“Adventure learning” is new, not just for the students but for the staff at St Luke’s Catholic College . There has been so much excitement because the students were able to choose something they were interested in and you know its working when the students share with you how much fun they are having and that they can’t wait until its Wednesday because they get to do adventure learning!!!!