Skip to main content

Reflections on Building a Student-Centered Learning Environment


"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin

I am passionately curious about how students learn best. I am always experimenting with new ideas and lessons to challenge my students to own their learning. I do not "teach" my students, I instead I do my best to facilitate learning in a student-centered classroom. 

This year I want to help students adjust to a more student classroom. I decided to start our first major unit on ecology a with this in mind. Instead of starting with direct vocabulary activities, I decided to build the foundation around a field experience to one of our local prairies. We explored the prairie in small groups while engaging the students in building a sense of space about the ecosystem.

We returned to the classroom and began to build a Google+ Collection that connected key concepts from the unit to our exploration of the Prairie. Students were given guidelines and encouraged to collaborate. I circulated the room and clarified and questioned. We checked in with Google form exit slips and a quick Kahoot review / discussion. Students were encouraged to review for a quiz covering the objectives we had been working through. 

Students typically struggle on our first several assessments. The breadth of the material and the depth of many of the questions is not something they have enough experience with. Despite this, I was hopeful that we were ready. The quiz was online and students were encouraged to use the resources they created to help them with the quiz. The only rule was that they could not help each other. The results were not what the students and I hoped for. 


We decided to drop the quiz for now and take a few more days to dig deeper into the concepts on the quiz that were the biggest struggles. I stood my ground and I have not lectured or given them the answers. I instead create several additional collaborative experiences to help the students experience the concepts. These activities allowed for differentiated learning opportunities. Students had options to choose where to focus as they worked through the activities.

My normal practice is to go over the quiz and then we would create opportunities to earn points back. I decided instead to not share the questions and answers. Students will instead receive the same quiz tomorrow. 

My students will still need more time to learn how to use the activities and manage our assessments. We will take our time and grow together as learners. I am both hopeful and nervous that we will show some improvement through this process. 

I will check back in soon to let everyone know how we did on our second go around. 






Popular Posts

Developing a Future Ready Classroom With the 4 Cs - Free Flipped PD Opportunity

The skills connected to collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity are essential for all students. The best classroom activities engage students in content while providing opportunities to practice the 4Cs in learner-centered environments.

The best professional development also models the 4 Cs for staff. We've created a free flipped PD HyperDoc to connect educators to 4 Cs resources and experiences. Let us know what you think in the comments below. 


Developing a Future Ready Classroom with the 4 Cs HyperDoc

Share Your Learning Experience Learn something new? Have a resource to share? Maybe a question? Please engage in the conversation using one or more of these resources.
Padlet - CollaborationPadlet - CommunicationPadlet - CreativityPadlet - Critical ThinkingFlipgrid - Share Your Why

How Will You Welcome Back Students in 2018?

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." Neil Gaiman
I hope everyone is enjoying their breaks and looking forward to reconnecting with your students in 2018?


How will you start the new year with your students?  Will you jump right into the content? Reflect on the break or 2017? Something fun? Something different?

Please share your thoughts and ideas for 2018 in the comments below?
I've decided to do something new to welcome my students back. This year we will be working through a HyperDoc to start 2018. HyperDocs are not new for my students, but most of them are connected to our content. My welcome back HyperDoc will include:

A review of events and stories from 2017.Student creation of an Avatar conne…

HyperDocs - Frameworks for the 4 Cs in Student-Centered Classrooms

HyperDocs are powerful digital activities that shift the focus of learning from the teacher to the students. The best HyperDocs support essential skills connected to collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.


Source: About HyperDocs HyperDoc Fundamentals
HyperDocs are powerful frameworks to support inquiry-based learning. HyperDocs allow students to explore interactive resources at their own pace. HyperDocs are digital frameworks that can support differentiated learning. HyperDocs don't just present the facts. HyperDocs use questions, problems, and scenarios to help students learn, explore, and create. HyperDocs provide options for student voice and give students choices in how to engage in the content. HyperDocs support individual, small group, and whole class opportunities.HyperDocs connected to Formative Assessments help students know what they know and explore what they don't know.
HyperDoc Resources
Want to learn more about using HyperDocs to support coll…