Saturday, May 11, 2013

A few weeks ago I submitted what you will read below to to help inform others about SOLE.

SOLE makes so much sense to me in so many ways. I have taken to alternating short, student-decided SOLE projects with SOLE projects of a couple of days.
My students are working overtime to make their presentations the best ever. I have been making notes about what we are doing and am considering putting together a presentation to promote SOLE within my school board. I feel a lot less stress in teaching this way.

I have always believed that research was a better way of teaching students. Initially, there were no computers and research was so time consuming that it was done a few times but the levels of work were not always strong. After the advent of computers it became easier but still the access to the computers was an issue.
While access is still and issue, it forces us to be more creative about how we are getting the students online. With only two computers in the classroom, no lab time this week and I-Pods that were not functioning to capacity, we made the best of it.
I must say the students enjoyed the research process and 90% of my Grade 4/5 class were thrilled to be working using the SOLE method. I may have to modify it a bit from time to time to allow independent workers to meet their needs as well. This is all part and parcel of the learning process.
Below are some of the statements my class made when asked about working this way.
Student Responses:
  • I liked doing it and being with different people in the class.
  • I like how it helped us to work together. It is cool how we learned about cool things.
  • I really liked this research because we get to learn things that we never knew. It’s always fun to do. I don’t like the groups. I wish I could do it alone.
  • I really like using the computers because it is fun to be independent and work with friends.
  • I liked the fact that we got to work as a group. I find that I remember things better than writing on paper.
  • Researching on the computer makes it easier and faster to find facts or learn. I think it is a good idea.
  • I think it was fun getting to be able to research a whole bunch of things. I liked that we worked as a team. The only thing I would change would be a grade 5 in each group
  • What I really liked was everyone in my group was friendly. Plus I learned a lot with everyone in the class room.
  • I loved what we have been doing because it gave us time to use our computers/I-Pods. I have also learned a lot more than usual.
  • I really like doing this because everyone gets along and everyone is doing teamwork 
  • I liked it because us students can share what we know and teach your friends what you know. I didn’t like how some groups would be lazy and look at what website we were on so they could get the same information as us.
  • Liked working with other people. I did not like that some people didn’t share the electronics and caused some fights.
All in all very positive responses.
We worked on a number of SOLE topics so that I could understand further how it works. Most were just discussion pieces about what they learned. Today they put together a small display of their knowledge and shared it with the class. I can see where this fits into my social studies and science curriculum and am eager to apply it in those areas. The Grade 5 students planned and executed an experiment on matter after researching absorbancy. They are working on their presentation piece.
I think the one thing they all noted was that in jobs in the real world people work as teams to become the best that they can be. They saw this connection clearly and think this is a great way to go about learning. I couldn’t agree with them more.

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