Thursday, March 2, 2017

Find the Force #5 (Genius Hour #5)

It's amazing what happens when you give students a stake in their own education.  That's what our Force Projects are all about (you can read more about our journey at Find the Force #1#2#3, & #4).

As a part of our Force Projects, we are engaging in some blogging and interacting online with each others' blogs.  As time has gone on, however, I noticed that the blog posts and comments have gotten a little more stale.  I wanted to change it up a bit to infuse some energy into our writing!  For the past couple of cycles (see Find the Force #4 for an explanation of our monthly cycle), I have tried something new...

For one of our Blog Post days, I asked students to respond to the question: What skills are you learning from your Force Project that you can apply to everyday life (outside of music)?  I loved reading their responses!  It was great to see them thinking about generalizing skills and thinking meta-cognitively  about their own learning process.  Even though we have written a couple of times since then, you can find these blog posts here (you might just have to scroll down a bit to find them).  
My learning for next year: have each student include a tag if we write about a specific subject, so it is easier to come back to find them all later!

For our Force Connections day, I took all of the blogs and put them into five groups, sorted by general category of what the students were doing.  I didn't, however, let the students know what these categories were!  I asked them to look at the groups and give each one a name, based on the commonalities they saw between their projects.  This was a great way to change things up and get students reading each others' blogs and thinking critically, comparing and contrasting the different groups!  What to give it a try?  Find the groups here!  A copy of the form I asked students to fill out can be found here.

As a follow up, on our Blog Post day, I asked students to respond to the following prompt: What have you learned from someone else's Force Project?  This really forced them to look outside of themselves and think about how these projects benefited not only individuals, but our whole class as well.  Most students wrote about their friends - and that's okay!  I tend to learn better with my friends, too.  The point is, they are still learning from each other and thinking about each other.  Many students commented on the variety of projects we have going in our room and how it helped them see the various possibilities within the subject of music.  These are our most recent blog posts (for now), so they should be right on top (for the time being)!  Here is our blog list.

What could our next Force Connections day look like?  I'm brainstorming right now - if you have any ideas, please comment below!

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