Finally I have got around to recording how my Student Planner has worked this year. In my defence, I have spent heaps of time refining the process, allowing students to reflect on it as a tool for their learning and then responding to their suggestions.
I began the year by reading through the reflections of my students from last year. I had decided I would follow the same process as last year of “teaching” the Student Planner process in term 1 and then introducing it in Term 2. But after reading the reflections (I was most impressed by the depth of the reflective thinking) I decided to introduce it from the second week of Term 1, using the first week as a getting to know each other and our learning styles. Why would I deny my students the benefits my previous students so eloquently listed in their reflections?
Once again the students quickly saw how the Student Planner gave them the opportunity to be the “Boss of their own learning” as they planned when they would do tasks and as the terms progressed, how they would do these tasks and how they would present their learning. At the end of Term 1 only three of the students felt they either did not like the Student Planner or were struggling with it. But by the end of Term 2, two of the three now reflected on how the Student Planner was helping their learning.
This year I have done a much better job of explaining the reflection component. We have experimented with different types of reflections. This has tied in very nicely with the learning goals we set at Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences. These now become part of our reflections on the Student Planner. The children either reflect on how they have used a task to show their mastery of a goal, ask buddies for feedback on a goal they are working on or set new goals after reflecting on a piece of work they have done.
Constant reviewing of the processes have led to the students suggesting quality controllers (or QCs as we decided to call them). Students who had completed tasks to a high standard and /or showed great mastery in a task took on these roles and then students would have their work assessed by these QCs before submitting it for assessment or feedback. Some students who felt this denied them being “Boss of their own learning” opted out of this and then had to ensure their work was at acceptable standards.
The children are still constantly coming up with suggestions for improvements. They would like the Student Planner available on the class page on the Monday (I am released on a Monday for IT and elearning support so only hand out hard copies of the Student Planner on a Tuesday) and would like all task material available on Monday too in case they would like to get a head start on the work. They have also requested a computer book in timetable to allow more equitable access to devices. So the Student Planner (and its routines) is certainly a living, breathing, evolving tool. Our collaborative partnership with learning in Room 20 continues to make us all love coming to school.