No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.-Carroll Bryant
My lesson plans said something completely different. It was unscheduled, unplanned, and… undeniably better than anything I had on today’s agenda. You’ve heard of a Flash Mob? A Flash Mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment or artistic expression. Well, That. Just. Happened. No dancing or singing…this was definitely in the realm of artistic expression. My students were working on their iPads when a group suddenly gathered in the middle of the room and started writing books. This group (pictured above) was fully engrossed in their work. They were discussing book topic, titles, text placement, and content. They stopped briefly, only to ask me to put on some “creative music”. Once they started, they didn’t stop until they were finished. Most had written a 4 page book. Once they finished, they dispersed and went back to what they were doing before.
Flexibility is critical in a student centered classroom. Kids need to feel comfortable making decisions about their learning…even at age 5. Shutting down that activity because it wasn’t what I had planned for today, would have killed the creativity and spontaneity of that moment. (Ok, that hour.) If we are about the business of creating readers and writers, we have to give them time to read and to write. I can’t always write on command; however, there are times when an idea strikes me and I can hardly wait to write. It’s hard to stifle that feeling when you are inspired.
Setting up your classroom so that children can move in and out of small groups and make choices about their learning environment, helps foster a real sense of ownership. Allowing them the freedom to grab that iPad and jot down ideas, research a topic, read a book, or create their own book is what 21st century learning is all about. I will welcome a flash mob like that any day!
Here is Kaylee’s book commemorating the 100th day of school:
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