Wednesday, 12 August 2015

#Ghana Project

My class has been on an exciting journey recently. Literature is taking us outside our own world and all the way to Africa, more specifically, Ghana.

My class has been reading the Short Listed CBCA Australian Book of the Year 2015 Figgy In the World by Tamsin Janu. There is so much reality about the culture of Ghana that my class wanted to learn more. With the power social media, Facebook and Twitter, we have been able to connect with the author and with Mr Pete Freeman.

From @MrPeteFreeman
Pete Freeman is young and passionate grad student from Illinois, USA who has spent his summer holidays working in Ghana to research and promote education for women and children in developing countries.

My Year 4 class from Sydney, Australia used Google Hangouts on Air to connect with Pete from his home in the US, having just flown home from his time in Ghana, this week. They were so excited to be talking with someone who had been on the ground and in the culture that we are reading all about and is so vastly different from their own.

Pete shared many stories and the students had so many questions to ask. This was an amazing and authentic global connection lesson that my class will not forget. The conversation went for over an hour and could have continued. If you are interested in watching some of the chat, it is online and available in a cut down form, only 17min. However, if you follow the link through the image you will see my students reflections from their learning. These are unedited and a true reflection of some of the things they took away.

Thanks again to Pete Freeman who was so willing to talk with a class of student from Australia. You have enriched their world with your generosity. My class is keen to talk again with Pete about his increasing work throughout developing countries. 

I believe that opening up our student's eyes to how truly connected we are is so important to their future. It can expand their understanding of how blessed they are. This knowledge is power and what they do with that power is up to them. I for one am excited to see what can and will come of it. 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Students Remain Ultra Keen about Genius Hour

Genius Hour Week 3 and 4

You know that your students are engaged in a task when they even do it well when you are not there.

Last week I was not able to be in class with them during Genius Hour, however, true to its concept the students quickly accepted the challenge to share their genius with the world.  The teacher on my class did not have to concern themselves with management strategies. She said that it was Genius Hour time and they all scurried off to work. 

This week they were much the same. Keen to get going, excitedly heading to the classroom after Wednesday lunch ready to find their space and get working. These work spaces are all different for each student. Some choose the regular desks. While others lay on the floor sit outside with their chromebooks and other texts, some are finding the cosiest spot possible and building a fort to work in...they are choosing or trying to find the learning space that best suits their task.

I had one student come and ask if he could listen to music while he was reading about democracy. My response was, "Sure, if that allows you to focus." He quickly disappeared eager to try it. Interestingly, he came back 10 min later and said,"Mr Hosking, I think I need silence to understand what I am reading, can I go outside instead?"

He is learning how he learns best. I could not have been prouder. Obviously, not all are cruising along as well as others. Some have asked for more structure, others have asked if I can just set the task. These are all things that we are working through.

I now have a couple of students who are finalising their presentations ready to show their chosen audience in the next few weeks. I have another student who is at the stage of filming his video for his presentation. All are working and learning.

My students confidence and eagerness is inspiring. Genius Hour is definitely worth a look at and a try. What could you loose other than some control? But is that so bad?

Education, it is changing and I am so excited to be part of it. Why not jump on the ride?