Involving Students in the Learning Process

One way I like to involve students in the learning process is to ask them to create, invent or change an activity.

First I let my students know the lesson’s main learning objective, which I determine from knowing the Colorado State Grade Level Student Evidence Outcomes, and gauging the needs of my students in relationship to these outcomes.  See my past blog “Do you know where you are going to?”

Next I give them the parameters. When collaborating with another person, always ask for their idea first.  Really listen to the other person’s idea.  Next, tell them your idea.  Think for a minute is there a way to put the ideas together?  Check ,is it safe?  Does it meet the criteria: everyone is active, follows learning objective, do-able (might be fun to swim, but filling the gym with water isn’t do-able). Try out a few different options.  Reflect, is there a way to improve it?

When students are creating games, dances or activities sometimes they will want to share with others.  I can have them teach another group their game, show another group their dance, video other partner’s activity on ipads…..  I can also keep the entire process very quick, by eliminating the  show or tell.  They  just do it for a few minutes and move on to next part of lesson.  I have students work in pairs, if there is an odd number one group of 3.

Here are some ideas.

  • Create a station using 3-4 cones that increases cardiovascular endurance ”  (I typically pick one of the 5 health related fitness components or one of the 6 skill related components of fitness)
  • Use the equipment at your station to create an activity where you:  (equipment is different at each station)
    • keep score
    • work cooperatively toward a goal
    • use boundaries
    • add in math
    • jump to catch
    • rebound” (great way to integrate physical education terms)
  • Make up a two part dance.  Each dance part should have 8 counts. ( Predetermined outcome could be keeping a steady to beat, crossing the midline, hopping from one foot to two feet…) My students love when they video other partner’s dances using the ipads.

When I do the above samples they are grouped in pairs, all pairs given the same task.

Other favorites that get crazy creative!

  • “With your partner Think-Pair-Share (TPS) a way to change one thing about “Everyone It Tag” to make it address muscle strength”
  • “TPS with a partner, how can we change this activity to include…”

When I use this method, we often combine a couple of ideas and then test out new activity as a class.  We end up with some very crazy games with lots of “if this, then that”  because after we try out ideas, students then TPS reflect, how could we make this better?     Then  a few students

When students have control over their own learning they report greater enjoyment!

When students have control over their own learning they report greater enjoyment!

share their reflections and we try the new ideas.  All the while students are working on predetermined learning objective!  However instead of me making all the decisions, the students are sharing in the process. I will say it makes for a very exciting class period!

I read about a great example of this on a math teacher’s blog.  Her class created a fractions Hop Scotch!

I love hearing all the fun creative ways students invent!  Please share with me your students ideas and games!

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