Posts Tagged ‘choice’

Student’s viewpoint on Choice and Voice

This year I have been giving my students choice and voice in everything we do in the classroom. It was a huge, difficult and sometimes frustrating change for me but one that I see is so hugely beneficial.

Before the Christmas break, I asked my class

Being given Choice and Voice in the classroom means to me….”

I asked them to discuss how this impacted their learning and feelings on coming to school. This is the unedited feedback they gave me (I just removed their names).

“Having voice in my classroom is fairly new to me, since in the past few years all my teachers have been strict and only cared about what they said. In my opinion classes that are given choice learn more responsibility and function better. In class we are given the opportunity of helping to create our projects. It also feels like she cares more about us, and cares about our opinion. I definitely learn better when we are given choice, since Mrs. Bowker adjusts how we learn so it’s easy for everyone.”

“by giving a choice i think the teacher cares about us because all other teachers are mean and don’t give us a choice and we won’t be interested the only teachers that i think are giving kids a chance are ms.bowker and ms. h.I also think that i learn more by having a choice.”

“Having voice in Mrs.Bowker’s class is fair to me because all the teachers I have had before don’t care about the kids, there like “I teach these kids, and I get money.” but Mrs.Bowker cares and is way different. My other teachers don’t care about the kids, they care about themselves. But no, that’s not the case with Mrs.Bowker, she cares, but now and then she will get a little annoyed with us or we don’t agree and so on. But Mrs.Bowker is the best teacher I have ever had. Before As Well teachers did not ask for our opinions,”

“I feel important that i get to pick what i do not the teacher or and cuz in the years i’ve been in school teachers think that  all i have to do is tell them what to do except for ms bowker and ms h.”

“To me given choice is being equal.  In the past no teacher asked for my choice.  I want to say what’s in my mind and tell everyone, if I agree or disagree. Mrs. Bowker gives us choice and lets us say what we want, she teached us to be honest. Mrs. Bowker lets us be the teachers. To be given a voice I feel free. To be given a choice it is important because you get to learn how to be responsible. I wish you’re my teacher every year and giving our class “choice” and “voice” is the best choice ever! Thank you Mrs. Bowker.”

“knowing that someone cares about you and can help you grow as I person and help you get set for life challenges. having a voice is important too, it gives you power and responsibility. Choice is also important to me, because I feel free. I hope all teachers were like you Mrs. Bowker.”

“Being given choice in class means a lot to me . It means to have freedom and do whatever you want , Kids should have there own choice with what they are doing just like adults do . For me Mrs. Bowker is being fair with all the students . She trusts us with everything and she is always honest with us . I also like to choose to work with who and i like to pick the topic i want to do a project about.”

“I love the idea because I never had a teacher that does this and it’s very fun. I have a voice you have a voice we all have voices and we can use them that is why Mrs.Bowker has a very fun class.I love this year. I learn more this year because we have choice and it makes me want to learn more then before”

“I think I am learning way more and about school I think it is great and new I love going to school. Last year I DID not like going to school that much.”

“I think I work better when I choose what to work on. I like it better when I go to school better than going to school last year. That’s how choice affects me.”

Reading the students comments made me realize how much students need to be offered choice and voice in the classroom and in their learning. Having students that hated coming to school and now love coming to school has been a huge turn around for them and I’m so happy for them.

In my class, I rarely have to discipline the students. I’ve had to scold students for being too excited about the projects we are working on and going home and working on it all night long. But isn’t that what learning is supposed to feel like? Being so excited to work on a project that you can’t think of anything else? I’m so thrilled that my students are feeling safe, loved, cared for, excited and that they are important!




Top 5 reasons why I love Edcamp Ottawa

Edcamp Ottawa was yesterday and I truly find it is the best PD that I have ever attended. Here are my 5 top reasons why:

5) It’s free!
Teachers are constantly paying out of their own pocket for classroom supplies. Conferences are always extremely expensive and then you have to pay for your ticket, hotel, airfare and food. Edcamps are always hosted close to where you live so you can attend for free!

4) Big D’s Dog House Chip Truck

I love that when planning Edcamp Ottawa I tweeted out that we were planning the 3rd Edcamp and they tweeted back immediately saying that they would be there too. It’s so nice to indulge on some delicious chip wagon while chatting and enjoying a rare long lunch with colleagues.

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3)) Attendees

Since Edcamps are always on the weekend, you know that the people attending the Edcamp want to be there, want to learn and want to connect. Great chance to meet new people, chat about education and learn from others.

2) Choice and Voice

The model of edcamp is designed for the attendees to share and create their day of learning. We do this by providing them with a blank schedule board and attendees fill up the board with session ideas. Attendees who are not presenting also have the choice between the 9 different rooms/sessions to attend. They choose what they want to learn about and how they want to spend their day.






1) Collaboration, sharing, supporting each other

Edcamps area always such a positive place and always restore my love of learning. Everyone that is there wants to be there and is excited about this chance to learn and connect. I always find something new to learn about and someone new to connect with. Edcamps are made to collaborate, share and support each other and I love that the relationships you make on that one day carry through for years of learning and supporting each other.

This is going to be harder than I thought

Based on my summer reading ‘Passionate Learners’ by Pernille Ripp, I really want to give my students more choice.
I have been trying… I told them it is their classroom and to give suggestions about setting it up, classroom jobs, where they sit, where to hang their backpack, pencil sharpening, loud voices. All their suggestions aren’t really helpful. I know if takes time to build trust for brutal honesty but I’m not sure if they ‘know how to do school’ like Pernille talks about.

So far it really isn’t working. Today in Math, they were not listening and being silly. So I straight out asked ‘what is going on?’ They know that they are supposed to be sitting quietly and listening so they just told that back to me. I asked them ’ are you bored’ and an honest yes came out. I asked who was bored and most of my class raised their hand. A brutal honest truth which is exactly what I wanted.

Now what to do. I am going to talk about our ‘I can statements’ tomorrow and I’m going to let them decide how they are going to learn it. I am unsure of how this will go. I guess we will see.

My first GHO learning about choice and student voice in the Grade 1 classroom

Had a great GHO with Karen Lirenman, Lori, and Sarah. We talked about getting choice and student voice into your grade 1 classroom.

Here are some key points we talked about:

  • Get parent support
  • Reflect back on growth often
  • Show them how they sign on online for blogging
  • Draw and tell app
  • Teach the kids who will get it first and they can help others
  • Math; pictures + share thinking
  • By giving them the control, they are more engaged
  • Teach them to self regulate
  • Reading is developmental-just like growing

Karen Lirenman’s “Starting with Choice: Primary Classroom Implementations”

I recently was on Twitter and saw this tweet.

Karen Lirenman is an amazing educator who teaches grade 1’s and I’ve been wanting to pick her brain for a while now. I saw this tweet and of course immediately clicked on the link

She wrote a iBook all about how to implement more choice in your primary classroom. I just finished the book, and it is such a great guide to help you. She talks about giving students choice in doing their work, where they sit, how they learn and so on. This is a great guide for anyone trying to add more choice into their classroom or is  a primary educator since she lists so many other tips and tricks.

The other BEST thing also about this book is when you load the page, it takes to so many other books written under the umbrella of “One Best Thing” and they are all FREE!

To learn more about Karen Lirenman, you can check out her blog, her post about this book, and of course, her twitter account.