Learning is all about Creating Experiences

Monday, January 25, 2016 / Leave a Comment

It's been a snowy few days here in Central PA and while my cute babes napped the afternoon away, I was a teaching channel junkie!!!
I happened upon the most inspiring Kindergarten teacher, John Michaud.  He is a teacher at Live Oak School in San Francisco.  At the beginning of his teaching video, Social Studies: The Kindergarten Experience, he talks about how important experiences are to learning.

What he shared was inspiring!! His philosophy of teaching involves providing and creating experiences for his students so they can construct their learning.  The graphic below shows the premise of his philosophy.

He feels that experiences make kids think.  This leads to the desire to tell others what they've learned.  Then students share through writing which causes them to want to read more about the topic and broaden their learning.

I think this will help kids take ownership over their learning and feel empowered because they are creating their own learning.  

A lot of the experiences John suggests seem doable and grade appropriate.  

One simple idea is to take weekly walks around your school's neighborhood.  I've done this in my classroom and we take a big walk around the school on Wednesday Walk Day.  We see animals, holiday decorations, neighbors doing yard work, sports activities, contractors building, small businesses, trains, and many more exciting sights that are interesting to kindergarteners.  Any of these could easily be a springboard for a science, social studies, math or ELA unit.  My previous school wasn't as walk-friendly so instead of walking outside, I might walk inside the building or show a video of the main street in our small town, the mechanics shop next door, or the farm down the street.  A video could be customized to the specific topic we are focusing on.  

John also suggests inviting people and animals into the classroom.  Through play and discussion we can build the students' background knowledge and set the stage for learning.  Parents are experts in so many different areas and having them come in and share aspects of their lives can also provide experiences for students to connect to learning.

Taking lots of mini field trips is another suggestion.  This is a great idea and since my school is within walking distance of our town's square, there are many different places that are available to us.  Our school has parents sign a waiver stating that kids are allowed to walk with us for many adventures.  I really love how this builds a sense of community and a shared responsibility for learning.  

I love the emphasis John places on experiences and learning.  Whether we go outside, invite others in or watch a media clip,  providing students with experiences will help deepen their learning.  I've added another goal for the second half of the year....provide students with experiences to help start units, provide examples throughout units and to wrap up our learning.  Thanks John Michaud for the inspiration!!

I would love to hear your ideas on other ways we can provide experiences for our students.

Thanks for stopping by!!


Post a Comment

Back to Top