The students look a bit confused as I finish speaking. I wait a second and then ask them if they have any questions.
“Nothing to present?”
“Not if you don’t want to.”
“Can we present if we want?”
“Sure, if we have time.”
Then smiles, murmurs, and whispered comments.
“Ok, Mrs. Ripp, this sounds fun.”
I have just told the students about our new resource time schedule and how I have built in project time – a 30 minute time block once a week for each child where they get to just learn something. Not time to create a presentation, not time to think of how they will share what they have learned, not time to work on homework, but just pure, self-regulated learning for the fun of it. Learning driven by their curiosity. Learning driven by their desires. Not genius hour even, just soaking in knowledge.
We decided as a group we would have an overarching theme every week, a common theme to get excited about, so geography will greet us next week. The students can create if they want or they can just soak in knowledge. They can work by themselves or learn with a friend. They can decide what part of geography they want to learn out of need or out of interest. I don’t set the direction, I don’t set the tone, I don’t tell them how. I give them the time, they pick the tools, they push themselves.
I can’t wait to see what they learn. I can’t wait to see what they do.