reflection, Student-centered

This is What Learning Looks Like

This past Friday, my incredible students participated in the 4th Innovation Day I have done.  While it is a hard day for me because I tend to get bored, since I cannot jump in and teach, I always marvel at the energy and enthusiasm throughout the room.  The sheer driven desire to create something fueled by their curiosity and imagination never ceases to astound me, and this day is always a highlight for the students.    At one point, I tweeted out the following picture

photo (16)

captioning it, “This is what learning can look like…”  Immediately, someone replied, “This is what learning SHOULD look like!”  (Emphasis added by me).  At first, I agreed, nodding, yes, this is what learning should look like.  Then I stopped, thought about it, and I realized, no, this is not what learning should look like at all times.

If learning looked like this every day, I would go crazy.  The mess, the noise, the scattered projects and directions, where I barely took part in anything, no thank you.  And I wouldn’t be the only one.  My students would not want learning to be like this every day either, how do I know?  I asked them.

Instead, they told me that learning should look like this…

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Like this…

Or like this…933a8-dsc_0060

Learning should look like this…

This is what Student-centered Looks Like

Or like this…

An Hour of Wonder

Or like this…


Sometimes learning even looks like this…

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In the end, learning looks the way our students need it to look.  Whether that means a teacher in the front setting up a foundation for exploration, students exploring their way through something, individual quiet contemplation and in-depth thinking, or even small groups teaching others; learning is many things, looks many ways, and feels many ways.  It has to because we all learn differently, we all process things differently.  We all need different things at different times.

If we run our classroom in one way, even if it is an incredible way in our eyes, we risk losing the love of learning from a child.  Every child should feel at home in our rooms, every child should feel like they can learn.  Every child should feel that the way they learn is right.  So there is no one way that learning should look like.  It should look however fits our kids best.  And that changes often, just like our students do.

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

11 thoughts on “This is What Learning Looks Like”

    1. The best way to learn something is, “the best way _that something_ is learned.” Sometimes it is a chaotic method, sometimes in a quiet corner, sometimes it is via collaboration with one, sometimes it is through failure, sometimes it is through direct instruction. It depends on the something.

  1. Visiting classrooms around the country to tell these stories, and posting interviews and profiles that help us all understand the new digital world and what it means for teaching, learning and the way education is delivered.

  2. So true. Every lesson will look differently and every day will look different.It depends what the students feel they need that lesson as well.
    It depends what your lessons requires and what your students require.

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