Every Friday our DLC team meets for our PLC time. Each week a different member of our team leads learning to continue our growth as digital learning coaches. This past Friday Sam Neal, the DLC at Mockingbird and Pinkerton, led learning on Self-Organized Learning Environments or SOLEs, which draw on student's natural curiosity to create a dynamic space for them to learn, interact and develop critical problem-solving skills. Sam had our team experience a SOLE session and then during our reflect time we discussed the process and why it is beneficial for students to participate in these experiences.
There are three parts to a SOLE session. A big question, the investigation and a review.
Part 1: The Big question
Part 2: The Investigation
Once Sam answered all of our clarifying questions she told us to get to work. We decided how to break into groups, we decided what resources to use to research our question and we decided how we wanted to present our findings to the larger group at the end.
The investigation time is ALL student driven. The teacher acts as a facilitator asking open supportive questions and giving encouragement.
In the Blues Brothers song Soul Man the second verse starts with the lyrics
"Got what I got the hard way
The students might have a hard time organizing themselves, finding the best resources and working together to finish THE FIRST TIME. If they struggle and make mistakes they will learn from them and figure out how to be more successful in future SOLEs.
Part 3: Review
In part 3, the review stage, the learners present their findings. This is the most important stage because this is where the learners have to figure out how to effectively communicate what they have found and how they found it. If the groups do not have a presentation, do not answer the big question or are presenting on a completely different topic that is OK! Each team has a chance to hear "I likes" and "I wonders" from the rest of the group. This is also the best stage to talk about goals for next time.
Being involved in a SOLE session really opened my eyes to a new way to approach integrating research, growing 21st century skills and tackling real world issues that correlate to our curriculum. SOLEs really allow learners to do what Mrs. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus always challenged us to do...
Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!