Student Ownership…

‘It was great last year’… 

‘The kids loved it’… 

‘No need for change’… 

‘Why fix what isn’t broken?’

It’s exciting to note that we rarely hear these comments in our planning sessions any more!

Change and growth are embedded in the way we plan for learning. We prefer to start afresh and reinvent, in light of our current understandings, new teams collaborating, different students…

And every time we plan,  we try to ensure more opportunities for students to take ownership of the learning.

Two years ago we had our first social justice conference for Year 6 students. The event grew from a random idea, blogged and picked up by a teacher on the other side of the world, who breathed life into the vision. We developed her ideas further and the conference was a great introduction to the PYP exhibition process.

The aims were-

  • To expose students to a range of issues relating to ‘inequity’, raise awareness and provoke thinking on related issues.
  • To provide the opportunity to hear from people who have worked in areas that are taking action to help right inequities.
  • To help students develop convictions about what is right, what is wrong, and what needs to change.

Last year the Year 6 team improved the structure of the conference, adding time for the kids to reflect in small groups after each speaker and opportunities to express their learning creatively at the end of the day.

While the conference was outstanding, with  kids choosing what sessions to attend and actively engaged in learning on the day, essentially it was still organised for them.

This year, it’s obvious what needs upgrading. The kids need more ownership.

So we’ve called for volunteers who will write to the speakers, organise groups, make programs, welcome and thank the speakers, take photographs, film, tweet, blog… and whatever else they decide!

I’m on leave at the moment, but delighted to find emails such as these in my inbox this morning:

My name is Jared and I am in Mrs B’s class and she told me that you were looking for volunteers to help with the conference next term. I would be very happy help with all the organizing that needs to be done. Jared

I would love to volunteer to help organise anything. I enjoy writing so I could make a blog post about the speakers, and I am very organised so I can organise anything. I could make programs or welcome the speakers too. I don’t really mind, I’m just happy to help. Thank you. Liora

Dear Morah Sackson, I am very interested in this project. Any jobs available will be fine for me! Thanks a million! David.

Hi Morah Sackson, I would love to volunteer to be an organizer for the conference. If I could I would like to write messages to the speakers with information. Thanks, Taylor

I would love to cooperate! I would love to do anything… I am passionate to help out! Mia

I would like to volunteer to work at lunchtimes. I would like to help create the program if I can. I am a great organiser and I really enjoy when things are in place. Ellie

Next year the kids can do the whole thing!

7 thoughts on “Student Ownership…

  1. Love it!
    In my Year 4 students’ reflections on our mini exhibition, they repeatedly requested that they participate in an exhibition in Year 5. They felt it was worthwhile because it was an opportunity to develop and apply skills, but more importantly, to own their learning. And it was fun!


  2. Hi Morah Sackson.
    I’m so happy that you had the chance to share our replies with everyone, because now other people can see how enthusiastic we are to help. I’m sure lots more people will want to volunteer. I can’t wait; I think it will be so worthwhile. It will help our organization skills and our writing skills. It will prepare us for the future, when we have to plan and organize things a lot.
    Hope it all goes well.


  3. Hi Morah Sackson!
    I love that you, along with others, have figured out ways to get the kids involved in your efforts. It’s awesome that you got so many enthusiastic responses in your email! It is a great opportunity for them to learn and grow in their writings, organizing, and involvements, and also a great chance for them to practice their skills!


  4. Hi Morah Sackson!
    I really encourage with your plan.It helps them to learn a lot from this.They can improve their thinking, writing skills.Such plans should be put forward to improve the organizing skills.


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