I re-read my professor’s COVA book yesterday, about Creating Significant Learning Environments for learners where they have Choice, Ownership, and Voice in an Authentic way.
One part that stood out to me in his writing was the day the brakes locked up on his son’s truck. He was already running behind on a project of his own, so it would have been easier to call a mechanic and get the problem solved. Move on, no risk. But he didn’t do that. He served as a sounding board and a guide, leading his sons through the solution that they provided.
As I was reading about that authentic learning experience he allowed his sons to have and grow from, I tried to think about how that could work for my 5th graders.
This morning I was preparing to teach Session 7: Textual Lineage. The title of the prescribed lesson alone was heavy for a 10 year old.
Maybe because Dr. H’s story was fresh on my mind, I decided to slow down a bit on my lecture. I took some time to let the kids figure out what that title might mean. They came up with “books in your past that mean something to you”.
The assignment dictated that they write a response about their textual lineage.
Instead, I asked them if they would rather tell me about their textual lineage with a slideshow. The answer was a resounding yes! I gave them a few parameters: one book per slide, include an image of the book and a few images that represented something meaningful to you from the book, a quote from the book, and maybe why you picked it.
I gave almost no instruction on HOW to build a slideshow. But they flew. Maybe this generation intuits toolbar language? It seemed they could find everything. Not only were their fonts varied and colorful, their slides moved and sang and some were even animated.
They suddenly cared about spelling. They cared about punctuation and capitalization! They were each others audience, they were their own audience, and they didn’t care about a grade.
The Book became even more meaningful to them because they were creating in a significant learning environment with choice, one where they owned their learning, they used their own voice, and created something completely authentic. They understood their textual lineage and were creating a digital one.
Thibodeaux, T., & Harapnuik, D., Cummings, C. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning (pp. 20-22). Creative Commons License.