Independent learning projects were due today. I love these homework projects because I love getting to see what my students are interested in and what they want to learn if they are given the freedom and opportunity to study whatever they want. The creativity and thinking is so rich and varied. It makes me happy to see curiosity still alive in my 5th grade students.
I work at an IB school, and our teaching revolves around interdisciplinary units of inquiry. This unit we are looking at conflict. For homework, in order to connect to and extend our learning in the classroom, students have 4-5 weeks to create a self-guided project on any topic that relates to our unit; then, they can present the information however they choose.
This unit, I had several PowerPoints, a timeline created on Word, a Visme, a few videos, several posters, and one formal written report about the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Battle of the Alamo, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I was, as usual, so impressed with the learning that they accomplished and how eager they were to share that learning with their classmates.
While the presentations were going on, I just sat there and learned along with my students, basking in the knowledge that was slowly filling up the room. It was student-directed learning. It was interesting. It was fun to watch them be the teacher. It was fun to be the student again.