Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Introduction to Group Learning Time

This image illustrates the first two components of the Flood Garden learning model.  It is based loosely on some aspects of the Montessori model, the Emergent Curriculum model (Jones and Nimmo, 1994) and a Project-based learning model

When planning lessons for the Flood Garden model, the teacher must first consider the learning environment.  The learning environment must have class time and space for group learning.  The group learning time can be called Circle Time because the children sit in a circle to learn. 

During the circle time, the teacher has a chance to gather the children around her and challenge all the students with a compelling question or concept that will be carried across other learning areas (math, science, reading, writing, movement, arts, music and life skills).  They can also use this time to read a meaningful book to all the children, explain the unit goals, teach a song and/or use a variety of multi-sensory techniques to create and excite the students and encourage them to become more aware.  Circle time is also a wonderful way to verbally assess how the group is learning as a whole.

Circle Time

The teacher must also prepare a space for individual learning time (2).  The classroom or the Flood Garden can be divided into small areas in which students can learn by themselves or in small groups of 2 or three. The activities in the individual learning areas are meant to help the child discover and learn new things by themselves (example: learn more about the topic just presented by the teacher during circle time), practice what he is learning and manipulate objects that help reinforce what he is learning.

The teacher may want to divide the space in a way that allows students that are working independently to do so without interruptions or distractions.  The indoor classroom can be used for individual learning time and the outdoor Flood Garden classroom and spaces can be used for team work, group activities and research.

Remember that everyone learns in different ways so there more ways the teacher presents a specific concept the better chance she has to reach every child.

(Next Post: A first glance at an Individual Learning Station)

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