We all know the familiar adage, "If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he eats for his whole life." We also know that it's essential that students learn-to-learn so that they become successful lifelong learners. This is critical to living well in a world of ever changing resources, events, problems, and opportunities.
At the start of the school year, it's advantageous to engage students in a number of conversations about what's important when we talk about and work towards learning success.
One concept that's important can be titled, "Architect Your Learning." Tony Wagner spells this concept out well in his talk here.
You may start this conversation with your students with this question, "Who is responsible for your learning and what does that look like?"
Let students talk. List the names of the people students feel are important to their learning and what that looks like under each name.
Then say, "Many are talking about the big idea: Architect Your Learning. What does that title mean to you?"
Define the word architect with and for students.
Then show students this short video:
Ask students to share any new ideas or revisions they have for the "Architect Your Learning" chart you've made.
Then share the fishing adage with students and emphasize that students are truly the people who are in charge of their own learning. It doesn't matter if the student is young or old, a girl or a boy, or from any country, culture, religion, or race in the world--the first and most important person responsible for a student's learning is the student.
After that give students some time to think about that by writing, drawing, composing, or quietly talking with the statement:
As the Architect of my Learning I . . . .
Make some time to share reflections. Keep students' reflections in their online or offline portfolios for later review, updates, and conversation. Also post the videos above on the student website and in class newsletters for the entire learning team of students, families, colleagues, administrators, and community members to view and revisit in order to set the stage for a year of successful teaching and learning for every child.