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Own your Learning

Week one of school and I was already asking the tough questions: What makes a great learner? From my time in the New Zealand schools, I determined that if I wanted my students to have more ownership of their own learning, I needed to spend time developing a common language of learning in my classroom. This common language of learning would come out of discussions about what is learning and what makes a great learner. I was a little nervous because these are BIG questions but I knew my impressively capable 3rd graders were ready to take them on!

Earlier in the week, I had given my students a little survey about their personal learning preferences and the results showed me that the majority of them like time to think alone before working with a group so I decided to give them a "brainstorming" sheet to work on in private first. At the top, I posed the question: "What makes a great learner?" In the center, I had an abstract outline of a person. I kept the directions …

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