How do I apply SOLE in the Primary Classroom?

The concept of a Self Organised Learning Environment (SOLE) has fascinated me for sometime. I have been interested in developing a practical method to incorporate SOLE within the week to encourage students to work collaboratively and use the internet to discover answers.

Indian-born educationalist, Sugata Mitra invested many years researching SOLE and promotes the inquiry based learning as an effective teaching methodology. I have desired to apply the principles of SOLE within my classroom to promote twenty first century skills. I have discovered that my SOLE lessons are one of the most refreshing moments within the busy week and students look forward to the session more than I ever imagined.

So... How do I apply SOLE in the Primary Classroom?

1. I purchased a Project Book for each student.
2. I schedule two hours within the week for SOLE (Thursday and Friday).
3. I invited the students to select a topic for research that was of personal interest (ie; Water).
4. Class developed a mind map to create categories and sub-categories for their chosen topic.
5. The students used the mind map to plan page sequence.
6. I distributed the Project Books.
7. I developed an art station and area for collaging, construction and craft.
8. Students conduct research and record their findings within their Project Books.

Some students required guidance in selecting a topic that warrants investigation. Some students have required support in developing a schematic web. During lessons where SOLE is being performed I operate purely as a facilitator of learning and as digital coach. Students have required education and mentoring in developing suitable searching techniques to find appropriate answers for their personal field of investigation and inquiry.

Although students have different topics they still gravitate toward working in small teams. The furniture arrangement in the classroom is positioned to assist collaboration. The students work together in their research and print required images and articles to contribute to their page designs. Within the sessions behavior issues completely dissolve. Interestingly the students are developing ways for their pages to be interactive through creating 'pop-ups', 'lift tabs' and 'slides'. The students are attempting to display their pages with maximum interest and engagement.

My recent observations have been that the entire class is engaged and work focused. The process improves reading comprehension, literacy skills, behavior skills, creativity, social interactions, autonomy, creativity and spacial awareness. SOLE lessons are rich in content and develop habits of life long learning. In  addition, SOLE lessons provide an opportunity to address Multiple Intelligences, addressing students with particular fixations and also those with learning needs by providing  an open ended and differentiated task.

SOLE has Soul!


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