Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Learning Lab is Up & Running!

We are excited to announce that the 4th grade Learning Lab is up and running! We needed a few weeks to get to know our students, and to wrap our minds around what we were doing, but I'm happy to say that we are off to a great start and loving the 45 minute block each day. 

Learning Lab is a collaborative time for our entire 4th grade team. During this block, all students, teachers, and several support staff meet in the LL space. We have two, 20 minute rotations where students have choice in what they are working on. Our first cycle is scheduled to last 7 weeks. 

After digging through our grade level data, we determined that some students needed additional practice in a variety of areas of reading and/or math. This intervention block, run by classroom teachers, takes place during one of the rotations, but students' voice and choice still comes through in their second rotation! With all hands on deck, our 4th grade team has been able to provide our learners with the following choice activities during our first rotation:
  • Math Olympiads
  • Reader's Theater
  • Genius Hour
  • ALEKS/Dreambox/Front Row
  • Typing Agent- keyboarding practice
To get started, we gathered as an entire grade level for a few days to explain Learning Lab rotations and expectations to our students. We used this Google Slide presentation to discuss self monitoring behavior, working independently, being productive, collaborating when necessary, and problem solving. Towards the end of the week, we shared a Google Form with our students. They each had the opportunity to share their first and second choice activities with the teachers. 

As teachers, we dug through the Google Form responses during our PLC time, created a schedule, and organized our students into groups using this Google Sheet. Students names and homerooms were listed under each gropu. It took a lot of checking and double checking, but we managed to organize all 130 kids. It was REALLY important to us that each child had an adult to check in with at each rotation. Although the students' voice and choice came through in their rotation picks, accountability and use of time is extremely important to us. The students know that they are responsible for the learning taking place each day, and that they must be prepared and ready to learn. 

As we finish up our first rotation, our 4th grade team is already brainstorming possible choice activities for our upcoming rotation. As we review our intervention and classroom data, we will be sending out our next Google Form in the near future. Looking forward to what's up next! A HUGE thank you to every one for their hard work, creativity, and flexibility! 

~ Kate


  1. Well this is just absolutely fabulous! I am a 4th grade teacher that is just beginning the PL journey and I would LOVE to do this! Thanks so much for sharing all of your information with us!

  2. Fabulous! What a great resource and learning opportunity!