Today’s funny story came when I announced to the kids that we would have to put our Clams aside and take the county’s quarterly reading assessment. This assessment basically is made up of a lengthy booklet of reading passages with multiple choice questions, and a bubble sheet. So I told the kids to clear everything but their pencils from the table. An audible GASP was heard, and one brave student complained, “You mean we have to use our pencils?” How quickly they make the transition. One bit of good news is that our county has given us permission to pilot the state-wide writing test on our laptops! Should be interesting!
I’ve come to realize that early societal training has our kids very dependent on having the teacher spoon-feed them everything. And God forbid they actually read directions to figure something out! For some I think it is a long-entrenched fear of being wrong (sad). For others it’s pure laziness (maybe not politically correct to say, but often true). I told the kids one of our main goals this year is for each of them to become independent learners/problem solvers – to own their own learning.
So today I had the kids use a sign template in Microsoft Publisher. They were told they were being hired by a new zoo to create signs for the exhibits of “wild creatures” coming to the zoo. The “wild creatures” of course, were the ones they created yesterday at the Build Your Wild Self site. The only directions (you can see them here under the Oct. 21st Science section) were provided for them on a half sheet of paper (step by painstaking step, might I add!).
I made a huge deal about being so excited to see who could figure out this job on their own, or by asking those around them to help them out. By golly (as my Grandpa used to say) they did it! They worked together (after some initial whining that it was too hard) to help each other figure it out! The only assistance I would give was to tell them which step they should refocus on. Before we knew it, it was time for specials and the time spent saving to the common folder was half of what it was yesterday! They are quick learners! Stay tuned for the link to visit our zoo! And might I warn you, keep your fingers out of the cages!
Photo Credit: ingelisesoerensen’ s photostream via Flickr