One of my goals for this project was for my class to become understand and use, in a meaningful and age-appropriate way, the terms ‘Collaborate, Communicate, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Problem Solving‘. My strategy for teaching this has been to give a common bonus word for everyone in their weekly word list. So far, we’ve been through Collaborate, Communicate, and Critical Thinking. This week, we tackle Creativity.
The interesting part of this is that as I encourage each of the themes in my classroom, I also reflect on my own progress: Do I understand the 4Cs and a P and am I using them in a meaningful way?
Collaborate – When we learned about collaborating, I reviewed our established norms about working together with others, and I introduced the class to the Leigh, Laura and Jenn’s class blogs to show them how our blogging is a collaborative project with other schools. They get quite excited to see connections between what they are doing and what other children are working on. For my own self, I realized that sometimes when I scroll through the posts on our Collaborative blog, I’m a little intimidated by all of the tips and tricks everyone else has to offer. I guess I feel like I’m taking more than I ‘m giving back to the group, and I’m a little uncomfortable with the fact that I have more questions than answers. However, as I watched my kids puzzle through various learning activities that week, always collaborating with one or more other students, I was reminded that this is about the process not the product. For me, this means that the more I actively collaborate by asking our group for help and experimenting the ideas you provide, the more I will grow as a teacher through this whole experience. If my class is any evidence, this works both ways: you’ll pick up a lot from the process of answering and explaining. Thank you for all the helpful hints!
Next up was Communication Week. The students did short oral presentations – a retell. They made videos of their work and then we watched them together. The volume for playback on iPads was an issue, until I started holding my classroom mic up to the iPad speaker, which was a perfect solution. When we opened the files on the computer, the volume was fine. I attempted to convert them into a format that would work on their individuals blogs, but in the end I gave up, and I just got them to e-mail them to me so I could feature them on our class site. Bishop’s is still there: Bishop, but you need to scroll about halfway down the page to see it. My next step will be to successfully get a video into a blog, and then finish transfering all the information on my web page to the Team 2 Eagle blog instead. My Professional focus during Communication week included making a goal to read and contribute to this blog at least weekly, and to make a bigger effort to communicate the exciting things that have happened in class with some of the other staff by sharing about our iPads and our blogs, and the various ways I use them to support learning.
The following week was Critical Thinking. The students watched the retell videos they made the week before and evaluated them using ‘Stars and a Wish’. I was surprised at how easily they knew what was well done (a star) and how difficult it was for them to identify a wish (a next step). In the end, many of them chose from a list of ideas that I guided them through generating. We’ll need to work on that! The other Critical Thinking activities they do every day includes choosing ‘just right books’ to read, and estimating fair portions for our morning snack. It is interesting to see their strategies for how to fairly share half a box of cheerios and 2 bags or milk! The neat thing about this is that they identified these activities as Critical Thinking, not me! My own Critical Thinking focus was to reflect on my progress in this inquiry so far: What are my own stars and wishes? It turns out my wish list is pretty long. I have the opposite problem that kids do when it comes to self-evaluation!
This week is the week of Creativity. This morning we had a guest reader who guided the students through making wooden Dreidels (a Hannukah game). Then we learned how to play (by ‘googling it’ of course!). I’m not sure where the word of the week will take them in the next few days, but it should be interesting since there are 2 birthdays in our class!
How about you? Have you done anything Creative this week?