Celebrate with Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes …. because, we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get!
This Saturday, I celebrate the gift of another birthday day (yesterday!) in which I enjoyed a poem from my husband, funny birthday songs from my students, a lovely dinner out, and a concert tonight. The older I get, the more I appreciate this sentiment, posted on Patricia Polacco’s FB page:
Something else to celebrate is the presence of project based learning in my classroom. On any given day, my students fan out across the classroom and spill out into the hallway to discuss, share, confer, and create. A teacher passing by once asked my kids, “Do you guys ever work?” Yes, we work. We don’t sit quietly in rows facing the teacher desk – we spread our wings all over the place and engage – learning this way is often messy and noisy, but we are working!
I think in today’s standardized test driven environment, our kids are too often asked to focus on one way of responding, one answer that has to be right, one methodology to create that persuasive essay or frame the equation. I think our kids need places in their learning day when they are asked to collaborate, discuss, experiment, and arrive at answers for themselves. So, our classroom often looks like a hurricane just swept through, and an administrator walking in might rarely find me at or behind my “teaching desk”…but that’s okay by me. Learning is definitely going on in 202 – awesome learning.
Lastly, I celebrate the creativity of my kiddos as they dive into their projects and make the most of these learning opportunities. Take our just completed Lewis and Clark project, for instance. We spent weeks investigating the expedition’s historical significance, and each student was asked to compile a field journal, just as Meriwether Lewis did, of some of the species of plants and animals discovered, some of the Native American tribes they encountered, the supplies they packed and why.
I asked my kids to design and devise their own field journals, and was met with some righteous indignation: aren’t you going to give us the field journals, they asked, the other classes didn’t have to make their own journals. “I bet you can make beautiful journals yourselves – your own uniquely you journals.” And so they did:
…sixth graders can do awesome things!