It was a pretty successful six weeks learning all about different emotions and how individuals express them differently. -But that is just my opinion!
The facts are that each student not only learned different reading skills, but we applied them to our own lives.
Learning the Main Concepts
Remember the pictures we took of Tartu a few weeks ago? Well, we may not have won the European-wide photo contest, but we did use these pictures to learn more about facts and opinions, main ideas, cause/effect, and especially compare/contrast.
We actually started learning about compare/contrast by reading: The Olympics
The great part about this reading is that there are different reading levels so that even students with different reading levels can learn the main ideas! First we read and found KEY WORDS and then we worked in partners to retell the story (without looking at it!) using only the most important words.
After that we worked as a class to learn what a venn diagram is and how we can use it in and outside of class. Using the reading about The Olympics we made a large venn diagram on the board, students were given short statements about the Olympics and they had to decide if this statement was true in the ancient Olympics, Modern Olympics, or both. For example: It happens every four years. It lasts four days. Athletes from all over the world compete.
The students who had already finished the activity acted as judges in the back and even had sound effects to tell if they agreed or disagreed with the answer. In the end the students managed to figure out the correct place for all and we learned a great deal about the Olympics in the process!
This MAY SOUND LIKE JUST A FUN GAME (and it was), but actually this was a useful way to assess whether the students had learned the concept of compare/contrast before we applied it to our own work. When we got an answer wrong we took a minute as a class to reflect on why. Sometimes we just make mistakes and confuse numbers. For example, the ancient Olympics lasted only four days BUT both ancient and modern winter Olympics happen(ed) every four years.
Applying What We Learned
While the Olympics are interesting, we wanted to see how all of these new reading skills (like fact and opinion and compare and contrast) apply to what we have already been doing in class. A week ago, we had an arts and crafts class where we listened to a piece of music and drew what we though the music would look like in a picture. While we discussed a bit why all of our pictures look different, using a venn diagram helped us see even more similarities and differences that we realized at first.
First we worked in pairs or a group of three to compare and contrast our picture.
Then, we left the pictures and diagrams on the desks and walked around to look at the other groups. If we noticed a similarity or difference that the original pair did not, we added a sticky note with the suggestion for what the could add.
Ultimately this taught us that there are more similarities and differences than one person may notice. It takes a lot of different perspectives to see everything there!
As I stated in the beginning, it has been an interesting and successful (in my opinion) experience. While we still have a lot to learn, it is important that we each (students, parents, and teachers) take time to think about what we actually learned, how well we know it, and what we still have to learn. This term we had two ways of assessing ourselves.
- Choose an emoji to express how you did.
- Place the sticky note of the correct color next to the line that shows how well you know what we learned.
The next theme started today: How (does) the World Works (?)
So far we only stirred the pot by listening to a video of my friend (a wildlife ecologist specializing in birds) speak about why birds are so important. As the students (and teacher) know, we have a lot to learn! And we cannot learn unless we ask questions! So the next five weeks will be dedicated to asking hard questions and finding the answer using technology and other resources! Stay tuned!