May 20, 2022
If I had to pick my all time favorite comments from students, those would be "this is fun", and it makes me really happy that at least on a few occasions these past two weeks I've heard those words. Interestingly enough, students have said those words during or after a collaborative activity. Of those, we've had quite a few: collaborating during science projects on energy, like creating a "bumper coaster" with paper and marbles, where the students had to make sure that the last marble was not swallowed by the alligators. The students first work in groups of three or four students creating their group tracks, and after that, I challenged them to put the tracks together for a super long and fun bumper coaster. With a lot of tinkering, collaboration, readjusting, and shared responsibility, the students finally got it to work, and oh, what a cheerful scream we all did!It was fantastic to witness. The students also collaborated during reading, switching the roles of moderator, summarizer, vocabulary searcher, and character finder to read and discuss a book in Spanish. They also collaborated during their learning about the Early European Explorers and started presenting on them. And finally they also collaborated by debating on a couple of topics as an introduction to the final written piece that they will have to produce on argumentative writing. The topics we chose were "Should kids be payed to do chores?" and "Should your recess go longer?". I divided the classroom in two groups and we placed the desks and chairs in two lines facing each other. I gave each group an "in favor" or "against" direction, and they had to come up with reasons to support their point of view. For the purpose of the activity, their real opinion might have been different that what they had to defend, so that proved very eye opening for the kids regarding listening to others' points of view. The children thoroughly enjoyed the activity. We practiced respectfully listening and kindly or strongly disagreeing, taking turns speaking, and drawing on the other's arguments to support our reasons. Yes, it has been fun!
Take a look at these two week's pictures.
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Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!