I have been teaching primary-aged students for ten years now, and despite having seen so much over this time, I’m still amazed by how much my students can surprise me. There really is no limit to what they can do.
This morning. the children were completing their regular writing routine, and one student asked me about the characteristics of a ferret. She wanted to write about one as her “animal choice,” but she didn’t know what one looked like. I said that I wasn’t sure either, and that was when another one of my Grade 2 students suggested that they use Google Images to find out. They went over to the classroom computer, and together they conducted a search, found out the information that they wanted, and my student was able to complete her writing activity. Amazing! This was self-directed reseach done by a seven-year-old.
That got me thinking about this week. On Tuesday, for our Word Family and Word Wall routine, I showed my students how to use Twiducate. They wrote to each other using word family and word wall words. They had real conversations online. They asked each other questions, and they even replied to them too. The incredible thing is that night, many of them logged in at home and continued their conversations. I couldn’t believe how many postings came after 6:00. I didn’t direct this learning to happen, but the students were motivated to do this activity, and their attitude towards reading and writing in this way inspired them to write on their own time. Incredible!!
Then on Thursday, I introduced my students to a new blog. Jared Bennett gave us the opportunity to blog as part of his Litcircuits Blog. My students will continue to post to their Kidblog blogs too, but this is a group blog that they will be using for various literacy and math centres. While I approve all of the Kidblog posts, this blog is different, as when the students press, “Post,” what they write appears immediately on the blog. This is a big responsibility, but my students embraced this responsibility. They worked hard to edit their work for spelling, punctuation, and ideas before posting anything. I know that what they have published online really is their best work, and for this, I’m thrilled! I am also so happy with how well the children have adjusted to logging in to this new blog. It is far more complicated than our other blog, but the Grade 2 students in my class that had me for Grade 1 last year, knew the process, and they helped everyone else. They were the leaders, and they were fantastic at what they did!
I have always believed in having high expectations for students, but seeing what they did this week, made me realize just how high to set the bar. If these six- and seven-year-olds are doing this now, I can’t wait to see what they will be doing come June. Please share your success stories here too. We can all learn so much from each other … and so much from our students too!