It didn't take the students long to use the new tables to plan their project ideas (using thinking maps) and design the layout for their informational posters for Jane Goodall's visit. However, they soon realized that good ole pencil and paper was a more durable solution to taking notes that on the whiteboard tables.
A week after we met our 1/2 buddies for the first time and watching a video about Jane Goodall and reading "My Life with Chimpanzees" together, we took our newly-constructed nature journals and observed nature at the pond. Our main focus was watching animal behaviors.
We often take the time to reflect on our learning and experiences in the classroom. It can take many forms from classroom discussions, interviews, questioning, and weekly reflections. Next time you walk by the classroom or other 5/6 classrooms, read some of the colorful tags that are hanging in the hallways. Below are just a sample of the responses to "what did you learn?":
I learned that honesty is the best policy when it comes to friendship.
I learned that kindness is the main key to the success in a community.
I learned that the Trail of Tears was what 125,000 Native Americans walked for over a thousand miles.
I learned that it makes it easier when I make more time for myself instead of doing what I don't need to do.
I learned that Copernicus convinced people that the Earth is not the middle of the universe.
I learned that the Boston Tea Party was not a tea party.
I learned that drawing is not that easy.
I learned to combine art, social studies, creativity, and geography all into one presentation.
I learned that rather than copy a drawing it's important to draw what you want to draw.
I learned that the rough draft is half the work.
I learned how to paint eyes on my art piece so that it looks realistic.
I learned how to use a place value chart when I multiply and divide by powers of ten.
I learned that stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new types of writing can spark up my story and makes me a better writer.
I learned to write a lot of things that come to you.
I learned that I can get a lot done when I am in the proper environment.
I learned that for my 1/2 buddy to learn, I need to let him make mistakes but also to give him the support he needs.
I learned that if I see someone that looks sad that I should go ask them if they want to play with me.
I learned that making new friends can make you feel good about yourself as an individual.
Recently, I reread a piece by Paolo Friere that I saw twenty years ago, that reminded me about the importance of reflection.
"Within the word we find two dimensions, reflection and action, in such radical interaction that if one is sacrificed -- even in part -- the other immediately suffers . . .If it is in speaking their word that people, by naming the world, transform it, dialogue imposes itself as the way by which they achieve significance as human beings. Dialogue is thus an existential necessity. And since dialogue is the encounter in which the united reflection and action of the dialoguers are addressed to the world which is to be transformed and humanized, this dialogue cannot be reduced to the act of one person's "depositing" ideas in another, nor can it become a simple exchange of ideas to be "consumed" by the discussants."
After developing interview questions; meeting and interviewing a classmate; writing down responses; utilizing mini lessons to develop leads, conclusions, and titles; revising; self and peer editing, the class newspaper is finally complete. The articles were written, revised, and edited exclusively by students. Enjoy reading about your child and their classmates. The copy below is black and write. If you'd like to view a color version, please read the newspaper outside the classroom.
All About Us Class Newspaper