Thursday, February 2, 2012

Engaged Learning

Last night David came home after basketball all afternoon, an hour of homework between dinner and then a 2 hour soccer practice and asked.......if he could finish up the 2 critical thinking questions still left on his homework ? 

We could see he was very tired, we could smell he needed a shower and his ankle was sore and needed icing so we offered to get him up a bit early to get one question done and write him a note for his teacher about an extension for the other.  David pleaded that he really wanted to do it and hand it in on time, that he would think about the questions in the shower and ice his ankle while he wrote.........

This is not about how proud we are of his work ethic and commitment to his assigned work  (which we are of course) but rather, for me, it is the miracle of a child so engaged with his learning that he WANTS to do his homework and he WANTS to do it well.

That this kid, who was so beaten down and disengaged from his learning a few short months ago, comes home almost everyday excited and chatty about his school day and curious and excited to do research is nothing short of a miracle.  

The double healing power of a great therapist who helped him see himself as a confident, in-control boy again and a teacher who has required him to be his best and provided so many enriching and exciting opportunities, so much positive and insightful feedback led that boy to be writing away with his ankle iced, his hair damp from the shower and not complaining.........

I have had a child in elementary school for 9 years now and I didn't know learning could be like this!  I wish he could stay in that classroom another year.
Heck I wish I could be in that classroom most days!

The teachers of the two Gr 6/7 french classes collaborate and teach alongside one another and they have a great website and share an amazing amount with us, the parents. I couldn't be more grateful!

Here are two items from the last week that I think are exceptional.........I do know the difference a great teacher can make.  I had some myself as a student.  I have seen the difference my husband has made in kids lives and now I see my son blessed with just such a teacher.  

From a great classroom.....

Last Week's Marshmallow Challenge
January 23, 2012
Last week students participated in a Marshmallow Challenge.  Click on the Marshmallow link in the 'Favorite links' section under miscellaneous if you're interested in finding out more about the challenge (it's definitely worth the watch).  After the experience we asked students to reflect on their social skills and whether or not they made positive contributions to their group.  We also related the challenge to assessment.  After all, the reason why kids, and kindergartners in particular, perform so well in this challenge is because they make multiple prototypes all the way through.  The prototypes provide them with feedback that they then incorporate into their structure to make it a success.  Brilliant!

TED Marshmallow Video

Crime Scene Investigation
January 30, 2012
Check out the new photos that have been posted of our crime scene.  Last week, students listened to a news broadcast and learned that 18 basketball trophies had been stolen from the glass case in the front foyer of the school. Students were organized into detective agencies and learned how to analyze a crime scene, including how to collect evidence, dust for fingerprints and how to take notes.  Students have sent their data to the "lab" for testing and will receive their  results shortly and will begin to interview potential suspects to solve the crime.  Stay tuned....

 "Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own." -- Nikos Kazantzakis

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