Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A logical progression

Today was another important day in the continual evolution of our class, something that is becoming more and more common. I fully handed over the reins to students on a number of occasions, in situations where it was clear that their level of interest and comprehension could drive the lesson forward. This is proving to be a key way to involve more introverted class members, and encourages constructive interactions between all students.

Our (daily, it seems) Geography Wars game was again directed by students, who researched and located facts in the Atlas and wrote out corresponding questions. This is a very encouraging sign, as I no longer need to actively solicit such involvement most of the time. I think we are beginning to see the widespread intrinsic motivation and desire to be involved that we have been working toward. It is a testament to the effort and drive of students, as well as the dedication of families at home.

In French, I am starting to move more and more into technical details and writing/comprehension activities. I think that students' comfort levels are increasing rapidly, which allows them to further analyze and criticize written text. This, in turn, improves their writing skills and knowledge. Today we focused on elements of grammar and style, using a text about "Bodies in Motion". It was a very challenging piece of reading, but we took the time to painstakingly dissect it to get as much meaning as possible out of it.

I sometimes worry that this process takes the fun out of reading, but I think I have spent enough of the year encouraging reading for enjoyment alone. I will still do so, but I think that students are in a great position to take their reading skills to the next level. This is an integral part of the English and French Language Arts program in Grade 4, and can be a lot of fun if students are ready and willing.

This afternoon, we went to the computer lab and did some work that involved critiquing websites based on a variety of criteria. Particularly in a time when childrens' access to online content is expanding at a staggering rate, I think that it is increasingly important to give them the tools to make decisions based on the quality, integrity and content of websites. The sheet they filled out asked questions about content, style, prejudice, authorship, relevance and other topics. I would encourage parents to have similar discussions at home. I think that it is important to make our discussions about technology as comprehensive as possible; the internet is not 100% hazardous, nor is it 100% benign and utilitarian. It seems to be somewhere in between, and being able to judge for oneself is an important skill nowadays!

Have a great night, and don't miss Republic of Doyle @ 9:30 NT.

No comments:

Post a Comment