With the end of another calendar year, I have been thinking a lot about teaching 'ah ha' moments from 2013. Here are a few of my favourites.
1. Make it real and relatable!
Earlier this school year, I was inspiried by a conversation with my Grade 2 students about the video game Super Mario Bros. I embedded this into our learning about number patterns and relationships. They were totally engrossed in this inquiry. The context was real to them, which made the learning meaningful.
What surprised me the most was how they took this inquiry and extended it further.
After solving and proving the original question, they asked what would happen if Mario already had some coins. This led to discussions about possible tools to help solve this problem, as well as identification of patterns within the hundreds chart when skip counting from various starting points.
All possible because of meaningful engagement.
. Give them tools to be successful.
I am very fortunate to work alongside grade partners who share my zest for teaching. Planning and moderating together is commonplace which helps us identify next steps and best practice. We have been using success criteria routinely with our students, and have found just what a difference it makes to incorporate co-constructed criteria throughout all content areas. Students are now fluent with the categories of achievement and understand what they they need to do to be successful. The focus is on the process of learning.
. Build relationships and be present!
Learning is only possible in an environment where students feel they are cared for and respected. It is only then that they will feel safe to take risks. A powerful `ah ha` for me has been to slow down, and enjoy the small moments. Take time to listen and be present.
We were lucky enough to go snowshoeing as a class before the Christmas holidays. The joy and connectedness we felt from experiencing this together will propel us forward in 2014!