Saturday, January 21, 2017

And We're Off...

January 2017: And We're Off...

Eager for my students to return to school, I went to the thrift store a few days before break. If I wanted my students to get into this, I needed to start creating some of these spaces within our classroom, for less than $10, I walked out with two tables, a beat up black desk and a coffee table with no center. With a little TLC, some paint, my dad, shower board, and some screws, I added a layer of paint to the black desk and tightened the screws and installed a whiteboard surface in the center of the old coffee table. Result: a new standing desk and interactive table for the floor, and thanks to our PTA, I was able to get these awesome new cushions from +Lakeshore Learning!

We began our research this week into the Ultimate Classroom, while I
introduced text structure and worked with small groups of students to identify text structure on articles about different learning styles, my students began perusing the literature I had gathered over break. To organize our thoughts and notes on what we had learned, I added three documents to our +Google Classroom specifically designed for our exhibition (PBL). Each of these documents focused on 1 of our lines of inquiry, the first on how kids learn best, the second on types of learning technology, and the third on the organization of space. While students were researching, they utilized these documents in order to cite their sources, document their notes, and organize them by these overarching topics. During the next two months, we would continue with a variety of mini-lessons on how to conduct research to continue growing in this skill.

A key part of any Project Based Learning activity is ensuring that your resources aren't all just books and articles. I believe it was important to have speakers come to our classroom as well. Our first speaker, just a hallway away, our school counselor. Since we were studying how kids learn best and different learning styles, why not investigate our own learning styles. I arranged with Mrs. Erdman over break, to come to our room the week we came back to do a lesson on different learning styles. She talked briefly about the three learning styles established through research: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. She also talked with students about Howard Gardner and multiple intelligence. Students wrapped up the lesson using their devices to take several online inventories to find out what their learning style or intelligence might be (What is My Learning Style? and Multiple Intelligences Self Assessment). It was fun to hear my students shouting out their own styles across the classroom and posting them to our classroom feed. As a final reflection, students joined together with other students who had similar learning styles to talk about what items might help someone with their learning style in the ultimate classroom.