Sharing Personal Experiences

Saturday, September 24, 2016

With any good topic, we hope that are children have had at least one experience with it.
With flight, we wanted to know what personal experience each child may have had in the past.
To start with, Miss Walters (my intern) shared her experience with picked someone up at the airport. I shared my experience with seeing the eagle fly at an Auburn game. Ms. Brooks (one of our para's) shared about the first time she flew on an airplane. We tried to share a variety!
At that point, we encouraged the children to go and write about their experiences with flight. We wanted to hear it all!
On Monday, they wrote their first draft. On Tuesday, they worked on editing and publishing their final draft. On Wednesday, they worked on creating a physical representation of that experiences. They had several choices on ways they could represent their story:
* Magna-Tiles
* Play-doh
* Water colors
* Mini-poster
* Wiki-stix
* Blocks
* Legos
* Paper

Their stories were so wonderful to read! They ranged from airplane rides to seeing vultures in the road, from getting stung by a bee to seeing a helicopter land in their cul-de-sac!
Here is a quick youtube video I created to show how I displayed their personal experiences in the hallway.

Webbing a New Topic

Now that we have officially chosen the topic of "flight" it was time to get down to business. We needed to see what we all truly knew and understood about flight, and also what we had heard about flight or where our interests in this topic were.

The first thing the children did was to work in small groups to use large pieces of butcher paper and post-it notes to web the topic.
Step 1 - quickly jot down (on post-it notes) everything that comes to mind when you think of flight, flying things, air travel, etc
Step 2 - with your group, organize these post-it notes into logical groups
Step 3 - come up with titles for these different groups and extend your web into these separate areas
Step 4 - hang your web for others to see

The children came up with so many wonderful ideas. The different things that were written down went so far beyond what I would have even come up with - I was so amazed! 

Choosing a Topic Based on Interest

At Pike Road, we believe in student-driven learning. This can only be achieved by allowing the children to have a hand in deciding what they will learn about!

Now that they had sort through their list of ideas and decided what would be a good topic and what would not, it was time to decide if they were actually interested in the "yes" topics. I went through the list of topics and let the students show me a thumbs up, thumbs sideways (maybe), or thumbs down to show me their interest on that particular topic. When we were finished, we did our best to narrow down the "maybe" category. Some were moved to the "yes" column and joined in with another topic and others were moved to the "no" column.
My favorite part of this exercise was seeing the children make connections between topics. For example. Some of our topics included: cruise ship, jet ski, raft, and canoe. Raft was in the maybe pile and the others were in the yes pile. The kids decided to join all 4 together to represent "water travel" and keep them in the "yes" column. Wow! They did this several times with things that just made more sense together.

The next morning, it was time to put it to a vote! I put the top 10 categories on a Google voting form and allowed the children to cast their vote on their top 2 categories. The choices were:
1) Military Vehicles
2) Air travel/flight
3) Motorcycles and bicycles
4) Buildings and skyscrapers
5) Hiking trails
6) Maps, GPS, tickets, passports
7) Animals we use to travel (camels, horses, dogs)
8) Animals that travel (migration)
9) water travel
10) Land transportation

And the winner was...


Narrowing Down Our Ideas

Now that we've webbed our large over-arching topic of "travel," it was time to see which of these were actual things we (as 2nd graders in Pike Road, AL) could actually study.
I introduced the 5 questions all topic ideas must be "vetted" through in order to make the "cut."
The five questions
I typed up all of the ideas the students came up with on their web. I cut them up and put them into baggies. The students were put into groups and were asked to sort all the different ideas from their web into "yes" and "no" columns. They did a terrific job and so much wonderful conversation was going on in the room about the different topic ideas.

When they were done, they had such a good grasp on what made a good topic and what did not. They enjoyed the process and and I enjoyed listening in on their conversations!

New Year, New Project

Our 2016-2017 year has gotten off to a great start. I have 26 curious, sweet, excited learners who are 1 year in to the "Pike Road Way" and it SHOWS! Wow! They know how to question, how to explain their thinking, how to connect and comment on their friends' thinking, and how build upon their old knowledge to create new learning. I bet you didn't know 7 year olds could do all that, did you?

This year, the C2 lead learners decided to spend the better part of the first semester studying under the large topic of "Travel." We wanted to introduce to all our children and then see where it led them.
As teachers, we started by webbing the topic together to get an idea of what we were working with and ways that we might guide the children, if needed.
My class started by webbing the topic "travel." We spent 2 days doing this, so that they could really get all their ideas out. 
The first day, I just recorded all the things that came to mind when they heard "travel."
The second day, I created a Google Slideshow to get their creative juices flowing and also showed them a short 3 minute video on the history of human travel.

We continued to add to the web and this is what we ended up with:
They did a great job at coming up with so many different ideas relating to travel!