Sunday, October 16, 2011

The best lesson is the one that you don't actually teach...

It's a beautiful day but I am feeling still a little lazy... I need to hit my yard, maybe think about planting some bulbs... But I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the best lesson I taught last week-let's change that to the best lesson I didn't teach.

Last year our teacher librarian, Alanna, and I discovered that we didn't need to know how to do technology to teach kids how to use it.  All we had to know was to give them the directions to get to the appropriate site and watch them learn themselves.  Our part was giving them critical literacy skills and interesting assignments to make use of their knowledge.  I also discovered that when my students were working on elaborate projects they didn't even see it as work but pleasure.  Hmmm....
Thursday half my class had gone off to We Day so I was left with half my class.  I decided to spend a couple of periods in the computer lab and exposing them to glogster where one can make online posters (and print them if you like).  I have never made a glogster and honestly, I don't think I really desire to do so,  but I can assure you my students loved doing so in the last couple of years.  Usually they kind of learned as they put together projects but Thursday I basically said here's the link to the website and away you go.  These students are all new to my class this year and none of them had ever made a glogster.  If they asked me anything I honestly had to say, "I really don't know much about this so you may have to ask each other" and they did.  It was interesting to observe how different students discovered different features and my student with the least amount of English was the first to discover some form of animation.  I did suggest they might make a Hallowe'en poster or a poster of something they were interested in.  They did.  They found out how to put in pictures and how to link videos.
Later that afternoon I had just my sixth graders and a couple of groups hadn't completed a poster on social responsibility and using their new skills did rather good glogsters.  Of course I didn't have my camera to capture the sheer joy on their faces as they learned how to use this new tool.  Many of them told me it was their highlight of the week.  My expectation now is that they can help those who were at We Day to learn how to make glogsters.  Next, will probably be prezis.

Earlier in the week I had one of those aha moments.  Long ago Jeff Wilhelm said school should be more like video games, a very interesting analogy.  Thinking about this I asked the class how many of them enjoyed playing video games.  Needless to say almost all hands went up.  I asked how they got to the next level.  They told me you had to read the instructions.  So I made the point that they should treat school like a video game where they wanted to get to the next level.  Hmmm... don't think that is exactly what Wilhelm was getting at, but I think it's an analogy that could work for me... And when you teach each other how to use Glogster students are definitely engaged and have another tool to demonstrate their literacy. 


Kat said...

Hey Meredith,

This is Katharine. Just quick scanning your blog. It's great to hear your voice in your writing! If you do end up having your class work through a prezi I'd love to contribute. I've been experimenting with the format and learned quite a lot.


meredyth kezar said...

thanks Katherine! well we may call on your expertise-basically last year Alanna and I gave them the site and away they went-my summer school students (some of your former darlings) did well with them this summer as well. See you soon! thanks for reading