Monday, February 17, 2014

Learning on the Move

Drawing tie (Brick by Brick)
My class likes to move and likes to talk. I sometimes feel like everything is chaos and learning is minimal at best. The other day I commented, "If we learned math this afternoon, it was by accident." Things were just crazy.

When things seem out of control or seem not working right, I ask myself, "What is my class telling me? What needs am I not meeting? How does the environment need to adjust?"

(When I said this to a colleague recently, she remarked, "Well, that's a different approach." And I don't think she meant it as a compliment. I'm still looking at it that way though.)

I tried an experiment last week. We were working with a certain word group...exploring words that followed a common spelling pattern. We had read some words and spelled some words as a group. The class seemed less than engaged in what we were doing.

I gave them some paper, to work on spelling words on their own. We stood and stretched and moved a little, to wake up the brain. I amped up my enthusiasm a little, and made some humorous sentences with words as we spelled them. But the engagement was still low.

So, I told them to grab their papers and pencils. I told them to find a desk or table somewhere in the room. I called out the word and they wrote it down. Then I told them to move again and spell a different word. We did this for 5 words or so. Then they moved back to their desks and we moved on to the next thing.

I repeated the move and write activity in the afternoon with math, this time with adding and subtracting two digit numbers.

Yes, things did get a little loud and a little rowdy. But not like usual. After a few minutes, we moved on to other activities.

My class likes to move and talk. If they sit too long, I lose them (at least mentally and sometimes otherwise). I'm working on keeping them moving...and learning at the same time.

1 comment:

  1. If she didn't mean it as a compliment I'd be surprised! Maybe you gave her something completely new to think about in this area.