March 25, 2015
We are finishing up a unit on ancient civilizations in third grade and each child has to create her own civilization and then compare their civilization to one we studied. The students all have a planner where they are taking notes and then they are deciding for themselves how they want to share their own civilization. At the start of the year, we created a poster about ways to share our learning, so as students finish their planners they drift over to the poster unless they already have an idea. We are lucky to have easy access to technology as we have a laptop for every student and a handful of iPads. It is interesting watching their projects evolve. Many students are using Google Slides, some are writing and sketching by hand. There are maps of sites being drawn, with complete keys, new alphabets being created, belief systems morphed, and so much more that shows their synthesis of their new learning. I am there to support when needed as students need supplies or technological advice, but more often they are getting support from their peers. They have criteria set out (that was constructed with them) and they have a deadline (tomorrow afternoon). Each one is completely unique, even when they are trading ideas back and forth.It is times like this that remind me how little the actual content matters. What is important is equipping students with skills and attitudes so that they can access what matters to them when the time is right. What matters is helping students see that their ideas have value and that they can make connections between what they know, what they learn, and what they want to do with all of this. I often wonder what students will remember years from now. I know what I remember from way back in third grade is limited. I remember a few key things and none of it is curriculum based. It is funny to think that in the future our life today will be one studied by those who follow us. I wonder what they will learn about the past by studying our today.