Friday, April 15, 2011

Sythesizing learning

Chicken or egg?
The kids have been studying myths. We poured over myths from different cultures, analysed the differences between myths and folktales and thoroughly enjoyed a week of story telling. The students asked their grannys and grand pas  about myths and came back with an amazing repertoire. The writing followed next. We made an impressive class checklist that the students would use during independent writing time. I modelled one with my class, and then the kids attempted to write one in groups. Finally they wrote their own myths and we published them during our writing workshop. All the pieces were assessed following the 6 traits of writing and the kids got a descriptive feedback which helped them improve their writing considerably. The final outcome was a Grade 4 Anthology of Myths that have been displayed in the school library for the rest of the school to enjoy.

The reason I am writing this blog post is because of what happened next.It was a hot Thursday morning. Tired. Kids listless. Classroom boiling hot. Fan droning ineffectively above hot heads.
I asked the kids to write (we had started explanation writing) an explanation of what comes first, the chicken or the egg :).
Expectedly, there was a heated discussion which went on for over 10 minutes.
Exasperated, many of the kids looked up at me and said that it was simply impossible to explain which came first, so if you please Miss,  may we write a myth?! Wow! Bang!!! Mr Bloom would have been very proud of this moment. They had understood myths really well and were capable of using it appropriately in a totally different context.
I guess this is what we wait for. A time when students, without being prompted, are able to synthesize what they have learnt, and apply their knowledge to solve problems.

According to the IB,

The central purpose of teaching and learning is to help students develop and extend the concepts they use to understand the world, solve problems and communicate …. A new concept is developed when meaningful connections are made between bodies of knowledge and other existing concepts and the process of making those connections leads to a deeper understanding of the world.

This was my formative assessment. What need for a summative??!!

I was pleased that sultry Thursday afternoon.

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