Sweet 16: Countdown to Summer Vacation

Always desire to learn something useful.-Sophocles

16 days of school are remaining. While I am looking forward to summer vacation, part of me is wistful at seeing this class go. They are busy, talkative, and loud. (I won’t miss the loud part.) They are also inquisitive, bright, and eager to learn. They haven’t shut down for the impending summer vacation. They continue to go full steam ahead wanting to learn. This morning during her free time, Tahra was researching sharks on her iPad. After looking online, she thought of something she had seen in a book in the reading center on sharks. She went and got the book, found what she was looking for, and proceeded to blog about some shark facts.

Tahra knew how to access information she needed. More importantly, she had access to the information she needed. These are essential components to learning. It was gratifying to me to see her use both her iPad and the non-fiction text. Seamless learning. She was reading, researching, blogging…she was also highly engaged. At this point in our school year, I can smile knowing my work with these children is almost complete. They are equipped and ready to go to first grade (and beyond) with the skills necessary to be successful.

When asked how my students became so independent and engaged in their own learning, I answer with these words: intentional planning and constant modeling and monitoring. We must be intentional about our instruction both with and without iPads. Apps are carefully considered before purchasing. Student use of iPads and any other activity in which they will have some freedom is carefully modeled daily, if needed. I subscribe to “I do, we do, you do” philosophy. This is that important gradual release of responsibility.

As we count down the final days of this year, my students’ love for learning is evident. I watch my students stand on the edge of their own greatness. They aren’t looking down in fear…but looking forward with great anticipation. So am I, my little friends. So am I.

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