I am not a teacher, but an awakener.-Robert Frost
Seriously, could the end of a school year be any busier? Lists and lists of things to get done in the remaining 15 days. As badly as I need to do those things, I still have the small matter (ahem) of teaching these kids who just keep showing up.
One of the small joys of teaching little people is their seemingly endless curiosity. We have extended our ocean unit into a week on Pirates. They have tons of questions about them. Living in a city rich with pirate history allows me to share some of the stories of Blackbeard and his time here in Charleston.
My students have loved looking at pictures of different Jolly Rogers and even creating their own. One group worked on creating their own treasure map after researching different ones online. They discussed the “necessary components” including the compass rose, the “X” that marks the spot, the need to put the treasure in a safe place and how to find their treasure by marking the “paces” on the map. These mini mateys collaboratively researched and created their map.
We have a list of “must-do” activities each day and a list of “may-do” activities. The children schedule their day with their planning sheets. Part of their “may-do” was to create the treasure map. There were no specific guidelines and it was their own decision to work together.
My role as facilitator has enabled me to watch them make their own decisions and problem solve both individually and together. One student created a Pic Collage to demonstrate some pirate vocabulary words. He drew the illustrations in Doodle Buddy and imported them into Pic Collage and then added his sentences. During the time students are working on their individual plans for the day, my assistant and I are able to work with small groups, have student conferences and assess if needed.
Watching my students planning their day, working together with others, solving problems and making decisions about their own learning, I know they are ready to sail to first grade.
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!