How clever is my child?
Can they apply what they have learned?
I know the highest level of thinking is now considered to be creativity, so is my child thinking at this level?
KP have had a passion for space. This was started by Matthew and Hashu but everyone has joined in at some time during the year. The loft area in the classroom has many functions, construction area, book area, home, paper areoplane launching area (their knowledge of design and aerodynamics is very impressive), but mostly it is a space ship. One afternoon during free inquiry time the whole class engaged in a scenario where the children were getting ready to launch into space. It was decided that a flight manifest of everyone who was going on board would be needed. They cooperated and helped each other write down names. Some children found the names on the wall and read and copied them, some tried to sound them out and some asked for potential passengers to write their own names. This process was sustained for over 45 minutes before the launch commenced. It was a highly creative process which showed problem solving, collaboration and application of taught skills.
Great, but are they learning anything?
- Meta-cognition (Having the ability to express ideas verbally, explaining thought processes. Remember many of the children are doing this in two languages).
- Problem-solving (Coming across an issue, being able to work through many stages and use different strategies to find a solution).
- Cooperation (Work with others to find solutions for using resources. Listening to others and respecting different ways of achieving the same end).
- Writing (Understanding that we use writing as a way to communicate and help us organise ideas. Knows about letters and that they have a corresponding sound.)
- Phonemic awareness/sight words/reading words (We are not automatically readers and writers, the way we are walkers and talkers. Try and remember how hard it is to learn these skills. The children used many strategies to help them write the words they wanted).
- Lists (Picking the write kind of writing for the job. Showing an understanding that we write in different ways for different reasons, for example lists, cards and emails).
Now do you see why we have a class of rocket scientists!
Who will go on the space ship? on PhotoPeach
How technology helped us.
We used the digital camera and Iphone to take pictures and recorded the children’s work with a photostory. This time I took the pictures but it is usually hard to get the camera out of the children’s hands. It is important to teach them about respecting the technology. Mostly it is just a case of practise makes perfect with taking the pictures.
Photopeach (free) Is simple to use. If you make a file of pictures that children can access they can upload them by themselves and add music from the site. Photopeach honours children’s work by presenting it in a professional manner. In this case I typed down what each child said and this is a record of their thinking, so I could assess their level of understanding about writing shown through this free inquiry.
You Tube (free) We searched You Tube for videoes that showed launches and reentries to earth. You can also use teacher tube, which may give you more educational chooses. The children were able to see inside the space shuttle. This is very easy to do but it is a good idea to preview video if possible. There has seldom been a topic I can’t find a video on. It is fantastic for maths and Language Arts. I am still a big fan of Sesame Street.