- Kindergarten students made posters for their SPCA community service project asking people to donate goods.
- First grade students collaboratively made an ABC book to help the younger students learn their ABCs.
- Third grade students made a PowerPoint shapes game to help the younger students learn their shapes.
- Third grade students made posters for their class play.
- Fourth grade students made travel brochure for a family vacation.
- Fifth grade made Spanish PowerPoint games to help the younger students learn their Spanish.
When I first heard about authentic learning, I thought "Seriously? What kind of authentic projects can a kindergartener do?" But after more careful thought, students kindergarten through fifth grade have all created authentic projects in computer class. Here are some examples:
The thing that is striking to me about these projects is how seriously the students take them. I still remember listening to the First graders debate over what word they were going to choose for their ABC book. One girl excitedly said "I know, C is for Candy. They all love candy!". The younger students love it when the older students make them things. They get so animated when they recognize the voice of one of the older students.
This week, the VAIS visiting team came to evaluate our school for our 10 year accreditation. One of the people who visited was Ann Hamilton-Dixon from St. Catherine's School. She was nothing short of amazing and we were lucky to have her visit. As we talked about different projects, she would share her experiences which helped expand my thinking. At St. Catherine's School they decided to flip the teaching. They had the "younger" students teach the "older" students how to use Cublets which are snap electronics kits. What a brilliant concept. It's easy to see how proud the younger kids would be at this accomplishment. I quickly sent out an email to the lower school teachers and they all loved the idea. Now we just have to figure out what to do and find the time to do it. Spending time with Ann also made me realize the importance and getting out and meeting other teachers to share ideas.
I've decided to try blogging. The old Home Page is now renamed Interesting Stuff.