Both the Grade 1 and Grade 2 students have been learning about three-dimensional solids in class, so what a great way to apply their knowledge of these solids. Those that know me know that I am not artistic in the least, so trust me when I say that I gave very little direction or assistance for this activity. Students used the books in the classroom, online resources, and the newspaper to research dinosaurs and create their own unique dinosaur. Then they problem-solved together to build their model. They used everything: some just used newspapers and glue; others used bristol board, newspapers, glue, and tape; and still others added paper bags, staples, and elastics to the mix. They not only helped their group members, but they helped each other. They were offering suggestions, problem-solving, and persevering. Students were everywhere, supplies were everywhere, the room was buzzing, and everyone was learning something new.
This was a difficult task. Truthfully, I was hesitant if the students could create these models, but I was so pleasantly surprised with what they did and what they learned. They showed me that they understand the properties of three-dimensional solids, and what they need to consider when building with these solids. Even the students that created the two models that didn't work were able to reflect on what went wrong and what they would do differently the next time. They didn't learn this because I told them the information, but they learned this because they figured it out for themselves. This was learning by doing, and the students will definitely remember what they learned today. I couldn't be happier!
And it was when we were tidying up that this teacher candidate started to talk to me, and she mentioned how much she enjoyed the visit. She then said to me something that I will remember for a while: "This is definitely not a traditional classroom!" You're right. My room isn't traditional, and looking back on what my students learned today, I feel confident when I say, "I'm good with that!"