Friday, October 14, 2011

Allow Them To Be Responsible

I was at an inservice all morning today, and just before heading back to class, I happened to check my mailbox. I was excited to see that the Flat Stanley from Mrs. Kolis' class in Ohio had arrived. But there was a problem: Mrs. Kolis really wanted the Flat Stanley mailed back out to her class within a week, and I'm away presenting at ECOO next Thursday and Friday. How was I going to get photographs taken, blog posts written, and the Flat Stanley returned quickly? To add to my concerns, our class also has a Flat Stanley from a Grade 1 class in Atlanta Georgia, and we haven't taken any photographs with him yet. It was time to get things started!

My initial thought was to take the class around the school and snap some photographs together. I really didn't have time to do this though, and how beneficial would this really be anyway? I'd end up policing the students all afternoon as I shushed them in the hallways, and we would take unnecessary time gathering for group photographs too. There had to be a better way!

That's when I thought of another plan: why not give a group of three students the iPod Touch, and let them take the two Flat Stanley's on a tour around the school? They could take the photographs themselves, and then come back and blog about where they went and what they did. On the upcoming progress report, one of the learning skills that I'll be evaluating is "responsibility," so why not give my students the chance to be responsible?

I went back to class and told my students the plan. As a class, we thought that we should try to keep to around 10 photographs. We brainstormed some good places to include in the pictures. We spoke about safety, and since the students wanted to go outside, we talked about where they could go and where they couldn't go. The iPod Touch also has a clock on it, so the students were told that they had 20 minutes to take the photographs. The class thought it would be fun to get some other teachers and students in the photographs, so we also spoke about the importance of manners. Students practiced how to ask others to take part. Then all of the students that wanted to go, put their names in a basket, and three names were pulled out. We had our group ready to go!

The three photographers/actors left at 2:10 and returned with seconds to spare at 2:29. They got a great variety of pictures, and they even figured out how to take a photograph including all three of them in it too. Talk about a good problem-solving opportunity. When the students returned, they started blogging. One student chose to work alone, and two others, chose to work together. They helped each other generate ideas, and they edited each other's work too. By 3:19, their posts were done, and I just added in the photographs for them tonight.

The Two Flat Stanley's Visit Our School on PhotoPeach

I love how when given the opportunity to be responsible, the students met and/or exceeded every one of my expectations. I'll definitely be thinking of other ways to continue to give students even more responsibility in the classroom and school community.

How have you helped your students become more responsible? What were the results? I would love to hear your thoughts!



Morgan said...

So sorry we gave you such a short deadline! Most of our Stanleys went to family members close by... but I am so glad to read this post! I love finding ways to show the kids I trust them and provide them with ways to be responsible aka independent.

I am always so inspired by you Ms. Dunsinger. Thanks for reminding all of us to provide opportunities for responsibility!

Aviva said...

Don't apologize at all, Morgan! I'm so glad that you did give us a short time. If it wasn't for that, I would have never tried this, and I'm so glad that I did! You gave me the push that I needed to try something new ... thanks Morgan!

And thank you for sending us a Flat Stanley too! My students were so excited to show him around today.


Eric DelaBarre said...

What a cute idea! Way to think on your feet! And hey...thank you for being a teacher!!!

Aviva said...

Thanks Eric! I love when these unplanned ideas turn out to work so very well!


Anonymous said...

I liked the video and all the pictures!! :) Love : Casey

Aviva said...

Thanks Casey! I'm glad that you liked the video and pictures too.

Miss Dunsiger