Today gave me reason to ask myself a question that I've never really asked myself before: does it matter? My students today were preparing for a Skype call with a Grade 1 class in Atlanta Georgia. This is a two-part Skype call: students in both Ancaster and Atlanta have researched different aspects of their school community and local community, and they are comparing them through their presentations over Skype. Not only was this a great way to connect with another class involved in the Global Read Aloud Project, but it also met Social Studies expectations for both Grade 1 and Grade 2. Perfect! :)
Drawing A Visual To Accompany Research
As a class today, we went over the different topics for the call, and we discussed different options for research, from a Google search to books from the library. Students also had some previous knowledge that they could add to their part of the presentation too. Each group had to record at least three facts to share, and they needed to create a visual to share too.
Researching Their Topic And Writing Down Information
I'll admit, when I planned this research project, I had one basic format in mind: students would research their topic, write down their three facts, and draw a picture to go with their topic. And this is basically how things started, but then a Grade 2 partner group that were researching on the SMART Board, asked me if they could make a presentation in GoogleDocs. I'll admit that my initial instinct was to say, "no." Hey, I love using different tools, but this wasn't what I had in mind for this project. Then I stopped to think though: does it matter? The truth is that in this case, it doesn't. I wasn't evaluating the students on artistic skill. I wasn't marking their printing skills or seeing if they could organize ideas on a page. I was assessing them on their ability to research with a group, gain facts on a topic, write notes about these facts, and later present these ideas to a group. Students could do this just as well on GoogleDocs as on paper, so why say no?
Animal Image Created In DoodleBuddy After Researching On Google Images
Just as I said, "yes," to this, another group asked me if they could use the iPad and the iPod Touches to search for images of animals in Ancaster and Ontario, and then draw these images in DoodleBuddy to share with the other class. My initial instinct was to direct them to the paper, crayons, and markers, but again, does it matter? The students are researching the animals, and they are applying what they learned to create their own. They saved their images to upload to the computer, so that we could share them with the class in Georgia. They met the expectations, so the choice of tool was irrelevant!
Today reminded me that it's important to constantly ask myself, does it matter? I want to build creative thinkers and problem-solvers, and today showed me that in less than a month, this has already happened. It's amazing to watch, and I'm so glad that I resisted the urge to say, "no," and instead went with, "go for it!"
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, "does it matter?" What were the results? I'd love to hear about your experiences too!