Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"How" is Important

Our JH Academic Dean asked a group of teachers to consider the following quote from Eric Jensen's book Teaching with the Brain in Mind:

If I can learn in a way that satisfies me, I will learn anything you want me to. But if I cannot learn in a way that is comfortable for me, then I will not learn anything, even if I want to learn it, let alone if you want me to learn it. The “how” of my learning governs the “what.”

I think this is the challenge for teachers. Our students come to us with such different experiences than what we have that it sometimes is difficult to understand how new approaches can actually be helping our students learn.

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, I observed in a teacher's class. Lana Garner was using a text poll set up on the Poll Everywhere site in her Spanish class. She was posing questions in Spanish and the students were working in groups to respond appropriately in Spanish using an iPod Touch or iPhone. The group that answered correctly first got a point. This little competition was very engaging for her students and gave me an idea for my 6th graders. So when I returned to school on Monday, I set up a text poll on the Poll Everywhere site. My students worked in groups to choose a vocabulary word from our word list and created an original sentence using the word appropriately. They then submitted their sentence to the poll. I was able to export the sentences using the site into an excel spreadsheet and then reset the poll to allow for more to answer.

This little activity worked great and today when we did our vocabulary work, the students told me that the activity helped them be that much more in tune with the words in the lesson.

I know for a fact that I've had students create sentences from vocabulary words in the past but never in quite this fashion. "How" we went about it seemed to make all the difference!

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home