When I was a student in school, our desks were in rows. We sat one behind the other listening as the teacher spoke.
In our schools today, some of our students have bicycle pedals under their desks. Some sit on ball chairs. Some listen to classical music while they work. Others use fidget tools to occupy their hands.
Over the last few decades we have broadened our thinking to allow for various learning styles. We now understand that students sitting in quiet rows is not ideal for most. “Every student can learn and succeed, but not on the same day in the same way.” William G. Spady
Why do you teach your students to read and write? Is it because they are outcomes in the curriculum? Or, do you see the benefit of these skills within the classroom and beyond?
You may ask: What does it matter the reason I teach those skills as long as I teach them? Maybe. I would argue though that your approach would be different depending on your ultimate goal.
This week, challenge yourself to find an authentic reason for your students to write. Not an assignment strictly for the purpose of handing it in: a real writing experience. For instance, have you had a guest speaker recently? Ask students to write a quality thank you letter or card. Is your Demonstration of Learning approaching? Ask students to write a letter to their parents explaining what they’ve learned this term. Use these real life situations to teach appropriate format and content.
Mem Fox put it this way: “Giving unreal writing activities to our students is about as useful as giving occupational therapy for stroke victims to people who are in perfect health.” Well said.
Last week I was reminded of the importance of play. The source of the reminder may be somewhat surprising.
Early one evening, I sat on the couch and watched as four rabbits raced across three yards in what appeared to be ‘play’. They ran at full torque as if they were playing follow the leader. They engaged in what looked like a game of tag, leaping and jumping over top of one another. They would be still momentarily and then their antics began again. What was most remarkable: this lasted over 20 minutes. I have never before seen anything like it.
Moments of play add a spark to otherwise run of the mill days. How will you play this week?