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What Happens When It Doesn’t Work

December 10, 2011

On Tuesday and Wednesday, my students completed some different literacy and math centres on measurement. I had what I thought was this great plan for one of the centres. The students made objects out of playdough, and they used measurement terms to describe these objects. They wrote their descriptions on sticky notes, and they took photographs of them along with the objects. The plan was to take all of their photographs and turn them into a digital book about measurement. The students were excited, and they spent a long time creating their objects, writing about them, and taking photographs too. There was just one problem: the photographs weren’t clear enough. Often it was difficult to read the writing on the yellow sticky notes. I should have had the students write on a larger piece of paper and with marker too. The pen markings weren’t dark enough. The activity didn’t work.

So now what? This is when the “process” is more important than the “product.” No, I don’t have a published book to share, but I do have lots of documentation of student work. I have written notes, photographs, and videos of conversation. I know what the students know, and I know what I still need to teach them too. This activity was a success, despite the lack of a published digital storybook.

The other activities worked too. You can see many examples of student work on our class blog: from our video toy catalogue to our Puppet Pal measurement and temperature videos to toy riddles that students would love for you to solve. There’s also a video here of our Twitter game: #ispy2011. Students wrote clues of objects in the classroom, and other students from Canada and the United States, replied with guesses. These other students contributed some of their own clues too. This was a lot of fun, and a great way to get students reading and writing with a purpose.

There’s also some videos here of the students at the different activities and discussing them too. It’s great to hear what they have to say!

I’m now excited to see what adventures this week brings! Even when things didn’t work according to plan, it was still a successful week of learning. What did your child enjoy the most about these centres? What did he/she learn this week? I would love to hear your thoughts!



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