Friday, December 14, 2012

Amazing Moments in a Classroom

Thinking and learning!
I pushed my kids beyond the point I thought was possible yesterday, and they responded with enthusiasm.  It was one of those amazing moments we savor as teachers.  And since it is music & edtech related, I thought I'd share it.  Here's what we were doing:

• While working on our Nutcracker unit, we were learning about the harp (Waltz of the Flowers).  But thanks to, instead of just directly teaching them about the harp, I could send the students a link to a website about the harp and have them find the answers to my questions about the harp.  Then, students could submit answers through infuselearning which we could discuss as a class.  

But it gets better:
Screenshot of the various tabs 3rd grade students had open for work
• I also asked the students to have another browser tab open and logged into Google Apps.  When designing this unit, one of my essential questions was "What choices does a composer have when writing music that tells a story?"  A simple shared document was all we needed to gather all sorts of answers.  These students had never experienced a collaborative document - there was no need to explain it, and yet they got it.  Great discussion followed, more revision, and ideas shared.
This was a 30-minute class with 3rd grade students!  It was our fourth class on infuselearning so far and they had prior experience on Google Apps.  They had all sorts of browser tabs open, constructing their own knowledge and defending it in front of the class.  

All I had to do today was ask questions, such as:
How many strings does the harp have?
How many pedals does the harp have?  Why?
What are the colors of the strings on the harp?  Why?
Which finger do you not use to play the harp?
What choices do composers have when they write music that tells as story?

The students had to do the work and the thinking.
I just needed to provide the questions and the right tools for the learning.
Questions from Smart Notebook file for students

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