Thursday, January 17, 2013

Then and Now

  What a fascinating day! We started the day stepping back in time.  For an hour of the day students pretended as if they were in a one room school house back in the 1800s. Each child was given a new identity. They giggled as I read their new names and ages: Ezekial, Bertha, Horrace, and Silas were a few of the favorites. They practiced their penmanship with quill pens. They practiced math facts on slate boards. They read from old primers, used alphabet paddles, memorized passages of text, and even had a spelling bee.  They stood up to answer questions and bowed and curtsied as elders entered the room.  They "feared" the ruler as it "hit" their desk reminding them to stay on task.  At recreation time they played an old game of toss the ring using two sticks.  They even took this week's spelling test using old parchment and quill pens.  For over an hour our class was transformed, and the students loved it!
  Fast forward an hour and students are all completely engaged as they are using a new program called Wallwisher during class council.  This online site allows students to all post comments on a wall at the same time. They can see other people's responses in real time.  In the picture above you can see the big screen shows all the students' comments about bullying as they are typing on their netbooks. This was such a huge difference to the learning students in Vermont did centuries ago.  It was a great comparison for the class.
  We are so blessed to be a 21st century school. The access to technology and the amount we use it in class has certainly enhanced the fourth graders' learning.  We continue to focus on teaching them skills to make them proficient in this new online world.  A major focus is plagiarism. We have been focusing on the importance of not stealing work that is not their own.  It is so important that whenever students are online and using the internet to gain information, that they always write down the site where they retrieved their knowledge. The sooner we can make this an every day habit, the easier it will be for students to make sure that they are never accused of plagiarizing someone else's work.  This is not a one time lesson for my students, this is ongoing learning that hopefully through repetition will become automatic whenever they are using technology.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and work about the importance of understanding how to navigate the online world.