Friday, March 13, 2015

7th Grade asks "Who Was?"

This week has been a busy one for me. Ms. Lombardo's seventh grade language students worked on answering the question "Who was (insert your historical figure here)?". Each student choose a significant individual from history and this week we spent time gathering facts about them. I was with them every day this week, pushing them towards reliable sources (and making them prove they were reliable), correcting citations for their resources, and prompting them over and over again to "FIND AS MANY FACTS AS POSSIBLE!". Boy is my voice horse no that it's Friday afternoon! Next week, Ms. Lombardo will help the students organize all of their facts into a five-paragraph essay.

Here at SCC we have been focusing our teaching for the past few years on learning targets (or I Can statements if you will). Here were the I Cans for this week:

  • I can apply the Big 6 to organize my research and learning.
  • I can use a set process for note taking.
  • I can evaluate resources for accuracy and validity.
  • I can recognize digital tools that can be used for note taking and creating citations.

Every day at the start of class and most days  at the end of class, I reminded the students of what the point of this week was. Today I asked them if they felt better able to do these things on their own; the answer - yes.

That's what my job is. It's teaching kids that memorizing facts, figures, dates, and rules isn't the be-all and end-all in learning. Learning should be about developing skills that allow you to find the facts, figures, dates, and rules when you don't remember what they are. Being able to find a reliable, credible source for information and take notes that make sense for someone else to read if need be. Doing things in an order that makes sense, instead of jumping in without a plan. Life skills that can be applied to any job, any challenge, any situation.

Thanks 7th grade students and Ms. Lombardo for inviting me into your class this week. It was awesome!

If you'd like to see more about the project, you can visit the SCC Middle School Library's "Learn" page. 

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