Today I was reminded that it’s important to let students pursue their interests, regardless of what those interests may be. After first nutrition break, two students came in and they were very concerned. They were itching for most of the recess, and they thought that they might have poison ivy. Then they decided that they had heat rash. How serious was this though? Should they be concerned?
I could have told them not to worry, but instead, I let them find out for themselves. During literacy centres, the students decided to do some research together. They read an article, they discussed what they learned, and they tried to make sense of the information. One of our success criteria for our current TLCP (Teaching Learning Critical Pathway) is “gathering information,” and the students definitely did this. When literacy centres were over, these two shared what they found out. Next week, we have our school self-assessment visit, and students will be asked specific questions about their learning. You can hear some of these questions in my conversation with these two students today. It’s interesting to hear what they have to say. Please forgive the somewhat shaky video camera, as this was recorded by a Grade 2 student. Please also forgive me the couple of times that I suppressed a giggle or two. I just wasn’t expecting the answers that I received. Kids say the most amazing things!
I especially enjoyed when the two students reflected after showing the class the website they went to. While they realized that the next time they could go back and write what they learned in their own words, they also realized why copying the information as they found it was important in this case. It’s great that they could discuss their reasons for making the choices that they did, and understand that the same decision may not be the best in every circumstance. Wow!
These students also learned about something today that was meaningful to them, and they realized the value in reading, and reading comprehension, as they researched heat rashes. I could have told the students what to read today, but I don’t think that they would have been as engaged with the material if I did.
What do you think? What do you notice when you let students pursue their interests? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!