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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Collaboratively Planned Stations

As the crew begins to take control of their learning, they are asking for and getting much more input into the stations we have in our classroom. Recently we had a crew meeting and took a look at each station and decided which ones to rotate out and which ones to rotate back in. I loved that their decisions weren't based on "fun" but on what they wanted to learn. Some highlights from the discussion:

  • They really want to continue to work on learning to use chopsticks and write Chinese characters in the Chinese Culture station.
  • They really want to continue to learn to code (computer programing) and asked for some further lessons on how to get better at these stations.
  • They created a new station and named it Word Academy (after a vote) and decided all of the activities that they wanted to do at this station. The idea for this station came from a book we read called The Very Inappropriate Word. In this book the main character collects words and the crew wanted to be word collectors, too.
  • They wanted to keep the basket of currency from around the world to explore.
  • They wanted to get rid of the Spelling City station. They still want to work on spelling but they think that this app is too complicated to use and would rather work on spelling at the Word Academy Station or the Pocket Chart Station - both of these are hands-on stations, not apps.
  • They wanted to add a Google Earth station because they love to visit other places in the world on this app and also browse the photos from other places in the world. This led to a big discussion because we would have too many stations if we added this station and they didn't want to get rid of any others (including i-Ready lessons and others that can be challenging). So we finally figured out that we could make the ShowMe station a free choice ipad station and then each child could choose each time they went to that station what they would do - make a ShowMe, visit Google Earth or some other app.
This is probably too much detail for you (and this isn't all we discussed) but I wanted to give you a taste of just how seriously they are taking the responsibility of deciding what they should learn and how they want to learn those new things. Below are a few photos and ShowMes to help you see what they are doing.

Kalyn and Nikelle made this basket and list of words at home one evening for the Word Academy Station. Students can add words to the basket or they can find words that they love on the word list and add them to their word notebooks.

I went to my teaching colleagues on Twitter and asked for some help with lessons for coding for first grade students and one teacher shared this link with me. Once a week, I am sharing a video from this site with the crew and I can already see the difference it is making. Check out Maddie's first Scratch, Jr. coding creation and then compare that to her second Scratch, Jr. creation. This was after watching just one of the 5 minutes videos.

Scratch, Jr. 1 by Maddie
Scratch, Jr. 2 by Maddie

Avery donated a fun new math game to our Math Station.

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