Today, Mrs. Doucet (Librarian) gave us a tour of the Duchess Park Library. This was good for the participants as it gives them an advantage when they do the Gr 8 Library scavenger hunts… A few also were able to check out a book that they could not get out of their own school’s library.
We also watched a presentation by Ms. McDonald (Tech Teacher/Librarian) on Prezi. We jumped in on this because it is a cool, web-based presentation program that I have not had the chance to show yet.
I had the students mix up groups today to discuss and compare what they know about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, with a focus on the building materials and construction. This was not successful and I am noticing some of the students are checking out. The research is dragging on and the cool facts are not hooking them or filling them with wonder. I have not done enough to excite them about the Wonders. I ended up doing some teacher modelling and tried to share some of my interest in the Wonders with them. It seemed to work a bit and generated some conversation in half the groups.
We finished up today with a serious talk on how things are going and my hopes and expectations for the program. I tried to refocus them on the project we are working towards, The Seven Wonders of Prince George. This brought out some home town negativity, but a few students turned this around with positive comments. I also informed them that I have been in contact with CBC Daybreak reporters and TourismPG about their project. This sparked a bit of interest that I hope will fan the flames.
I told them how I assessed them on the report cards that are going home very soon. I stressed the point that I am looking for proof of their learning and thinking, not facts about the Wonders. Questioning and using the right sources for information were the key outcomes for this term. I also pointed out what I was looking for in work habits.
I told them that because this is an enrichment program and they were selected for it, they all have the capacity to do this kind of learning. I am also grading them on this standard. ‘A’s’ will be harder to get than what they are generally used to in their home classes. I told them about my own experiences in school; I was much like them. I finished my work quickly, got great grades and was a distraction to the rest of the class. I was not challenged, Inquiry and Project Based Learning where I had some control and choice was something I needed as a kid. I hope that putting a personal spin on this expectations talk has an impact on their focus and commitment to their learning and the program.
All in all, I feel that today was a bit of a breakthrough; mostly in my own mind, but hopefully with the moral of the class as well. I don’t want to hear the ‘B’ word. Usually this is a word I attribute to the lazy, unimaginative mind, but here it would be because of me.