Monday, September 19, 2011

Somebody get my Camera

Sounds hopeful, doesn't it? There's something good happening, camera-worthy. And there were only 30 iPads available to document the moment. I didn't have my digital camera, so I didn't take a picture.  Irony, yeah. Next time, photos will be taken and posted. So what, you may ask, was this documentable moment?

Learning Centers. So while most of my Sophomores finished their poetry terms and identification pre-test, I introduced several who were finished early to my newly-created Learning Centers. I had been inspired by our first grade teachers every since I spent some time in their rooms two years ago. I guess I was also inspired by my own third grade teacher as well who fostered my love of writing at her writing station - prompts that lead me to writing story after story about Priscilla, a name that I was fond of, for no reason in particular.

So I spent the better part of the last two weekends designing Learning Centers - extensions and practice with Language Arts skills: reading, listening, writing. I used QR codes to label the stations and as students scan the QR codes, they are sent to a google spreadsheet to produce a short verification/reflection on what they chose to work on.

And so, today, I showed the Learning Centers to six students who were done early. Two chose to explore a book of psychologist self-tests (from my "Quirky" section). Another read about optical illusions and peered intently at the book, trying to discern the hidden pictures. Another answered moral dilemma prompts from a book of questions. One listened to part of an NPR "This American Life" podcast. Another read from Sherlock Holmes on a Kindle. The choice was theirs.

There they were - in memory foam chairs and scattered about on the carpet, reading, writing, listening at their whim. It was rather dreamy to watch. From where I was standing, it looked like a love of learning, and it smelled even weirder, something like, maybe, perhaps, the early stages of life-long learning. Not necessarily measurable in test-form, but arguably in line with the district motto, and so it has been deemed "a keeper" and next time shall be properly captured on film.