In a world of high stakes testing, report cards, and higher standards (accountability), I sometimes worry that my instruction tends to lean toward the "preparing for the test" end of the spectrum. To counteract this, I strive daily to incorporate "fun" activities, keep students engaged using multi-sensory, interactive lessons, and provide choice within their independent work.
So, what brought about the magic phrase? A science lesson about vertebrates and invertebrates. My student teacher and I front-loaded some of the content information during small group reading this morning, using our science leveled readers, so during science today I set up rotating stations:
1. Streaming online Bill Nye Invertebrate video
2. Cute flipchart on Promethean board about vertebrates/invertebrates that students went through without my help.
3. With me: Students were given play-dough and told to build a person as tall as possible and see if it would stand on its own (of course it wouldn't). Then they were given toothpicks to be used as backbones and they repeated the activity. We discussed the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates.
And the best part of all, is that after it was over and we met as a whole group to discuss what they learned, the students mentioned ideas that I probably wouldn't have even covered if I had lead the lesson in a "traditional" way. I really feel like today I met the needs of my diverse learners, leaving me with the question,
Can we do this everyday?