What in the world…? Have you noticed some amazing changes in fruit recently? That’s right, it’s me, talking about FRUIT. I had Honeycrisp apples not too long ago for the first time, thanks to one of my students. Wow! Tasty! You can bring this teacher that kind of apple anytime! And of course you’ve seen the white peaches in competition with the yellow peaches. How about some grapefruit? Well, do you feel like having Ruby Red or Texas Star?
At lunch this week, quite happy with my blueberries and Greek yogurt (oh, that’s another story – the kinds of yogurt!), a TA brings up “Grapples.” Have you heard? Not me – not until this week! Apples tasting like grapes. But that was just TALK. Then she takes out a baggie of grapes. Hmmm. Like those too but really like my blueberries, until….. She asks us if we’d tried Cotton Candy Grapes yet. WHAT??! They are sooo much more than what meets the eye!
So here’s the discovery with students. No, not that they’re fruity, but that these young individuals that are brought through our classroom doorways may look similar in many ways and yet in some ways are so different.
One of many things that is special to me about teaching 4th grade is that this is a big individual discovery year. What things do YOU really like? Excel in? Struggle with? How do you learn? What are ways you can learn? What suits your learning style the best? What is a learning style? I love helping students view themselves as – themselves! At this age of student, their own world begins to open more than ever before. They truly come to understand what responsibility entails and that there are consequences, positive or negative, for every action.
It’s the differences unseen at a glance, the real deal of a student, that keeps me intrigued.
With the first couple of weeks under our belts, the students as learners are emerging as true time is spent into the subjects and topics at hand. I am in complete agreement with Salman Khan as he writes in The One World School House that
- No two educations are the same….You can standardize curricula, but you can’t standardize learning….Personal responsibility for learning goes hand in hand with a recognition of the uniqueness of each learner.
I believe you have to “unpeel” your grapes/students to see how to meet the needs in your classroom. Will assessment look different this year? As we get into new science curriculum and STEM plans, this learning is process-oriented, which brings a change in teaching from the past. We’re working to make it work and realize that it will take some time in transforming our thinking towards different types of assessments for the benefit of students. We are becoming stronger process-oriented people! This article posted in www.cybraryman.com/stem.html is an excellent out-take on STEM.
I am also realizing that you have to “unpeel” your mind as a teacher in reflection, consideration, and designation of the layout of a day in your classroom depending on what successful days may look like. One successful day may look very different from another as you make efforts in meeting student needs day to day and in giving them some voice and ownership in learning.
If I see you at school in the next couple of days, don’t be surprised if I offer some unique, refreshing Cotton Candy grapes to you. It’s great to discover, learn, and share new things – classrooms, teaching, and fruit definitely included.