It was well into the year when I arrived as their teacher. I asked them what they wanted to learn and what they loved best. Without hesitation, they informed me that they wanted books--books of all kinds, about tornadoes and Titanics, robots and inventions, jewels and treasures.
My first pedagogical act was to surround them with books about topics they wanted to immerse themselves in. We talked about strategies for reading... discovering clues to help you understand and learn about words.
They read together and alone. Some with books half their size! They looked for information from pictures and left behind sticky notes where they found key words and interesting facts. In their grade one way, they annotated the text beautifully as they went along. Question marks filled sticky notes when they found something mysterious. They wrote down the names of friends that would love to see a particular picture or a diagram.
What are they learning at school? Even though they may say very little when they arrive home, it is clear that these wonderful, inquisitive minds are learning to read! With their minds and hearts, together and on their own. And as they read and write about their passions, they are inventors and palaeontologists, storm chasers and magic makers.
I learn as much from them about how to read, wonder, share and learn as I try and teach them..."
Kristin Dahl is an Assistant Principal at Rosscarrock School. She is also the very lucky co-teacher of a grade one class. She believes that the task we give to children is important and that any conversation is an assessment conversation. You can follow her on Twitter @Dahlly_Lama.
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