We are halfway through conferences. I love the way that first trimester conferences fall around a weekend. It has given me that halfway point to reflect on what I have learned from my students and their families so far, ideas and areas I want to pursue that will both help and inspire my students based on their interests and needs. Plus I am reminded that I too am still learning, that I too have areas in which to grow.
This fall we worked through a science kit around the topic of Variables -- something that is normally just for 5th graders in our district. Having taught the kit for the last two years I was made aware that this concept should be used throughout science in all grades, so this year I wanted to teach it to our entire multiage group. This turned out to be an epiphany in itself. The majority of third graders readily took to the idea of what controlled, changed and measured variables are, and could quite easily identify them in a situation. So many of the fifth graders could not. Which left me wondering if this was a developmental thing. Were my third graders more open to the idea? I love a good mystery, and here I am with one that I will use to transform how I teach science and how my students can teach each other. More to come . . . .
One of my very quiet students shared her reflections about how our multiage classroom is going so far, and it was wonderful to hear her insights and thoughts on the process. She has been inspired by our work with building blocks and learning partners to push herself into new levels. She is a strong reader and writer, and through the conference shared even more of her interests with reading nonfiction, something she was choosing to read at home. She shared her thoughts on a presentation given by other classmates to our school board and hinted at her own desire to try something like that. I was delighted to learn more about this very shy student, then to see her yesterday morning and recognize a change in her as well. She was more confident, more happy to have been recognized for her interests and her intellect. She is coming out of her shell a little more. Everyday I am reminded of the uniqueness and special qualities of these amazing little beings! Again, more to come . . . ~Ann