Last week I mentioned to a fourth grade class something about the Olympics. Lo and behold, they had no idea what I was talking about. Once I got over the shock of 10 year olds not knowing what Olympics were, I realized I had to do something.
Teachable moment, here I come.
So my third and fourth graders have been spending this week watching the Opening Ceremony and working on an Olympic Cyber Hunt, all resources I found by simply searching for Olympic Lesson Plans on Google. I had planned on doing a research unit this spring, but realized that we could do research on something much more current, the Olympics. Two of my classes today spent their third lesson on the Olympics. And they were still engaged the whole time, and excited about what they were learning. It helps that I could show the Opening Ceremony with that dramatic snowboarding entry, they were hooked! Not only that, but we talked about the Haitian earthquake a few weeks ago, and then worked on Free Rice so rather unintentionally I've been developing a unit on global citizenship. Not all of them get it, but a few do. And that is really what being a 21st Century Learner is about; using the resources we have to better ourselves and the world around us. I'll be the first to say that these nice computers are not here to play Super Marble Blast.
This year I've finally discovered the easiest way to direct students to websites. It is so difficult to get kids to type in the correct URL, and they don't remember them if they want to go to the same place at home. So, since I have the privilege of being the webmaster for my school, I created a special section entitled the All-Star Student Section, where I link all relevant websites, with one main seasonal page, and also divided into grade level sections for more grade-specific sites. It works especially well when I want students to go to several websites in a lesson, and focus on the content rather than the task of typing in the URL.
The rest of my classes went okay today, too. I spent quite a bit of time tracking down some pictures of our violin concert Tuesday night, but they were fuzzy (the gym does NOT have good lighting) so I had to get the String Teacher to come in to my class with some violins to take some impromptu shots of students who had signed their media release. They turned out okay, but I am no photographer.
*Taking a break from The Book Thief, and am instead watching Stargate Universe with my dear husband. I do love a good Sci-Fi show.