Monday, March 17, 2014

3rd Grade and The Daily Five

The Power of Classroom Communication and the “Daily Five”          wordle reading.PNG

The Daily 5 literacy program was implemented into the New Kent Elementary Schools this year. Its primary purpose is to give students more time for reading and it also allows the teacher to differentiate instruction. Student lead learning is abundant in this program. The teacher assigns the theme for the week. Students are put in groups and have five tasks that they can participate in with an emphasis on the theme. Those five tasks are : 1. Read to Self 2. Read to Someone 3. Work on Writing 4. Listen to Reading and  5. Word Work. Each group must share and comment on the each others work. I recently had the chance to sit in and observe Ms. Cooper’s 3rd grade class at New Kent Elementary School. There was plenty of cooperation, collaboration and self-directed learning during the Daily 5 class time.

It is during the sharing time for the Daily 5 in Ms. Cooper’s class that the students learn about how creative each one of them really are. All the students in the class found one student’s ongoing story and illustrations to be particularly interesting.  It had dragons, volcanoes, a hero, and donuts. Who could resist that?  Mrs. Cooper commented that “it would make a great video game” thinking that someday this student could create that video game. Little did she know that another student in her class had a father who helped create video games professionally. A few months later Mr. Payne produced a real video game for the class from that student's creative story.

In this article “How To Inspire the Next Generation of Creative Thinkers and Innovators” By Dr. Stephen Brand & Pim Vossen | Mar 11, 2014, the author discusses the importance of stories.

“Teach how Telling Stories is a critical skill if one is to have their creations become realized. Whether it’s sharing visually, verbally, in writing or with new technology tools, those who can tell compelling stories that are empathetic to their audiences allow their ideas to come alive for others.”

The big question that came from the students to Mr. Payne was, “How did you do that?”  He told them about computer programming and the connection between reading, writing, creativity, and technology. Mrs. Cooper’s class has this connection.  

The third graders took this information one step further by exploring computer programming and logical thinking with some activities from “The Hour of Code”, an initiative for Computer Science Education Week. They worked in cooperative groups to create step-by-step “code” that would allow an object to reach a target. The students tried “lightbot”,“blockly”, "Tynker” and “Scratch”. These programs were built to help young students learn conditions, repeat loops, and math skills that are basic to computer programming.  The programs are a great free educational resource.

A real world connection to writing and something fun is education at it’s best.

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