Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why Students Should Not Raise their Hands?

As we focus on students' engagement and verbalization, mentioned in previous posts, I am sharing an example of how effective conversations are for learning and as learning . Of course a purposeful conversation provokes thinking and engagement. Our conversations are designed on the co-constructed criteria of listening and speaking that were established at the beginning of the year. 

Our conversations are provoked through pictures, newspaper articles, videos ... and questions or any authentic experiences. This activity was based on the following question: 

If biodiversity is the balance of all living things in ecosystems, what will happen if the balance is threatened? 
Si la biodiversité est l’équilibre des êtres vivants dans des écosystèmes. Qu’est ce qui arrive si l’équilibre est menacé?

Before answering, students on their own in their teams started questioning and clarifying what is a balance, what is an ecosystem-all curriculum based expectations. Once they clarified, each student took time at writing their own thinking and making connections to their own background knowledge and experiences from our field trip to a local protective endangered community Beaver Pond.  In teams they shared added new learning took the responsibility of  team thinking and new learning from one another. Students were dependent on each other to explore and learn through conversations-giving students a chance to explore learning together in order to  increase their responsibility of thinking, sharing and risk taking. Lastly I shared with them a short French paragraph to confirm what they have learned in teams and apply annotations when reading. for confirming, for new information and for clarifications. (check sample in the second pi-collage).

I could have given them the text without the steps of conversations. Instead I wanted students to explore the authentic collaborative thinking experience for learning, for responsibility of thinking, making connections, risk taking in speaking French and adding new learning from each other. That is why I introduced the text at the last stage of the conversation. In their group students wrote their new understanding by applying the new learning in French. A longer process for learning that leads to more engaged learning.

Once the Classroom blog is updated students will share how technology amplified their thinking. During their conversations I used Reflector for sharing teams audios of conversations and proof of teams' thinking orally and in writing. I will have students update the blog.

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