Friday, February 1, 2008

The Student Voice

Woody's Pictures 278, originally uploaded by wdelauder2002.

The project at hand...
Save Ocean City.

Scenario: Ocean City, Maryland is threatened by a force that is unforgiving. The beach is eroding at an alarming rate. The beach is getting smaller by the day. This is a problem that effects the whole community. Many people live in Ocean City year round and many businesses depend on the visitors during the summer to keep their business running. Without the beaches, people will not come during the summer. Houses, hotels and businesses may be washed out to sea if nothing is done.

Your Job: Your team of geologists have been hired by Ocean City to fix the problem. The team with the best solution will be hired to complete the job.

This week, we just completed 2 discussion sessions with the fifth grade. Sharing of ideas, questioning the process, and explaining the rationale behind their thoughts. Many ideas were thrown on the table. Questions were thought provoking and students were rich with suggestions. The students became alive with confidence in their creative ideas.

The troubling issue...
These students are not used to sharing their voice. It takes many months of explaining to them that their voice counts when it comes to school. When they leave science, they are back to the old worksheet grind. What a shame. These students have so many relative ideas to share with the world. We need to let go of the teaching leash that is connected to the students. One fact that I have learned in my short tenure of teaching... Students will give you what you expect from them. Expect creativity and you will get it. Expect the minimum and you will get it. Until next blog...

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