Our children stop for one minute to pay respect to all involved in war. These young children listen to a poem read over the school speakers but what does it mean to them. Were my students in previous years connecting to the poem? I think not!
This year I wanted these young students to connect to what they were listening to and understand why they were buying poppies.
The Ode comes from For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon and was published in London in The Winnowing Fan: Poems of the Great War in 1914. This verse, which became the Ode for the Returned and Services League, has been used in association with commemoration services in Australia since 1921.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
My 6, 7 and 8 year old students listened to me read the Ode and then as a grade we unpacked the vocabulary. They shared their ideas about the meaning of the verse with each other and returned to their table groups to have another opportunity to talk about the meaning of the verse. Roaming and listening to their conversations was amazing. I never underestimate this age group. Their ability to think beyond their years when given the opportunity and material is amazing.
The task: A written response to explain what the Ode means to them.
My students are responsible for editing their writing. They have their ‘have a go’ spelling books, a spelling strategy that I encourage all teachers to use. The ‘have a go’ strategy book becomes a personal dictionary for my students.
I’ve included samples of my student’s responses (some are still editing) from each age groups and levels in the grade. Their perception and empathy is wonderful. Deep levels of comprehension: What do you think?
Until recently, many teachers only got one word of feedback a year: “satisfactory.” And with no feedback, no coaching, there’s just no way to improve. Bill Gates suggests that even great teachers can get better with smart feedback — and lays out a program from his foundation to bring it to every classroom.
Bill Gates is certainly an industry leader and makes some excellent points in his TED TALK. If you get a chance listen to his ideas. I’ll reflect and then add my comment. His suggestions are great but are they sustainable and achievable? Like to hear your ideas…
Reading my own reflections...
Sometimes it good to revisit something you've written... a reflection.
Brevity is a part of why these are simple, yet powerful questions. They require students to provide the weight, depth and complexity to a conversation. (Rebecca Alber)
Students remember what they understand. (Ericksen, 1984)
Our Inquiry into…
How the World Works
Central Idea: All living things go through a process of change.
Concepts: cycles, transformations, offspring
Communication Skills: speaking, reading, presenting
Self- Management Skills: organisation, safety
Thinking Skills: acquisition of knowledge, comprehension
Social Skills: co-operation
Attitudes: curiosity, enthusiasm
Learner Profile Attributes: knowledgeable, inquirers
As part of our inquiry into living things and change we visited the Melbourne Zoo for our provocation. The children looked at various animals, their external features and offspring. The conversations centred on unpacking the central idea and their writing displayed the connections they are making to the central idea and themselves.
The children were very curious about the external features of various animals. They selected a photo of an animal they had observed at the zoo and drew it, carefully making their picture as authentic as they could. Added to this was a writing activity where they wrote dot points about their animal using vocabulary they had learnt.