Last year, I taught what I thought were some great lessons about the difference between needs and wants. At the end of the unit, I asked the students to use a Common Craft-style video to show the difference between the two. They all got to work and took turns video-taping each other.
When I reviewed the videos, it was clear to me that despite my brilliant teaching, three of my students obviously did not yet understand the concept. Instead of re-teaching the needs and wants unit, I instead chose to show these three students some of the completed videos from the students who HAD understood the concept.
It was like the lights came on.
In no time, those three students were able to create a new video that showed me that they, too, understood what the difference was between the two ideas. Just by seeing and hearing their peers explain it.
Teaching in Flu Season
Last week flu season hit my classroom in a big way. That, combined with extreme windchills of -43C (-45F) meant very few children at school. One day I had only eight students in the morning and sent two of those home ill through the day. Starting anything new seemed ridiculous, so among other things, we spent some time reviewing silent e at the end of a word.
I asked those students who were present to be the teachers for those who couldn’t be there. Each of my students made a video (again using a Common Craft style—it works SO well for young children) to show how a silent e changes a word.
The students were all motivated by the idea of being the instructors. They worked hard on their “props” and even harder to get their images in the right place for the video. (We finally had to put strips of masking tape on the tabletop to indicate where the camera would be recording.)
Hopefully, most of my students will be back next week. Their peers are eager to let their videos help to teach. And kids can once again learn from other kids. I know it works.