Last week I had three meetings about literacy. All three meetings were optional, and I chose to attend them because the focus was on how to use technology within workshop. I am always interested in how other teachers are choosing to use technology especially in the elementary grades. All three meetings had a consistent theme:
Value the process of learning as much as the product.
This really gave me reason for pause. I value all my fifth graders gathering together for our mini lesson. Although mini and gathering have shifted the last several weeks in my class, mini is not the word I would have used to describe the opening of our workshops. Three weeks prior to state testing, I have to admit the mini have become maxi. As far as gathering, always it seems after Spring Break, I have several students that ask if they can bring their chairs and sit on the outside edges of the circle. I don’t mind, I guess, well maybe I do? It just seems to me that there is not the same feeling of collaboration with 1/2 on the floor and 1/2 on stools. To be honest they have hard time writing on their lap and the "drops" happen quite frequently. But I am getting over that because there are too many fish to fry right now.
Back to the process, if I am honest the process is what I care most about. The whole class conversations, the turn and talk, and light bulb moments that happens in workshop. Those are the power moments when I think silently – yes we made it to the top of the mountain today! My shift includes switching to Google for small groups of collaboration. This week two of my groups will to collaborating through Google docs.
- The first group will be studying individual Seymour Simon books and creating one or two digital pages within a class book. Their focus will be on searching for cause/effect relationships.
- The second group will be reading a story from Cynthia Rylant's book: Every Living Thing and answering questions through a form that I created. In addition sharing their thoughts about the story with members in their group.
In these incidents, I am excited about the product as well as the process. I am happy that the small groups of 4-6 students will be able to collaborate and share their thinking. I know I will continue to ponder this dilemma (question) through out summer.