Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is It Passion-Based Learning?

What was more interesting today. . .
A first grade ‘expert’ standing alongside of an interactive whiteboard  guiding the audience through a presentation on African wild dogs, pointing to maps depicting the dogs habitat, discussing the need for this carnivorous animal to have jagged fangs, while pointing to a picture of its sharp teeth.   
Or maybe. . .
A first grade audience engrossed in their classmates’ presentations on endangered animals, processing information, making connections to prior learning experiences, recalling their own research on whales and asking “Do white spotted dolphins have blubber too?” 
Or perhaps. . .
The teacher sitting in the back of the room listening to her young experts, assisting by tapping the forward button on the power point presentation in case it should stick.  

Today was a wonderful day as my first grade students presented their power point presentation on endangered animals to their class.  They demonstrated leadership and pride beyond first grade as the spoke with authority about their research, and discussed each image in the power point.   The whole process that led to this culminating event was very educational for me.   My students were very engaged from the time they began their research to the time the presented their power point.  They even asked on several days if they could come up after lunch recess to work on their power point. 
As I reflect on the process, I find myself asking:  What kept them engaged? Was it completing research?   Working on the computer?   Creating the power point?  Searching for images?  Sharing with their classmates?  Leading a question and answer session?  I have to think it was the whole process.   The students selected an endangered animal and became the expert.  The animal became “theirs” and the desire to share what was “theirs” with classmates was sincere.   Is this what passion-based learning looks like in first grade?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I found your blog via a course I am taking about passion based learning. It is great to see another first grade teacher who is doing this. I am a very practically minded person who wants to know what this looks like in a primary classroom. Thank you for the glimpses you have given me on your blog.
    I hope you continue to share what you are doing.