We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.-Ronald Reagan
I recently found myself in a situation where I didn’t know how to do something with one of our new apps. I could have probably figured it out if I devoted all of my attention and time to it but knew there was someone who already knew just how to do it. So rather than spend precious time trying to figure it out, I just went to Ella. Ella is an expert at figuring things out on the iPad. She never lets me down and if she doesn’t know the answer right away, she persists and comes back to me, usually 10.4 seconds later with the answer. We all need an Ella…she is like a real-life Siri, only way cuter.
Working together as a community of learners benefits everyone. Today, my class partnered with a second grade class to demonstrate how to use an app. The second grade class had just gotten Explain Everything which is an app my kids are already familiar with. It was a great activity watching 5 year olds teaching 7 and 8 year olds. My kids were very nonchalant about the whole thing…like it is no big deal to teach older kids, because to them it’s not. Even better, was the second graders didn’t seem to mind being taught by the younger children. Once again, there were 50 kids in my classroom and all were engaged and on task.
How do we create an environment where teachers learn from students and students learn from each other, regardless of their age? We allow the experts to share what they know. The students in my class know which child in my class can help them with a variety of needs. Everyone has their own area of expertise. Students are engaged in a way that provokes conversation. Students are invested in their learning because they are able to make choices about how they learn. The adults don’t have to always be in charge and they recognize that students have a lot to offer, even if they are 5 years old. The learner knows it is ok to make mistakes and the teacher gives the children the opportunity to create…surprise me!
My kindergarten students have many years before they enter college and then the job market. They have much to learn in the coming years. They also need to learn how to work with people both younger and older than themselves. Working cooperatively with peers, and eventually co-workers is a critical life skill. Today’s teacher doesn’t have to have all the answers. We just need to be able to ask an expert…even if that expert still needs a booster seat 🙂
Today, we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!