I haven’t been blogging, but I have ideas to share and need to brush up on a few posts, as I got busy with work and setting up the Scholastic Book Festival the past few weeks.
Currently, counting down the day to the start of our Goose Hunting Break! Up north, we do not have a March Break. Our spring break is delayed until the end of April, when the community shuts down, packs up their bag and heads for their bush camp for two weeks of hunting. Most of the non-native teachers or outsiders head “back south” to visit family and friends. This year, I’m doing something different and going to DisneyWorld for 6 days … YAHOO!!! I haven’t been since I was a tween!
Anyway, in our science course, we are currently in the middle of our ‘Earth and Space’ unit, exploring the origins of fossil fuels, the pros and cons of wind turbines and learning about other forms of energy resources.
This afternoon, my Grade 11s did a presentation comparing two types of energy resources, which they’d been working on for the last two weeks. Many of my students are fairly shy, but I didn’t have to drag any of them to the Smartboard (there were a few that put up a fight the first time we had presentations!). They were much more comfortable starting off, knowing what to expect. Also, my strategy with shyer students is for me to sit at the back of the room, zip my lips and just let them take the reins. The small group of students who were present today all did some excellent work!
If you recall, my students are English Language Learners. Cree is their first language and many of them struggle with technical science words. Kids “down south” might be exposed to the ideas of climate change or photosynthesis even through popular media, but I often have to break the ideas down to make sure every single student is on the same page. Especially in a classroom made entirely of ELLs, it is integral to go back to basic definitions. Recently, we’d been using Quizlet a lot and it’s working beautifully (a more detailed post to come).
Also, I’d written back in November that giving time for ELLs to research, read and create an oral presentation improves their literacy skills in a myriad of ways. And over the past several months, I’ve definitely seen some of my weaker students transform and show better engagement and improved confidence in answering questions and reading aloud! These are students that, at the beginning of the year, would sometimes stare at me in utter silence!
It’s really great when you’ve realized how far they’ve come. We will be finishing our presentations tomorrow and Monday. I’m looking forward to it … as well as the weekend!