Program standard 2.2 states “Teacher’s explanation of content is appropriate and connects with students’ knowledge and experience.” To me this standard means to give students academic age level appropriate content that they can connect with on a personal level. This includes making sure that all students have the opportunity to participate and be engaged. This will ensure that teachers will recognize the examples that don’t fit their classes, and leave them by the way side. In my first grade classroom our social studies focus is families. We connected that topic with our reading essential question for the week of “How do people around the world live?” We first talked about how we thought Meridian Park was a special place. I knew this was an example that everyone could connect with. We next moved on to say why Shoreline was a special place. Again this was a topic that all students could connect to. I then asked the question if student had every lived someplace else. This stretched their thinking by making them begin to compare and contrast where they live and another place. Finally we arrived to see that different places are all very special and that these special differences make an impact on how and where a person lives. I then introduced the map project. This entailed students to draw and label a maps geographical features and put twenty special details about that place that would make it different for the people that live there.
(THIS IS FIRST GRADE WORK!! WOW!!)
I believe that this is evidence of showing appropriate context paired with knowledge and experience because of the base that we built together before starting the project, as well as the following evidence of engagement throughout the project. After building background with student experience embedded, students picked out a country book and were immediately engaged as they mapped out the similarities and differences to that country and to their own. Students used their experiences to compare to the new information that they learned about the people from their country of choice.
What I learned from this assignment that with clear concise instructions and overwhelming student engagement, students can create really amazing things. If a student can begin with themselves and then broaden out a topic they will be able to understand much easier. This project gave students the opportunity to build from a very familiar place onto something much more foreign. That scaffolding gave students the right platform to jump off of into their own learning. I think that The learning that occurred from this project entailed students reflection on where they live, students comparing their lifestyle to another’s around world, students researching and pulling out information from a nonfictional text, and a baseline understanding of creating maps. The only thing that I would change in this project would be to possibly use it as a presentation grade as well. I think that I lost an opportunity when I didn’t use a project that the students loved to practice their presentation skills.