I’ve blotted out a student face in this photo (as in many others), but I think the process itself is interesting to document. Here’s a de facto white board, a sheet of white scroll paper that I unrolled over and taped to a blackboard. Students had sticky notes in five colors: I gave hints in yellow. They used orange for technologies, pink for hominid species, green for domesticated species, and blue for cultural elements.
When we began this process back at the beginning of school, this group of kids generated fewer than twenty chunks of information about the whole of the Stone Age. Thanks to this teaching style or methodology, they were able to generate more than a hundred. It’s showing up in their writing and their thinking. They discuss and argue about the placement of these elements in class, and at lunch. Kids are asking me questions about Stonehenge and the pyramids, which hasn’t happened in years. And mostly I’m just getting out of the way of their learning. It’s kind of cool.
Our next challenge is going to be to read Pyramid by David Macaulay at the same time that we read the next chapter in the book. Are they up to … (gasp) … two books at once!? I don’t know, we’ll see.