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Go beyond the Four Walls of the Classroom

November 22, 2010

One goal I had for my 24 third grade students this year was for them to see beyond the four walls of the classroom.  My students have used TodaysMeet, Twitter, Skype, email and other resources to help with this goal.  Over the last two weeks, my students have communicated with scientists, artists, mathematicians and educators from all over the United States.  It started with a “simple” question-Is a straw an example of a simple machine? The class asked me to tweet the question.  I did and the power of social media took over.  The question made the rounds on Twitter and received so much buzz that I needed to create a Google Doc to post the responses.

It led to this-

How does this relate to ed reform?  I think one major structural change that needs to happen is creating more student-centered learning environments.  What they learned from this experience goes well beyond the multiple choice test they will take at the end of the year.  This experience demonstrated that their thoughts count.  In addition, I think it is very important for my students to find authenticity in their learning.  A straw is an everyday tool for my students.  Typically they look at it as a drinking transporter and that is it.  Now they are evaluating what a straw does, how it works, and what it is similar and dissimilar to.  They were going home discussing this with family, doing research in class and thinking well beyond the actual simple machines.

Reasons for this Doc:
1.  Students are seeing first hand that scientist do not always agree (similar to their own experiences in school)
2.  Students are taking their own ideas and comparing them to an actual scientist’s ideas.
3.  Students are seeing that their learning goes beyond the four walls of a classroom.

Let’s give our students the chance to go beyond the four walls of the classroom.


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