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What I learned

March 8, 2011

About a month ago, my students began independent research projects.  Each student chose a topic that interests them.  As they researched, they had to complete a journal, and their final product was a poster.  The topics went from Bob Marley to Gila Monsters to Thomas Jefferson.  I learned a lot from this experience.  I would like to share what I learned as a teacher, and what I learned as a student.

What I learned as a Teacher: The students loved doing this assignment.  Allowing them to choose their own topic gave each student ownership over their project.  When they presented their poster to the class, they displayed pride in their work.  I created a rubric that each student used as a guideline for the project.  I am always trying to give my students more choice in the classroom.  This assignment is an example of why it is so important.  They did an amazing job.  In most cases, they went beyond the frame of the rubric to create a poster that included more than what was “necessary”.  This is an assignment that I will do for years to come.  Lastly, since we finished presenting last Thursday, I have had 3 students tell me they are working on a second project at home.

What I learned as a Student:

1Beluga Whale: Beluga whales have 34 teeth but the teeth are not used for chewing.  The whale uses the teeth to tear its prey apart and then swallow whole.  2.  Emperor Tamarin: They only a pound or so.  3.  Fish: Fish first appeared n earth over 500 million years ago.  4.  Danny Way: World’s best skateboarder and once jumped over the Great Wall of China.  5. Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson grew 24 different types of peas in his garden.  6. Volcanoes: A volcano in Indonesia in 1815 killed over 92,000 people because of starvation.  7. Constellations: The ancient Egyptians viewed Libra as a feather not a scale.  8. The Great White Shark: The fins of a Great White are used to make soap.  9.  Video Games: Mario is the #1 character in the video game universe.  10.  Art and Artist: Helen Franklin Haler had a great art teacher while a child in New York.  This teacher inspired her to become an artist.  11. Rattle Snake: A rattlesnake strikes at the speed of ten feet per second.  12.  Belcher’s Sea Snake: It is the most toxic snake in the world.  13.  Killer Whales: Killer whales are travel about 30 mph.  14. Golden Retrievers: There are three different types of Golden retrievers (British, Canadian, American).  15.   Skateboarding: Learned what a Ollie  is and how to do one. 16.  Turkey Vultures: Their head is bald so they can keep clean as they eat.  17.  Seals and Sea Lions: The biggest difference between these two mammals is having and not having ears.  18. Tigers: Excluding the tail, a tiger can get up to 9 feet in length.  19.  Poison Dart Frog: Baby frogs are carried by their mother.  20.  The Grand Canyon: There are no dinosaur fossils in the Grand Canyon.  21. Gila Monster: The Gila Monster is the largest lizard in the United States.  22.  NBA Basketball: The Nuggets and Pistons scored a total of 370 points (most all-time) in 1983.  23.  Bob Marley: Marley continues to influence music today.  His music is universally liked.

I asked  the students how much they like this assignment, and one student responded by saying, “I have wanted to study this for a while but never had the chance at school.”  Enough said.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    March 8, 2011 4:02 am

    Rock on!

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