Where is our house?
I recently introduced Google Earth to my 4-year-old son. He loved it. Within minutes, he was zooming in and out and asking to see our house. We also visited Disney World (Animal Kingdom), grandma’s house, mommy’s work etc.
A few days later, my son saw a map in a local newspaper. He said to me, “where is our house?”. I said, “That is not a map of our neighborhood.” His response, “change the map and go to it.”
This is how their generation thinks. We have to understand our students. To them, things should be manipulated to work the way they want it to work. He could not understand why someone would have a map that can’t be changed. In his mind, he is thinking the map is useless because it doesn’t apply to his life.
In my classroom, I have kindergarten students who continuously try to make a laptop a touch screen. All the time, I see them using their finger on the laptop screen. I asked a student why he did that and he said, “it is easier to use my finger on the screen than using the pad.”
I am not saying that all maps should be like Google Earth or that we need to only have tablets. I understand the importance and necessity of a traditional map. I also love my laptop. This isn’t about maps or laptops. This about the simple act of listening and observing.
How do I learn? As an educator, and parent/husband, I learn by listening.
In the classroom, I am on a continuous path of learning. How I learn changes day-to-day depending on the brilliance of my students. The students and I learn together.
I look at our learning space as a clock. The students are the gears, and I am the hands. The students make me move. I respond to them. I learn from them and then build based on their needs and wants.
I learn and will continue to learn by listening, observing and experiencing.