Monday, October 7, 2013

Why is it important to know Why?

Back in the day when we were in elementary school, we never, ever discussed "Why" we were learning things?

We often questioned our teacher, "Why are we doing this?"
Then we would comment, "This is not important! We will never, ever use this skill when we get big!".
The teacher would respond to our questions and comments with , "Just do it because I said so!!"

Well friends...

Welcome to the days where kids get lots of motivation and excitement from learning "Why" they are learning about things!!

Every standard we introduce or work on during the day.... Ok not every standard, but lots of standards during the day, we discuss why it's important for our kiddos to be leaning that standard.

We promise it is painless and quick!
Just tell your kiddos or following an activity, ask your kiddos the standard.
Then, give your kiddos 1 minute to discuss with a friend "Why" it's important to learn that standard.
Then discuss the kids responses as a class. It is amazing the ideas and reasons the kids come up with.

We did model some in the beginning, but here's what our kiddos say...

Teacher-What standard are we working on when we do our lunch graph?
Kiddos- Data Collection
Teacher- Why is collecting lunch data important?
Kiddos- So the ladies will know how much to cook, So you can remember what you chose for lunch, etc...

Teacher- What standard are we working on when we practice letters, sounds, and sight words?
Kiddos- Reading
Teacher- Why is it important to learn how to read?
Kiddos- So we can read to our mom/dad/baby sister/brother. So we can teach our friends to read. So we can get smarter. So we can get a job when we grow up. So we can read signs!

Teacher- What standard are we working at when we do Daily 4 math (math with a teacher, math with a friend, math with a teacher, math by yourself)<
kiddos- Numbers, counting, patterns, more/fewer
Teacher- why should we learn about number and counting??
Kiddos- So we can count how many toys we have. So we can count how many vegetables we get to eat. So we can know how many DOJO points we earned. So we can count to see if we have enough candy to share. So we can count and see who got more snack.

The examples are endless!!
So what can we do with all of this WHY stuff???

It is amazing the students responses change and evolve each time we discuss WHY! It's awesome! Just by answering and discussing WHY, the kiddos get more excited about learning.

Why not let our kiddos reflect on what they are learning and why it's important?  This will also help your kiddos' parents know what's going on in the classroom.

Here's the thing, Jake, my 5th grader and I have the same conversation everyday! This conversations has been going on every single day since prek.

Here is how our conversation goes!
Me- How was your day?
Jake- Fine/ Good/ Ok
Me- What did you learn/ do?
Jake- Nothin.

Seriously! Please tell me you moms and dads out there have similar conversations! I know I try to delve deeper and get more, but it's like pulling teeth!!
Really! He is in school 6 and 1/2 hours! He had to have learned or have done something!!

Well friends, this lengthy blog post (if you have made it this far) is about to send your classroom parents into Parent Heaven! Yes, they will know at least 1 thing their kids learned during the week!

Check out this weekly reflection! Just give it for morning work or as a ticket out the door before recess or whenever you want, but really GIVE IT! Click any image to grab our weekly reflection pages.

The parents will thank you! Not to mention, you have proof of some HOT (higher order thinking) things going on in your room!!

Let us know if you use a reflection form with your kiddos! We would love to see and hear what you do to help your kinders with "self efficacy."

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