Sunday, 15 February 2015

Students Want Choice and Voice

This blog post started out going to be a blog about cross-curricular connections and how my students, myself, and our awesome gym teacher worked together to connect gym and math. It all began with me thinking that it would neat if we could integrate some of our measurement outcomes from our math into the gym outcomes. Our gym teacher was all for it so I shared the outcomes that I thought he could do something with in gym and it led to the start of our cross-curricular learning. Gym class has become a place to reinforce and practice what we've talked about in math class. The students are enjoying it and can't wait for more. A few of them were even disappointed that they will have to wait awhile to finish an activity because they earned a free time play in gym.

The switch in the focus on this blog post happened when I decided to have my students reflect on what they liked and didn't like about Part 1 of our activities of measuring the gym using non-standard units of measurement. Without me asking they brought up the word choice. They liked that they could pick what to do and who to do it with once they had come up with the guidelines for the activity. My students were happy that their gym teacher let them come up with and share what  non-standard units of measurement they would use to measure the gym. We talked about how this was what is know as student voice-where students have a voice in their learning or how they show their learning. Also, they loved that they could practice their math learning in gym. Almost all of the students enjoyed this activity but I asked for feedback on what they didn't like and it had nothing to do with the activity or the math. It was the fact that they didn't have their own sheet. They found that the sign up and recording sheet being one sheet  wasn't ideal as some students were pushing them others of the way. We talked about how that really isn't something against the lesson but was students not showing sportsmanship which is tied into the gym teacher's awesome classroom management system. We then discussed how we could solve these "cons" of the activity. They decided that if they asked the other student to stop and they didn't they could tell their gym teacher-Mr. Elmore. I passed on this information to Mr. Elmore who informed me that he had already decided that for the next activity they would record their results on their own paper and created one. At the start of their next gym class he took the time to talk to them about how he loved their feedback as well as the fact that they liked having a voice. Then he explained how they would get voice as well as their own personal recording sheet in their next math based gym activity.

I am glad that I took the initiative to reach out to our gym teacher as it ended up being an awesome cross-curricular experience which led to a valuable discovery of student choice, voice, and feedback with an amazing gym teacher. Mr. Elmore  took the time to show them that he cared about their feelings and their voice. As their classroom teacher, this really made me happy as it showed me that he valued them as students as well as learners and was making sure he had positive relationships with them. What an amazing quality to see in this new teacher. I can't wait to explore further cross-curricular connections between math and gym as our students are truly enjoying it.

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