Posted by: jwhiff | May 6, 2011

Project Completion and Critical Feedback

Whew!  We’re finally ready for the Fingerling Festival!

There were times during these past few weeks that I thought I was crazy taking on these projects the way that I have.  I am so lucky for the enthusiasm of my students and the trust and support of their parents, who have been pretty good sports during this process! The projects are above and beyond what is necessary in many respects.  The thing is, I wanted so badly for my students to do something authentic.  So often, work in the classroom is either far removed from what is real, or merely pretends to be real.  Plus, I wanted to provide my students with experiences that might just start a life long habit of paying attention to nature.  As Ruth often quotes: “You only care about what you know about.”

Yesterday, my students excitedly put some last minute finishing touches on their project boards and waited for Ruth to come and take a look.  Many noticed (and enjoyed) the science fair atmosphere that the classroom had adopted for the occasion.  They were so proud of their projects and had worked really hard on them.  Ruth spent well over an hour with us, combing over all of the details in each child’s project, asking them questions and engaging them in conversation about their ideas.  It was the most genuine critical feedback my students had ever received.  If only I could replicate this kind of experience on a regular basis!

Anyway, all of the hard work has been worth it, I think.  Today I’m heading out with another small group of students for our Friday study.  It is rainy, but I think we’ll tackle it anyway.


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