Third graders are such a special group of students! They are so excited to learn new things. You can see it in their faces, and their whole bodies for that matter. When they are introduced to something new, their eyes narrow as they try to focus and they actually lean in to hear better and get closer to whatever they are learning about. As details unfold, they start moving around a little as the excitement grows. When they get materials to start exploring, they like to stand up and lean together so they can manipulate the items or getting a better view of the information. So many times I have more students standing with their heads together than sitting. As they start making connections and applying their prior knowledge things get a little noisy, but it's good noise, it's collaboration were students are learning from each other! When they finally "get it" their whole body shows it! Their faces actually light up! Their eye brows raise, their eyes get wide, and their whole face smiles in triumph!
Having students at the center of their own learning is amazing!
I love to stand back and witness those "Ah ha!" moments!
Traditionally, students learned mostly independent of each other, sitting in rows, with hands folded on individual desks, seated "properly" in uniform chairs. Now, we have found that students are more successful when they work together to explore and learn new concepts. They also do better when they are allowed more flexible seating that meets with their individual learning style.
I know my students are learning the most, when they have their heads together and are gathered around their materials, coming up with ideas as a small group!
When students are encouraged to get up out of their seats and come together as a group, sharing materials and ideas, they are their most productive. Using colorful stools instead of chairs, students can tuck their seats under their tables and move about to facilitate their learning, their way! Caddies of shared materials allows all students access to what they need to work together to attain a common goal!
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