Student voice provided by Daniel R
I shared with the class several maps of the world that reveal the human footprint to start class. You can check them out for yourself here. Instead of me telling them what is happening and all the connections, I cycled through several maps and had the students make as many of the connections to what they already knew. They had to work through what the map was and what might connect to it. For instance, one of the maps displayed wheat production around the world. A student came up with the Columbian Exchange as a connection because without it there wouldn’t have been the wheat crop in the Americas.
It was easier when it was an agricultural product, harder when it was shipping lanes. Students saw the differences around the world to where products came from and go to. They witnessed that the southern hemisphere has significantly less shipping traffic than the northern half. The students debated as to why and come up with colonization, imperialism, and Neo-Colonialism.
Afterwards, I moved on to the vocabulary words they had been memorizing from earlier in in the week. They created a visual thinking map and afterwards wrote a three sentence summary on how agriculture changed over time.
As Daniel put it, “I like how we are doing the whole web thing now, when I can remember stuff or help add onto the web, it helps me with remembering what the terms we learn are. I also like how Mr. Heintz does his humor when we take notes, it helps me stay more focused and what he’s saying.”
“I personally need help with remembering things, not just in class but in general. The web thing we’re doing in class now does help a bit but it’s not sufficient enough for me. I need help with focusing too, I lose focus sometimes and end up pondering on random stuff and that really isn’t helpful when I need to remember a bunch of things.”
It is a criticism I have with this class but most classes in general. Students are not choosing much of what they are learning. Having students choose to learn is a key to helping students retain it; information is more useful when you want to know it. That’s one of the reason I was doing more projects. They found projects or problems they were interested in to learn more about and an attempt to solve. It was only week one of school, I’m moving towards shifting back to doing student led inquiry projects.