Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Take 5--Carter's view of winter

Aaahh, the sound of take 5 sounds wonderful and in fact, we had just this yesterday--a snow day! How beautiful was that! I actually used the day to grade, relax, and watch my son make 34 snowballs. How does this have to do with constructivism? I'll tell you.

In researching constructivism a little deeper yesterday, I came across a website that explains constructivism, breaking it down into 5 E's: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. My son in his curious state became a constructivist using "the philosophy about learning, that proposes learners need to build their own understanding of new ideas, has been labeled constructivism" (http://www.miamisci.org/ph/lpintro5e.html). Carter naturally was engaged the second he saw the snow piled on top of tree limbs and the continued snowflakes falling, his grin and eager to put on snowpants showed he was engaged. He quickly explored what he knew about snow realizing his feet would get wet because we haven't purchased snow boots yet; he forged ahead without a second thought. He continued his exploration using a snowball maker Becca had bought Jeremy last Christmas. He wanted to save the snowballs for his daddy to see when he got home from work, so Carter came up with a great plan--he would save them in the freezer. I am tapped on the shoulder as I was napping on the couch with, "Mama, come see what I put in the freezer!" Springing the freezer door open, I see not just a couple, but 34 snowballs crammed in between frozen peas and hamburger! Snow formed into perfect sphers laced with grass and dirt, Carter explored frozen ice.

Quickly moving into the explaining stage, Carter drew a picture which turned into a quiz for Jeremy. He drew himself and Jeremy in a snowball fight and then posed this question: how many snowballs did Carter make? 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, or 35. When Jeremy came home, Carter explained how he made the snowballs and where he put them. He elaborated about his discovery.

Being the modest little 6-year old, he then evaluated himself: didn't I do a great job, mommy?

I thought about how constructivism is such an active learning process and I had the opportunity to watch it unhold, all on a glorious snow day!


At 7:57 PM, Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Great example, Michele - and a great story as well!

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Roger Hess said...

This story shows how kids naturally learn in a constructivist way. Now - let's do the same in our classes!


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