AHEAD OF THE CLASS

Margaret


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Joined May 23 2011
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FEMALE
52 years old
DeLand
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AHEAD OF THE CLASS

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I teach third grade at Freedom Elementary in DeLand, FL. 

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Reply Margaret
7:59 PM on September 11, 2011 
In order for teachers to develop a natural desire to learn in each of their students, they must allow the students to expand their curiosities and discover answers for themselves. It is not enough to read from a text book to gain information. Students must learn through creative play, dramatic recreations, impromptu field studies, discussions, and debates. In short, students learn better by doing. Since much of history has been formed by hypotheses and speculation rather than cold hard facts, Social Studies is the perfect discipline to engage students in making deductions and forming inferences to draw conclusions.
In order to utilize the interrelated themes of production, distribution, and consumption I use an instructional strategy known as a jigsaw. One year, I decided to implement a jigsaw-style strategy into a cumulative yearly review. Along with my students, we turned our classroom into a museum. The students named our museum, ?Crayne?s Closet of Curiosities.? Students were paired with a partner and each pair of students was assigned a specific chapter in our Social Studies textbook (we were doing Florida history so they were assigned topics such as Florida and agriculture, Florida and transportation, Florida and business, etc). I challenged them to become the ?experts? on their topic. Together, we decided what the important elements of our assignment would be and then I created a rubric. Each student in the class had a copy of the rubric so he/she knew exactly what was expected. Each group made an interactive museum exhibit, PowerPoint presentation, 3-5 final exam questions, and board game (blank board games can be purchased rather inexpensively at Barebooks.com). The students stayed after school to learn PowerPoint and use the school?s computers. As part of their interactive exhibit, the students were charged with teaching our guests and fellow classmates about their topic. They had to create something that visitors could take away with them. For example, our agriculture group had Florida oranges to share. We invited special guests to our ?grand opening? and served tea, coffee, and pastries. Each child came to school dressed to impress. The children were prepared to teach the audience about their topic using their PowerPoint presentations and then they manned their exhibits. People asked lots of questions and it was solely up to the pair of students at the exhibit to answer them. I watched firsthand as my students exhibited mastery not only of the academic elements of this experiment, but also their proficient understanding of marketing and the social graces. After a week of visitors, we closed the museum and spent an entire day playing each other?s board games. I can honestly say that each student learned more than I could have hoped for if I had simply had them read a summary of each chapter. Our class did fabulously on the cumulative exam.

Margaret Crayne
Volusia County Social Studies Teacher of the Year
Freedom Elementary