Thursday, September 24, 2015

Float Your Boat

Here at Skillin School we are working on a whole-school initiative to do some learning around Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. Students who demonstrate these attributes will be recognized. In our classroom this week, we have been diving into the idea of what cooperation actually means and what it looks like in the classroom. 

One activity challenged students to use cooperation to build boats that float out of given materials. The goal of the activity was stated clearly to the students: to work effectively as a team to build a boat that floats. They were given an additional optional extension challenge as well. Students could opt to find out how many pennies their boats could hold without sinking. All of the six boats held an incredible number of pennies. But more importantly, ALL teams were equally successful, no matter whose boat held the most pennies. I used the penny extension to show that success does not mean winning or holding the most pennies. Success means achieving your goals. In this case, no one group was more successful than any other because they all met the original goal.  In an often winning-focused culture, this is a powerful lesson. 

Student Learning Statements:

"Success is not whether you win or lose."

"Teamwork requires everybody's ideas."

"Success means achieving goals."

"Teamwork requires everyone to work together."

"Teamwork requires problem solving."

"Cooperation means everyone works together towards a goal."

"Success means you worked together to accomplish your project." 

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About Me

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I live in Cape Elizabeth with my husband, two daughters, and our cat Nessie. Our family loves to spend time outdoors together, camping, hiking, and gardening. Another past time of mine is triathlons. I have completed nine triathlons, including one Half Ironman. I loved swimming, biking, and running 70.3 miles! You might also find me cozied up with a good book in my free time. I have been teaching for 10 years in a variety of grade levels. Fifth grade is my favorite! The kids are capable of so much! I can't say I have a favorite subject to teach, but love getting students to think deeply. I enjoy getting kids to think critically and be creative in all subject areas. I often use simulations and project based learning to do this. Teambuilding and working on social skills in another major goal of mine. Teaching kids to work effectively together and use good communication skills will help prepare them for life after school.