Saturday, May 09, 2009

Reading with Gusto

My amazing fifth grade students have spent about 3 weeks studying the American Revolution, and one of the lessons brought us to the computer lab where we were conducting an American Revolutionary War Treasure Hunt. I admit that this was a low level Bloom's Taxonomy lesson but I was still trying to build in context and background knowledge for most students.

However, the real excitement is what happened next. The students were finishing this Internet based treasure hunt much earlier than I had planned, and I found myself in need of a challenging task for these early finishers.

So, I stopped the class momentarily and said something like this: "Class, as you finish the treasure hunt you can then go out to Google where you will use the Advanced Search features. I would like you to filter your search results so you only get PowerPoint Presentations about the Causes of the American Revolution. I would like you to find as many errors as you can on the Power Point Presentations that are online and then raise your hand so you can share what you have found. Are there any questions?"

You would have thought there was money involved because the students, while working with their partners, were intensely focused on finding mistakes. It was like a switch had been flipped and every student was engaged in analyzing and evaluating websites, clearly a much higher level Bloom's Taxonomy task. Their conversations were rich and these fifth grade students were reading the content with gusto. Perhaps this is one example that fits Angela Maiers' following quote:
"Rich reading instruction and experience does not come from buying a program, or following a script. The lessons that matter most come from a teachers heart. Teachers can eradicate reading poverty by bringing meaning back into the process and creating experiences that will stay with students for the rest of their lives. The riches of their future lie in our hands. What kind of reader will leave your classroom?"
My only question is, "How can I engage every student of mine like this on a daily basis?"

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! Engaging students in critical reading analysis, coupling that with another content area and purposeful digital information fluency makes this kind of activity a real winner! Thanks for sharing it.