It’s funny how often we don’t get students to do things because we think they are too young, or too old. Actually, it’s not that funny really is it?
I was reminded of this two times in the last two days. Yesterday, some Grade 5 students were putting their inquiry questions on to some fish templates for a big display we’re making (you can see the Storify about this project here). Some of them were really eager to colour them in and yet my first reaction was to think that it would be a waste of their time.
This morning, I took a chance and ran a Harkness/Spiderweb Conversation with four Grade 2 students. This is a strategy that is “normally used” with much older students, but these kids took to it very quickly and ended up having a very powerful conversation.
We began by using a previous piece of work that had provoked some controversial thinking:
Then, we began our Spiderweb Discussion… I was tracking the flow of the conversation and writing down salient points that the kids came out with.
At the end of the conversation, we talked about how the conversation flowed between them and I pulled out some of the things they said that I felt took us to a deeper place by the end:
This is an amazingly powerful strategy on a number of levels. If you’d like to give it a go in your class… let me know!