Fruits of my labour, what was I thinking?
Posted by mrsmelva on 06/01/2012
After I wrote the last post, I looked at it again and began to wonder about the title, which I had written when I started the post in November. It really didn’t seem to relate to the content of the post. Then I remembered. I was referring to the way the students conducted themselves, managed their behaviour and were very responsible with all of the materials and tools throughout the project. All but one of the students had been in my kindergarten class the year before. In kindergarten I had tried to implement Montessori philosophy and principles as much as possible. I think that this really contributed to the way the students worked throughout the unit. I saw a lot of collaboration and sharing of ideas, sharing of materials and great care taken throughout the unit. Students helped each other, worked independently and in small, self-selected, flexible groups. moved around the classroom with care, returned unused materials so that others could use them, cleaned up spills and messes, and learned a lot about the objects and materials they were using. The neat thing was that, although I was very interested in teaching this unit, when the other grade one teachers were a bit reluctant, and we had very little to go on, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, I followed the child (the key to Montessori education) when a student asked if they could make snowmen like this one:
I definitely reaped the fruits of my labour with the students the year before, developing independent learning skills, strong relationships and building a classroom atmosphere of trust and responsibility. An open ended project like this with so many opportunities for messy accidents was actually fun to teach and relatively easy to do since the foundation had already been built.