Learning is contagious. Watching my grade 1 class prepare for the annual grade 1 class science fair last week really made me realise how much I love teaching and watching the learning unfold. Yes there were moments of guidance, but in the end the kids did the work right down to the planing and booking of some of the equipment required. It was THEIR show. It is a shame I could not be there however as I was in hospital with Dengue Fever. I heard alot about the science fair from my colleagues about how good it was and how much fun it was. I’m glad we have some video recorded reflections of the event so I can still feel part of what happened last Tuesday. It was good to see their golden reflections, verbalise what they learned. We had quite a turn out, all of the elementary school and even some middle and high school kids came as well. The local school kids left some remarkable questions and reflections on our science fair blog, and the grade 1 learners really enjoyed watching what others had to say.
Another example of contagious learning stems from action my grade 1 kids took last week. 3 motivated young girls Kimberley, Silvana and Sammi decided to help out the disadvantaged. They set up a stall at lunch times all week long to collect almost anything to help the ‘poor’. They had everything from signatures (for cash donations) to promises to bring food and even tomato sauce packs! They wanted to help and wanted to do something. The thing was they did not really know what they were going to do, how they were going to make a difference or really who they were going to help. Their heart and enthusiasm was there however. So we sat down and tried to hash out a plan. Then we sought guidance from the grade 5 students who are just about to begin their exhibition. We sat down again and finally decided that that we really need to make a concentrated effort and it would be easier to help people we already have a connection with. The grade 5 class gave the three grade 1 girls a great idea. A soft toy drive to help the Senyum Kecil (Little Smiles) project that helps local kids receive operations for cleft palates. So they were excited about this and off they went away to make another plan on the who, what, how etc. They held a meeting with another teacher from our school who has involvement with this charity. They submitted a marketing plan, they wrote an article for the school newsletter and class blog. You could see the inquiry process in action. They were gaining lots of recognition from peers and staff members. Then something unexpected occurred. Other grade 1 students wanted in on the action. They were excited. hen other learners from other c;asses became enthusiastic about this project as well. It caught on and spread and most of the school knew that this was a ‘thing’. The grade 1 class had started it all, well 3 little girls with a vision and drive just to make a difference and help. In a few weeks time we will deliver the soft toys to the kids in the hospital so they can see first hand how their efforts have helped others. We are still working on the logistics but my guess is, a little smile will be all the gratitude they need.