+ What kind of information did I give you about myself? What kind of people do you think are on this island?
+ Introduce yourself Name Age Place of birth/where raised Physical Description Profession Likes/Dislikes Background information
+ Where I teach K-12 Open-enrollment charter school in Georgetown, TX Students come from Round Rock, Georgetown, Hutto, and small rural communities north of Austin More than 600 students on campus First year for elementary Ethnic Distribution 79% White 15% Hispanic 3% African American 1% Asian 2% Two or more races High mobility rate Half from rural areas, half from suburban areas
+ My philosophy I believe that many amazing things can happen at the intersection of fun and learning. I am enthusiastic about learning, and feel that I should model my love of learning in my positive, dynamic, and engaging classroom. My classroom is an inviting and supportive community where students feel comfortable taking risks. Students take ownership of their education when they are allowed freedom and choice, therefore, much of my instruction is centered around student choice. When students have some choice, material becomes more meaningful and relevant. I want my students to have an authentic, personal connection with the material that I present. Finally, I believe that quality reading and writing instruction is the responsibility of ALL teachers.
+ Why are we on this island? On our island, we are all stuck here together, which builds a sense of support, community, and teamwork. The island is a safe place for students to reinvent themselves. The island is a safe place for students to take risks and practice the material. With a student-created world and student-created characters, students begin to take much more ownership of their learning. The material is relevant and authentic to students. This context fulfills students needs, not just teacher needs. Students are actively engaged and have multiple opportunities for engagement and mastery. Teachable moments abound on the island. Student choice! The island give us a fun place to play creatively with language in context. Why should we stop playing?
+ Theory Dewey Learning should be student centered and engaging Through inquiry and investigation students create and become agents of their own learning Emphasizes learning by doing/experiential education Teacher is a guide; students independently discover meaning Bruener Active and engaging learning Student choice and self discovery Learning is an active process Interest in the subject matter is important Vygotsky Writing should be meaningful Students write more clearly when allowed to discuss ideas socially first Language develops socially first, individually second
+ A bit about language acquisition “Sylvia Ashton-Warner, teaching Maori children in New Zealand, developed a strategy for literacy based on the children’s experiences and interests. Calling it an “organic approach,” she taught children how to read by using the words they wanted to learn. Whereas basal readers, having little to do with Maori children’s experiences, were mechanistic instruments that imposed severe limitations on the students’ creativity and expressiveness, Ashton-Warner’s approach, based on what children knew and wanted to know, was extraordinarily successful.” (Nieto and Bode, p. 54) Nieto, S. & Bode, P. (2012). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education (Sixth Edition). Boston: Pearson.
+ Who are you? You are in high school in Madame V’s second semester French III class. You feel safe and free to express yourself. You’ve had two and a half years of high school French. You are used to individual and group work. Your French teacher is silly and encourages you to play with and explore the French language.
+ Qui êtes-vous? Who are you? Name Age Place of birth/where raised Physical Description Profession Likes/Dislikes Background information Get up, move around the room, and introduce yourself to the other island inhabitants! Feel free to ask your new friends questions about themselves and their background.
+ Biography Write a short autobiography. What kind of information will you include in your biography?
+ Want Ads (Student Sample) I am a successful sculptor looking for a beautiful woman to model for me. I am smart and sarcastic. I have an excellent sense of humor and you will laugh at everything I say. I make a lot of money, but I won’t share it with you. I am very talented. You should be healthy, attractive, and thin. I prefer women who like to dance and do not talk very much. The ideal candidate for this position is very pretty, likes to cook for me, and loves martial arts films. Now it’s your turn! Write your own want ad!
+ Response to Want Ad Paragraph 1 About you Paragraph 2 Respond to the original poster’s demands. How do you match the qualifications that the poster is looking for? Paragraph 3 What will you do together? Paragraph 4 Ask several questions of the original poster.
+ Response (Student Sample) I am a large football player who weighs 150 kg. I enjoy sports, juggling, camping, and watching sports on the television. I think that I would be an excellent model for you. I am very handsome and hairy. Unfortunately, I am not thin, and I like to talk a lot, but I like martial arts films. I am not a good dancer, but maybe you can teach me to dance. I don’t like to cook, but I am good at eating. If you hire me, I will be a good friend to you. We will go camping and I will teach you to juggle and to play football. We will look for pretty ladies together. Do you like to play sports? What sport do you prefer? What color do you prefer? I like every color, but prefer blue.
+ Island Ideas Gossip Soap opera Skits Haiku Acrostic poem with name Love letters Island vacation brochures Island mysteries What else could we add?
+ Leaving the Island Our last activity is always “leaving the island.” Students work in table groups to plan how their characters will get off of the island. Brainstorm a creative way for your group to leave the island.
+ Cross-Curricular Ideas Psychology: disorders Science: elements, diseases How can you apply this technique in your classroom? What modifications should be made?
+ Results Student engagement The death of Georges Critical listening skills increased Fluency increased Risk-taking increases Students are more comfortable speaking and writing in French. Classroom sense of community increases Creativity is promoted in class