Learning by Doing
Children learn best by doing, and this motto informs a great deal of our 5th grade curriculum. Interactive practice not only increases students' energy as they get out of their seats and move around, but it also helps their brains to make deeper connections with the learning material. Three weeks into the school year, fifth graders have used their early finisher and recess time to build small-scale STEM projects and have created models of our school campus in the Science lab. They have also played "sentence station" in Language Arts to hone topic sentences. In groups of three, students rotated through a series of paper bags that contained a variety of short paragraphs, which were missing topic sentences. After reading each paragraph, each group devised a topic sentence for that paragraph, wrote it on a slip of paper, and deposited in the paper bag. We shared the students' ideas among the whole class afterwards, and there were several excellent examples. I'm a believer that movement sharpens comprehension, and so, if you see fifth graders out and about with clipboards, various "building tools", or writing implements, more likely than not, these students are knee-deep in learning!