I was feeling pretty clever.
As most of you know, that is never a good sign.
My creative, engaging activity for the day turned out to be one of those lessons that makes a teacher ask the dreaded question, “Should I continue this fiasco or give up and find a video?”
The concept was simple: I wanted to use the idea of Hexagonal Learning with my 3rd graders so they could synthesize what they had learned from our systems thinking book, Billibonk and the Big Itch. One of the online tools for hexagonal thinking is called Think Link. This reminded me, of course, of ThingLink. And I thought, “They can make ThingLinks of their Think Links!”
Technically, the students didn’t use Think Link, though. Instead I used the Hexagons Generator from ClassTools to print out the hexagons with words that related to the book. The students worked in groups to connect their hexagons in deep and meaningful ways that they could explain in detail using an interactive ThingLink.
Well, that was the plan.
The students quickly arranged their hexagons. Then they took pictures of the groups and started making their ThingLinks. They liked the idea of using video to explain each node that connected 2 or 3 hexagons, and started to get creative – using newscaster and professor voices.
Then they started to get a bit silly.
Plus I realized that their connections weren’t exactly deep and meaningful. And some of them didn’t make any sense at all.
And then 2 groups accidentally lost 45 minutes of work on their iPads.
And the third group finished theirs, but ThingLink stubbornly refused to save it – grimly offering that I could “retry” or “delete” each time I attempted to upload it, but making absolutely no effort to offer the preferred third option, “Start this day over with a little less smugness and a little more planning.”
I looked at my giggly group of grade schoolers and took a deep breath. Despite having to start their projects over, they were all quite cheerful. And, the truth was that I had learned a lot from listening to their recordings – a lot that I needed to discuss with them to ensure they understood the text better.
We gathered in a circle and reflected on the day. We clarified lessons learned.
And we decided to try it all again next week.
Earlier in the day, I had talked about “iterative” with some of the teachers in the lounge. We agreed that it seemed to be quite the education buzzword these days, and I looked it up to make sure I was using it correctly.
This was the first definition I found. (Google’s version)
Not exactly helpful.
So, without any sense of irony, I looked it up again. (Wikipedia’s verson this time)
Next week, we will attempt iteration #2 of the Hexagonal Learning Lesson.
Hopefully, we will get some things right and all of the mistakes we make will be new ones ;)