The Missouri Reader Vol. 43, Issue 2 - Page 32


Resourceful Research

Resourceful Research


William Kerns and Amanda McCaleb


Image 2: “I wanted to show how the ant made a tunnel under the rock.” Matthew, age 5

Planning sessions can include discussions where students share what they want to learn more about, how they want to learn, or even share questions they still have about something already learned. The teacher shares the investigative role with students. Students and teachers learn new information together. Students learn how to investigate, how to find answers to their questions, and how to process information gathering. Teaching students how to find the answers to their questions empowers them for a creative future. By guiding students in their learning experience, the teacher is providing opportunities for exploration through questioning techniques.

Image 3: Students with the teacher making sound from different objects.

Creative teachers are able to include students in the assessing of learning. With a collaborative relationship with students, teachers are already including their students in the planning process, therefore, including students in the assessment process is not out of line. In fact, in many elementary and middle school classrooms students are involved in planning for parent-teacher conferences with student-led conferences. Allowing young children to take an active role in their learning and assessment prepares them for a world where they can set goals and feel good about their accomplishments without relying on external gratitude. Teachers who include their students in assessment share what they are observing with the students and ask what they notice. These teachers provide photos to the student and allow them to respond with what was occurring. Image 4 below was taken by the classroom teacher. Later, the teacher showed the photo to the child and asked him to share what he was doing. The child shared, “I wanted to know how long the black piece of plastic is. I wanted to measure it using a tape measure to find it out. It was 6.” The teacher captured the child’s words to include in his portfolio. By including children in the assessment process, they are able to take ownership over their learning and experience meaningful evaluation of learning in age appropriate ways.

Image 4: Measuring black plastic

When the classroom teacher is able to construct a classroom environment where learning happens naturally and is celebrated, student outcomes will exceed expectations. It is the pairing of teachers willing to teach content, along with authentic learning experiences, interacting with and engaging children in discussion that stimulates growth in creative processing. Classrooms where teachers share in the investigation also share in the learning and provide opportunities for students to become lifelong learners. This model of teaching and learning benefits teachers, children, and our future. It is the combination of instruction, guided practice, and reflection that provides teachers the confidence and ability to be successful in implementing a creative classroom environment where students are prepared for an ever changing world in need of creative leaders!