Monday, October 15, 2012

My Main Goal for Learning about Pasta-Our Study Continues

One of the most important goals I have for each of my students is to be on his/her way to becoming a life long learner. But what does this mean?  How do we learn about the world?  This is exactly what I pose to my students as we begin our new study on Pasta.
We brainstormed our initial wonderings last week and developed a web of what we know and are interested in knowing more what?

This is what we discussed today.  It was only about ten minutes, but it is a critical piece of why I teach this way.  The children are formulating the questions, but as the adult, I do not simply want to answer their questions.  The answer is not the important part of this process.  How to seek the answers and the questions that are formed while making discoveries are the key pieces of this work.

So I posed it to them.  Here are your questions....
How do you make pasta? 
What are the ingredients? 
Do you need ice to make pasta? 
Why does some have stuff inside it?  
Does it get bigger when you cook it?
to name a few.
What can we do to figure these out?   

It was a tough one for them to think about as they just tried to answer the specific questions.  Then a few kids came up with "just doing it."  "just make it".  Yes!  Experimenting and trying new things is one way to find answers to our questions. Tomorrow we will be trying to make our own pasta in class from scratch.

I showed them all the books we had gathered on pasta and asked them about the books.  Can we learn from these books?  We talked about non-fiction books versus the fiction stories we also have about pasta.  We read one of them today and found the ingredients needed to make our pasta tomorrow.

I then told them about how I went to a new Italian restaurant on Friday night and went to talk to the chef.  He is going to let us come to his restaurant and show us how he makes his own pasta. ( One of the perks of doing advanced research! The meal was delicious.)
Sometimes we talk to experts to learn.

Last year in May, with my class having experienced several in depth studies, when I would say, "Oh, that is an interesting question, I wonder how we could find that out?" I would hear shouts from around the room, "Get a book!"  "Ask and expert!"  "Plan a trip!"  "Do an experiment!" 

These children were well on their way to becoming life long learners as they had the tools to tackle any topic.  This crew is just beginning.  The time taken to learn how to learn is so much more important than the exact ingredients in pasta-that is in a cookbook.  Knowing that I should look in a cookbook or watch my grandmother make it- or heck, today, watch a uTube video on an Ipad-that I have choices and am responsible for my learning; that is my main goal for these students as we begin the first of many  investigations.  

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