Anchors Aweigh! An Explosive Moment with Communication & Critical Thinking Skills.
Recently I watched one of my preschooler students have one of those Aha! moments that make teaching worthwhile. Working with preschool-age students make each day an adventure in itself. Now add to this the fact that 95% of my students have special needs, and my room gets an added level of fun and challenge each day. So when I get to see a student have a moment where the learning has finally clicked, it’s a moment of celebration.
Our theme this past two weeks has been pirates, and we’ve been using the SMART lab pirate-themed Super Sorter game to practice our letters and numbers. My student, let’s call him Peter, has struggled this year with matching letters and learning letter names.
He also struggles with being able to communicate his wants and needs, but he loves to watch the pirate ships go ‘KABOOM’ when the correct answer is chosen. Until recently, it’s been hit and miss as to whether he even understood why the ships did or did not fire the cannon ball. On Friday, he walked up for his turn and paused. His little face scrunched up as he stared at the board, and you could literally see him thinking about what he needed to do.
“Make it Kaboomie?” He asked me
“Make a matches?” he said, his face full of thoughtfulness.
“Yes, a match makes it Kaboom!”
He stood there for another moment then choose a cannon ball with an ‘X’ on it. Holding his finger on it he looked back and forth from one ship to the other. Then, with one swift motion, he put the cannon ball in the matching cannon and jumped back yelling “KABOOMIE!” As the cannon went off, he began jumping up and down cheering, “I did it! I did it!” as the other students also cheered for him.
In that brief interaction, I got to see Peter use critical thinking skills, as he carefully thought about what needed to be done to get the cannon to shoot. I also saw him use his communication skills, when he asked me to confirm that what he felt he needed to do was correct. His chance to think it through and achieve success put such a huge smile on his face.
I love that I have access to technology in my classroom that engages my students and helps get them excited to learn. SMART lab has been very beneficial in my classroom, because it allows me to quickly and easily create activities that facilitate the needs of all my students, at all their different learning levels.