Monday, December 20, 2010

The Purpose and the Audience

I have been reading a lot about how students work harder to create quality products if they have a purpose other than finishing an assignment and if their audience is someone other than their teacher. That is why students tend to put more time and effort into projects or products that will be shared with an audience on the web or in the school.

I had a chance to observe this in a 1st grade class I taught for two days last week. One little boy's math work and writing were hardly legible. He worked as quickly as possible, writing over mistakes and paying little attention to spacing his letters and words. After finishing his work on my second afternoon with his class, he was working on a drawing with merry crismas written at the top. He asked me how to spell Christmas. I told him where he needed to add an h and a t. I watched him stick the letters in and pause to look at it. Then he carefully erased the word and rewrote it neatly. I smiled as I thought about the quality of his work on a project of his choosing versus one I had assigned. I grinned even more when he handed his finished product, a Christmas card, to me on his way out the door.

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