It all started with a super-cute dog video.
(Go ahead and watch. it’s only about a minute long.)
And then a question. “Is this language?”
Boy oh boy, did THAT ever stir up conversation. For me, as a teacher, this could not POSSIBLY have gone any better.
I wanted students to be engaged from the get-go. Check.
I wanted them to be excited to talk about big ideas. Check.
I wanted them to be curious about stuff they didn’t know. Check.
I wanted them to have conversations about difficult things without getting into arguments. Ch-well, no. We have some work to do on that one.
But the fruits of their labor are spectacular. Small groups worked together to develop rules for what language is. Here is their work, collected together:
Rules for Language:
Only represents part of communication
A code that uses sounds, symbols, signals
Has to convey meaning and be understood by who is using it
Needs to be consistent
Set grammar and structure
Many people share
People can both understand and talk back
It can be translated to other languages
Doesn’t have to be spoken
Don’t always need a recipient-can just be for self-expression
Verbal language involves phonics, structure
The symbols and codes can change, but people need to know about it
People have to USE it
Requires socially shared rules
Whoever said that 10 year-olds are not ready for thinking about and exploring big ideas, I offer you THIS as evidence to the contrary.
And this is only day TWO of our work together. Am I excited to see where this goes? Maybe a little.