Thursday, 2 July 2015

Engaging Boys

This term I have been inquiry into engaging boys particularly in writing. We completed a unit which had students looking at the porquoi story called "Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms" by Dawn McMillan & Bert Signal. The unit culminated in students writing their own version of "Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms". Due to the nature of the story it immediately captured the student's attention both boys and girls alike. It was amazing seeing the boys fully engaged and actually enjoying the writing process.

The inquiry topic for term 2 was 'Tinkering Tools & Toys'. The students were asked 'What can you design/create/build to improve school life at Pt England school. I encouraged the students to think big, informing them that if possible we were going to try our hardest to see their ideas come to fruition. After  6 weeks we had a fully functioning go cart, shoe rack, outside bench seat, cubby hole, mini foosball table and some art work to go around the school. The students really enjoyed this unit particularly once the planning had been done and the making process started.

The greatest highlight for me was watching one boy who really struggles with the 'normal' classroom environment absolutely thrive while making the go cart. He was like a totally different child. He was fully engaged and took a real ownership over the project. There were no behavioural issues to deal with (which is highly unusual for this student) and he took a leadership role, teaching the other boys in his group how to do things such as drill holes & saw timber.

This term I have really seen the importance of hooking students in and getting them engaged in their activities that they are interested in. Bored boys = trouble, trouble for me, trouble for them and trouble for others in the class. It has made me question the engagement level of my lessons in other learning areas. It's all to easy to turn out a lesson that tick all the boxes but are really boring. I want to generate lessons that engage and motivate children. I know this is a big, ongoing goal which probably will never be 100% achieved however I have to start somewhere.