Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Famous Americans and The Important Book

I work at an IBO Primary Years Programme school, which basically means that we teach using as much inquiry as possible. This is great for student-directed learning and the kids really learn about things they are interested in. We are still held to state and county standards however, so the basic objectives they must know (Susan B. Anthony fought for equal rights for women, including the right to vote) can often seem less important than what the kids have been inquiring about (Who did Susan B. Anthony vote for when she was arrested for voting?). To help the kids remember what they needed to know to master the objective while still validating their self-directed research, I used The Important Book.

We used the format of the poems in The Important Book to summarize what the kids had learned about each Famous American we study (and a few other people they researched on their own). As a class, we compiled all our miscellaneous information and decided on each person's contribution (which I made sure was fairly similar to the objective's wording). Students then wrote poems for each person using the class-agreed upon contribution as the opening and closing for their poem, and filling in other interesting things they had dug up during their research. Here is one student example:

We used PowerPoint to compile the students' Famous American poems and printed out copies for our class library. 

While we're on the topic of overcoming disabilities, my kids had the amazing opportunity to meet a blind woman from our community who is a hair dresser. She is my mother's hair dresser to be exact, and she has come to speak to my kids for a few years now and demonstrate how she cuts hair without the ability to see what she is doing. She also brings many of her tools with her and shows the kids how she can do almost anything! It is always a really wonderful experience and I am so happy to be able to share it with my students!

 My mom makes a great model!


  1. I love The Important Book! I really like the idea of having the students use the format to make those poems. Neat idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a real life experience for your class. They'll probably always remember that moment.

    Forever in First

  3. I just came across your blog! Very Cute! I can't wait to explore...but I have to get blog stalking this morning is going to make me late for school! :)
    Have a great day!
    A Pirates Life for Us