As a teacher, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing my students motivated and engaged in their learning on so many levels. This was evident during our recent course of study on Ancient Rome. During this unit, students had a great sense of intellectual urgency, which essentially means they just had to know more about a wide variety of topics! Students were given choice in creating an artifact to represent an area of interest to them in relation to Ancient Roman history. We engaged in deep discussions, looking at multiple perspectives on whether or not Julius Caesar was a good ruler. We experienced strong emotions tied to our learning about the destruction of Mt. Vesuvius, or battles in the Colosseum.
In a recent teacher conference I attended, keynote speaker Ellin Keene referenced the the role of engagement in learning. It made me reflect on how engaged the 3rd graders were over the past few weeks as we traveled back in time to Ancient Rome. Ellin stated that as teachers, we should not “do the song and dance for our students,” but rather “inspire them to find the dance they want to do.” These kids each found their own source of inspiration whether it be researching more about gladiators, or learning more about the feats of Roman engineering. How rewarding it was to see them eagerly share their learning with others! Please enjoy some photos from our Ancient Rome culmination, where the 3rd graders performed a play recounting the life and leadership of Julius Caesar.