Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When you don't know everything.

As the school year progresses my grade 1 french immersion students are getting more and more adventurous in their writing and some days I am beginning to think they are playing a game of stump the teacher. Comment dit-on "wakeboard"  madame? Comment dit-on "platypus" madame?  Thank goodness we live in the digital age - a little search and Mme has all the answers. At least that is what I use to do, but no anymore.

One of the biggest gifts we can give our students is the knowledge that they don't need to know EVERYTHING but that they can find out ANYTHING.  Instead of coming back with the answer I have started to have my students join me when I search for the answer. Often I do have the answer but I still look it up with students. It doesn't take any more time and it exposes students to one more resource for getting the information they need.

So how do you say platypus in french?  My current favorite translation tools is Reverso however the website is full of ads and not ideal for children.


With my students I use Google Translate instead:

I often imagine what I would have done without a computer... "Wouldn't you rather be writing about a cat? How about you say swimming instead?"  Thank goodness for Google.

I remember a university professor once telling us "When you don't know the answer - tell students "that is a good question - you should ask your mom or dad about that tonight and tell us about it tomorrow."  In today's age - even with primary students- I think teachers have a responsibility to say "That is a good question - lets Google that." or "That is a good question - I'll look that up and get back to you."    I think that in this day and age being able to find information is much more important than knowing information and students need to know that.

That is what I learned at school today.  How do you encourage students to get the information they need? How do you search with primary students?

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