A package came today from New Zealand. A package that I have been waiting for. Mr. Webb from Tamaki Today had sent me a message saying he had sent a thank you package for our work on one of his video projects.
As the students looked on, I slowly took out the items that had been sent. First was a stuffed kiwi. Next, two magnets, one that showed a picture of a kiwi. Then I pulled out a very neat lanyard (which I am now wearing). I then pulled out a huge textile map that had the country of New Zealand with some interesting information on it. At the bottom of the package was a paper weight that has New Zealand etched in it. The last thing I pulled out was a card from Mr. Webb thanking the class for our support.
As soon as my students had time, they were up and looking (rather loudly) at the items. They really enjoyed the map. The information on it was very interesting to them. One of my students noticed there were opossums in New Zealand and he asked me if they were the same kind that we have. Obviously, they will be looking that up when they have a few minutes. They also thought it was neat that there are penguins on the map. We have to go to a zoo to see penguins!
Finally, the students started asking me if we were goinng to send some items back to Mr. Webb. I told them I was planning on it, but the problem with that is the Tamaki school will be out for their "summer break" next week. Now, we have already studied about the seasons and their relationship to the tilt of the Earth. They knew that when we had winter, they southern hemisphere was having summer, but they didn't internalize it. The light bulb of understanding shone as they began to really realize that it soon will be summer in New Zealand.
My point is this: Learning takes place when learning is meaningful!