This week, I wanted to let my students begin “the swap” writing activity.  They are researching anything, and I mean anything they want to and they are going to be the teachers for a day.  I did have one rule and that was I had to approve of what they were researching after they figured it out.  I wanted to them to be able to do whatever they wanted without me telling them anything but then they had to tell me their topic.  I wanted to make sure we didn’t have something that was very inappropriate for 3rd graders to be teaching the whole class.
GOOD NEWS….I didn’t have to tell anyone they couldn’t research what they wanted!  I can’t wait to tell you guys what everyone is doing.  It’s a secret for now because I still have  few students trying to decide.  They started researching something then would find something else they wanted to do.  I didn’t stop them because it’s what they are interested in and I don’t want to stop them from doing anything they want to do.  I even suggested doing both if they wanted.

I know one subject is the effects of cigarettes on the lungs.  This is a topic coming from a student that exceptionally challenged and doesn’t like to write on her own very much.  She is excited to learn more.  This week, I have had more facts given to me than I have ever heard in my entire life.  This tells me they are enjoying what they are doing.  I have another student researching the Statue Of Liberty.  It’s very interesting to see what they choose.

The students are to find facts and present them to me.  But, they are not only writing the facts down and presenting them to me…I told them they have to make a story with their facts, written in their own words.  Yes, I had a few students become frustrated with having to write their own story but I wanted them to write about their topic and not just copy the facts down.  I wanted the students to just simply write about their topic!

After the students are finished with their facts search, they are constructing a piece to help them present their information.  They can choose to do a poster, brochure, or a mobile.  We are making the mobiles from wired hangers.  Everyone will have a story to go along with their research.  The students are also typing their paper.  I thought with the struggle we had getting started on editing and revising our last published piece, this would be a fun way for someone besides their teacher to correct their spelling.  THEY ARE EXTREMELY EXCITED ABOUT TYPING THEIR PAPER….oh and don’t worry, these pieces are going in the hallway.  I can’t wait to see their finished results.


4 thoughts on “THE SWAP…

  1. Beth, can you believe the difference in their attitudes just by letting them pick their topic? I even narrowed the field this week and they are still so excited. They are so used to teachers making the choices for them that when that control is given back they are elated.


  2. Beth,
    This sounds like it is just as much fun for you as it is with your students. I think adding the responsibility that they have to be the teacher is an interesting one. I love that someone is researching the effects of cigarettes on the lungs! What an insightful decision from that little person. I also like how they get to choose to do create the additional piece to help them teach their topic. I hope you get a lot of mobiles, I can’t wait to see some of the final products.


  3. I can’t wait to see the finished products and hear how all your “teachers” share what they learned. Just another example of the excitement that choice in writing can bring.:)


  4. Wow! I love this idea and can’t wait to see what your students produce. They are going to have so much fun with this project and being the teacher.


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