After their student led conference, students in my class had a choice of activities to complete with their parents or present to them. As a non-participant of this event I was able to observe at the side. It was quite an assessment for me. I made myself busy marking Math papers, planning the next steps, but I could not resist the urge to look up. My inquisitive self made be listen into the conversations and interactions.
Soon enough, a student came close to me was telling parents about their, ‘third teacher.’ I learned about this years ago when I visited Reggio Emilia. The importance of the third teacher in my book cannot be down played.
At a fifth grade assembly this week, students shared the learning that goes on in their class. The performance or exposé clearly put together by the students celebrated a ‘Me space’ or ‘Me wall’ for each of the students the exists in their class. Our third teacher is our classroom environment and the walls, from which we learn or with which we have developed our learning. Some of them from our mini-lessons, displays of our learning, books, models or anything the students and teachers deem applicable to the teaching and learning taking place. That is my understanding of the third teacher.
That is why I keep mine current and make sure I de-clutter as we gain new learning, replacing the old with reminders of the exact topics and guides needed for students to be successful. A couple of students cleverly incorporated sharing the information displayed with that of their portfolio pieces. As an observer I was proud of my students’ explanation of their learning, to their parents, from a variety of media.