You know that defining moment when a light bulb turns on and you finally “get it”? From learning fractions to learning the difference between the ones and the tens place, students in Ms. Foster’s first grade celebrate their “aha moments” with the whole class.

Students are encouraged to recognize their aha moments from day one. When someone has an aha moment, they cement their newfound knowledge by writing it down and then they explain ‘their way of thinking’. As students describe their aha moment to the class, other students often begin to have a sudden insight or realization too. As students make connections to their prior knowledge and begin to make sense of things, they feel empowered. The trickling effect is very exciting for everyone! Students are engaged and a classroom culture of learning promoted.

First grade students’ response to their celebration of aha moments.

Interviewer: What is an aha moment?
Madisyn: “When I don’t understand something at first, but then I get it, it feels really good to have an Aha moment. Then I have to write it down on the Aha moment paper. Then I get to teach it to the class and put 10 marbles in the jar!”

Interviewer: How do aha moments in your classroom help you to learn?
Raleigh: “We learned the harder we work, the smarter and bigger our brain gets and you can’t ever give up. Sometimes Ms. Foster lets us take a break but we always have to go back to the thing we don’t understand. And then we understand it and it is really cool to have an aha moment. And everyone in the class is happy because we get to put 10 marbles in the jar!”

Awareness of aha moments enables me to meet the student at their learning threshold and find ways to push him/her to go further to reach their full potential. Students are capable of more than they think they are, as long as it’s developmentally appropriate.

As students become aware of their aha moments, a culture of purposeful learning develops while students feel empowered, motivated and excited to learn!

–Ms. Foster
1st Grade Teacher
Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy

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