It’s been a while, but time for a blog. We’re back to school again, and it’s almost as if we never left. Great group of kids again. The students always amaze me with their energy and joie de vivre. It would be hard to go back to students who don’t find school so amusing.
Ceci is now in 4th grade. Hard to believe. After a difficult year last year–clashes with the teaching style–she seems relaxed. She says they haven’t been doing much and feels relieved. However, then she’ll mention the things they have done in class, and it’s like secret learning. I like that. For example, they’ve been working on estimating in measurement. They were talking about how far it might be to the train station, and everyone was making guesses. Then, the teacher said, well, let’s find out, and he took off. Ceci said she didn’t know where he went, and they all looked out the window, and he was heading to the train station. So, like little ducks, they followed him. Learning through doing… I like that.
I’m trying to do more of that in my class. My students have been building things lately. After giving them the chance to play with plastic tiles for Math, they now want to make elaborate domino structures and buildings any chance they get. We also played around with the concept of displacement the other day, and they built boats made from aluminum foil. On their own, they came up with the idea of surface area and reinforcing sides and balancing weight. Really amazing.
After reading a fantastic book The Last Child in the Woods about experiential education, I decided students should greenify our room this year. So, their first assignment was to bring in a plant and grow it this year. So far, they’ve brought in a habanero pepper, rosemary plants (one growing from seed), cactii and several houseplants. Yesterday, a boy brought in a “sensitive” plant and explained using proper technology about the leaves and the food that it needs to survive. For EAL learners and urban dwellers, they’re learning some good vocabulary. I’ve already had great questions, which I’m letting them figure out of course! How often should I water it? Where should I put it? What if it gets cold? Do lights work for photosynthesis. Already, I’m liking this experiment.
And so the year begins with secret learning and discovery. I’ll add on as the year continues and hope to keep up thoughts on education and parenting and natural disasters–although hoping for some calm earth for a while. Washington DC? Hmmm…The earth is always moving, isn’t it?