Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So go ahead...and fall in love with a book.

School has been very busy. The weather has been beautiful, so we have spent quite a bit of time outside and the children absolutely love it, as most would.

We began our Science unit on Air and Weather on Tuesday. We began with a lesson on the properties of matter, specifically a gas. We discussed what gas looks like, how it smells, it's shape, etc. The students knew a lot already and we able to explain to me how air take
s the shape of any object it enters. Tomorrow we will be making balloon rockets, where the students are required to make a rocket using fishing line, a balloon, a straw and a zip-loc bag. I try to give the students enough time to explore and observe on their own. Second grade standards require that students learn the process of observation. We will also be making predictions for the balloon rockets before we begin the lesson. I think slowly introducing the scientific method and then putting it all together at the end will be beneficial for the students. If they spend a lot of time on observing and explaining, they will be able to not
 only use this skill in science, but other subject areas as well.

Last week we did a lesson on the seasons. The students each had a sheet of paper and had to draw their interpretation of each season. I cut them all out and posted them onto the bulletin board. I have since added the signs, winter, spring, summer, fall in the top left corners.

In other news, my class focuses a lot on Reading. Which is obviously very important. I have been working with one student who below grade level and it's really not that she can't read or comprehend, she just hates reading. We've been working really hard together to pick out books she can enjoy. We've settled on the Mr. Putter and Tabby series, so far and it seems to be working well for her. We are working on fluency more than anything, so I hope my love for reading can be conveyed to her and make her a bit more enthusiastic about reading. 

All the teachers were asked to read, Chip Wood's book, Time To Teach Time To Learn: Changing the Pace of School. I've read the first few chapters, because we will be discussing at tomorrow's morning meeting. It discusses the idea that students are bombarded with learning core subjects because teachers feel the pressure of teaching so much material so their students will pass standardized tests. When in reality, students should be given more free time to play around, grow socially and be able to focus on building morals and ethics. When I worked at Horace Mann Elementary, we focused a lot on building morals, talking about ethics in school and out. The curriculum centered a lot around the whole child rather than just the brain of the child. I hope to work in a school like this some day. The students need academics for life survival. They also need to learn self control, how to make informed choices, they need to empathy and responsibility. All of these are key to life survival as well, so why are they put second to standardized testing scores? Are teachers not required to teach these things even if students spend most of their days with teachers?

1 comment:

Zach said...

Interesting. I like how you relate a past experience to your current environment. It sounds like you should teach a private school though. Don't most schools just focus on standarized tests? I know in New York there is a ton of pressure on teachers to teach specifically to the Regents State Tests.

I mean what are AP courses in High School if not courses specifically designed to achieve 5s on AP tests.

I've heard that certain private schools refuse to allow their students to take the SATs and what not. If the education is good enough, are tests necessary? How can you tell if the education is good enough without tests though?