Thursday, October 20, 2011

Building a Study

Whew!  Feeling a little overwhelmed today as I attempt to encourage teaching teams to begin studies rather than randomly choosing random activities with the sole purpose of covering objectives for observation.  Not to say that meeting objectives isn't important; it is.  However, it's almost important that learning experiences be meaningful to the children so they are engaged and excited about learning.  We want children to retain what they've learned, not flush it because now we're moving on to something new.

I helped one teaching team better understand this today as I asked them to identify the integration of content areas with their recent study of pumpkins.  We uncovered something that was a little alarming -- there was no literacy tied into their study!  Of course, now that we've identified this, we can address it going forward.  I demonstrated how to create a map with the content areas and how to tie those objectives into the learning.  We need not pull children aside into small groups to show us how to do something just so we can say we've observed it!  Pish-posh.  Identify what you need to observe and document and then think outside of the box on how you can create the opportunity for observation.  Need to see some gross motor?  Offer the children a structured activity outdoors.  I fear teachers are so overwhelmed by the notion of objectives that they're missing the teaching component.  We learn best when we're invested and interested in the topic. 

Personally, I hated math and science growing up and my grades properly reflected this fact.  It wasn't made fun and exciting and it certainly wasn't integrated into something that I did enjoy.  If you have a child who loves to visit the art area all day, rather than trying to redirect her to another area, consider how you can bring other content areas to that interest area.  Work smarter, not harder.

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