Bikin’ – If trains are a cool fun way to get kids interested in science, I think they got nothin’ on bikes!
The great thing about bikes is that most kids can relate to them, understand them, have them….boys and girls all learn to travel faster than running with bikes first. It’s really their introduction to driving. You start crawling, then walking, then learn to ride with training wheels, then without, and then it’s drivers license time! Bicycles are the step in between crawling and driving yourself on a date for the first time. This is big stuff people!
Honestly though, bikes are an awesome introduction to mechanics and physics. Bring your bike in to school – or even better see how many parents will bring their kids bikes in for the day. Some kids even bike to school anyway! The wheels themselves are simple machines – the most important cave man invention ever! 🙂 But the gears are the real wonder. They enable you to turn the pedals once, and with the larger sprocket on the front (the pedal side), it causes that smaller sprocket (on the wheel) to turn more, and to turn faster, than you had to pedal. That’s why you can go faster than you can actually run (or move your feet around in a circle!) In the end, it’s a good intro to the idea of an engine – basically a car works the same way. You’re the engine in this scenario, and your gasoline makes the crankshaft turn, causing the wheels to move.
Weve done this at school, and also at home, and the bike ride was a great time, and all kids involved had fun and were ENGAGED in the lesson. Fun stuff. Keep on learnin’!
There’s nothing some boys like better than trains. They seem larger than life. They’re like cars, but something special they don’t see all the time. They have this snake-like quality. And you can add to it – like a charm bracelet for a male mentality. Trains are great! And they’re windows into teaching quite a few things. Steam and coal are two ways trains powered their engines. Get the kids talking about energy and motion through trains. On the same vein, how about energy transferrance (a big MSP science topic) where the power of the steam is converted to kinetic energy that moves the train. Then there’s the history aspect of it. The history of the train is the history of our expansion west. Many towns (including mine) were direct results of train construction. Draw a train. Go see a train at a museum or local station. Play with a train set. Then let that fun translate to knowlege! (how do I do that? you ask? It’s as easy as talking and asking what they don’t understand. The more you converse (not lecture) the more they learn.)
Summer is here (thank you!) and I’ve had a bit of time to rest and reflect. During the year it seems there is no time to stop and think about what we’re doing or where we’re going with it. The whole year steamrolls until we now are at a dead stop and looking back at the wreakage of my teaching. Of course, it wasn’t all bad, I just think I can do better. Why can’t I try and be the best? What occurs to me is that, more and more, we see that kids learn best by doing thinkgs that are practical and necessary. Kids learn by actually doing things, and those things should be useful to them. One of the advantages of working in a multi-age classroom (read, one room school house) is having to come up with activities that work for lots of kids that are active. This does not mean you have to throw away every workbook you use (really, there’s no other way to teach subject and predicate is there?), I’m merely proposing that you make sure and include (this is parents and teachers both I’m talking to now) SOMETHING relevant in their day each day. Your kids’ education starts yesterday!
Today’s mission, if I choose to accept it, is to get the kids finishing their CBA in Social Studies. I decided to have them do powerpoints (have to increase technology usage you know) and now I think that may have been a big mistake (kind-of like the time I decided to do watercolors without any paper covering the floor). Hopefully we can focus enough to finish at least 6 slides, with a conclusion and reference slide. Wish me luck!
A Great Morning to Everyone! The play yesterday went great, and we’re back in the classroom today hitting the books! Next week is MSP testing, so we’re going to be reviewing MSP style questions most of the day! Try to make it fun by using a Jeapordy type format, or having tghem write out the questions on huge posterboard and putting them up all over the room. One thing that worked well was having students choose a question from the practice book, and deliver it to other students. Whatever works! Keep em interested, keep em moving, Keep “em loving school! http://ow.ly/i/aUVs
SNOW! Snow in March. March comes in like a lion I suppose, but I pictured more blustery days, windy, rainy, etc… Not Snow! We’ve got an inch on the roads!
It really makes me want to have a snow day! I know that would be a guiilty pleasure, but it would be cool. Which makes me think that a mid winter break, around February, would be good. By this time we are starting to get stir crazy (me and the kids) and it’s another month until spring break. It’s not healthy for us. More learning will take place if we have time to go away and process it. The kids need to get out of the classroom and experience life. Go on trips. See things in the outdoors. Then, when we learned about mammals or the life cycle or verbs or whatever, they can think of it in those concepts – in the REAL WORLD. Mid winter break! LEt’s get that started! http://ow.ly/i/8Gao
School Board is always great, but getting home to the kids right at bedtime is always a necessary evil. Have to make up for it this weekend. Usually that means something fun anyway!