Tag Archive | kids

Progression of Independence

At some point, all little birds must leave the nest.  In nature, the birds have it right.  They are eager to push them out because they know it’s what they need to survive in the world.

As parents, we’re reluctant to let go because we’re scared.  Scared they will fail.  Scared they will get hurt or worse.  Scared we will have done the wrong thing by letting them go too soon.

But as teachers and parents, it’s important to get kid progressing toward independence.  They need to be able to perform the skill we want to teach them BY THEMSELVES without any help.

We do that with steps.  First, do it for them.  Show them.  Give examples.  Let it sink in.

2- Do it with them.  Work on it together, with them providing as much help as they can.

3- Have them do it by themselves with a little guidance, or with another student partner.

4-Have them try on their own.  Repeat as necessary.

You do.  We do. They do.  Simple and effective.

Get your kids progressing toward independence!  They’ll thank you for it!

http://livingthecrazykidslife.blogspot.com/2012/01/theyre-getting-so-big.html

Artists in Everyone – Top 4 ideas

My top 4 (not 5?  Not 10?  No, I don’t need to be pingenholed by a specific round number.) Art activities.  Ready?

Art is dead.  Isn’t it?  It seems so sometimes in public schools that artistic endeavors tend to go the way of the dodo.  It’s hard to find time in the day to do art education when you don’t have a test forcing you to cover the material.

In our state, we have yearly art assessments we give, but they really aren’t graded.  Our scores aren’t printed and made public.  Parents don’t come to you and pound on your door, demanding why their child earned below average on their art assessment.  It just isn’t a priority in our leaving children behind age.

Of course, I may be biased because I have a theatre background, but I truly believe that keeping a foot in the artistic world helps you be a more rounded person, and the research shows that artistic activities help you access more of your brain function.  Kids who have an opportunity to have art experiences, do better in many subjects.

Of course, where do you get the time?  The answer is simple – you’ve got to do it during reading, or history, or math…slip it into the lesson without them even knowing it.  Sometimes they look at me with a puzzled expression – “wait a minute Mr. E….is this Art?”

Nope.  It’s math…with a dash of art thrown in for good measure.

So, how do you do it?  “What if I don’t know anything about art?” you say.  “What if I’m a terrible artist?”

Funny enough, most of the teachers out there are great artists, they just don’t think of themselves that way.  I’m terrible at putting together a nice collage or bulletin, but a lot of my peers put me to shame in that category.  I’m not any great shakes at classic drawing art anyway.  I’m more of a writing, photography, abstract paper mache kind of guy.  But we don’t need to be locked into “art” as “pictures”.  Art is just expression.

So, a few ways to incorporate art into the curriculum, for those teachers, homeschoolers, moms and dads and caregivers out there in this crazy old world of hours:  My top 5…

1) In history, check out a few classic scuptures.  Greek, Roman – probably nothing too revealing for the younger kids, but there’s some good stuff out there.  You could even do the acropolis or the pyramids – some example of classic art or architecture.  Get a pic from google, and give everyone a copy.  Obviously talk about the time period – who the egyptians were, where Greece is today, etc…

Then have them sketch their own example of the work.  Depending on age, they might take 5 minutes or an hour on it.  We did this with a local sculpture, and some did a slow, methodical job and some flew through.  It’s all good (See Kassy’s pic above)

2) Math Problem solving – For some reason my kids never want to draw a picture when they have a word problem.  For me, it always helps me to help them visualize the story problem.  So, sometimes I’ll make it a requirement – you HAVE to draw the story out.  Or maybe have to do it with magazine clippings, and make a story problem answer collage.

For example, if the question was – “Dan wants to buy a sandwich and soda for lunch.  He can get a roast beef or a turkey sandwich, and he can get lemonaid, sprite, or coke to drink.  What are all the ways he can have lunch?” – they’d have to actually draw all the turkey sandwiches with color, or cut out foods from a magazine (or find pics online for younger ones who need technology practice!)

3) Color science – this is a simple and always fun lesson on light absorption.  Just get some paints together and experiment what the blends will come out as.  Have them make a hypothesis, then test it.  Remember, when you see purple paint, really what the paint is doing is absorbing all the other spectrums of light EXCEPT the blue and the red, which is bouncing back to your eye.  So if you mix red and blue, you’ll get purple.

4) Snowy day? (like today) – Make snow sculptures inside.  Then watch them melt to discuss forms of matter, molecular movement to make those forms of matter, what matter is…go crazy.  Hey…why didn’t the rocks on my snowman’s face melt when the snow did?

I’m sure I could think up 3 more, but that’s all for now. 🙂 Have a great day – go out and learn something!

Check out http://tinyurl.com/edieloco for a little more info.  See ya!

 

Kassy’s conductor pic – 4th grade

Do we really not have enough time?

They say, with the academic learning requirements we have in each state, that we literally don’t have enough time to teach everything that we’re supposed to.  There just isn’t enough time.  And I agree with that – to a point.

The real crux of the problem is narrowing down the learning requirements to essentials, but still that isn’t enough.  Even if we narrow it down to essentials, we don’t want to control everything a teacher does, so all creativity goes out the window.

I propose a compromise.  As a teacher, I take the learning requirements, and pull out the stuff I know is super important, and make sure to teach those.  But in addition, I review the important stuff that EVERYONE should know, and I think all teachers should go over each year.  That way, if they get to see or hear it each year they have a better chance of retention.  And then it’s up to the teacher to fill in with fun facts and learning experiences along the way.

Would we have enough time for that?  Maybe not.  But it doesn’t hurt to try!

First Day of School!

As always, it seems like only yesterday the kids were all packed up and ready to leave at the end of school in June.  Now we’re back and filling up the desks and lockers again.

It’s important, I think, for kids, parents, and educators all to remember as school begins what it is we’re accomplishing.  Why it’s important to lace up the old dress shoes again.  Why do we do it?

Summer is awesome.  Probably my favorite time of the year, and not just because I get more vacation time.  Summer is great.

But kids, if we didn’t go back to school…you’d never get the chance to save the world.  Educating the youth of today ensures our survival on this planet tomorrow.  We’re going to need more doctors.  We’re going to need more accountants.  We’re going to need engineers and scientists to figure out how to increase our energy supplies.  We’re going to need police men and fire fighters.  And I don’t want anyone saving me from a burning building that can’t read the exit signs, and I don’t want