Saturday, September 13, 2008

Environment #1: Lecture

Well, here goes. I go off on tangents and then when I take a breath, notice my childrens' glazed over eyes, or that they aren't even in the room anymore, I rethink my plan of lecturing.

Before I had kids, I taught at a public school and had the fortune of attending a conference in which I got to choose a class on story telling. How to do it "interestingly". The first rule is to NOT HAVE THE BOOK IN FRONT OF YOU. What? You mean I can't READ the book to the children? I have to TELL them the story? Have any of you read those books about the African spider, Anansi? They are kinda like the Aesop Fables, only with African touches to them. In one of the books, the story is about a rock. The instructor told us to go find a rock and then proceeded to show us how to just lay the rock on the floor and tell the kids the story, all centered on that rock. I tried it the next week with the class. I'm so painfully shy sometimes, but I sucked it up and tried it out. It was awesome! The kids were attentive and quiet. I was out of my seat and talking with my hands, but that rock was the main focus of the story and it was really a wonderful lesson to me and how to teach children. Who doesn't love an object lesson?

I know this isn't supposed to be about story telling, but rather about lecturing. I have one kid with ADHD who is super smart but just can't sit still long enough to get the whole lesson in. I have another one that would rather read all day. I have two others that if it doesn't involve trains or something that fits into a specific agenda (say, tea party, wearing the color pink, or asking why she wasn't the first born child), I'm not getting anywhere. I've discovered that if I can come up with object lessons or something that involves movement, I get some great results.

This year I started out with a curriculum based on the classics. I got copies of the McGuffey readers, spelling lists, and grammar lessons from the 1800's. They are so cool, but I gotta tell you, boy some of that stuff is dry and puts me to sleep while I'm trying to teach it to the kids. Snooze fest! (Sorry, should I not say that too loudly?) We all better start wearing football helmets our heads bob around so much. I decided to do more oral stuff with the kids and shorten the lessons. This is helping; they see us making progress and feel like they got somewhere and at the end of the week we do a bit of review and move on if they got the concepts. I know they need more writing experience, so I'm not abandoning the lessons completely, but I found I get more back when we all get to participate instead of just me droning on.

I think I'm going to try that storytelling out a bit more than I have.


Salisbury Family Reading

Mom: I picked up Robinson Crusoe today. The original wasn't in, so I got the illustrated version. I also really wanted to check out a book on the Lost Colony of Roanoke, after researching some stuff online. Never found anything at the library about it. Bummer.

Isaac (Love of Learning): I think reading is still a bit hard for him. His eyes don't work together so it makes tracking difficult, but I find him reading more and more the less I prod. He's into the Weird School books. I hear they are really funny. Ugh..and Captain Underpants. Dribble. (but who doesn't enjoy some of that now and then?)

Jesse (Love of Learning): He's reading BeastQuest. He is Curtis' #1 fan for computer games, so he loves this fantasy sci-fi stuff. But, he's also read Moby Dick, Black Beauty and a few other classics.

Hannah (Core): Fancy Nancy. She's doing pretty good on reading the site words. Curious George and Dora books are not far behind.

Simeon (Core): anything with trains: Thomas the Tank Engine specifically. He clears out the whole shelf. He's not really interested in any other books...wait, take that back. Recipe books. I have to fight with him for them. He sleeps with them, eats with them, they go to the bathroom, church, stores, appointments and for rides with him.

As a family:
Aesop Fables
Flower Fables (Louisa May Alcott)

1 comment:

texasblu said...

Dawn, I love that you are p at 1AM typing this stuff up. :)

I must remember to sometimes not read but TELL. Kinda of a you not them, isn't it? Once you know it, you can share it in a way they'll enjoy it. Thank you for your thoughts!

And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one "dealing" with dribble in her house... :)