Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lessons from a day gone sour......

Didn’t seem like much teaching went on today. My IA.intern was out for much of the morning (She did great on her job interview!! You rock L.!), so I was unable to meet all the immediate needs of the kids who were especially needy today!! Even after she returned, the mood had been set, the nurturing deficit was already in play.


But I did notice 2 things about my teaching today that deserves some extra attention. Lesson #1: the kids absolutely adore a video math series called Mathica, copied originally from PBS, years ago. I show one or two of the 15 minute lessons on days when small group instruction is impossible. When I mentioned Mathica during Morning Meeting, several of the kids actually cheered!


The idea is an elf wanders into a magician’s studio and becomes his assistant. Her job is to solve cute math riddles, with or without the help of clueless, silly characters who show up unannounced to the studio. The vignettes are real-life scenarios, peppered with lots of shenanigans and tom foolery. My first and second graders love them!


Why? Well, they are very engaging. The characters are cute, the scenarios relevant to kids’ daily lives, and the silliness is just made for early primary age humor. Of course, the kids love the video format, but these tapes are old, scratchy and sometimes hard to see. But they are still well loved. I think it’s the idea that this little elf has the smarts to solve the riddles, impress the magician, and outwit the annoying visitors. Every kids dream?!?


I could learn a thing or two from Mathica. It really helps when the learning is F-U-N !!


Lesson #2: I was writing a detailed note to a parent about a child’s meltdown, and as I put it all on paper, an alternate idea about how to handle the child came crisply into view. Because of the “accidental reflection”, I was able to see the situation in a different light and determine a more therapeutic, probably more effective path to take next time.


More often than not, accident or no-accident, when I take the time to analyze and reconsider the events of the day (academic and behavioral), I find a way to improve my daily practice. Detractors may smirk at the idea of “reflective practice”, (
The Instructivist, for instance), but for me, deeper thinking has changed my teaching for the better. That’s why I need to blog about my actual teaching more often…. And leave the policy and complaining to the bloggers out there who do it best!!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Just to let you know -- I've been reading your posts and they are very insightful and honest. I am a special ed teacher (though not in an ED setting) and I can certainly relate to a lot of what you describe!