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Learning Science Concepts through Play | Posted in Early Childhood
In the last couple of years, I have learned just how important play is to students. Play is just as important in the elementary grades, as it is for students preschool and below. I have learned that allowing students to play through STEM activities, allows them to work out their problem solving skills, monitor their emotions, and enhance their social skills. I believe that as teachers we need to remember that we can't hover. We need to allow our students to have play time. They need this time to enhance their skills in multiple different areas. One of my favorite play activities that students can do is through clay. I have seen so many different students play with clay, but I have never seen the same creation from a different student. This play can be as simple as having clay on the table and letting them create whatever they want, or it can be as complex as asking them to create different structures to hold something or withhold wind or water.
I really like the link that you added! I believe that it is so important to allow students to learn and socialize through play as well as different experiments, and these different experiments would be great in the classroom.
Science Trips | Posted in Informal Science
There was a great science field trip that I got to observe in my students teaming called Days of Taste. It was a three day process that followed the process of a well-designed experiment and combined the subject of health and good eating all in one! A nearby farm partnered with the school to come to the school the first day and introduce the topic while giving the students different types of demonstration powders to get their taste buds flowing and practice prediction and data collections. The second day the kids went to the farm to see the process of making milk and cheese and harvesting the crops that they are growing. The third and final day, the farm comes back to the classroom alongside of a local restaurant that benefits and works with the farm to finish the investigation process and confirm or reject hypothesis. Then they get to use the foods that they learned about to create a salad that would be the best fit for your health. The combination of incorporating science, health and arts with they creation and display process works out great for the students learning benefits!
Seating Charts | Posted in New Teachers
I teach third grade so I can only give an elementary perspective. I have always with the exception of one time assigned seating spots to my students. I always start the school year in desk pods usually four to five to a pod depending on how many students I have. This year I have 18. There have been years when I had to make quick adjustments because certain kids just can't sit together. I like the beginning of the year to go as smoothly as possible with setting expectations and instilling good habits. I do keep students who need more help or direction closer to the front but I mixed them up with other students so they don't feel singled out. I never seat students by learning ability. When I was in elementary school I did have a teacher who did this and I always felt bad for the lower kids because we all knew they were the lower kids. Unless we are doing state testing, I never put my students in the traditional rows. This is my least favorite way to set up a classroom.
The one time I let my students pick their spots was when I taught 4th grade. Overall they were a good class so I decided to try it out. It ended up with boys sitting with boys and girls sitting with girls. They promised me they would behave so I wouldn't change their spots. They were good for about 3 days and then I could see they couldn't handle it. Once I had them back in assigned seating they were back to their old selves. Don't be afraid to move kids if needed.
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