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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.
Different levels of understanding | Posted in Elementary Science
One thing I have done is leveled puzzles...not hand outs but actual puzzles. If a student finishes their work, they can go to a side table and work on a puzzle of their choice. I started with simple puzzles but over the course of the year, I increased their difficulty. I used jigsaw puzzles or tangrams...I found one kind of puzzle where all the pieces were square with four different pictures on each side and the pieces fit together in only one way--these were extremely challenging and students took many days/weeks to complete (sorry I don't remember what they were called). Puzzles are quiet, independent activities. With only five students, they could collaborate on more difficult puzzles. If they are old enough, you could have them design a puzzle for their peers and let them actually print/cut the puzzle to give to the other students. Great way to engage them in and teach about the design process.
Assigning Homework | Posted in New Teachers
I am in early childhood which can be very different from 4th and 5th. However, I personally view homework to be extremely important in all areas. The most effective methods that I have seen homework done is in large packets for the week and baggy books with comprehension questions each night. In the large packets I have seen a teacher do all reading and math or a couple pieces of the packet to be reading, a couple math and some for writing, science or social studies. I have heard of some elementary schools doing away with homework all together. However, I personally feel that homework is important to help support the involvement of the parents in their child's education and if you do away with homework that is not giving the parents the opportunity to see what their child is doing and learning.
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